Letters

OUR SHOUT!

Horsham Labour Party members regularly comment on both local and national issues with many of our letters and press releases appearing in our local papers.

Below is just a selection of some of our more recent letters:-


Decision to defer decision on Liberty’s planning application for North Horsham

Dear Letters Editor

When Horsham Council’s Planning Committee North was recently presented with an opportunity to oppose Liberty’s North Horsham development planning application on the grounds that it did not deliver on behalf of the local people they represent, Lib Dem and Tory councillors spent much time huffing and puffing over key issues of concern but failed to ensure that the developers addressed them; despite the primary concern being the failure to deliver the genuinely affordable homes that Horsham needs and despite this failure representing a clear breach of the Council’s own planning strategy.

When it came to the vote, all of the councillors, the majority of whom spoke at length against the planning application, lost their nerve and instead of voting to oppose the application, voted to defer the decision, handing their responsibility for planning to the full council. Why have a planning committee at all if it is so feeble that it prefers not to fulfil its role? This important planning meeting should have turned down the application as it fails to deliver a sustainable development which works for local people.

I suspect the reason for deferring this decision was to do with the unpopularity of the development amongst the vast majority of Horsham’s residents; residents who would shortly be casting their vote in the County and General elections. As usual, the Lib Dems came up with an array of reasons why they didn’t like the development but when it came to voting, agreed with their Tory friends to defer making a decision. What will now no doubt happen is that the meeting of the full council, which is stuffed full of Tories from the south of the district, will simply nod the £1 billion application through and deliver to the developers millions in profits, on a plate.

The planning committee missed an opportunity. At this meeting they could have drawn a line in the sand; a message could have been sent to prospective developers that large scale developments, on greenfield sites, that fail to meet the needs of local people, that fail to comply with the council’s own strategic plan to deliver 35% affordable housing, that fail to create sustainable communities, will not be welcome here.

Contrast the Lib Dem and Tory approach to what Labour has been doing to prevent largescale developers destroying our countryside and pocketing massive profits along the way. Our petitions against the West and North Horsham developments have received thousands of signatures. Our request to the environment minister seeking a judicial review of the West of Horsham development, ensured that Berkeley Homes had to reconfigure its application to improve the level of social housing; and at the recent planning meeting we were the only Party to call for the application to be turned down. Horsham Labour Party have always recognised the issue of the lack of affordable housing seriously and if elected the next Labour Government will address this issue once and for all through its commitment to deliver 500000 affordable homes within the lifetime of the next parliament.

Many of these affordable homes need to be built here in Horsham as the council report states that North Horsham site is key to delivering homes for local people in housing need and yet 2,255 homes out of the 2,750 will be unaffordable for those local people. Our elected representative should know better than anyone how important this strategic site is in terms of addressing our local council housing need and providing the homes for local people on the council’s housing register. It is, therefore, a disgrace that they did little at this very important meeting other than enjoy a free lunch and submit their expenses claim for the day. The only benefit to Horsham of this development is the delivery of the genuinely affordable homes we need. Our councillors know that the people they represent have opposed this development that offers no benefits to our community. Let’s hope that when this application comes to the full council meeting, those same councillors represent our views, as they are elected to do, let’s hope that they highlight clearly the serious shortcomings of this application to their colleagues and ensure that it is sent back to the drawing board or turned down completely.

Yours sincerely

Susannah Brady
Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Horsham

 


 

Dear Letters Editor

Call to reject Liberty’s planning application for North Horsham

Members of Horsham Labour Party attended the public exhibition organised by Liberty Property Trust, mentioned in last week’s County Times article. (Thursday, October 6th Latest plans for North Horsham go on display’ )

We raised many concerns with Liberty, including the lack of evidence of adequate infrastructure. Our prime concern, however, was the developer’s lack of understanding of local priorities, despite the exhibitions claim that Liberty’s planning application was intended to address these. The clearest evidence of that lack of understanding is the failure to include in the development affordable housing of the kind and level we require in our district.

Horsham District Council has consistently failed to ensure that the planning process has achieved the council’s own targets for affordable homes. This failure is most noticeable in the large scale West of Horsham developments. We must not see, with the proposed development North of Horsham, a repeat of the catastrophic failure to deliver affordable homes for local people.   The family homes being offered at £400, 000 and above on the West of Horsham development are not affordable and will do nothing to end the housing crisis here in Horsham. Concreting over much loved countryside and delivering almost no housing benefits for the people of Horsham is not acceptable.

