Letter: ‘Horsham District Council reputation is damaged’

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I WAS at the Horsham District Council meeting on December 21 and was disheartened to realise that, despite all the evidence pointing to the fact that the Leisure Futures Report was badly flawed and should have been set aside once and for all, the majority of our councillors voted in favour of one of its recommendations; that is to exclude Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre from the new Leisure Management contract.

As I said at the meeting when presenting a petition signed by thousands of local people, this will have the effect of starting any ‘consultation’ from a point where it is assumed the leisure centre will not be operational after next December.

My fears that the Conservative councillors have already made up their minds on this matter (despite agreeing to further consultation) were confirmed when I read in your paper a quote from councillor Andrew Baldwin who, when talking at the same meeting about the sale of the Old Town Hall, said, ‘We have given false expectation to the people in the gallery tonight about the future of Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre. Resources are dwindling’.

So, we have apparently been given ‘false expectation’.

Obviously from this we must assume that Mr Baldwin’s mind is already made up.

I noticed I ruffled councillor Peter Burgess’ feathers a little when I asked the councillors to reflect on their decision before casting their vote, and not just to ‘nod through’ the recommendation to remove the leisure centre from the new Leisure Management contract.

He appeared affronted by the very notion that they would nod anything through.

If they don’t open their minds and prepare to make their decision based on properly gathered facts and consultation with the public between now and May, when the decision will be made, then it’s my belief they will be in danger of losing any trust and credibility they may have left.

This whole episode has been very damaging to the council’s reputation, which is a great shame because by and large they have been doing a really good job.

SHEILA WHITE

Great Daux, Warnham