Letter: Horsham district constitution changes explained

Horsham District Council SUS-151006-201348001 SUS-151006-201348001

I refer to recent letters written by Mr Kornycky and Mrs White to this newspaper which mention amendments that have been made to Horsham District Council’s constitution.

It would appear that these letters demonstrate a misunderstanding of the rationale and the purpose of the minor changes to the constitution.

The purpose of these changes was to ensure that the Planning Committees were freed up to spend more time on the major issues that affect our district.

This means that the controversial developments will still be brought before a planning committee if any member of the Council, any Parish or Neighbourhood Council or eight members of the public (if they have contrary views to the recommendations by Officers) ask.

Therefore any significant planning applications dealing with these issues have not been affected and would still be fully debated if they meet the existing tests.

The recent changes to the constitution are easily viewed on the District Council’s website and cover minor non material amendments, certificates of lawful use and time limited applications where a quick decision is required (eg Prior Notifications).

I trust this reassures the public that democracy is very much alive and relevant and I am happy to meet with Mr Kornycky and Mrs White if they still feel unable to understand the above, and offer them further explanation.

Basically the minor changes to the constitution have been carefully thought out to ensure that efficiency and emphasis is placed firmly on continuing with our process of an open and transparent District Council.

One last and relevant point is that Horsham District Council’s new Chief Executive Officer (who will join us in April) would like the public to know that the information regarding Epping Forest contained in the published letters mentioned above is inaccurate, and that their processes are, along with many other councils, very similar to those of Horsham District Council.

He confirms that Epping Forest District Council residents can submit questions to Council under the public questions item, ONLY if they are relevant to an item on the agenda, just like here in Horsham.

I understand that Mr Kornycky has in fact submitted such questions on a number of occasions. This includes any Freedom of Information requests where there is a statutory requirement to reply.

Residents also of course have access to correspond directly with their own ward councillor on any matter.

Claire Vickers

(Con, Southwater) Horsham District Council Cabinet Member for Planning and Development, Chart Way, Horsham

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