Horsham Labour Party is the only local party to consistently campaign for affordable homes and against both the West of Horsham and the North Horsham Developments because of their failure to meet local priorities. We believe all developments approved by Horsham District Council should have a minimum of 50% affordable housing, nothing less will address the housing needs of our district.

We have drafted a petition calling on the council to reject Liberty’s planning application in its current form. An on-line version of our petition can be signed by following this LINK.

Yours Sincerely
David Hide
Chair Horsham Labour Party


 

Dear Letters Editor

North Horsham development and affordable housing

When they first told us of their plans for the North Horsham development, Liberty Property Trust assured Horsham residents that a key benefit would be the increased supply of the affordable housing that our district desperately needs.   How disappointing, therefore, to learn that their proposal undertakes to deliver a maximum of only 30 percent affordable homes. This rate of provision will make no impact at all on our housing crisis.

Legislation recently introduced by the government has redefined affordable housing as it applies in planning terms. This definition now includes new build starter homes, for sale at discounted market rates. The legislation also requires local planning authorities to ensure that developments include 20 percent of these starter homes. In areas with an over heated housing market high, like Horsham, these starter homes are far from affordable to local people. Their inclusion in the affordable housing quota means, therefore, that the opportunity to deliver genuinely affordable housing through the planning system is significantly reduced. For example, if Horsham Council approves Liberty Property Trust’s current proposal, of the 2,750 homes proposed only 10 percent, at most, will be affordable. This is simply not good enough.

Horsham Labour Party has consistently called upon our Tory-led council to deliver more homes for local people. Time and time again we have raised our concern about the housing crisis in our district.   The councillors have failed to acknowledge our concerns. As a result matters have got steadily worse. Research carried out by the National Housing Federation has now identified Horsham as one of the two rural local authorities in England were property prices are the most relatively expensive.  

The National Housing Federation’s Research shows that in Horsham District the gross annual income in the lower quartile is £19,178.00. This is below the national average. House prices in the lower quartile are £240,000, almost twice the national average and 12.7 times the lower quartile income.

The National Housing Federation says that as a result of the lack of affordable housing, our communities are ‘silently suffering’. This suffering will only increase if we fail to provide homes for those in the low income jobs on which our communities depend. The council has the opportunity to ensure that the Liberty Trust development could deliver a lifeline to our community. It has the chance to ensure that this development provides genuinely affordable homes that help to alleviate our housing crisis. We call upon the council to hold this developer to their original promise to deliver the genuinely affordable homes we need. This is, after all, the only real benefit that can be derived for our community from development on this scale. If the developers are not prepared to deliver more affordable homes the planning application should be rejected.

Yours sincerely
Carol Hayton
Horsham Labour Party


 

Horsham Council’s failure to press developers for adequate affordable housing – May 2016

Dear Letters Editor

In 2010 at the time that outline planning approval was granted for the West of Horsham development a three bedroom semi- detached home in Horsham was valued at £290 000, six years later similar properties can be bought for between £376 and £400 000. This indicates that house prices in Horsham have increased by more than thirty percent. Profits made by developers on the West Horsham site will therefore have increased by a similar figure during the same period.

Horsham Labour Party opposed the West of Horsham development because we believed that it should have delivered at least 50% affordable housing on the site. This would have provided local residents as well as newcomers the opportunity of securing a home within our town.

Horsham Council’s failure to press for the delivery of that level of affordable housing or at the very least the forty percent figure stated in its own core housing strategy, led Horsham Labour Party to write to the Government requesting a review of Horsham Council’s response to the application.

As a result of our intervention the council decided to reconsider the West of Horsham application. The outcome was the negotiation of a claw back clause which enables Horsham District Council to obtain additional monies in line with the profits gained from increases in house prices over the period of the development.

It is unclear therefore why five years later and following a sustained period of spiralling house prices that the council has not seen a single penny of additional money from the developers. It is also unclear why it has been left to local resident, Paul Kornycky as reported in the County Times on May 19th (‘ Secrecy on one-sided deal with developers needs serious review’)  to pursue the failings of the council as a result of the initial under valuing of the development. What have our elected representatives been doing about this all this time? Surely the residents of Horsham District are due an explanation.

It must now be the right moment for members of Horsham District Council to act in the best interests of local residents and demand, as a matter of urgency, a meeting with the developers to gain reassurances that the money owed to Horsham District Council will be forthcoming. If the agreement negotiated with the developers is so flimsy as to allow them to avoid paying additional monies then both the Council Leader and Chief Executive should consider their positions as they clearly failed to deliver the benefits that should have been achieved for the residents of Horsham.

