Council’s live Facebook chat branded a ‘farce’

JPCT 220413 Helena Croft. Photo by Derek Martin

JPCT 220413 Helena Croft. Photo by Derek Martin

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A council Facebook live chat that experienced ‘technical difficulties’ last night (Thursday July 11) was branded a ‘farce’ by readers.

Helena Croft (Con, Roffey North), deputy leader of Horsham District Council and cabinet member for communication, Horsham town and special projects, was answering questions on the on-going West Street Enhancement Project.
However readers took to Facebook to complain when the chat did not start on time, and commented throughout on the speed of responses.

During the chat Mrs Croft apologised for ‘technical difficulties’.

Sue Kornycky, posting on the Horsham Facebook page, said: “Even though we submitted a written question on Tuesday morning to be answered in the Facebook chat, the response did not answer the question sufficiently or in any detail.

“It was very wishy-washy indeed and not what one would expect from the deputy leader of the council who had almost three days to consider the response.

“It makes me wonder if anyone has got a real grip on this project that is going to use a massive amount of public funding. “Surely the people picking up the tab have a right to ask searching questions and to be given a detailed, informed response? Gloss, spin and platitudes do not cut the mustard and I believe the electorate deserve better.”

Before the live chat Mrs Croft said: “This is a great opportunity for residents to get their questions answered on this exciting and innovative project.

“We’ve got some really exciting news on some new expenditure that has been agreed from both Horsham District Council and West Sussex County Council and this will give you, the public, the chance to ask me about the latest on these plans.”

Paul Mooney, posting on the County Times’ Facebook page, called the chat an ‘absolute farce’ and asked if it would be rescheduled.

HDC secured the funding for improving West Street in the town centre through WSCC’s ‘Kick-Start’ programme in 2012.

Horsham District Council has been approached for comment.

Do you think council live chats are a good idea? Comment below or email ct.news@jpress.co.uk