PARISHES across the Midhurst and Petworth area are appealing for help to deal with major planning applications in their areas.
Kirdford parish councillor Susan Pinder told members of West Sussex County Council’s county local committee that untrained councillors were having to deal with more and more documents and were having to hire consultants which were costly.
The Sussex Association of Local Councils (SALC) and the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) were ‘useless’ she said.
“They are very out of date and not in the 21st century. There are big lunches and it’s all ‘hail fellow well met’, but it is not relevant.”
She said parish councillors paid some £200-£300 every year to be members of these organisations, but they were not receiving the kind of advice they needed to deal with increasingly-complicated issues.
Kirdford and Wisborough Green parish councillors are currently planning their response to the controversial application from Celtique Energie to set up an exploratory well and drill for gas and oil.
Mrs Pinder said a course run by the county council, particularly on planning lines, would be very beneficial.
“It is a minefield. We are now meeting two or three times a week to make responses and this minerals application is phenomenally complicated and frightening.”
Parish councillors were told West Sussex County Council was organising a meeting on October 31 in Boxgrove which would give parish and town councillors the chance to raise issues and tell the county council what sort of help they needed.