It is time for Horsham Council to demonstrate that they are acting on behalf of the residents who elected them rather than on behalf of the developers who continue to make massive profits from the approvals granted by the planning committees.

Yours sincerely

David Hide Chair Horsham Labour Party


 

(Un)affordable housing in Horsham – February 2016

Dear Letters Editor

The County Times recently reported that the house building boom has resulted in 900 new properties being built in Horsham District in the financial year 2014/2015 and more than a thousand are to be built in each of the next three years. (District Housing Boom Continues,   Jan 28 2016 )    What this article did not tell us is how many of these homes will be accessible to those who find house prices and rents in the private sector far beyond their reach. The answer to this question is that there will be very few.

Horsham Labour Party has persistently called upon the Horsham council to ensure that adequate provision of decent, affordable housing is made for all Horsham residents, particularly those who work in the local economy who, faced with the increasingly unaffordable housing costs, struggle to meet their housing needs. The council has not responded with overwhelming enthusiasm to our campaign. Section 106 agreements have delivered some affordable homes but at nowhere near the rate required to meet local need.

The Tory council’s failure to adequately address local housing need has exacerbated a local housing crisis. There is a severe risk that if the Tory governments’ Housing and Planning Bill, currently making its way through parliament is enacted it will make the crisis a whole lot worse. Section 106 agreements will no longer promote the development of much needed social housing. Instead councils will promote the building of starter homes on new development sites. These will be available for sale to eligible first-time buyers at a tax -payer subsidised discount of 20 percent of the market price. To anyone who has reviewed local house prices it is evident that this is unlikely to benefit anyone currently struggling to find a home they can afford. New build homes are invariably sold at a premium, this can be a price up to 20 percent higher than an equivalent pre-owned property. The only beneficiaries will be developers and those already able to afford a home.

Not only will less new social housing be delivered as a result of this change to planning, the stock of existing homes will be depleted as due to the extension of the Right to Buy to housing association tenants. The bill proposes that the replacement of lost stock should be funded by the sale of high value council houses as they become vacant. In Horsham there is no council stock to be sold so it is unclear how the levels of much needed social housing stock will be maintained.

At the same time as offering nothing to those in need of a genuinely affordable home, the Tory’s housing bill offers much to be concerned about for those currently living in social housing. The government intends to introduce 5 year tenancies for social housing tenants, so ending the security of tenure that enabled the development of strong communities where people could establish their homes and families. And for those tenants deemed to have a high house hold income, i.e over £30,000 per annum the bill has a ‘Pay to Stay’ proposal. This will see the tenant’s housing costs increase from an affordable or social level up to an unaffordable 80 percent of market rent.

As one housing journalist recently put it, with this bill ‘this government appears bent on undermining a once-cherished ideal: a decent home for everyone across all tenures regardless of income and circumstance. ‘ If the bill is enacted the rates of homelessness will increase as fewer affordable homes are available for the increasing numbers of people who find themselves unable to meet their housing costs.  We are already seeing the signs of the rapidly worsening crisis in Horsham where, in the middle of winter, tents provide the only shelter available for those that the council does not regard as in priority need of housing.

Horsham Labour Party supports the campaign to stop the bill from being enacted. Anyone who would also like to support the campaign should sign the petition at   https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-the-housing-billhe

Yours sincerely

Carol Hayton, Horsham Labour Party

 

Campaign for for the public ownership of our railways – January 2016

Dear Letters Editor

I am sure most commuters who have experienced the nightmare of travelling by train over the last few months will welcome the demand made by our local MPs for Southern and Thameslink to immediately improve rail services or risk losing their franchise.

Horsham Labour Party agree with our local MPs that these companies should not be running our trains. We disagree however, with the suggestion that new private sector companies should be found to replace existing franchisees. Instead we believe that these franchises should return to public ownership. This will ensure that investment in infrastructure and rolling stock are delivered on the basis of need and public safety and not for the benefit of senior managers and shareholders. Members of Horsham Labour Party took part in the National Day of Action on Monday 4th January when we handed out postcards to commuters at Horsham and Littlehaven stations, asking them to support our call for the public ownership of our railways. We believe that it is wrong that rail users should continue to pay ever larger ticket prices whilst suffering such a dramatic deterioration in service. Overcrowding, standing for long periods of a journey, cancellations and delays are not an acceptable way to run a public service which so many of us rely on to get to and from work.

