LETTER: Different ‘sides’ air their views

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The half page propaganda article by Andrew Blevins (MD of Liberty) ‘Working with local people to deliver sustainable growth’ (12.2.15, p 24) would be hilarious if it wasn’t so serious for those of us living in North Horsham.

He makes much of the ‘independent planning inspector’s formal review where all sides of the debate were given the chance to air their views’. Obviously there was Mr Bevin’s ‘side’, backed by the finance and resources of a massive American Corporate.

Then there was Horsham District Council’s ‘side’ which of course had the advantage of a top UK barrister acting for them, paid for to the tune of over £22k by us - the tax payer!

And finally there was the ‘side’ of the local community who didn’t have the financial advantages of the other ‘sides’ – and whose views were stifled because they were unable to glean all the facts due to secret meetings and many half-answered or completely unanswered Freedom of Information (FOI) requests!

I personally submitted two Freedom of Information requests to try to ascertain certain facts and after seven months of constant chasing and ‘brick wall’ responses from HDC, I finally gave up – which is I guess, the result they’re banking on.

Many local residents do not accept the objectivity of the Inspector’s role and the quality of his interim statement and a formal complaint has been made to new Chief Inspector of Planning.

Anyway – the vote on the choice of two main strategic sites won’t now be made until after the local government elections in May 2015 and so a newly elected council will choose amongst other things which strategic should take the houses and secondary school in – Southwater or North Horsham.

Mr Blevins says that he is looking forward ‘to meeting local people from all aspects of the community and working together to deliver this sustainable growth. Working with local people can only happen from a position of mutual trust’.

Mr Blevins’ American company with little British experience at this sort of large strategic development tried to woo local residents before with a glossy expensive leaflet which was so economical with the truth that the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) rapped Liberty Property Trust over the knuckles – a very rare thing to happen – leaving Liberty having to issue a grovelling apology to the public and to the ASA before Christmas.

NICK WEBBER

Rusper Road, Horsham