David Hide is Labour’s candidate for the District by-election on the 16thFebruary, a by- election triggered by the shock resignation of Council Leader Robert Nye
I am standing at this election to provide local residents with a real choice. The choice between the present Tory agenda of cutting services for the sake of cuts or an alternative that looks at managing council revenues to ensure efficient delivery of important services. After all, we all pay our taxes in the expectation that the Council delivers something in return for our hard earned money.
This is your opportunity to elect an independent minded representative. I have no desire to join the cosy club that runs Horsham District Council which has led to the Conservative run council being able to rely on the support of the Lib Dems when pushing through unpopular decisions.
The Lib Dems are supposed to be the opposition, and yet time and again they vote with their Conservative colleagues. I feel that this is bad for local democracy, and has led to very poor decision making. Just look what the Lib Dem leader said following Robert Nye’s resignation. “ Personally I am very sorry. I think Robert is a good leader, has been a good leader … I think he’s a good guy and he had some good ideas for the council”
Surely it is not the role of the opposition leader to praise the Leader of the Council at a time when the policies the Council has been pursuing have brought about an unprecedented level of discontent. In contrast Horsham Labour Party had publically twice called for the resignation of Robert ‘Golden Opportunity’ Nye for his part in the bungled negotiations on the West of Horsham development. We were about to call for his resignation for a third time following his outrageous leadership in respect of Broadbridge Heath Leisure centre debacle, but thankfully he got in first and resigned.
Horsham Labour Party oppose large scale development
Did you know that only the Labour Party has opposed large scale developments across Horsham District? We spoke in the Council Chamber against the 2000 homes that will be built in the West of Horsham development, something Robert Nye both as a local councillor and Leader of Horsham District Council enthusiastically supported.
At the Planning meetings every Conservative councillor voted in favour of these massive developments. We recently joined forces with SOSA, Save our Sussex Alliance and demonstrated outside our local MP’s office against large scale development across our countryside. No other political party took part.
We support sustainable development based on local need and not based on property developer greed.
Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre
Can the Tories and Lib Dems be trusted to carry out a fair and unbiased review or will the extension of the consultation period around the future of our Leisure facility continue to be a sham?
Robert Nye may have resigned and the new council leader claims to want to find an acceptable resolution for all concerned, but why was it when the Council had an opportunity to include Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre in the crucial service tendering process which is already underway, did the whole council vote to exclude our Leisure Centre?
This is yet another example of the Lib Dems and Tories working together within the cosy club that is Horsham District Council.
Only Horsham Labour Party has come down unambiguously in favour of retaining Broadbridge Heath Leisure centre.
Council Services available to all of us in our hour of need
Horsham Labour Party is the only party locally who has stood up for the council run services we all rely upon.
We have campaigned against the closing of our youth clubs, day centres and holiday play schemes, and for the building of affordable homes across the district.
Why is good opposition so important?
Simple, without it, the delivery of council services cost all of us more.
The one party, big tent politics that the Tories run in Horsham leads to poor decision making and has led to massive overspends on projects such as the Acorn Recycling Scheme.
Rather than investing in staff, the Tories have wasted enormous sums of money hiring consultants who have produced glossy reports which more often than not highlight the need to cut services. Just look at this latest fiasco whereby a consultant produced the wholly discredited report on the future of Broadbridge Heath Leisure centre and recommended demolition.
Aren’t expensive consultants more likely to produce reports with conclusions that they feel that the Council wishes to hear?
Should the Council Ignore its own Core Strategy Documents?
We believe it shouldn’t and only a feral council would consider doing so, that is exactly what Robert Nye told us he intended doing when we met up with him to submit a petition for more affordable housing on the West of Horsham Development.
When we challenged him on the fact that his core strategy document stated that all developments larger than 15 units will contain a minimum of 40%affordable housing , he barked back at us in front of Lib Dem councillors ‘I don’t care what it says in the core strategy document ‘ And he didn’t. He bent over backwards to accommodate the wishes of the developers ahead of the needs of Horsham residents. And the response of the Lib Dems at that meeting? Silence
And finally, to bring us up to date, let me explain why a well run council must have a healthy opposition and not one in the pocket of the executive.
Take the recent national example of the RBS chief executive Stephen Hester who was set to receive a bonus in the region of £1 million. Effectively a reward for failure. The vast majority of the British public have been appalled at the prospect. Most politicians stated that they were uneasy at the prospect of him receiving such a bonus, but it was only on Sunday when the Labour opposition stated that it would bring this issue to the House and force a vote, did Stephen Hester do the right thing and decline the bonus.
It is universally accepted that it was the opposition party which drove Hestor into making this decision. That is why we need to elect people who will stand up for the electorate and act as a true opposition. A good opposition delivers better government.
I am 47 and live in the centre of Horsham. I respect the view of those who would prefer to vote for a local candidate but I would argue it is better to elect the best candidate rather than necessarily the most local. If you wish to elect someone who will stand up for local services, oppose large scale development , support and understand the needs of those living and working within the rural economy, first and foremost be prepared to listen to and act upon local opinion then I respectfully request that you consider voting for me.
I have always worked in the rural economy, and am a grower of plants, both by vocation and profession. I am currently the technical manager for a large wholesale nursery based just outside Arundel and have amassed considerable technical expertise and business skills during a lifetime in this industry. I have chaired industry wide bodies and for four years was an International Director of a grower association
Outside of politics I am interested in music both playing and listening, walking, spending many hours exploring the Downs, and by way of a bus person’s holiday I am a volunteer with Horsham in Bloom.