IAN HART: Local democracy in action at planning committee

Another first for me a couple of weeks ago when I had to appear in front of the planning committee at the Town Hall regarding my new chapel and catering suite in Sompting Road.

I have to say, aside from the fact that I was granted the permission I’d applied for, I found the whole experience very enlightening.

As this was my debut, so to speak, I perhaps entered the room with a perceived school of thought as to how these things operated, almost certainly fuelled over the years by the good old fashioned Worthing rumour mill.

What I actually experienced was local democracy in action.

Every agenda item was debated and discussed at the required length, before a vote was taken.

Previously, in my younger days when a bit more politically active, I was led to believe, albeit wrongly as I’ve now discovered, that the whole planning process was bit of a charade, with the planning committee meeting being merely lip service, with most decisions previously being made behind closed doors at the Town Hall.

To reiterate, what actually happened was the complete opposite.

On every item both sides got a fair hearing, which is why I know that will also be the case at the upcoming planning meeting when the controversial proposed Aquarena development by Roffey Homes will be discussed, no doubt at length.

This is perhaps the hottest planning topic in recent years, with both heavy support and opposition on either side.

From the outset I’ve made no secret of the fact that I support the proposal.

To be fair I’d always previously been of the opinion that, as a town, we made an horrendous mistake with the new pool and should have built it on the existing Aquarena site anyway – but don’t get me started on that!

For the good of the town the site needs to be developed, and in Roffey we have an organisation who are experts in this field.

The proposed new structure represents progress and will be an iconic building for Worthing.

Whilst I respect everyone’s opinion I think the detractors of this scheme have got it wrong on this occasion.

I hope after a full and frank exchange of opinions, common sense will prevail and the plan will be passed, and Worthing can move forward in the right direction.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage at www.worthingherald.co.uk/

2) Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Worthing.news

3) Follow us on Twitter @Worthing_Herald

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Worthing Herald - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.