As a former Billingshurst district councillor and a past member of the Billingshurst Community Partnership (BCP) I have watched with dismay over the past several years the antics of a small cabal of residents and parish councillors over their attempts to oppose the efforts of the Billingshurst Community Partnership to provide facilities for all age groups in Billingshurst at little or no cost to residents.
Reading the letters of Messrs Rodwell and Smith, residents, and Mrs Wilding, a parish councillor, in the County Times of August 16, I list just a few of the extraneous and implied points stated by their letters.
Quote ‘As opposed to the parish council the partnership is self appointed etc etc’. This is untrue since the partnership had the AGM advertised at the Station Budgens etc inviting ALL residents in the Billingshurst area to attend the meeting and elect the membership of the partnership. Mrs Wilding knows from her past attendance of the AGM members elected have included amongst others county, district and parish councillors and a member of the Chamber of Commerce. This is potentially as ‘democratic’ as most institutions in the UK.
Quote, ‘The partnership has an overt pro-development policy’. Another inaccuracy since my husband, the chairman of BCP, does not know of any motion or documentation of this view passed by the members at their regular meetings. There might be individual views which differ within in the partnership. In the past a parish councillor has been pro development and applied for planning permission on a greenfield site. This did not mean the parish council was pro development. Further I believe a BCP district council member and a past member of Save Billingshurst amongst other members of BCP are of this view and would not support an overt pro-development policy.
As regards the EYE proposal /project which has been in the pipeline for years and at each presentation a new excuse is found for delay. Mrs Wilding’s letter sounds like extracts from a court case. An example of buying a house etc is totally irrelevant. The EYE project in order to proceed has to have planning permission.
The BCP has been seeking agreement from the parish council to use a small area of parish council land if planning permission is agreed by Horsham District Council then the legal discussions can take place on leases etc when funds are forthcoming for the next part of the project. There is no need for legal advice at this stage of the proceedings and WASTING taxpayers’ money. This was used in my opinion at the parish meeting as a stalling device to prevent the agenda item as regards a vote on the EYE project proceeding.
In conclusion I would ask, why is this saga involving the community partnership continuing for many years? My view based on attending many meetings and perusing the correspondence of Billingshurst Parish Council and others over the past decade that the protagonists believe they have been wronged in the past. They oppose those in the partnership who they believe responsible. This is alluded to by Mrs Rodwell viz ‘a costly error for which the village is still paying’. This is a sad state of affairs with Billingshurst residents the losers.
Stane Street, Five Oaks, Billingshurst