Letter: ‘Restoring local democracy’ in Horsham?

Letter. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150730-111636001
Letter. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150730-111636001

Again, excellent online coverage by the WSCT in promptly informing us that Glen Chipp is expected to be the new chief executive of Horsham District Council.

He currently holds that same position at Epping Forest District Council and apparently already lives close to Horsham.

If appointed, I wish him well.

But, more than anything, I fervently wish that he will help restore some local democracy to Horsham District.

He can begin by challenging why the rights of Horsham residents have been so diminished in recent times.

For example, residents of Epping Forest District can freely ask questions of their council or cabinet.

Also they can ‘call-in’ any planning application with just four objections; sometimes only two are needed.

Contrastingly, in Horsham District, (so-called) public question time is now strictly vetted with subject matter having to conform to the council meeting business of the night.

Also, a planning application needs eight public objections to call it in for committee determination.

Even worse, in Horsham District, there are numerous exceptions whereby this long-established call-in right is now completely blocked, even with hundreds of public objections.

We can only hope that he will have the strength to challenge why these recent undemocratic measures were instigated under the veiled cloak of a new streamlined constitution.

Finally, you may ponder why local democracy in Epping Forest appears not to have been subject to the same draconian restrictions placed on Horsham residents?

Could it be that there they have a more healthy mix of party political views - 35 Conservative (60 per cent), 13 Loughton Residents’ Association, four Independent, three LibDem, two Green and one UKIP)?

Contrast with Horsham’s ‘mix’ - 38 Conservative (86 per cent), four LibDem and two Independent.

Which of these do you think is most likely to promote sound and balanced decisions?

Well, we know which one doesn’t, don’t we!

Footnote: If you Google ‘Loughton Residents’ Association’ you will discover: ‘LRA councillors act as Independents within their councils, taking account of the aims and policies of LRA, but making decisions according to their individual consciences and their knowledge of the wishes of the residents of their wards’.

How refreshing; maybe we need a Horsham Residents’ Association?

Paul Kornycky

Cox Green, Rudgwick