Cllr Vickers tries her best to pour scorn on anything which doesn’t fit her hidden agenda (letters, 20/2/2014).
Cllr Vickers disparagingly stated: ‘we have been working on this ‘District Planning Framework’ since 2009… now, some months after the end of the consultation period, two alternative strategies have appeared’.
An alternative description would be it took years to produce her unsound strategy and, after the overwhelming objections were ignored, has taken two months to produce two sound alternatives.
The alternatives invited by Cllr Jim Rae in September 2013! The Cabinet must be careful what they wish for next time!
Cllr Vickers claims the alternatives have ‘caused some confusion’ and her ‘job has since been to clarify the position’. An alternative description would be it is she who is ‘confused’ and has been running around trying to convince people the alternatives have no credibility.
Cllr Vickers claims ‘a number of [unnamed parish council clerks] and chairmen were under the mistaken impression that this [alternative] was an additional council-produced planning strategy’.
If there was any confusion then that can only have been due to the quality and soundness of the alternatives – because both alternatives clearly identified the authors on their respective front covers as ‘North Horsham Parish Council’ and secondly ‘Councillors representing Horsham Town and Broadbridge Heath’.
I note: Cllr Vickers can’t resist politicising the latter by constantly referring to the Lib Dem strategy.
Then Cllr Vickers trips over her own ‘tale’ by claiming: ‘all evidence that led us to this ‘Preferred Strategy’ has been shared with councillors and the public in the preparation of the plan’.
Apart from the complete U-turn that took place when Cllr Vickers become responsible in May 2013 when the strategy HDC had been working on for years was binned, it was the very absence of evidence which has raised alarm bells throughout the District and beyond.
Having ignored professional evidence HDC paid for but which didn’t support the strategy (e.g. the GVA Grimley Report about the desert of empty ‘good’ commercial office space in Horsham town) it was only after producing the strategy that HDC sought to produce some independent evidence – now on their third consultant in an attempt to justify building 500,000 sq ft of yet more empty commercial and industrial space – and at the time of writing a full Traffic Impact Assessment has still not been made public.
It all reminds me of the Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre debacle – except this time there are consequences for the whole District and beyond.
Councillors do sometimes have to make tough decisions. All residents ask is that they are the right decisions, in the interests of the people of the District as a whole. A plan, which is backed by strong evidence, which is sustainable and deliverable, and not led by a developer.
Wordsworth Place, Horsham