Letter: Horsham tax cash used to fight residents

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Wow! Aren’t we the lucky ones! In his self-congratulatory article last week our council leader Ray Dawe told us how lucky we all are to be paying one of the lowest council tax rates in the whole of the country.

Apparently on average we each pay £2.60 a week, or £135.54 per annum. I wonder if other readers did a ‘double-take’ on reading those figures?

No doubt they will have thought ‘Hang on… my council tax is much more than that!’

Of course, Mr Dawe was being rather disingenuous in quoting those figures. It’s true they may be the HDC bit of the council tax, but he conveniently left out the other charges that are added on (county, parish, police etc) to make the final figure more than ten times that.

Is this another example of smoke and mirrors? It’s akin to the sort of calculation that says Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) will pay for all manner of grandiose infrastructure works in the district, courtesy of the housing developers.

Then we discover that at the West of Horsham (Broadbridge Heath) development alone there’s a ‘black hole’ of around £14 million for the necessary infrastructure work.

It has been hinted that HDC could fill that breach by using CIL monies from ‘other developments in the area’.

Would that be the proposed North Horsham development I wonder? And what of the shortfall of CIL that will inevitably result if the North Horsham development gets the green light from the Government Inspector?

The problem will be compounded. I fear this council is in a CIL hole it has dug for itself. Isn’t it about time it stopped digging?

Perhaps they could make a start on balancing the books by cutting back on the amount of council tax payers’ money they spend on hiring outside consultants and legal eagles to underpin their shaky arguments in favour of projects like the North Horsham development.

Despite having their own legal department, they actually hired a leading QC to support their case at the Government Inspector’s hearing last week.

In effect they are spending local residents’ money on paying somebody to argue against local residents’ wishes.

Incredible!

SHEILA WHITE

Dorking Road, Warnham