LETTER: Rebuilding after ‘omnishambles’

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The County Times piece, ‘‘Omnishambles’ to lead to total outsourcing’ (30/1/14) focuses on the farce there has been over planning at HDC in recent years: bottom of the league nationally, loss of most experienced staff, the remaining staff struggling under huge pressure at a time when Government policy for more housing creates more planning applications.

So, councillors Dawe, Vickers, Rae and Croft came up with a flawed scheme for the district that in effect outsources part of the planners’ work to developers like Liberty.

Hopefully after the current new posts are filled, there will be a competent Head of Planning (even though I thought that Tom Crowley the chief cxecutive is a planner by profession) and a team able to reassert their planning function dealing quickly and efficiently with planning applications again.

Aside from the politically riddled basis to the Cabinet’s Preferred Strategy, one of the other reasons many believe the quartet of Dawe, Vickers, Croft and Rae went for a big strategic site in north Horsham, rather than the much more sensible, dispersed development strategy of the Horsham Town and Broadbridge Heath councillors, is because HDC staff were too thin on the ground to deal with a myriad of small sites using where possible brownfield sites.

So with a restructured planning team, a highly experienced Head of Planning and the planning experience of the chief executive, we can ditch the grotesque intrusion on our green spaces and get back to distributing our housing need throughout the District and using our ample vacant brownfield and existing business estate to meet the need that councillor Jim Rae believes so important he can afford to go against the wishes of his electors.


Heath Way, Horsham