Builders want to go ahead before Petworth Boys School memorial row is resolved

Don Simpson who believes building on the site is desecration
Don Simpson who believes building on the site is desecration

Developers at the centre of a row over a memorial to those killed when a German bomb fell on Petworth Boys School, want to press ahead before it is resolved.

Towerview Properties have permission for 21 homes partly on the site of the former school despite strong objections. Don Simpson who was a pupil at the school when the bomb exploded killing 29 boys, believes building on the site is ‘desecration’.

There was outrage when the developer tried to have a condition removed which required it to provide a piece of public art as a permanent commemoration. The application was withdrawn and talks are being held with town councillors. But chairman Chris Kemp accused them of trying to ‘wriggle out’ of their obligation by ‘planting a few flowers’. He is pressing for a suitable piece of public art.

But now Towerview wants to start building before agreement is reached: “Negotiations are currently ongoing with the parish council as to what they would like to see on site, but rather than allowing these negotiations to delay the start on site, it is requested that the wording be changed.”

They want new wording stipulating ‘no home is occupied’ before the full details are agreed rather than ‘no building work is started’ before an agreement.

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