Councillor ‘won’t be muzzled’ on scrutiny of housing policy

A Lib Dem councillor said he would not be ‘muzzled’ as he called for scrutiny of how the council was putting together its strategic housing plan.

Thursday, 16th January 2014, 3:44 pm
HOR060411 Local elections count at Christ's Hospital. David Skipp. photo by derek martin

During a Scrutiny and Overview Committee meeting David Skipp (LDem, Roffey North) proposed they set up a working group to look at whether Horsham District Council’s current housing strategy was ‘plan led’ or ‘developer led’.

An eight-week consultation on draft proposals, which included Liberty Property Trust’s scheme for 2,500 homes and a new business park north of Horsham, closed in October 2013, and HDC’s final document is expected to be debated in April.

Dr Skipp said: “I’m now concerned this is not a plan-led development, this is a developer-led development.”

But Brian O’Connell (Con, Henfield) and other members felt the timing was wrong as the strategy had not yet been completed.

He explained: “There will be further consultation and the public will have their chance to have their say and it might not be North Horsham yet. That’s not decided in any way, shape, or form.”

Dr Skipp replied that he thought it was something they should be scrutinising and said he did not ‘feel like being muzzled’.

Leonard Crosbie (LDem, Trafalgar) added: “There is one option on the table and that process for consultation has created some unease amongst members of the public. There’s no argument about that.”

It was agreed to discuss the proposal with HDC’s monitoring officer and report back.