LETTER: Many issues that concern residents

As a regular reader of the County Times I was interested in the letter from Laurie Price and your response (May 9).

I can confirm that any time I have written to you my letter gets in to the paper and articles when my wife sadly died and my youngest daughter ran in the London Marathon.

Even when I had problems in recent months with BT. From this you can judge I am not as irritated as Laurie is with apolitical matters.

However, I feel that Laurie is not far off the point that the paper does appear to pander to certain Conservative commentators. I would question whether members from other political parties are asked for comments to give a more balanced approach?

Is supporting a district council that has continually had to use reserves to balance the budget, even after assuring us they wouldn’t and wasted so much of those reserves that

were held on paying off senior staff due to reorganisation, a sensible thing?

Why did the council not realise what was going on in Barns Green, with deals being made between a developer, WSCC and the local parish that would result in no social housing?

Back to WSCC and challenging present views... Are our schools in the right place? Millais School is looking to be rebuilt but why in Depot Road? What about Heron Way School?

Does the same apply there? If they are not, where could they go?

These are questions being asked by some local residents.

Should you also be asking for opinions from all sides, including UKIP?

There are many issues that concern local residents, most it would appear are centred on planning. Not just the usual applications for even more houses from developers but also the county council. In recent years they have been attempting to sell off land suitable for housing but seem to be more interested in selling to private companies who are less interested in social or genuinely affordable housing.

I attended a debate about housing in Woking recently. We were told that when Margaret Thatcher came to power 25 per cent of housing was social/affordable. The figure is now 11 per cent, mostly due to right to buy.

Good that this was to enable people to buy their own house at a discounted price, it also enabled mixed communities. But councils were not allowed to replace them. Contrast this with Woking Borough Council in Surrey. Woking councillors have realised the problem needs to be resolved. Their chief executive is a real ‘can do’ leader.

They are planning two estates which exceed the 40 per cent social/affordable housing target. They run their own building and energy company, and are at the forefront of the Green Agenda as well. In the recent county elections the Surrey Conservatives ran a campaign on the basis of an increase of council tax of two per cent.

The reasons they gave for the increase was investment for the future, including social care and schools. The election resulted in only three UKIP seats rather than the ten in West Sussex. A zero increase in council tax rather than an inflation based one only puts more pressure on services that deserve our attention and support.

Wasteful expenditure is unacceptable but so are unnecessary cutbacks or lack of forethought.

I do not apologise for this wide ranging letter but I feel the issues are worth reflecting on.

GODFREY NEWMAN

(LDem) Horsham district councillor for Forest ward, The Boulevard, Horsham