LETTER: Fear for future of democracy

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When Cllr Vickers failed to answer public questions at the December 11 meeting of Horsham District Council, surely the chairman should have asked her to try again, rather than calling the police. That does not bode well for local democracy.

When she was asked if a party whip would apply when the Local Plan comes before council for approval, the leader maintained a stony silence, when he was the only one present with the authority to respond.

We must deduce that he does intend to apply the whip during the key debate on the Local Plan.

Indeed, it is only a few months since the public was excluded from SPAG meetings and there was every prospect that the principle would be repeated. So it is fortunate that one councillor asked for a commitment that the public will be allowed to attend key debates on the Plan.

It is also not long since Cllr Kitchen indicated that decisions on the Local Plan had been taken forward by the Cabinet, with little or no discussion with group members and we have seen letters expressing concern at the undemocratic use of the cabinet system.

Taken with Government actions to undermine local authorities and to permit speculative development on greenfield sites (through presumption in favour) we must fear for the future of our democracy.

Hopefully our councillors will not simply lie down under this onslaught but will confront the looming dictatorship at every turn.

NEIL WHITEAR

Vice-chairman, UKIP Horsham Branch, Crawley Road, Horsham