With polling day looming, our (local) political spin-doctors are in full flow.
As an example, the Conservative election flier states ‘we have reduced the housing waiting list by almost 10% in the last year alone’.
That’s true, but it conveniently fails to mention that in the previous year it increased by over 26% and so is still almost 14% higher than it was two years ago. Misleading or what?
I was also interested to read about the alleged confusion in the Conservative flier about potential food waste collections.
I have no particular view on this, but I do wonder how many readers will be aware that if/when these collections start, it is most likely that their residual waste bin will then only be emptied every three weeks rather than the current two.
Despite this being minuted in a behind-closed-doors ‘advisory’ meeting of the council, it’s not mentioned at all in the flier. I wonder why?
I am content for the Conservative-led council to take some (but certainly not all!) credit for the excellent new leisure centre (The Bridge) at Broadbridge Heath (BBH).
It really is a wonderful facility for use by residents of the whole district, conveniently sitting between two other district facilities, the Indoor Bowls Centre and the Athletics Stadium (including outdoor track).
Strangely, what isn’t mentioned in the flier is the council’s plan (during the life of the next council) to sell-off the Athletics Stadium site for the development of 200 apartments and thereby relocate the track.
The fact that the track is already on the perfect site for widespread community/club/school access and that BBH already has housing ‘coming out of its ears’ apparently carry no weight whatsoever; especially if HDC can ‘pocket’ a £4m-£5m profit.
The expression ‘knowing the cost of everything but the value of nothing’ immediately springs to mind.
The newly elected council will have some difficult decisions over the next four years, not least how to accommodate even more housing that the government plans to dump in our district. Incidentally, when will we finally hear our Conservative MP’s view on this ‘injustice’?
So, let’s hope for a more balanced council to stop key decisions, like the controversial North of Horsham strategic development, being pre-determined in secret political meetings.
The correct democratic procedure must surely be by open debate in the council chamber and with a good mix of views (involving the public) and disparate party allegiances.
So, please vote wisely on 2nd May for a more accountable and transparent local democracy.
We desperately need it!