North Horsham: councillor who no longer lives in district could shape final decision

Horsham District Councillor David Coldwell ENGSUS00120130121113228
Horsham District Councillor David Coldwell ENGSUS00120130121113228

A Tory district councillor could play a decisive role in imposing massive development in North Horsham - even though he no longer lives in the district.

David Coldwell says his home is in Worthing and he owns no land in the Horsham district but despite this he is legally entitled to remain as a councillor where he represents Bramber, Upper Beeding and Woodmancote.

He is also the secretary of the Tory group and records the minutes of their private meetings.

A critical vote on the housing strategy on Wednesday (April 30) in the council chamber at Park North is expected to be very close - although South Downs Conservatives believe they will win the day and their preferred strategy will be approved.

Council pundits expect Mr Coldwell to vote in favour of the plan - which has provoked huge controversy in Horsham town where 2,500 houses, a business park, large supermarket, crematoria, and massive infrastructure are earmarked for green fields to the north.

In an e-mail response to a County Times’ question, he confirmed that he intended to vote.

He said: “The fact that I do not own land in the District is irrelevant. What is relevant is that I am an elected councillor and so have a vote which I expect to use.”

When he was elected to the council he listed his home address as Small Dole but he updated the register of members’ interests when he moved.

Your verdict: Should someone who no longer lives in the District or pays council tax but remains a councillor be able to vote on an issue as critical as this to local residents even though he is legally entitled to? Tell us your views.