LETTER: Maude’s record as Horsham MP

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I am sure I am not alone in wishing our soon to be former MP a long and healthy retirement. Although not sharing the same political ethos, I commend him for being one of the more liberal and intellectually rigorous members of his party.

But after nearly 20 years as our local MP, what does Horsham have to show for his service?

Despite the fanfare on his accession, we have no new local hospital and still have to travel 20 miles to access A&E and treatment for acute conditions.

We have a shortage of school places. The availability of social and affordable housing has worsened markedly. We have lost jobs as Novartis has closed and Sun Alliance reduced its manpower in Horsham.

Crowding on the privately run railway has worsened whilst we pay some of the highest rail fares in Europe. The state of the roads in the county has become one of the worst in the country.

The availability of community and social care has worsened; new charges have been levelled for waste collection. Library services reduced and leisure facilities closed.

Vast swathes of the north and west of Horsham have been subject to development, whilst the south has barely been touched.

Overall police numbers and presence have been dramatically curtailed, despite the appointment of a highly paid, yet wholly ineffective Police and Crime Commissioner! The list could continue.

Of greater concern is the real degeneration in the political process and lack of scrutiny and accountability of the actions and policies of the ruling Tory group on HDC during his tenure. Why was he so silent on the proposed development in North Horsham?

Was he really proud of his colleague, chairman of HDC, calling the police to help silence objectors to untested planning proposals and a call for the committee to look at all the options?

Does he really support a cabinet system which negates scrutiny and the democratic process leaving key decisions on issues that dramatically impact thousands of people in Horsham District in the hands of a secretive arrogant cabal?

As with his appointment, no doubt Central Office will seek to parachute in a faithful grandee, this time with a little more red blood to appeal to potential defectors to UKIP, in the hope of maintaining the Tory monopoly; perhaps Henry Smith in vulnerable Crawley will be on the list.

Fortunately on May 7 electors in Horsham District will have the opportunity to give their verdict on the performance of both Mr Maude and Tory run HDC in the general and district elections.

Maybe they will recognise the need for change and the election of an MP offering detailed costed policies that work for all the people, regardless of affiliation, race, colour or creed; one that is outward looking and seeks to bring influence and rigour to the international stage.

Hopefully supported by a district council with a record of introducing increased accountability, the right to speak at meetings and upholding the democratic process.

L.N. PRICE

Smithbarn, Horsham