LETTER: Big questions must be tackled

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Your editorial comment, 14th August edition, questioning the robustness of the democratic process seems an appropriate expression of a growing number of people in relation to planned housing numbers growth and Gatwick Airport’s expansion.

Gatwick Airport’s objective of increasing capacity, by way of shorter time gaps between aircraft using the existing runway (current trail) and a second runway, do appear to lack a regard for honesty, transparency and fair play as evidenced by the quality of their recent consultation and reported content of the dossier left on the train.

Their strategy of promoting the case that causing a major impact on a few is better than a minor impact on many is as flawed as their apparent ability to deceive by spin. This clear encouragement to discriminate against a minority seems to be the central theme of their public engagement and the fundamental issue they are using to influence decision makers on the second runway location.

As one of my residents pointed out last week, see comment on my blog, we need to oppose such discrimination and the suggestion of taking the matter to the European Court of Human Rights seems an appropriate one.

It is also becoming apparent that we need a debate on ‘growth per se’ and whether it is in the national interest to have growth focused on London and the South East?

This is a big question which politicians and the market would prefer to avoid but it is one that needs to be addressed in the long term interest of us all.

Lastly, I support the NPPF in its positive approach to planning but it is becoming apparent that local plan makers need to adapt more quickly to this change and that they need to place more importance on a sound evidence base, better integration of the different facets and their interdependency on delivery.

This does not always appear to be happening in our current system that separates infrastructure and housing delivery between different authorities and relies on a sensible use of a ‘Duty to co-operate’ for a cohesive area wide strategy.

JOSEF RANSLEY

(Con) Chichester district councillor for Kirdford and Wisborough Green Ward, East Pallant, Chichester