Nik Butler: Joined up thinking appears to be missing from debates

JPCT 120314 S14110969x Nik Butler -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141203-095917001
JPCT 120314 S14110969x Nik Butler -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141203-095917001
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November begins and it feels that 2014 has begin rolling towards an end.

Distractions now abound in shop windows as store fronts are dressed for seasonal festivities and restaurants bookings are filled with the lists of various staff Christmas dinners.

This time of year is not one traditionally associated with a focus on local politics. One usually expect council conversations to take a back seat as people distract themselves with matters more Merry than mundane.

It is easy to imagine that the beginnings of the inspectorates review of the Horsham District Planning Framework will cause quite a bit of consternation for number of members of our council. The opportunity to revisit an issue which has proved to be only slightly less controversial than expansions at Gatwick; is an event that I suspect a few wish would stay buried, preferably under the new developments they had planned.

What has me in awe is the level of chutzpah required to continue to have confidence in the proposals despite the feedback. Indeed if the communications with the programme officer overseeing the schedule are anything to go by the investment in interest has escalated not abated. One has to hope that this level of involvement with local administration and planning can continue into the next year and onwards beyond the election.

Irrespective of the Inspectorate outcome the discussions should have demonstrated to each community that there is a clear need to address what may be perceived as a district wide imbalance in commitment and understanding as to residents views. Examples of which cannot be clearer than the juxtaposition of praising athletes for their results despite the concerns voiced by Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre Joint User Group ( @bbhlcjug ) that there will be a lack of facilities to train for the future.

Likewise the views aired in regards to Gatwick second runway expansion highlight that there too little known about our future economic or leisure opportunities to say with any clarity that one idea is better than any other.

The joined up thinking and discussion which some might view as the purpose of an elected body appears missing in many discussions and consultations feel more like photo opportunities than public integration.

We should use these coming weeks not only to review those planning decisions but to review our own expectations in communication and information from those who would seek to be duly elected members.