Reading through The i on Saturday my eye was caught by one interesting article in particular, written by Ian Burrell, which brought to mind the way Horsham District Council has been run over the last few years.
Whilst, fortunately, Horsham has not had any tragic events such as Grenfell, it appears they are run in a similar fashion to Kensington and Chelsea Council by a majority council whereby they arbitrarily try to shut out journalists and the public from meetings.
As we know Ms Vickers suddenly declared Planning meetings out of bounds when there appeared to be too much public interest in what was happening in our area.
They also decline Freedom of Information requests I have made for spurious and disingenuous reasons, some being ‘...I write regularly to the local newspaper and have asked questions at Council meetings...’ I have lived in Horsham for 48 years and have never attended a Council meeting and I was not aware writing letters to a local newspaper would preclude a resident from receiving information from the Council, whose wages I help pay.
As Mr Burrell rightly states public scrutiny of local authority meetings is fundamental to our democratic system and a healthy news ecology.
That news environment is being poisoned as those in power seek to weaken the media’s (and public’s, my words) ability to monitor their activities.
Hopefully the current climate in the country might possibly bring about changes where councils are less inclined to treat local papers and residents with authoritarian disdain.
Parry Close, Horsham
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