‘We’ve been kept out of the loop over Petworth memorial’

Angry town leaders say they have been left out of the loop over ‘sensitive’ plans for public art as a memorial to all who died when the Petworth Boys’ School was bombed during the second world war.

It was a condition of planning consent for development of the school site that the developer should fund agreed artwork.

Petworth town councillors fought hard for the special memorial which now has to be provided before the new houses are occupied.

Earlier this year town councillors, Petworth Society and the town’s Chichester District Council representatives met district planners and the national park to decide a way forward after concern over slow progress.

“The decision was that our district councillors Janet Duncton and Eileen Lintill would receive the proposal and talk to the survivors,” town council chairman Chris Kemp told members.

But since then town councillors had spoken to bereaved families in September, at the 75th anniversary commemorations of the bombing: “There are 28 families and they are upset they have been cut out of the process. I am concerned they have not been considered and we as a town council have been completely ruled out. I find it peculiar CDC and the park are making a decision about something so sensitive connected to our town.”

Vice chairman Roger Hanauer said there had been a ‘deafening silence’ since the meeting with planners: “It would have been at the very least good manners and practice to keep us informed. If I was a conspiracy theorist I would say this had been done with malice aforethought to keep us out of the loop and I think it’s disgraceful. We live in a era of openness and transparency and this has not been very effective in this instance.”

A proposal from Neville Fox was agreed, that the town council ask to be made a consultee in the planning condition discharge process.

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