Nik Butler raises some important questions in his County Times article. He might also have mentioned that, following Leveson’s proposals for press regulation, whistle-blowers can no longer report concerns to the Press, but in future must deal with a state (‘Stalin’) hotline.
Also, notwithstanding Government spin on ‘Localism’, HDC has been intimidated into adopting an unattainable 20 year target of 650 houses pa, for fear that its Local Plan might otherwise be rejected. That is not Localism that is subjugation.
It exposes North Horsham, as a soft target for new development, whilst a Local Plan with unrealistic targets, will give us little more protection against speculative development, than we already have. Indeed, the spectre of the Planning Inspector has now been reinforced by fear of the ruling party whip, where the spirited response from some councillors has been like watching sparks fly above the dying embers of democracy.
So let us not accept targets without qualification, or be intimidated by party whips. Let us confront the outstanding issues, in open and transparent debate without fear, insisting that the legitimate concerns of residents are fully and transparently addressed.
The Coalition has reneged on its 2011 (Localism) promise, to abolish ‘Labour’s Regional Strategies, putting elected local councillors back in charge, accountable to local people via the ballot box’. Councillors did not cause that deception, but they are in the front line now and will be judged by what they do.
We must confront the bullying tactics of the Coalition and the party whip at every opportunity, at every level, whilst not rolling over in the face of intimidation.
(UKIP) Horsham district councillor for Chantry ward and prospective parliamentary candidate for Horsham, North Street, Horsham