A Lib Dem attempt to improve local control over unwelcome developments on County-owned land was blocked by a series of errors at a full council meeting at County Hall on Friday, 22 October.
Cllr John Milne (Lib Dem, Horsham Riverside) brought a Motion requiring a 6 month consultation period before any piece of County-owned land or surplus building could be slated for commercial development. This would give local stakeholders the chance to suggest an alternative social use, such as rewilding or a community centre.
But Tory Chairman Pete Bradbury made an error and cut off Cllr Milne’s speech half way through. He then compounded this by failing to call him back to speak at the end of the debate, as should normally happen. The result was that the case for local consultation could not be made properly and the Motion was blocked by the Tory majority.
This is of particular importance to Muggeridge Field near Chesworth, Horsham. It now seems that the Council’s new property development company, which is operated as a private partnership, will inevitably recommend concreting over this local beauty spot. It looks set to be the next battle to protect a much-loved green space in Horsham, following on from the uproar over Rookwood.
Over £300,000 of public money was wasted by Horsham District Council promoting Rookwood for a development which will never happen. When will they learn to consult local residents first!