Having read previous accounts of whipping by the Tory ruling group in HDC, it was interesting to see the Leader advise the council meeting that no one had been coerced on what to say or how to vote, at the meeting on the local plan for housing.
Perhaps the Leader could tell us in his next column, a) if that policy is new and b) for how long it has been policy?
In any event the Tory group’s preferred solution was the only one put out to so-called ‘consultation’, was not debated in open council meeting and there was no evaluation of alternative options.
That was hardly a consultation and we must hope that the Planning Inspector will see it for the farce that it was.
It was also clear that the Tory solution, introduced somewhat belatedly, a supposed need for 500,000 sq ft of employment space, without an evidence based business plan, whilst the Local Plan is based on an unattainable 20 year housing target of 650 per annum.
Since such unrealistic targets will continue to leave councils vulnerable to speculative development, it is difficult to see why so many councillors passively accepted the target, without qualification.
As pointed out by Peter Grace’s recent letter, the Coalition undertook (under Localism), to put elected local councillors back in charge, accountable to local people via the ballot box.
Whilst that promise has clearly not been delivered, many local councillors seem reluctant to confront the issue and they will no doubt be judged accordingly.
Arun Road, Billingshurst