In recent editions of the County Times a significant amount of space has been taken up by articles in which our Tory councillors have expressed a range of opinions on the proposals for large scale development in our district.
So keen are some of these councillors to tell us what is good for us that the reader can only assume that they are hearing from experts in this field with valuable experience and knowledge to share.
It would appear that nothing could be further from the truth as the incompetence of this council has resulted in Horsham council achieving the status of the worst performing authority in the country in relation to planning. So bad is its performance that it risks having its planning powers removed altogether.
Planning is a very important area of responsibility and, particularly in light of some of the decisions that our planning committee has delivered in the recent past, many may feel that it would be beneficial to have planning powers removed from the current council.
It does beg the question, however, what then would be left for the group leading the council to do? Over recent years the councillors have cut back on services to such an extent that virtually all that they are directly responsible for delivering are those services that they are statutorily obliged to provide.
There are not many services that a district council is statutorily obliged to deliver but one which usually springs to mind alongside planning is street cleaning, which is another area where Horsham council seems to fall well short of its obligations.
Streets in the area around Clarence Road have not been swept in months. The latest excuse why the council cannot deliver in line with its obligation to sweep regularly is that both street sweeping vehicles are off the road and have been for at least two weeks.
We currently have a council consisting of 44 councillors, 33 are in the Tory group that runs the council.
It cannot plan effectively, cannot keep our streets clean and seems intent on reducing the level of service that the council tax payer can expect to receive.
The cost of running this dysfunctional system was, according to the latest sets of published accounts, £334,000.00 in councillors’ allowances and expenses in the financial year 2012 / 2013.
In light of the council’s determination to save money, isn’t it about time we cut back on the number of councillors involved in running the council? With more money available to employ competent and skilled staff, perhaps we would get the standard of council service we deserve in return for our council tax payments .
Horsham Labour Party, Clarence Road, Horsham