Debate over youth facility

Reluctantly, I feel it necessary to respond to the manifest inaccuracies and detrimental inferences in the letter of your correspondent Mrs Peggy Davies (County Times August 30).

She states, as a quotation from my letter (August 16) ‘the partnership has an overt pro development policy’.

I said NO such thing: I actually stated ‘while I do not suggest that the BCP has an overt pro development policy. . . the organisation does rely much more now on 106 development money’. I suggest that Mrs Davies reread the relevant paragraph in my letter and she will see it accords very much with what she goes on to say.

More seriously, she infers that my opposition to the BCP’s preferred location for a youth facility is somehow based on the ‘fact that I have been wronged in the past’ presumably by some members of the community partnership and that my opposition is, presumably, some kind of retaliation.

She quite inexplicably uses my reference to ‘a costly error for which the village is still paying’ in support of this fiction. The latter actually refers to a mistake made by the parish council with respect to the village hall extension.

It took place before the partnership was even in existence; it directly related to awareness of landownership and councillors and trustee responsibility, directly relevant to any present envisaged negotiation with reference to the EYE project.

I believe councillors and trustees have an obligation to inform themselves appropriately before any sort of commitment is made.

What would the BCP say if planning permission had been granted and legal reasons for objections were then raised? Ultimately, Mrs Davies is entitled to her opinion. What a pity that she does not accord others the same respect. Moreover, her blatant misuse of information to bring someone’s integrity into question is quite unacceptable!

The backdrop to this seeming character assassination attempt by Mrs Davies is her contention that those of us who oppose the envisaged location for a youth building are opposing efforts to provide youth facilities.

Not so! I have worked with young people all my life, as a teacher and with youth groups. I, as a Billingshurst resident, have endeavoured to save recreational land in the village for use by young people; in 2006, I supported the parish council’s initiative to use the old cricket pavilion for an all-purpose facility, canvassed groups and offered to serve on any forthcoming committee; in 2008, I answered Mrs Campbell’s (BCP) call for help at TAG.

It was subsequently clear to me that the village hall was unsuitable, on health and safety grounds, and that any youth facility needed both inside and outdoor facilities. Jubilee Fields was mentioned, unofficially, as an alternative but not pursued.

I strongly object to the inference that I am part of a cabal (definition: secret intrigue!). Where is the evidence for such an assertion?

I have attended parish council meetings for many years , often alone, and I express my views openly as an individual. I also have worked on projects with both parish councillors and partnership members, those, who, like me can respect differences of opinion, and move on.

My views on the preference for the Jubilee Fields location for a youth facility is genuinely held, based on facts and experience, and, if Billingshurst youth were the main priority, I believe this initiative should have been pursued years ago.An all-purpose school use building such as the EYE project, is, for me, something different.

Yes, Mrs Davies, it is a sad state of affairs in Billingshurst. I suggest you reread the letters from your fellow BCP members (and ex-members) and compare them with letters from those whom you and your colleagues are continuing to attack.

Perhaps you may gain a clearer picture of who is ‘continuing the saga’ about which you are seemingly so concerned.


Forge Way, Billingshurst