Identifying need for youth facilities

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I wish to draw your attention to some manifest inaccuracies relating to the factual reporting of EYE project .

The article ‘EYE Project declared dead’ (WSCT March 14) states, accurately, that Billingshurst Parish Council voted against a land swap with WSCC.

However, a following paragraph states, inaccurately, ‘The swap would have seen the facility built in Myrtle Lane instead of Station Road...’, and this statement is compounded in an adjacent article which states ‘and, until recently, Station Road Gardens have been identified as the most appropriate...(site)’.

The fact is that for at least two years, the EYE project team have envisaged the EYE project building on the Station Road Gardens site, have requested that piece of parish council land, and this position has not changed!

What was proposed was that the parish council would now give them that land in exchange for WSCC owned Myrtle Lane site. This was overwhelmingly rejected (9:4) so the exclusion of the two councillors with prejudicial interests from the voting process was irrelevant.

The effect of this inaccurate reporting, together with comments by an EYE project representative, is to portray an intransigent parish council which is searching for ways to reject all reasonable requests to further the EYE project, in contrast to an innovative EYE project team who have ‘exhausted all known avenues’.

Nothing could be further from the truth. It is, I suggest, the EYE project team who are intransigent: it has not moved, in two years, from its original request for one particular piece of land.

This latest request merely introduces the idea of owning rather than leasing that land. There are other sites where youth/ community facilities could be accommodated, including the above mentioned WSCC owned Myrtle Lane site. Why not Jubilee Fields, or the Weald Community School which now seems to be closed to the community in the evenings?

The EYE project representative stated that different sets of concerns are raised with each EYE project request for that land. I do not believe that is true. The concerns are still the same, supported now by legal opinion on the situation. It seems that the EYE project team are either not willing, or are not in a position to address satisfactorily those concerns.

I suggest that the Billingshurst Parish Council is to be commended on its support for the Youth Worker Initiative. Perhaps the youth facility provision is now best left until the appointed youth worker is in a position to identify what facilities are needed.

ANN RODWELL

Forge Way, Billingshurst