LETTER: Difficult to get information

Your letters
Your letters

David Moore’s (of the Horsham Society) article: ‘Release missing information before the inquiry’ (Horsham edition, 17 July) is a refreshing use of a half page piece in your paper.

It deals with issues that are of real concern to local people. Contrast that with Francis Maude’s MP half page about what he was doing on Friday and Saturday last week – waste of space.

But getting information out of Horsham District Council about the background to what has been going on over the creation of this terrible policy document concerning housing and economic development in the district – is like dragging teeth.

One way a group of us has tried is in carefully constructed Freedom of Information requests (FoI). We must have submitted over 20 of them to HDC – very few are fully answered and increasingly they are refused.

Even when we get a valuable insight, detail is redacted. There is an appeal process but it has to be done within 40 days and if that fails a complaint can be made to the Information Commissioner – though it is a rather lengthy procedure.

Perhaps most worrying about FoIs is that those making the decisions - senior councillors and officers - don’t have formal recorded meetings - there are private discussions - so nothing can be traced.

A response to an FoI asking for details of meetings, minutes, email communications on a particular subject – comes back with nothing.

I suppose with all the secrecy this council has demonstrated over the last few years – it is not surprising is it?

E. DELGADO

Parry Close, Horsham