It is a Saturday afternoon. I have spent most of last week thinking about the upcoming meeting of North Horsham Parish Council regarding the North Horsham Strategic Development consultation.
It says consultation but in reality it feels much like a plan dumped into the laps of North Horsham Parish Councillors. In much the same fashion that a few Horsham District Councillors object to what is happening to them when it comes to planning and development; I guess pots and kettles cannot go naming colours.
At this point I have to remind everyone that I am indeed an elected councillor for the North Horsham ward, Roffey North, and that these articles are my own views not those of the council.
Unlike other councillors I tend to not feel the need to overtly remind people that I was elected or why; mostly I suspect it is because my name is at the top of the ballot paper which is sorted in an alphabetical listing.
I put my name forward because I wanted to be able to contribute in a community which I felt needed someone who would ask better questions.
Questions like: how can you present a planning consultation document whose opening page is “no is not an answer”?
Or questions such as: outside of council officers and those with professional qualifications in urban planning how are the general public expected to be able to understand and respond to this document in anything other than outrage and bewilderment?
By the time this is published I might have had a chance to place some of those questions.
I guess those in attendance will be the judge as to whether they are answered.
What frustrates me is how many respondents feel that this is the straw that will break voting camels back.
With the talk of a changing face of Horsham it is the slowly degrading image of political worth that disappoints me the most.
Fields may be turned to concrete and streetlights may replace trees.
Yet the worst damage has already been done through this consultation process.
I don’t know how Monday will have played out but right now I feel that this community feels unheard despite every attempt at communication; due to the language and attention to detail which have been lacking in focus.
The community does not need a poll, it does not need a facebook meeting.
What the community wanted was a voice.