LETTER: Wasteful West Street folly

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I was incensed to read in your editorial that HDC deputy leader Helena Croft was to host a ‘Bucks Fizz reception for invited dignitaries’ (14 November 2013, p32) to open her West Street ‘improvements’.

Bucks Fizz is a cocktail made up of one part Champagne to two parts orange juice. It is named after London’s Buck’s Club where it was invented, as an excuse to begin drinking early and was first served in 1921.

The West Street ‘improvement’ amounted to an expenditure of £665,000 of tax payers’ money.

For what? and all at a time when the council has refused to rule out an increase in council tax (14.11.13, p4).

The ‘improvements’ appear to be a classic - yet real life - example of Keynesian economics where the taxpayer has paid more than half a million pounds for workmen to lift up all the original dark blue brick paving only to relay the same but in a slightly different pattern. You can still see the old chewing gum present on most of the blocks before they were relaid!

This waste of money is further proof that the council’s secretive cabinet has lost touch with the people that elected it only two and half years ago.

Leader councillor Ray Dawe, opined in your paper (31 October 2013, p41) under the headline, ‘Council provides catalyst for a flood of investment’, just seven days before nearly 400 of Novartis’ employees were told, before Christmas, that all their jobs are to be made redundant.

Councillor Dawe, like his Champagne cocktail hosting deputy, councillor Helena Croft, also has his head in the clouds since he clearly had no idea of the catastrophic announcement that was to come a week after he penned his self-congratulatory article.

Surely, in these times of austerity and cuts there are more than enough critical issues in the in-trays of councillor Dawe and councillor Croft without getting sidelined onto this wasteful West Street folly?

It might be better if they focused their time and our money on getting a Housing Plan for the District that will command the support and the respect of the people of Horsham.

ANDREW LOBLEY

Wordsworth Place, Horsham

Editor’s note: Although I did not accept an invitation to participate in the council’s hospitality, it is my understanding that real Champagne was not used but a cheaper alternative.