As conflict grows with the Petworth Vision group, town councillors have decided to ‘step back’.
At a meeting on Thursday they decided they would no longer have a representative on the Vision group after concern was voiced about increasing confusion over the roles of the two bodies.
The move follows a statement from the town council after anger over a Vision newsletter which it claimed linked the council to the Vision Gateway project and asked for donations to continue the work of the community interest company.
Councillors stressed they were not involved in the project to provide a gateway at the top of the Pound Street car park and pointed out the Vision did not receive money from them ‘as it was a ‘entity in its own right’.
On Thursday town council chairman Chris Kemp urged fellow members to pull away completely from the Vision group by removing representation on the body.
He had met rural towns co-ordinator Steve Hill to discuss how the Vision worked: “He was very clear that what Chichester District Council (CDC) thought they were doing was setting up a community forum. I struggle with the community forum because I can’t see how we can take part in it with any legality.
“If the neighbourhood plan goes through its referendum we will require some sort of working party to look at infrastructure proposals that have come out of public consultation because we will receive Community Infrastructure Levy money to put things in place. We can’t pass this to a separate group that we have no theoretical control over.”
He stated CDC officers said if there was any ‘difference of opinion’ town councillors had to negotiate with the Vision. “It really means CDC are forcing this town council to work with another body not constituted in a public manner and I find the whole situation very peculiar.” He wanted to ‘stand back and wait for the Vision to come and see us.”