A PROJECT to fund Hungarian students to come to Marlow as part of a town twinning programme has been rejected by the town council.

Marlow Budavar Town Twinning Association asked members for £300 towards a plan to pay for two students to come in September as part of a larger visiting group from Budapest.

The organisation aims to forge links between the communities of Marlow and a district in Budapest, which were twinned in 2007 and have links through their iconic bridges.

But the request was rejected after councillors raised concerns that Marlow taxpayers would not be getting their money’s worth from such a scheme.

At last week’s resources meeting, Cllr Ian Wernham said: “If the situation was reversed and we were asked to fund Marlow students to go to Hungary, that would be a different matter.”

Deputy Mayor Bob Johnson said there was a stronger link between the communities of Marlow and its other twin town, Mary-Le-Roi near Paris, with the Anglo-French twinning operation given council cash last year.

John Nixon, treasurer of the Budavar twinning group, said in his application: “The twinning with Budavar has been slow to progress but the award to two students has helped considerably and the twinning is increasingly now recognised.

“The visits have helped to foster friendly relationships between our two communities.”

Marlow’s twinning with Budavar, District One in Budapest, took place in 2007.

Both Marlow Bridge and Budapest’s famous chain bridge were designed by the same man, William Tierney Clark, with Marlow’s landmark a scaled-down replica of the one spanning the Danube.

The shared bridge heritage is the reason for the twinning link, and the association organises events with a Hungarian ‘flavour’ as well as arranging exchange visits between Marlovians and Budavárians.

Roy Cadman, chairman of the Budavar twinning association, is also a town councillor, but left the room for the discussion and did not vote.

He said: “I fully understand the reasoning that led to the rejection of the application.

“With limited funds available, grants for cultural, sporting, health and social causes should be concentrated on organizations and activities that directly benefit Marlovians.

“When possible, the Council could usefully consider setting aside modest funds to support organizations that promote the town of Marlow."