If Cllr Brian O’Connell (from the rural south) is duly confirmed as chairman of Horsham District Council at the AGM in May 2014 having been promoted into post by Cllr Ray Dawe in preference to the de-selected Cllr Christian Mitchell, will we get a completely different style of chairmanship from that of Cllr Philip Circus?
We don’t have any evidence of Cllr O’Connell’s experience chairing a large group of councillors whom one might hope, after the recent period of expressed unhappiness with authoritarian leadership styles, might be more willing to demand more democratic proceedings.
In your report (9.10.13): ‘Horsham planning ‘encouraging progress’ council say’ we can gain a little more idea about what Cllr O’Connell’s style might be.
He was involved in a debate about the Government’s threat of placing it in special measures in June 2013 because of the tardiness in processing planning applications.
Councillors were considering how the service could be improved - an issue on which members of the public (especially those angered by the endless delays) could make legitimate contributions.
It was reported that ‘Brian O’Connell (Con, Henfield) dismissed the idea of consulting the public on the issue. He said: ‘The planning department is a service provided and that is what we have got to get back to. It is good to work properly, quickly and efficiently, but it hasn’t been doing so. We need to find out what it has stopped doing, and what should be done to make it one of the best services in the country again. I am of the opinion that there is nothing to be gained by undertaking a public survey at this time. The public don’t have the knowledge of the process, and I think we will just get people that don’t agree with planning decisions, which is not what the review is about’.’
Are we all reassured?
Heath Way, Horsham