By David Skipp, leader of the Lib Dem group at HDC
For the last sixty years Sussex has been my home, and I have come to know and love this county, from the wide open spaces in the south to the villages and towns in the north.
There are wonderful green spaces with formal parks, woodlands, lakes and rivers and small oases of calm surrounded by noisy busy streets.
The government push for more houses puts these ‘green lungs’ under pressure and there is a tension between new developments and our ecological heritage.
As Liberal Democrats we recognise the need for green space, providing areas for relaxation and exercise, but there is a need for more affordable dwellings for key workers, young people needing starter homes or families keen to establish themselves in a community.
The two strands can coexist, and whilst enhancing these spaces, we can and should use some of our plentiful reserves to finance the programme for social, temporary and affordable housing. We need to invest in the people of our District, they need to know that their council cares.
Our overall aim is to reduce homelessness and give people self respect and confidence.
Our green spaces give an opportunity to increase our cycle ways and paths , encouraging exercise with its benefits to health. In addition we strongly support development of young people facilities for recreation in a safe environment.
A recent survey revealed that we rate health and healthcare as extremely important and at local level we will work with the NHS organisations to influence decisions about health in our District. We believe that the local community hospital could host more outpatient clinics, increase rehabilitation provision and even have surgical procedures such as cataract removal.
One important area often overlooked is that of retaining existing public transport. Buses can preserve the independence of our senior citizens, maintaining links to community centres and providing a meeting place! We are committed to protecting these services, whilst encouraging more community bus schemes
I recognise that there is so much to improve and fix, including improving the finances for schools, recruiting more wardens and police to ensure safer public places, supporting community groups trying to improve road safety around schools, pressing for food waste recycling and recognising the climate emergency movement .
I hope that many of these issues will be resolved in the life of the next council but as Liberal Democrats we offer a consistent, common sense and transparent approach when representing our communities.
This piece is part of a series where all the major parties were invited to share their priorities for the district in the lead up to the Horsham District Council elections.
Polling day is Thursday May 2.