#MISINFORMATION at crucial meeting

Once again there were misleading statements before the vote at a critical Mid Sussex District Council meeting.

In his closing remarks on Wednesday, just before the vote that set the rewilded nature haven of SA13 on the path to destruction, MSDC Leader Jonathan Ash Edwards suggested that there was no alternative. At 2:21:40 in the Youtube recording he states:

If you don’t like one site, you should always be honest and propose an alternative site. There have been opportunities for that to happen through the process and it has never happened.”

This is simply not true.

There was a ready and waiting alternative in Haywards Heath Golf Course – which was discussed repeatedly throughout the process.

That alternative site was on the table right up until the final meeting of the Site Selection working group (that meeting that the only councillor from the south of the District could not attend, that meeting that MSDC refused to release the notes from).

The developer of that ready made alternative site was so surprised when it was pulled from the shortlist they wrote to the Council in protest…

That alternative site was proposed by SOFLAG and others at both the Regulation 18 and Regulation 19 Consultation stages – as confirmed in the summaries of consultation representations on MSDC’s own website.

Mr Ash Edwards knows all about that alternative site, and also why it was pulled at the last minute…

Of course this isn’t the first time that critical council meetings have been mislead by Councillors. Back in July 2020 Councillor Andrew MacNaughton told a Council meeting that it was “far too late” to remove sites (with reference to SA12 & SA13). This was untrue – the sites could have been removed at that point.

And as we saw on Wednesday, we had no chance to correct this before the crucial vote. Any attempt to call the Council out from the public gallery was met with a jeering “Shut Up” from one of the Councillors (you can hear that on the recording too!)

We remain frustrated and angry that the system can be worked in this way.

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