Time for town to have a council

Further to all of the correspondence published about the Town Hall may I suggest that it is occupied and managed by Horsham Town Council.

And whilst I understand that Horsham doesn’t actually have its own council, unlike nearly every other town in the kingdom, may I also suggest that it forms one.

Apparently, during a 1970s Local Government restructuring programme, ‘Horsham’ exercised its right to an Exemption from forming a Town Council after the dissolution of Horsham Rural Council because of its Church status as a Bishopric. Notably, at the same time Chichester also exercised this right as a Diocese but has since formed a City Council.

In place of a Town Council, the residents of Horsham have since been represented by three Neighbourhood Councils, with geographical areas coterminous with the town’s three District Council electoral wards (c.1972).

Unfortunately for the residents of Horsham, these Neighbourhood Councils can only ‘suggest’ and be ‘consulted’, and with far less legal powers than any of the adjacent Parish Councils.

Furthermore, due to Horsham’s expansion, in 2008 the Local Government Commission increased the town’s electoral wards to four, creating the Park Ward. However, the 1970s Neighbourhood Council arrangement still prevails, with Park Ward being ‘represented’ in piecemeal chunks by whichever Neighbourhood Council its boundaries fall in.

This arrangement has recently been ratified by a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ between the Neighbourhood Councils and HDC. No wonder Dr Holmes (Park Ward) feels a bit ‘passionate’ and ‘adrift’ within HDC. Without offering any criticism of the Neighbourhood Councils themselves would it not also be more cost effective if the ‘unparished’ areas of the town were amalgamated into one administrative body that works together for the benefit of all the residents of Horsham.

FIONA LOCKHART

Roman Way, Billingshurst