I attended the Horsham District Council meeting last Wednesday at which the motion to ‘throw out’ North Horsham as a strategic site in the HDPF was debated.
As is usual, the public can apply to speak to the motion, in a two minute slot. It was announced at the meeting that due to this being over-subscribed the public speaking slots had been allocated to nine parish councils.
The parish councils were Southwater, Henfield, Shermanbury, Storrington and Sullington, Rusper, West Grinstead, Warnham, Itchingfield and North Horsham.
In last week’s WSCT it was reported that 17 requests from ‘members of the public’ had been received culminating in the decision ‘to allow nine parish councils to speak’.
The reported HDC statement goes on to say ‘so by inviting them to speak we are facilitating the broadest possible representation’.
This raises some important questions. Were the nine parish councils subsequently ‘invited’ to speak, or were they part of the original 17 ‘member of the public’ requests, of which eight were not from parish councils?
If subsequent invitations were issued, were they issued to all 32 parish councils? If only some parishes were invited, how were they selected?
And, most importantly, were any invitations issued to the three Horsham Town Neighbourhood Councils, i.e. Denne, Forest and Trafalgar?
The omission of statements from these democratic bodies representing the core of Horsham Town is of significant concern, considering the topic under debate.
Perhaps the WSCT could kindly undertake its usual much-valued public service to ascertain exactly what has gone on here? It may be nothing untoward, or it could be yet another blip in the flakey democratic process surrounding the HDPF.
Cox Green, Rudgwick
A spokesperson for Horsham District Council said: “By the deadline of noon on the Monday 22 June the council had received requests to speak from nine individuals and eight parish councils – these are the 17 requests to speak referred to in the West Sussex County Times.
‘‘ The Horsham District Council chairman reviewed all the requests received and decided to allow the representatives of parish councils that had asked to speak (at that point eight in total) to address the council.
‘‘She made this decision on the basis that these are publicly elected bodies who represent the interests of their communities as a whole. Subsequently we received a late request to speak at the meeting from North Horsham Parish Council.
‘‘The chairman agreed to allow this request as, in addition to the basis on which she had decided to allow the other parish councils to speak, North Horsham PC represents an area that would be specifically affected by either the success or failure of the motion.’’
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