I have just read Christian Mitchell’s comments (first published on the County Times website 21.04.2013) regarding the new hospital. He claims that the people of Horsham have campaigned for 15 years for a new hospital.
Well, this one didn’t! I wrote many letters pointing out that, for a new one to be built, both Horsham and Crawley hospitals would have to close, with Haywards Heath being downgraded.
Equally, it was clearly evident that the local population would have to increase exponentially for the catchment area to be large enough to underpin such a venture.
Moreover, under the last Labour Government over £26m was invested on both sites – whilst local GP services improved substantially.
As for having enormous gratitude for the work done by Francis Maude… what a load of sycophantic Tory nonsense that is!
He, with his Crawley side-kick Henry Smith, knew all these facts – but they both continually rubbished Crawley and Redhill hospitals, together with the National Health Service.
They raised, outrageously, local expectations far beyond what was obtainable – not helped by the slavish backing of the West Sussex County Times.
It was the classic ‘Grand Old Duke of York’ scenario - ‘Lead them up to the top of the hill and march them down again’ etc.
Thankfully, the local GPs’ wiser medical judgements have prevailed over what was, clearly, a political stunt.
Tellingly, however, the increase in population required for such a venture (if it ever was to succeed) was the elephant in the room for the local Tory councillors.
Hence Mitchell’s emotive statement of ‘not concreting over the countryside’. Horsham will continue to have fundamental housing problems, particularly for our young people and first-time buyers.
I predicted that this would be the case in the 1970s, for many years. However, I never thought it would be in decades.
One is reminded of the statement that you can fool some of the people some of the time, lots of people lots of the time – but not everyone all the time – not even if you are a dyed-in-the-wool Tory MP or councillor.
Amberley Road, Horsham