Horsham is Open for Business

February 27, 2011 · Posted in Business & Local Economy · Comment 

The annual MicroBiz small business fairs have continued to grow, helping local people with start up business and providing support for others. According to the Enterprise and Skills Board, Horsham is one of the best places to locate a business.

Horsham District Council actively encourages home-based small businesses and start up scheme. Also, the annual Food Festival has raised awareness and support for local produce, which in turn, has helped hundreds of local outlets.

HDC Achieves Investors in People Status

February 26, 2011 · Posted in General · Comment 

Horsham District Council is celbrating after achieving the Investors in People (IIP) Standard. The IIP assor was “highly impressed with all the progress the authority had made over the last two years”. It is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of the staff. IIP provides a framework to help organisations improve their business performance.

Health Update

February 13, 2011 · Posted in Medical & Health · Comment 

For many months now, NHS West Sussex has been trying to recruit a senior nurse so that the Minor Injuries Unit at Horsham hospital can be opened for longer hours. Horsham District Council has been chasing this and pressing for action. Andrew and two other Councillors attended a meeting on 17 November with senior NHS/PCT Managers. It seems unlikely that the extra hours we were promised will now happen due to lack of money. Andrew asked that when GP Commissioning starts they will consider this again as a top priority.

On 24 November Andrew chaired a meeting to review and obtain an update on the 16 outstanding actions and objectives from the 2008 report looking at health care in the North East of the county. Annual meetings are supposed to take place, the one scheduled for last April was cancelled because of the general election. The NHS was reluctant to arrange another meeting which is unacceptable. Last month Andrew met Conservative Councillors from Mid Sussex and Crawley councils and we have written a joint letter to the Chief Executive of the NHS asking for a meeting involving Councillors from all political parties at the three Councils and senior NHS Managers. Watch this space!

Conservatives deliver on new Affordable Houses

February 6, 2011 · Posted in Housing & Planning · Comment 

As a result of the high cost of housing, the average age of the first time buyer is now 37! There is a requirement on Council to deliver new housing to meet identified needs. HDC has a target of 40% affordable houses being provided whenever 15 or more houses are built. In most developments the council has achieved this.

At the Planning meeting on 18 January, outline planning permission was given for houses and community facilities to be built on land south of Broadbridge Heath. Your Conservative District Council negotiated the provision of 20% affordable houses on site and a commuted lump sum of £7,730,000 to provide for another 96 affordable homes elsewhere in the District. This effectively amounts to 30% affordable housing provision with a review process which can deliver 40% if the current if the housing market follows current projections.

Despite some people thinking that the whole of the south east is going to be concreted over it is worth noting that 88% of West Sussex remains green fields, woods, open spaces and water. We have listened to local people and reduced the headline development numbers in Southwater and Billingshurst from about 2000 to a potential 500 and engaged in a further consultation which gives local residents more choices. However, simply saying “no” to development is neither permissible under current planning rules nor responsible when there remains a need for more houses for local people and in particular a need for more affordable housing. If the Council cannot demonstrate that it is delivering houses to meet the targets then it will not be able to prevent developers building houses or to require them contribute to improved community facilities and infrastructure.

The coalition government is planning to give district councils more freedom to determine housing land supply locally, meaning that the council will be able to better meet the public’s expectations.

Praise for Bin Collections in bad weather

February 6, 2011 · Posted in Waste & Recycling · Comment 

Significant praise has been given for bin collections carried out in Horsham District in December and around New Year. Whilst both the wintry weather and the extended holiday period delayed collections in other parts of the country, nearly all Acorn plus household refuse and recycling collections were carried out without significant delays. When it was snowy, we stopped collections for safety reasons but caught up with them within a week or so and during the Christmas and New Year period we put on extra blue top bin collections across the whole district.

Numerous letters / emails of praise were received including one saying “Thank you HDC, bins collected on time as promised, no trips to the tip. Keep up the good work many thanks”.