Deputy leader and councillor for Roffey South, Helena Croft, is reported as saying in the council meeting on the Proposed Strategy (April 30) ‘...I cannot stop the development and regretfully supporting the plan puts me in a better position to minimise the impacts and maximise the benefits’.
I fail to understand Mrs Croft’s hopelessness. When the vote was taken there were 40 councillors present and so a simple majority of 21 was all that was needed to defeat Claire Vickers’ and Ray Dawe’s plan.
If Helena Croft with other North Horsham councillors Jim Rae, Roy Cornell and Andrew Baldwin (who abstained!) had persuaded just four others to join the principled 13 that voted against the plan then it would have been defeated.
An independent decision was well within her and her North Horsham colleagues’ remit, but it appears she and they decided to put other considerations before those of her residents.
As those other considerations are not there in the open consultation, it seems the council has been ‘consulting’ with Liberty on the proposals, taking their advice to the exclusion of the opinions and interests of residents and other developers and individuals who have more legitimate local interests.
Horsham District Council says (in response to an FoI request) it has no idea how much it spent on last year’s ‘consultation’, which it is ignoring.
Therefore we have no idea how much commercial value the council is putting on Liberty’s input, which is therefore open to question under EC procurement rules.
Forest Road, Colgate