Petworth Vision given go-ahead for presentation

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News

Members of Petworth Town Council have decided to allow the Vision group to make a public presentation to them on its work in the town.

After a lengthy debate on Thursday evening, councillors decided to allow members of the Vision to talk to them for 15 minutes at a full town council meeting later this year.

After the presentation it was decided there would be an unlimited period for town councillors to ask questions and receive answers.

The decision was made in an atmosphere of deteriorating relations between the council and the Vision.

The Vision had made an offer earlier this year to talk to town councillors in ‘closed session’ but this was refused by chairman Chris Kemp and the clerk Melanie Kite.

Instead the Vision spoke to some members outside the debating chamber at an ‘in camera briefing’.

But tempers flared at June’s full council meeting when the concern of the internal auditor was reported about the briefing. Town councillors were told it had been ’unlawful’.

Michael Peet told the meeting he was concerned about the ‘heavy handed tactics’ and believed it would be helpful to hear what projects the Vision was planning.

After the meeting, West Sussex county councillor Janet Duncton, a director of Petworth Vision who listened to the debate, said: “I am very sad that some town councillors resolutely refused to see what advantage there could be working together with Petworth Vision.

“Some town councillors seemed to think, erroneously, the Vision group wants to talk to them about a planning application which would tie councillors’ hands in discussions at their planning committee but the Vision doesn’t want to do this and anyway town councillors are not the planning decision makers – they are statutory consultees. Vision is trying to make sure Petworth is kept in the loop and everyone including the town council should be working together.”