Private companies running our rail network have consistently failed commuters. They clearly do not understand the concept of public service and face no true competition once they have secured the franchise. An incoming Labour Government has pledged to bring rail companies back into public ownership. For those readers not convinced by this approach take a look at the experience of the East Coast mainline where GNER were stripped of its franchise in 2007 and National Express failed in 2009. Only when the East Coast mainline returned into public ownership from 2009 to 2015 did the service improve and by the time it was once more privatised it had delivered £1 billion of profit to the Exchequer.

If you believe it is time to take the railways back into public ownership go to www.actionforrail.org.uk or write to your local MP and make them aware of your views.

David Hide Chair Horsham Labour Party

 

Refugees Welcome Campaign – January 2016

Dear Letters Editor

Last year the Refugees Welcome Campaign was formed in response to the largest global refugee crisis in generations.   The campaign provides resources to assist communities to lobby their national and local government representatives for greater support for the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing violence and persecution resulting from the conflicts in the Middle East. The campaign recognises that, with huge numbers of people displaced by conflict, there is a need for those countries that can provide refugee to respond appropriately. The campaign recognises that Britain can and should do more to help.

A model resolution has been drafted by Refugees Welcome which calls upon councils to take a number of measures to welcome, support and accommodate their fair share of refugees. The campaign calls upon each local authority to commit to resettling 50 refugees a year. If every council agreed to this Britain would be able to resettle 10,000 a year across the country and make a real difference to the lives of desperate people.

The response received from a Horsham District Councillor when asked whether they would support the Refugees Welcome motion was that the council had already agreed a response to the crisis. The response to the need of thousands of desperate and vulnerable people seeking refuge is to agree to resettle a maximum of two families a year over 5 years, or a maximum of 10 families in total. This is a pitiful response from our council and is surely in no way representative of the compassion that citizens of our district feel for those fleeing for their lives.

Many councils across the country, such Birmingham, Kingston, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Bradford have responded with an offer that truly represents our countries proud tradition of offering a warm welcome and refuge for those in need.   Horsham is a far more affluent area of the country with fewer pressing needs than some of the councils listed above. We can afford to do more and should do more.

Included in the council’s minutes noting the pitiful response to this international crisis there is mention of the council chair’ s community carol service, due to take place a few weeks later. We hope that any councillors attending the service took the opportunity to reflect on the true meaning of the season of goodwill. Having reflected, we hope that they will resolve to consider the proposals outlined in the Refugees Welcome motion, it can be found at www.refugees-welcome.org.uk . Any County Times readers interested in helping to lobby councillors and MPs to do more to help refugees can find suggestions on how to do so on the same website.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Carol Hayton

Horsham Labour Party

Affordable homes in Horsham- Letter to County Times April 2015

Dear Letters Editor

Tory and Liberal councillors have claimed to be genuinely concerned about the lack of affordable homes in Horsham.   How is it then that we see  yet another social housing development being rejected by the councillors on the planning committee?  West Sussex County Times ‘ Ghetto  in heart of town rejected.’  These are the same councillors that tell us that it is impossible to do anything but approve the massive private development that are springing up around our town .

It is of course acceptable  to reject an application on the basis  that it is too densely built and  in response to neighbouring  residents  concerns about the impact on their quiet enjoyment of their homes. There  is  however something  about the comments   made by officers and councillors, as quoted in the report in the County Times,  that reflects a callous disregard,  for the housing needs of local people.  References to ghettos and social engineering  are particularly unpleasant, those making them and supporting them should be particularly embarrassed by their remarks .

The Oxford English Dictionary definition of a ghetto is an area ‘ occupied by minority groups, segregated group or area.’   It is entirely inappropriate to attach this description to housing association developments in Horsham.   Those that live in housing association homes are not marginalised groups that deserve to be patronised by local politicians. They are families that need a home that is appropriate to their needs but are unable to buy or rent one at the current private market rates.  It might interest those councillors on the planning committee to know that it  would  probably describe  a significant proportion of residents of  Horsham, if they were seeking to buy at today’s prices.

Cllr Skipp apparently believes that the failure to provide mixed tenure sites is ‘social engineering gone wrong ,‘ an appalling statement and one that reflects a huge element of hypocrisy.  The reason why we do not have more mixed tenure estates is the direct result of the councillors past and continuing failure to ensure that private developers meet their obligation under 106 agreements.  This has not only resulted in a severe shortage of affordable housing , but in a form of social engineering that is encouraged by the councillors. They seem  happy to see thousands of executive homes built but  less willing to  actively encourage the development of homes suitable for local people on low or median incomes.

