Harry Shutt’s excellent letter (‘Misinformation and secrecy’, 12.03.15, p36) quotes the report by the Inspector following the public inquiry into HDC’s flawed Housing and Economic development plan.
In para 28 of the report, the Inspector said ‘the Plan is not sound as it stands and it would be contrary to the aims of the National Planning Framework to let it progress without significant changes’.
Significant changes, yet if we read the papers for council (March 18) and numerous other writings of Cllr Vickers, no doubt supported by her leader Cllr Ray Dawe and the ‘dumped’ deputy leader Helena Croft (who’s in office but not in power) the claim constantly is that the plan is ‘sound’ – apart that is from a few tweaks to the number of houses to be built. But as Harry Shutt points out it isn’t just housing numbers that need to be re-addressed.
So why the great hurry to get this through council before the election? It seems a manic rush to the public especially since if we use our votes on May 7 we could finish with a completely different council with councillors seeking your votes now saying they will overturn this plan and start again. The whole atmosphere in council (captured in the letter by Cllr Vickers, ‘Huge risk if we have no plan’) is to scare weak councillors into rushing this through. This is made easy for the politically motivated cabinet members because the staffing of HDC’s planning department is still way under complement and experienced staff have left.
The whole thing is a quite monstrous political game – with disastrous consequences for the town and future generations.
This plan is not sound – the Inspector told us. The current cabinet members have interpreted the Inspector’s report in such a way as to push through their own agenda. They have a great deal to answer for. Let us have a clean sweep on 7 May.
Owlscastle Close, Horsham