LETTER: Plans go back to drawing board

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On 18 December 2013 at a meeting of full council of Crawley Borough Council the ruling cabinet’s draft preferred housing strategy was thrown out.

According to local media, Keith Brockwell (Con, Pound Hill North) voted against the Conservative cabinet’s draft housing plan and voted with Labour and UKIP.

He wasn’t persuaded with the advice from his planning officers, whom he called ‘unelected bureaucrats’, with regards to the provision of travellers’ sites in Crawley Borough.

Afterwards Mr Brockwell said: “Local people should decide local issues. I may have lost a few friends in the party [by voting the way he did] but I have a life outside politics, so I won’t be crying for too long.”

This has two implications for Horsham District Council (HDC) and the half-baked housing plan doggedly pursued by councillors Dawe, Vickers, Croft and Rae, which will reduce the size of our ‘green belt’ by 15 per cent and give us the white elephant of an industrial park that no business has said that they will move to in the six months since the plan was revealed.

Firstly, if at Crawley Borough Council members of the ruling Conservative group do not have to take the ‘whip’ and can vote against a housing plan that they don’t believe to be ‘sound’ then why will the leader of HDC, Ray Dawe and his deputy, Helena Croft, not allow the same flexibility here at HDC?

Or is this part of the ‘looming dictatorship’ at HDC that another reader wrote about recently after the police were called because a resident politely insisted on Mrs Vickers answering his question?

If this is the case then we need councillors at HDC of principle, just like Keith Brockwell at Crawley Borough Council, who will not support a plan that they know to be bad for Horsham and for the Horsham District.

Secondly, the inspector has thrown out Mid-Sussex District Council’s draft plan for failing to ‘co-operate’ with neighbouring authorities.

Councillors at Crawley Borough Council have rejected their cabinet’s draft plan for different reasons.

HDC is part of a tripartite grouping with these two local authorities that are meant to be working together to share Crawley Borough Council’s housing numbers.

If these two local authorities are now going back to the drawing board then isn’t it sensible for Horsham District Council to do the same rather than stubbornly ploughing on?

ANDREW LOBLEY

Wordsworth Place, Horsham