Some of the other comments made by councillors keen to pile on reasons to reject this development are ludicrous. They seem to flag up a determination to ensure that much needed affordable  family homes are not built on this site.   To say that the local schools will come under pressure from 69 homes, when thousands have been approved without any consideration  of infrastructure, is ridiculous.   It may be a moot point that this development does not suit the  Winterton court site,  but claims that the design is ugly and prison like when, from the artists impression, there is little difference between these flats and the many private schemes  dotted around  Horsham, seem totally unreasonable .

As  Cllr. Chidlow correctly pointed out, affordable housing is needed in Horsham now.  Horsham Council should therefore address its responsibility to local people by ensuring that Saxon Weald and other housing associations are properly supported to deliver the housing we need.   It could start by making the delivery of appropriately designed and sited affordable housing a priority in the local plan.   If councillors want more mix tenure sites  they should ensure that  developers  deliver with regard to need and not just with regard to their profit line.     Saxon Weald is working hard to deliver on behalf of the hundreds of families who are on Horsham Councils waiting list. When we have a housing crisis as grave as the one we are experiencing in Horsham  our political representatives  should surely be more committed to helping them do so.

Carol Hayton

Horsham Labour Party

 

Disgraceful plight of the vulnerable- County Times April 2015

I write to express my shock and anger at the welfare report in the March 19th edition of the County Times. The article highlights the plight of sick and disabled people who have been switched from Employment and Support Allowance onto Job Seekers Allowance. People are being left in severe financial difficulties and reliant on food banks as a result.

A third of the 8,500 people who sought help from Sussex CABs in 2014 had been left without money while waiting for a decision.

The County Times was right to report on this serious issue. The Coalition Government must answer for this disgraceful situation and for its callous attitude towards sick and disabled people in the forthcoming election.

JACKY LITTLE

Rushams Road, Horsham

Complacency breeds contempt

Sir,

Following Cllr Burgess’s response to my letter concerning who would win the Horsham Parliamentary Seat in this year’s general Election. I feel that he missed the point. My point was that complacency breeds contempt and the behaviour of the Horsham Conservative party over the past few months underlines that, the Conservatives will lose Horsham because they deserve to; no party has the right to expect election.

In addition Cllr Burgess’s points on the economy are far from accurate:

In the 1945 general election the Labour Party, led by Clement Attlee, was elected with a landslide majority, introducing sweeping reforms of the British economy. The welfare state, with a national health service, pensions, and social security was created. The next 15 years saw some of the most rapid growth Britain had ever experienced, recovering from the devastation of the Second World War and then expanding rapidly past the previous size of the economy.

In the years that followed the Conservative Government precipitated the Suez Crisis, leading to a great fall in the strength of the economy, and from the early 1960s, under a Conservative government this growth began to slow and unemployment rise again. The Conservative Government presided over a ‘stop-go’ economy as it tried to prevent inflation spiralling out of control without snuffing out economic growth.

The Wilson Government had to fundamentally reshape Britain’s world role after inheriting an overstretched military and a £400 million balance of payments deficit, which caused successive sterling crises.

In 1970 the Conservative government was led by Edward Heath. During the 1970s Britain suffered a long running period of relative economic malaise, dogged by severe inflation, strikes and union power as well as inflation, the Conservative Government was unable to halt the country’s economic decline.

In the 1980s, under Thatcher, recession saw unemployment rise above three million. Under the Major Conservative Government in the 1990s unemployment was starting to increase again as another recession loomed. The early 1990s recession was officially the longest in Britain since the Great Depression some 60 years earlier, though the fall in output was not as sharp as that of the downturn of the Great Depression or even that of the early 1980s recession. It had started during 1990 and the end of the recession was not officially declared until April 1993, by which time nearly 3 million people were unemployed

Under the Labour Government from 1997 onwards growth rates were consistently between 1.6% and 3% from 2000 to early 2008. During the period since 2010 under the Con/Lib Coalition, wage growth has not kept up with inflation and we will have a large deficit by the end of this year. George Osborne “took a large risk with the economy” when he imposed deep spending cuts in 2010, and the resulting slowdown may have cost 5% of GDP, or £1,500 for every man, woman and child in Britain, according to a new analysis of the coalition’s record by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. In addition, there is as yet no sign of an upturn in manufacturing’s share of economic activity.

