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Sunday 24 January

Launch of Petersfield Town Partnership, Community Centre - 30 October 2006

Welcome by Town Mayor of Petersfield - Councillor Bob Ayer

I would very much like to welcome you here this evening and to formally launch the Petersfield Town Partnership as part of the next stages of the Petersfield Market Town Health Check.

Firstly I would like to thank those who have been involved so far in the Steering Group and Work Groups of Petersfield Tomorrow. A tremendous amount of work has been undertaken to establish the facts, undertake surveys and present the findings in exhibitions and public meetings. We have worked as a team involving the community, the local authorities, voluntary and private organisations. So we are here tonight to celebrate what has been achieved so far and to recognise that this is only a start.

We are launching the Petersfield Town Partnership because the next stages of work for Petersfield Tomorrow will need a more formal structure if we are to attract funding and the support of organisations such as the South East Economic Development Agency and the new South Downs National Park. We also recognise that to be truly successful we need to ensure that all sectors of the community are fully involved and committed and we recognise that we still have more to do in this respect.

The three local authorities – Hampshire County Council, East Hampshire District Council and the Petersfield Town Council have supported this initiative up until now and we are confident that more direct support is now forthcoming. In particular, the District Council is providing an officer to work 2 days a week from the New Year on the projects and this will make a huge difference to what we can achieve in future. I also know that the Town Council will be giving its full support through the involvement of its officers and members. So I am confident that this is the right time to move up a gear and develop Petersfield Tomorrow in new ways and to undertake projects such as a Town Design Statement or a Local Products Initiative. Alton has shown how to do it – we need to show that Petersfield can as well.

So I would like to formally launch the Petersfield Town Partnership and invite Tony Struthers do a brief presentation on the proposals. In doing this we would very much like to invite new members to join the Partnership – either as members of the Executive Group or as Work Group members. When Tony has finished there will be the opportunity for comments and discussion and if you have queries or want to comment this will be the time to do this.

It will be followed by refreshments to celebrate the work of the Steering Group and to launch the new Partnership. We would then like the Executive Group and Work Groups to meet briefly to set out their agendas, agree a way forward and future meeting arrangements.

Thank you