Midhurst town councillors look at their future role in the Big Society

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Midhurst town councillors have set up a special working party to assess the impact of the government’s Big Society plans and what role they want to take on in the future.

They had looked at the possibility of buying their own building in the town to house council offices and provide community facilities in the future.

But reporting back on several possible premises, vice-chairman of the council John Quilter said buying the Old Court House in Grange Road had proved financially not viable in the current economic climate.

But his working party recommended the council should keep in close contact with the South Downs National Park Authority and the Cowdray Estate to maintain its interest in rental options at Capron House.

The town council also wants to look in more detail at options which could be possible at Rosemary’s Parlour once it is vacated by the national park authority and at possibilities for the future of the library in Knockhundred Row.

But while they are to continue talking to groups over future premises, they also want to form a policy on their changing role in the Big Society and what services they might want to provide in the future as they devolve to town and parish councils.

Sitting on the ‘looking forward’ group are new councillor Mark Purves, Coilin Hughes, Margaret Guest and Glen Jones.

Town councillors decided by eight votes to five with one abstention to reduce to £1,000, the £4,000 allocated in next year’s budget for the provision of surveys and legal fees if the possibility of moving the town council office was taken forward.