COUNCILLORS ignored officers’ recommendations to decline much-needed cash grants to community groups in Arundel on Monday (March 9).
Arundel Museum Society had made a bid to the joint downland area committee’s community initiative fund for £8,060 to improve the museum’s lighting, while organisers of Arundel’s town crier competition had applied for £1,138,98 to pay for two gazebos and 100 chairs for this year’s event.
Both bids had been recommended for refusal.
However, after a debate, members went against these recommendations and agreed to give the museum society £2,500 and the town crier competition £250.
Nigel Peters, the county councillor for Arundel and Wick, urged members at the meeting, at The White Swan, in Arundel, to vote against the recommendations.
He said: “I feel I would be letting my residents down if we didn’t seek to support local residents in their applications when they put them in to this group.
I feel I would be letting my residents down if we didn’t seek to support local residents in their applications when they put them in to this group.Nigel Peters, the county councillor for Arundel and Wick
“I fully support the reasons why the recommendations were given, and they are very good reasons and normally one would say ‘yes’, but we do have a fairly substantial amount of money left over that otherwise would go back into general county council coffers for the use of the entire region as opposed to the use of local residents.”
Not all councillors agreed with the move to fund the museum society.
Derek Whittington, county councillor for Fontwell, abstained from voting in the museum’s cash grant.
He said: “This is virtually a brand-new building. Did the architects get it wrong or something?
“The lady who spoke earlier in public question time mentioned about increasing foot fall. The answer to that is when I went with three grandchilren, son and daughter-in-law last year basically we couldn’t afford to get in, it was so expensive.”
A total of £6,250 from a kitty of £10,591.07 was awarded on the night, with other recipients including the 1st Arundel Scout group, which received £1,000 to replace guttering on its HQ, and the Aldingbourne Community Sports Centre, which was given £2,500 for renovation costs.
However, the committee refused to grant Slindon Parish Council’s bid for £3,898, saying it was an unsuitable grant for the fund.
The left-over £4341.70 will go back to the county council.