Readers’ letters - February 3

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Have your say

THERE has been quite a lot of coverage recently on the Government’s planned changes for the NHS, in particular concerning the pace of those changes.

I wanted to take this opportunity to reassure residents that at West Sussex County Council, we are well placed to meet the challenges of the future, and both within local government and the health service we are already working hard on the change-over.

I strongly feel this will be a positive move for the people of West Sussex. We welcome this exciting opportunity and have begun work early with our district and borough council colleagues to ensure the whole of West Sussex local government is working together.

Health and wellbeing is a clear priority for the county council. I envisage the new role will enable us to bring a more local focus to allow us to use the money available to achieve better results for our residents.

This places us at the forefront of local authorities, leading the way on public health.

For a smooth transition, we are not only working with NHS West Sussex, but also the West Sussex GP consortia, and the voluntary and community sector.

Working in partnership is key to the success of the new public health role and we are so confident of this scheme that we are planning to introduce the new way of working this April, rather than 2012 as proposed by the Government.

We already have a strong foundation with our joint commissioning work with the NHS and by forging the way now, we are ensuring that we get the new public health role right for West Sussex and our residents.

An example of our joined up service provision is the work we are doing to reduce the likelihood of hospital admissions by providing more support for frail and elderly people to enable them to stay in their own homes.

I do hope this helps reassure residents that in West Sussex we welcome this additional responsibility and want to lead the way in achieving better health actions for our residents.

LOUISE GOLDSMITH

(Con, Chichester West)

County Hall, Chichester

Keep fighting

RESIDENTS of Southwater have received a leaflet from Horsham District Council which sets out what it sees as the options for development in Southwater.

This document is a shabby attempt to mislead the people of Southwater. Horsham district councillors should be ashamed that they have allowed such a thing to be published in their name.

It is full of cynical half-truths but notably short of any guarantees about what infrastructure gain might follow development.

The detail of the Interim Statement itself – available via HDC website or through its offices - similarly lacks any hard and fast commitments but contains lots of ‘potentials for’, or ‘opportunities to do’ things.

If Southwater accepts any development under this package it will have to accept much much more in the near future. For 500 read 2,750 houses.

HDC gives the impression that it acknowledges our concerns and is going to protect the village by adopting our concept of a ‘Green Girdle’ which it calls strangely ‘Countryside Enhancement’. But look at the detail. It is a small unspecified border to the far west of the site which clearly leaves the bulk of the land open to be developed.

It also says ‘the residual land will remain in agricultural use’ – but refuses to say for how long.

The proposed initial development may not directly impose on Great House Farm - but the second wave will swallow it up. It insults the intelligence of the people of Southwater .

There is only one response that we can and must give. Everyone of whatever age has a right to vote – photocopy the form or ask for more.

We must vote in large numbers for Option One - no development planned by HDC. Then every proposal will be scrutinised on its own merits.

This will incidentally be much more likely to provide 40 per cent affordable housing, arguably the only infrastructure gain that Southwater currently needs and notably NOT going to be provided by Berkeleys in any of its big developments.

Please help us to fight this. Keep in touch with our website www.keepsouthwatergreen.co.uk or be in touch with me personally if you can help at igthwaites@btinternet.com

Dr IAN THWAITES

For Keep Southwater Green

Marlhurst, Southwater

I REFER to Horsham District Council’s January 2011 leaflet called ‘What are your priorities for Billingshurst’.

I started to complete the questionnaire and very soon realised HDC was asking a set of skewed questions.

What about those of us that are fed up with new developments and do not wish to see the rural environment of Billingshurst spoilt any further?

I would have thought we had seen more than our fair share of new developments over the last decade or so.

The Government has set aside the ridiculous building plans proposed by the Labour Party and has established a principle of local people deciding on local issues. I would recommend that our council heeds this principle and has a rethink.

Let local people have their say about the proposals in full which includes whether or not they wish to see new developments apart from small organic growth.

It is also interesting to note that the proposal includes an element called ‘community benefit’. The people of Billingshurst have been penalised by the farce of the Jengers Mead car parking charges, the cost and limited space afforded to train users among other issues and these are now being used as a bribe to tempt local people to accept the council’s ridiculous plans.

NIGEL JEROME

Marringdean Road, Billingshurst

ANN RODWELL’s letter (County Times January 27) regarding Horsham District Council’s leaflet ‘What are your priorities for Billingshurst?’, clearly spells out the benefits which failed to materialise for previous housing developments, benefits which are being suggested again if residents opt for 500 houses to be built to the east of Billingshurst.

The answer to Ann’s question: ‘In it’s effort to secure an Option 3 vote (500 houses), is HDC, in its document, resorting to emotional blackmail?’ is a resounding YES!

Part of my teaching to students on marketing courses was questionnaire design. HDC’s leaflet is invalid as a questionnaire designed to gain residents’ opinions. It is loaded towards gaining approval for its Option 3 proposal.

As I understand it, HDC intends to count responses from a much wider area than Billingshurst. Adversane, Wisborough Green, Slinfold, and Southwater residents may wish to opt for 500 more houses being built in Billingshurst to protect their own villages from such overloaded developments.

HDC’s leaflet is a document of blatant emotional blackmail. How can we believe the results, when they are known?

UNA HARGRAVE

Cherry Tree Close, Billingshurst

Low-key celebrity

I FEEL I must respond in defence of the editor to Paul Rowland’s letter headed ‘Excitement at star’s visit’ (County Times January 27).

When Mr Andre’s team first talked to me regarding a meal at Wabi one of the few stipulations was that we kept the reservation as confidential as possible.

Although he arrived with a film crew, his intention was to have an enjoyable and quiet, low key meal and this is what we arranged for him.

At Wabi we have had many ‘celebrity’ diners and we like to ensure they have all have pleasant uninterrupted evenings.

If he had asked for media we would of course have assisted with this request.

SANDIE BRITTAIN

Wabi

East Street, Horsham