Letter: Will councillors stand up for communities or developers?
Stand up for communities
District and Parish Council Elections are to be held 2 May, and candidates, including Horsham District’s incumbent District Councillors seeking re-election, will be canvassing for residents’ votes.
This election coincides with the preparation by Horsham District Council of a new District Plan for the period 2021 to 2036 in which yet more countryside will have to be allocated to accommodate what will be a hugely inflated house-building target.
Compulsory application of the Government’s dodgy formula-based method to determine the District’s base-line housing target, together with the Government-imposed ‘duty to cooperate’ with other councils seeking to offload their housing ‘need’ to Horsham District, is likely to result in a target in the range of 1200/1400 houses pa, therefore 18000/21000 new houses in total.
Where all of these houses are to be built, and the penalties that will be inflicted by Government on the Council and communities when impossible to achieve targets are set and not met, and the uncertain future of Neighbourhood Plans, are of crucial importance for all.
Crucial, too, is the provision of truly affordable rentable housing and the essential infrastructure and services, which history shows will continue to be inadequate and under funded.
Clearly, the ramifications of the in-preparation plan are of huge consequence to communities – and therefore the Elections.
Will District Council candidates, if elected or re-elected, plead, as is the norm, that they have no choice but to obey the diktat of increasingly dysfunctional Government, and Party dogma, or will they stand up for the communities that elect them and question and challenge Government policies shaped by and for the benefit of developers, not communities?
Dr Roger F Smith
Trustee CPRE Sussex