LETTER: Frightened of public debate

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In last week’s paper you reported that there had been a misconception. Apparently the public meeting to discuss the council’s preferred development strategy (in other words the infamous North Horsham Development Plan) will not actually be a PUBLIC MEETING, but rather a MEETING IN PUBLIC – evidently a whole different kettle of fish.

The public are keen to question leading members of the council about the ‘Preferred Strategy’ and had eagerly anticipated such a meeting.

However, we now learn that only 20 minutes have been set aside at the beginning of the meeting for ten questions from members of the public (and the ensuing answers). Added to that, questions have to be submitted to the council in advance so that its replies can be carefully prepared beforehand.

Also, as I understand it, there will be no opportunity for supplementary questions if the questioner wants clarification or is unsatisfied with the answer given.

This is not in line with the usual procedure when council meetings are open to the public.

This short question and answer session will be followed by presentations by ‘expert speakers’ (will that be a delegation from Liberty Trust?) and a debate between councillors.

Is this really what the council means by ‘consulting with the public’?

It’s a farce. Compare and contrast this with the public meeting held by North Horsham Parish Council last September where any member of the public could stand up and make a statement or ask whatever they wanted to.

It seems to me that the council members who are in favour of Liberty’s plans for the countryside of North Horsham are frightened of a public debate.

They know they don’t have answers for people’s justified questions and concerns.

SHEILA WHITE

Dorking Road, Warnham