By insisting on cuts in government spending and higher VAT and taxes that could easily have been postponed until the recovery from recession was assured, the government delayed the recovery by two years. Moreover, with the election drawing nearer, it has allowed the pace of austerity to slow, while pretending that it hasn’t. Now George Osborne is promising, should the Tories win the election in May, to put the country through the same painful and unnecessary process all over again. Why? Why did the government take decisions that were bound to put the recovery at risk, when those decisions weren’t required even according to its own rules? How did a policy that makes so little sense to economists come to be seen by the Con/Lib Coalition as inevitable?

As a result, public investment was cut back sharply in 2010 and 2011 even though Osborne’s fiscal rule that the current budget must be balanced excludes public investment. He is proposing to renew austerity after the election, even though we remain in a liquidity trap and there are serious risks to the recovery. It seems that Osborne’s real priority was, and still is, to cut all forms of government spending, as the deficit was, and I suspect he hopes will remain, a convenient pretext to achieve that aim.

Cllr Burgess, maybe the Conservatives are not as good at managing the economy as you think. I hope that the Conservative historic economic incompetence will be a major factor for people moving away from this Government and into the more competent management of the Labour Party

Yours sincerely

Martyn Davis

Horsham Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate

C/o Wimblehurst Road,

Horsham, RH12 2EA

 

Maude Feared losing to Labour – CT  12 February 2015

Recently, it was announced that Francis Maude would be standing down at the forthcoming general election. It seems odd that he decided to stand down so close to the election, when we knew when the election would be, since the introduction of the fixed term parliament Act. Why leave it so late? Maybe as has been suggested he has been promised a top job via the House of Lords, should the Conservatives win the election. From Mr Maude’s point if view it saves him from needing to go through the difficulty of an election. The other suggestion is that Mr Maude was fearful of losing his seat and decided to take the easier route, by becoming a member of the House of Lords.

It is most likely to be a combination of the two reasons, and it confirms  the canvass returns that we have collected putting the Conservatives in Horsham in danger of losing the seat to Labour, for the first time.

Whoever the conservatives chose will not be in the top flight as they have already selected those candidates, Horsham will get, either, a candidate no one else wanted  or a serving MP who is on the chicken run for a better seat. Surely, Horsham deserves better than that?

The Conservatives now know, as did the self- serving Mr Maude, that Labour can win, and is on the path to win Horsham.
 Yours sincerely,
Martyn Davis.
Labour prospective parliamentary candidate for Horsham

Council score own goal refusing planning permission for Horsham Town FC- CT 5 February 2015

It was very encouraging to read on the Letters Pages of last week’s County Times  the level of support expressed for the proposed siting of Horsham Football Stadium. What was far less encouraging was the way in which our councillors for a range of the most flimsy and spurious reasons, once again ignored the views of so many people and voted against the planning application, even though approval had been recommended.

This proves once more  how  out of touch  our councillors are with the sporting and leisure requirements  for Horsham, let’s not forget their original and some say on going desire to knock down our  Sports Centre in Broadbridge Heath. They are also so out of touch with what voters want and therefore should as one reader’s letter concluded, be voted out of office at the next district elections in May.

With the Youth Service Clubs already closed by the Tories, the proposed facility would provide  much needed support for the youth  playing  for local football teams.  A new home for Horsham Football Club would provide great facilities and become a hub for sporting excellence.

None of this seems to have registered with those councillors who voted to turn down the application. Instead they fumbled around for excuses, citing;  inappropriate location, the danger for cyclist and pedestrians travelling to and from the ground ( that already exists and nothing is being done about it) the oversized clubhouse which some suspect might be used to raised money to fund the football club by holding community events, and surely  the cherry on the cake was the objection  that it just might urbanise a rural location, something our councillors would never support!

The councillors had an opportunity ahead of the elections to at last do something that many of us could support.  During  the last four years  the councillors have subjected us all to a  series of ill sort through and mismanaged  vanity projects. This was their last chance to recover some credibility by supporting the application  to provide the football club with a new home. Once more they fluffed their lines and instead  slotted the ball into the back of their own net.

Horsham FC is a prominent club with a 135 year long proud history and the clubhouse, training facilities and stadium reflects the professional ambitions of the club. I sincerely hope the plan goes to appeal and the Councillors see sense next time around and unanimously grant planning permission, thereby providing a permanent home for our Town’s football team.

Ray Chapman ,Secretary Horsham Labour Party.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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