LETTER: Proper scrutiny of council projects

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No wonder my council tax is going up. I want to know the total amount that Horsham District Council has wasted on ‘improvements’ to West Street, who took the decision, in what forum, and how this is to be held to account.

HDC has announced it contributed £100,000 to the £665,000 work but said nothing about the further sum it spent on ridiculous self-promotion. The ‘event’ on opening day was only the start!

On 20 November a post on the Horsham Facebook page said ‘just had a very nice 8 page full colour glossy leaflet though my door announcing the opening of West Street... but that was last weekend... only 4 days late!!!!! Never mind HDC it’s only public money!’

I challenge our councillors to insist on an open council with proper scrutiny of projects at an early stage, to stop projects that do not deliver clear benefit and in particular to challenge ‘vanity’ projects like this.

Objectives, costs and projected benefits must be identified – and anything likely to have happened anyway doesn’t count!

I am alarmed at councillor Croft’s shopping list which includes installing a permanent ‘sound system’ in West Street next year.

I am more alarmed at councillors Croft, Dawe and Vickers’ big shopping list which includes a massive development on green fields outside Horsham while the town centre dies.

Changing the bins and the colour of the paving in West Street won’t make a real difference to Horsham town centre’s future. Working to bring new businesses into the town centre would.

This means new employers into office space inside the town, so people work in a living town centre, regularly shop there in their lunchtimes and feel part of it.

Has HDC decided that is too difficult? Their town centre ‘strategy’ says nothing about it, instead focusing only on shops and ‘night-time economy’ despite the threat from internet shopping.

Please, HDC, get a grip and make a real difference to the future of our lovely town centre.

R. FULLER

Primrose Copse, Horsham