“I WANTED to improve the quality of leisure for young people,” says the Horsham district’s youngest councillor.
Josh Murphy’s comment comes as more pressure mounts on the local authority to spare the popular Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre.
Speaking to the County Times exclusively ahead of the full council meeting next Wednesday, the 19-year-old (Con, Horsham Town) said he is still undecided on how he will vote.
He said: “Obviously everyone would love the centre to stay open, and I would like to justify keeping it open, but financially I don’t think it’s sensible. The situation is really hard. Who doesn’t want to see more leisure facilities?
“But having seen the protesters outside the offices I can really see their position. It really brought home to me how important the issue is.
“I’ve spoken to a number of people who have contacted me about this and have had discussions and I can see how strong they feel about it. Their opinions will weigh heavily when I’m making my decision.”
Mr Murphy says he wants to represent the voice of Horsham’s youth when he makes his speech on December 21.
The councillor has been juggling his Computer Science studies at King’s College in London with his council role since he was voted in earlier this year.
He has been listening to residents’ various concerns over the proposals via email and phone whilst studying
Speaking of his time in the council, he said: “The balance of uni life and council life isn’t difficult at all because it’s not like I’m in a full time job, I can make time for the council.
“At first it was a bit of a rollercoaster and getting used to how things are run. But I think I’m a lot more confident now, and I don’t think people look at me and think he’s just a young councillor.”
Mr Murphy admits he was ‘surprised at how quickly issues go through’ in response to people’s concerns at the fast rate at which decisions have been passed through the council.
He added: “We still have some of the best facilities in the country and that’s something we can all be proud of.
“One of the reasons I ran for councillor is because I wanted to improve the quality of leisure for young people. I think it’s important to keep our leisure facilities strong and keep the quality high.
“Hard decisions are being made all over the country so we do have to sacrifice some things that we want – it’s the way it is at the moment.”