I ATTENDED the Worthing Borough Council planning meeting last Thursday (October 20) that decided the fate of the West Durrington Development proposals, and was incensed by not only the arrogance of the councillors, but also by the apparent lack of accountability.
Despite the meeting being completely packed with residents, and with no one speaking in favour of the plan save the developers, all the well-presented arguments against it were completely ignored in what appeared to be a preordained decision.
The voting itself was a farce, with the simple announcement that it had been passed following a voting procedure that was not visible to all present.
Primary school children are taught to hold their hands up properly, so why didn’t some of the councillors?
Then, after it was announced that there had been a three to two decision in favour, someone from the public challenged the committee as to who voted in which way – and the result was changed to a 4 to 2 vote in favour!
Furthermore, when asked about whether the voting would be recorded in the minutes of the meeting, a stunned audience was told that “minutes were not taken”.
Why would councillors not want their voting decisions to be formally recorded?
Why should we have to rely on media reports regarding the voting?
If it is true that no minutes were taken as clearly stated, without recorded evidence, how can the council definitively say what the true result of the vote was.
And why was the meeting then abandoned before the “public questions” session scheduled in the agenda was allowed to take place?
So how then can we be sure that any decisions taken by Worthing Borough Council are truly above board, and are as reported by them?
Maybe a judicial review of this decision should be requested in order to get to the bottom of what actually occurred at that meeting and why.
But at least some people enjoyed this debacle, as the attending developers were later seen laughing and joking outside about “how well things went”.
But then, profits always come before people and the countryside!
When I think of all those people around the world currently fighting for democracy, I would hope they don’t look towards the Worthing Borough Council ‘Democratic Model’ as something to aspire to!