The Oxford English Dictionary selected ‘omnishambles’ as the new word of 2012 - well with regards to Horsham District Council (HDC) it may as well have chosen it again this year rather than ‘selfie’ as the new word of 2013.
The council ‘fiddles whilst Rome burns’ as it continues to engage in frivolous matter such as deputy leader councillor Helena Croft’s cocktails of ‘Bucks Fizz with dignitaries’ (14.11.13, p32).
The omnishambles at HDC is a long and growing list. To name just a few: former HDC officer, Tom Leighton, admitting in a Scottish Court embezzling £27,000 from Falkirk Council where he worked at from 2004 until 2009 before coming to work at HDC from 2009 to 2011 when he was sacked (WSCT 21.11.13, p3); HDC’s planning department narrowly escaping being put into special measures having been judged to be the worst performing in England (20.06.13, p1); the leader of HDC proclaiming that the ‘council provides catalyst for flood of investment’ (31.10.13, p41) exactly seven days before nearly 400 jobs at Novartis are made redundant (07.11.13, p1); no freeze on council tax (14.11.13, p4); HDC not providing a Christmas tree for the Carfax and West Street this year (21.11.13, p4); and planning meetings about North Horsham and development across the district being held in secret in direct breach of HDC’s policy prohibiting the same (14.11.13, p16); the publication of a Preferred Strategy document for consultation when clearly it is a flawed document with major sections of evidence missing.
It is the council, which is demonstrably not so adept at making sound decisions, as we have seen, that has decided that what Horsham now needs is a 500,000 sq ft industrial park with another large supermarket, possibly up 4,500 homes, a new railway station that may result in the downgrading of Littlehaven station with no fast train services, and a new secondary school where it is not needed.
And all in the Strategic Gap or ‘green belt’ leaving it 15 per cent reduced.
Still, the Oxford English Dictionary still contains the best adjective for the council’s decision-making ability over its Preferred Housing Strategy for North Horsham – and the old ones are always the best – incompetent!
Tennyson Close, Horsham