LETTER: Sad that Charter is much needed

Your letters
Your letters

I was very pleased to see that you are publishing each week (5.3.15, p78) a list of existing Horsham district councillors who have signed up to your Free Speech Charter.

The Charter simply says ‘I undertake to speak, write or vote on behalf of my constituents without fear or favour of party discipline. I am a member of a political party... but I will always put first the people I am elected to serve.’

It is sad that such a Charter is needed in this day and age however under the authoritarian and secret leadership style of Cllr Ray Dawe, Helena Croft and Claire Vickers and their cabinet cabal that wield power in HDC, the Charter is very much needed.

So why have not all 44 HDC councillors signed the Charter? There is a page of faces (24-25) in the latest glossy edition of Horsham District News (paid for with tax payers’ money and which against doesn’t mention the HDPF) of all the councillors. The following have not signed the Charter and appear to be trying to ignore it hoping that it will go away:

Adam Breacher, Gordon Lindsay, Kate Rowbottom (Billingshurst & Shipley); David Coldwell, Jim Goddard (Bramber, Upper Beeding, Woodmancote); Jonathan Chowen, Roger Clarke (Cowfold, Shermanbury, West Grinstead); Lawrence Deakins (Denne); Stuart Ritchie (Itchingfield); Duncan England (Nuthurst); John Chidlow, Ian Howard, Claire Vickers (Southwater); Philip Circus, David Jenkins (Chanctonbury); Ray Dawe, Diana Van Der Klugt, Jim Sanson (Chantry Amberly, Parham, Storrington, Washington); Sheila Matthews, Brian O’Connell (Henfield) Jim Rae (Holbrook East); Brian Donnelly, Roger Paterson (Pulborough, Coldwaltham); Helena Croft (Roffey North); Roy Cornell (Roffey South); George Cockman, Sue Rogers (Steyning, Ashurst).

Twenty-five of these are Conservative with the bulk currently representing the southern wards. Does this mean they will do whatever the leader Cllr Dawe tells them thus forming a southern political grouping dividing this district into north and south? Is that the legacy of the great leader Cllr Dawe?

There are votes coming up in the council on March 18. The great rush to hold this extraordinary meeting appears to be to push through the additional 2,000 houses before the election on May 7.

I wonder if residents in the southern wards are really happy with this state of affairs. When the future shape and character of the whole area is being decided – do we want a council full of ‘yes-men and women?’

What will our children and grandchildren say about us if we just let the processes we have watched over the last 18 months – go on and wreck their heritage – so Horsham just becomes an urban sprawl?

If your councillor’s name is on this list and he/she seeks your support for election – why not ask them why they have not signed the Charter and if they have stood up to the Tory whip. And ask if they have read and understood all 700 pages of Cllr Vickers’ plan for the future of the district?

Dr GEOFFREY RICHARDSON

Tennyson Close, Horsham