Herbert Shiner School offers new community facilities to Petworth

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Petworth looks set to get new community facilities at the former Herbert Shiner School, members of the town council have been told.

At a full meeting of the council former members Andrew and Judy Howard gave a written report of progress in setting up the facility.

They said: “It looks increasingly certain the town will have gained a really useful asset.”

Interim arrangements for letting the premises were in place and Melvyn Bridger was acting as caretaker while Kathleen Bridger had taken on the job of administrator.

The report said: “It is the firm intention that ‘The Herbie’ will work with the other bodies in town, providing facilities such as the Leconfield Hall and the Hampers Green Centre, and not in competition with them.

“Progress has inevitably been heavy going, not least because there seems to be no obvious precedent upon which the project can base itself.

“Responsibility for property issues, public liability indemnity insurance, property management and insurance and so on all require very careful investigations and planning if much bigger problems are to be avoided at later stages.

“So progress is indeed slow, steady, but thankfully – sure.”

Mr and Mrs Howard reported the project was being managed by three bodies and several committees which were looking after specific issues.

Liaison with West Sussex County Council was being managed under the leadership of West WSCC officer Graham Ollway acting as link officer, with supporting expertise being called in as required.

A management committee chaired by Rowena Tyler was leading the project with sub-committees set up to handle detailed work including lettings, marketing, fundraising and capital funding.

They said the project was under the overall umbrella of the Petworth and District Community Association.