LETTER: What happened to democracy in Horsham?

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Following the decision of the Horsham District Council planning committee to finally allow all the remaining applications put forward by Tesco Plc to develop the Silver Wok site in Brighton Road, Horsham, I find myself asking some key questions.

Whatever happened to local democracy? Why did councillors not listen and act upon the considerable body of objections registered by local residents?

Were the two sizeable petitions raised in opposition to the development just meaningless scribble?

Where was the local support for this development? Tesco often cited the latter but never seemed to be able to produce it!

This whole process and outcome is a classic case of perceived participation; as a resident and voter you might appear to be able to take a part in the decision making process, through the mechanisms and opportunities offered for voicing your concerns.

However, in reality your views will be ignored and your impact minimal at best. Decisions are pre-determined by corporate bodies and higher political authorities.

Tesco’s introductory letter to their ‘neighbours’ clearly warned that there would be no point in objecting to their Brighton Road development, and so it came to pass.

Despite varied and well-argued objections from a large swath of local residents the HDC planning committee duly rubber-stamped Tesco’s applications.

Lets’ hope that the council doesn’t rue the day it buckled to commercial pressure and corporate greed – flying in the face of local residents’ (voters) opinion.

Residents in a broad area around the site will now just have to put up and shut up with the added traffic congestion, 24/7 noise disturbance, pollution and the dangers of vehicles (including large delivery lorries) moving in and out of the site onto an already busy highway. The planners clearly learned nothing from the Redkiln Way fiasco.

I would urge those who objected to this development to now not use the store once it opens (quite literally we should vote with our feet).

Instead we should support independent and local shops (as well as Swan Walk and town centre businesses).

After all, this new shop was never really intended to benefit local residents.

Tesco’s real target market are the commuters driving by throughout the day and the probable new housing developments to the south and west along the Brighton Road!

GORDON HUMPHREY

Brighton Road, Horsham