Letter: Serious implications for future of Horsham

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

Paul Kornycky’s excellent letter (December 28) drew attention, yet again, to the stealthy erosion of local people’s democratic rights.

I join him in hoping that Horsham District Council’s new chief executive, Glen Chipp, will bring with him the good practices of Epping Forest and try to restore some of these rights when he takes up office later this year.

A flagrant example of this erosion of rights by our current council occurred in September when councillors voted to change the council’s constitution.

They voted to remove the right of local residents to have certain planning applications discussed and decided upon in open forums of democratically elected councillors (the Planning Committees).

Not only were residents to be denied these rights, but Parish and Neighbourhood Councils too.

The meeting to vote on this change to the constitution was rather shambolic.

I was there and I’m not altogether sure that all the councillors understood exactly what they were voting for. (Indeed, at one point councillor Toni Bradnum sensibly sought to get clarification on exactly what councillors would be asked to vote on, but she was overruled by the Chairman on a technicality).

So the vote went ahead with the result, now set in concrete, that the public and even Parish and Neighbourhood Councils will be denied the right to have certain planning applications democratically decided.

Removing this right (the ‘safety net’ as it’s called) could lead to public suspicion that there are ulterior motives at work; trying to ensure decisions are made behind closed doors, rather than in an open, democratically accountable arena.

This has serious implications for the future; particularly when we think of major developments in the pipeline for Horsham.

Liberty’s North of Horsham development; the redevelopment of Piries Place and the Forum and later on Hurst Road come to mind.

Sheila White

Dorking Road, Warnham

See also Letter: ‘Restoring local democracy’ in Horsham?