Fight to bring back Harting councillor as voice of South Downs National Park

Councillor Andrew Shaxson at the launch of a telephone box information centre at North Stoke.Photo by Derek Martin SUS-150526-161911001
Councillor Andrew Shaxson at the launch of a telephone box information centre at North Stoke.Photo by Derek Martin SUS-150526-161911001

TOWN councillors have thrown their weight behind a fight to bring back Andrew Shaxson as the voice of the South Downs National Park.

In a letter to Chichester District Council (CDC), Midhurst Town Council said it ‘shared the concern’ of those who regarded the appointment of Mark Dunn to the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) and the removal of Andrew Shaxson as ‘unwise and unnecessary’.

This comes after Trotton parish councillors joined the growing call for a rethink on CDC’s decision to remove Harting representative Andrew Shaxson as its voice on the SDNPA.

Midhurst Town Council said in its letter to the district council: “Mark Dunn’s unquestioning support of the Durand Academy’s proposals for the development of the St Cuthman’s site in Stedham should in itself be a reason for seeing the appointment as inappropriate.

“In this matter, as in all the issues concerning the National Park, it is unwise to appoint someone who is so evidently unlikely to maintain or to be seen to maintain proper judgement and impartiality.

“Those who are living within the National Park regard Andrew Shaxson as someone who has a track record as an effective member and chairman of the authority’s planning committee.

“We fail to understand why it was deemed necessary to remove someone who was doing a difficult job well.

“He had the respect and confidence of local people.

“He was well placed to balance the interests of those living and working within the National Park with its statutory obligations.

“We urge the district council to reconsider this decision.”

The letter was unanimously approved by Midhurst town councillors at a meeting on Monday night.

Both Trotton and Midhurst councillors have questioned the appointment of Cllr Dunn.

In a letter to the CDC leader Tony Dignum, and chief executive Diane Shepherd, Trotton with Chithurst parish councillors said: “We feel Andrew’s status as an independent councillor has been and would have continued to be particularly valuable in representing the views of all the local and parish councils in the diverse areas which fall in the national park.”

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