LETTER: Drive to dump on North Horsham

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If it wasn’t so blatant and serious it would be laughable.

We know from evidence reported in the past through your pages that the leadership style of the present Tory group in Horsham District Council is ‘autocratic’.

For example, the use of the ‘three-line whip’ at the council meeting gagging any councillor such as Peter Burgess (Holbrook West) who wanted to express his concern at the way Cllr O’Connell had been put forward as the next chairman of the council.

The secrecy of Cllr Vickers’ Planning and Policy Advisory Group meetings (PPAG); secret meetings about a proposed new secondary school in North Horsham by Cllr Ray Dawe and a cabal of bureaucrats.

After the 26 February vote in the Council Chamber with a ‘three-line whip’ when Cllr Kate Rowbottom (Billingshurst and Shipley) and Cllr John Chidlow (Southwater) proposed and seconded Brian O’Connell (the Deputy Cabinet Member for Planning) it seems clear that these two members of the southern Tory group were doing leader Cllr Ray Dawe and Cllr Helena Croft’s bidding - but in return for what?

Well the observer might be forgiven for concluding that Cllr Rowbottom and Cllr Chidlow are all part of the southern group – intent on getting this housing and industrial development dumped in North Horsham in our ‘green belt’.

Cllr Brian O’Connell said during a Scrutiny and Overview Committee meeting: ‘There will be further consultation [about the draft Preferred Strategy] and the public will have their chance to have their say and it might not be North Horsham yet. That’s not decided in any way, shape, or form.’ (West Sussex Today, 16/01/14, www.westsussextoday.co.uk/news/county-news/latest-news/councillor-won-t-be-muzzled-on-scrutiny-of-housing-policy-1-5812664

Cllr Brian O’Connell (Henfield) is Cllr Claire Vickers’ (Southwater) deputy – why would he say this as recently as January 2014 when he knows his boss is hell bent on pushing through the development?

Do your readers feel confident in his qualifications to become chairman?

TONY HOGBEN

Old Holbrook, Horsham