Is the ‘listening’ council hearing?

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Have your say

Councillor Youtan’s letter (County Times February 21) asks for the electorate to trust Horsham district councillors to make a decision in relation to housing numbers.

She says that a majority of councillors are now of the view that such numbers should be based

upon the joint principles of being the minimum that will satisfy Central Government while providing the maximum of protection for the communities that have felt so threatened by the Planning Department and avaricious developers in the last three years.

The appalling presentation by the Strategic Planning Department last autumn, which provoked such widespread unrest among councillors that it had to be abandoned, may just prove to be the nadir of the district council’s attempts to create a new housing strategy for the area.

Prior to this event, the concept of ‘consultation’ was hardly more than a box to be ticked once communities had been informed of what was to happen to them. Little surprise there was unrest!

I think councillor Youtan is right and her letter is welcome. Councillors who are now taking an independent and thoughtful approach to try to ensure the best possible outcome from a very difficult situation, do indeed deserve support.

There are still concerns; particularly perhaps with the arguably too powerful Cabinet.

The leader of the council, councillor Dawe, in his regular column in the same edition of the County Times, identifies the need for houses to be provided that above all are truly affordable to local people and their families.

He seems however to remain wedded to the very challengeable view that the only way affordable homes can be created

is on the back of otherwise unwanted higher end development; development that has perforce to be of such size as to permanently ruin the environment.

He then conveniently dismisses anyone who does not share his view as being the worst sort of Nimby. This dictum reeks of old council thinking and must be challenged.

He, it seems, may be ‘listening’ - but is he hearing?

Dr IAN THWAITES

Marlhurst, Southwater