ON behalf of the Worthing Downlanders, I would like to echo comments made by your correspondents regarding the planning committee meeting which approved the West Durrington development.
With an application of this scale, which has attracted so much controversy, one would have imagined that the council would have taken care to ensure that proceedings were conducted in a manner beyond reproach.
But at every stage of the process – from the incorrect email link for people wishing to speak and the inadequate size of the meeting room right through to the farcical confusion and obfuscation over the voting – it succeeded only in casting a shadow over its own reputation.
No wonder people left the Town Hall that evening feeling betrayed by the members who are supposed to represent us and by the council officials whom we pay in order to administer local affairs on our behalf.
The vast majority of the population of Durrington and Worthing who oppose the building of 700 homes on this greenfield site were made to feel as if their views counted for nothing and that the real decision had been made behind closed doors in advance of the meeting.
But then, looking on the positive side, perhaps the ineptness of the council’s handling of this application did us all a favour by exposing the fundamental lack of democracy at the heart of the planning system and the urgent need for reform to ensure the views of the public take precedence over the interests of the property development industry, as channelled through central government.