LETTER: Moved to refute unfair criticisms

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Recently I noticed with considerable disappointment your continuing saga of harsh and, in my view, unfair criticism of councillor Helena Croft. As a fellow elected member of Horsham District Council I feel moved to refute these baseless criticisms.

Councillor Croft has not lost the respect and support of the council officers nor of the majority of her member colleagues. What has happened is that she has, by reluctantly supporting the Horsham District Planning Framework, attracted the dislike of a small but vociferous minority.

Councillor Croft is a very valuable member of our team at Horsham District Council. In my experience of working with her, she has done a great job as Cabinet Member for Communication, Horsham Town and Special Projects and as Deputy Leader.

She is an experienced, hard-working and effective councillor and I was surprised and disappointed when she was not selected as a candidate in this year’s election for the ward she has represented over the past four years, in particular in view of the 2011 election result.

At the 2011 election councillor Croft polled 999 votes from the Roffey North ward residents, with a majority of 251 votes.

On the subject of elections, I take this opportunity to remind your editor and readers that the West Sussex County Times is not an elected body. As such I would like to know by what authority does it issue charters?

Certainly I shall not sign your ‘Free Speech’ charter. I fully support and uphold the Nolan Principles on Standards in Public Life. I believe that is enough.

When accepting office as a district councillor in 2011, I gave my word to represent the residents of Horsham District to the best of my ability.

Over the past four years I have worked hard at this task and if re-elected in May I shall continue to do so. As would councillor Croft.

JOHN CHIDLOW

(Con) Horsham district councillor for Southwater ward, North Street, Horsham