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Letter: Manifesto ignores need for affordable homes and importance of ‘green spaces’

30th April 2021

Letter published by the West Sussex County Times, 29 April 2021


Manifesto ignores need for affordable homes and importance of ‘green spaces’

An election is looming and to enable democracy to function we need to know what each candidate stands for and would do if elected, and why we should vote for them as opposed to other candidates.

So far, I have received one manifesto, which has the headlines ‘A record of achievement – a promise of more’ and ‘How your vote can help deliver an even better Billingshurst and neighbouring villages’, produced and distributed by ‘Horsham Conservatives’ for their local-to-me seeking re-election candidate, Amanda Jupp.

In the manifesto, no mention is made of green spaces, countryside and natural environment, and their importance for the well-being of residents, now and in the future.

Despite a commitment to being carbon neutral by 2030 there is no understanding that climate change and biodiversity loss are inextricably linked and need to be addressed in an integrated way (see Natural England Research Report: ‘Carbon storage and sequestration by habitat: a review of the evidence’, 2nd edition, 20April21).

Of concern, too, is the failure to address the problem that new houses across Sussex are being built without solar panels. Given the huge and unprecedented house-building targets imposed on our county, it would be sensible for all newbuilds to be equipped with solar panels.

The candidate’s terse acknowledgement that “some residents are concerned about the Local Plan and further housing” understates, and in so doing dismisses justifiable concerns about the unprecedented magnitude of countryside-consuming development that has already been imposed on her ward, let alone what is yet to come. 

No mention is made of the need for affordable homes, and the need, too, for the essential infrastructure and services required in consequence of imposed development. 

I should very much like to know the views and intentions of the other contending candidates, Chris Geeson (Lib Dem), Christopher Henson (Labour) and Christopher Woodward (Independent).

Yours faithfully,

Dr R F Smith