LETTER: Understatement and double speak

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As always, the County Times was packed with interesting articles last week. Many of them made me think and some made me smile wryly.

For example, the item covering the loss of 1,000 jobs from Sussex Police had the Chief Constable saying that despite the job losses, the quality of policing in Sussex would not change. The very next paragraph quoted him as saying ‘I am also aware that some will experience a reduction in some parts of policing...’. Those two statements don’t seem to chime. Maybe the Chief Constable has been mixing too much with local politicians and some ‘double-speak’ has rubbed off on him.

Further on in the paper there was a report about youngsters behaving anti-socially in the town centre on a Sunday afternoon. There is absolutely no excuse for that sort of behaviour, but some people have blamed the lack of facilities for youngsters in the area.

I trust the district council will bear this in mind when they eventually decide what to do about Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre. I say ‘eventually’ because this question has been hanging over us since November 2011 when the council announced it was going to knock it down.

Let’s hope they can come to a decision soon and that they will decide to remodel and enhance the existing building so that more youngsters will be encouraged to engage in positive and healthy activities there, rather than anti-social behaviour in the town centre. With all the development and house building going on in the area, we certainly need to retain and increase sporting and social facilities, for existing and incoming residents, both young and old alike.

A two-page spread about the new roads to support the housing developments at Broadbridge Heath and West of Horsham also caught my eye. It was interesting to read that a spokesperson for Berkeley Homes (1,044 dwellings at ‘Highwood’) said that buyers of the new properties come from a range of people, including those looking to move further away from London and investors ‘attracted by the healthy yields seen to date’. I wonder if our council leader, Ray Dawe, will be interested in adding to his portfolio of eight properties in the area (see Councillors’ Registers of Interests on the HDC website).

Alongside the article on the new road system for Broadbridge Heath was one about the problem of the dangerous A24 between Great Daux and Capel. The headline said a dual carriageway has still not been built 20 years after being proposed. Actually, when I moved here 40 years ago I was told that a scheme to upgrade that stretch of the A24 was in the pipeline.

The wheels of bureaucracy sure do grind exceeding slow! If, heaven forbid, the North Horsham development goes ahead (the council will have voted whether to proceed with this on Wednesday 18th March) let’s hope whoever is in power at Horsham District Council after the elections in May will ensure the American developer, Liberty Property Trust, pays to help bring about this long-awaited road improvement.

After all, a development of 2,500 properties, a business park, crematorium etc, etc will put an intolerable strain on this already overstretched main route to London.

As a parting shot, councillor Claire Vickers’ disingenuous letter ‘Huge risk if we have no Plan’ did nothing to lighten my mood. To say that the HDPF is ‘not universally popular’ must be the understatement of the year. Just to be clear, I think local residents are all too aware that central government diktats mean we must have a plan for future development in place.

Nobody disputes that. It is the Hobson’s choice plan which has been forced upon us that is the problem. Had a more equitable plan to spread development over the whole of the district been adopted, we – and Horsham District Council - wouldn’t be in the bad place we are in now.

SHEILA WHITE

Dorking Road, Warnham