Roy Cornell (Con, Roffey South) replaces Holbrook East councillor Andrew Baldwin, who dramatically resigned at full council last week over his support of a controversial motion on the town’s housing future.
Mr Baldwin alleged leader Ray Dawe told him he would be sacked if he supported the motion to move a planned 2,500 homes north of Horsham to Southwater.
Responding to the allegation, Mr Dawe said: “Andrew has been a cabinet member during the whole time that the council’s housing plan has been formulated and is fully aware that, as with any senior management team, cabinet members have a collective responsibility and cannot just opt in and opt out of supporting existing council policies, particularly as critical as the one that was being debated.”
Mr Dawe said he was ‘very disappointed’ to see Mr Baldwin leave the cabinet as he was an ‘enthusiastic and hard-working’ member.
He pointed out his colleague could have simply abstained.
He said: “He told his cabinet colleagues he was being put under great pressure from some of those supporting the motion.
“I find it a great pity that he has gone but at the end of the day it was his decision.”
Mr Cornell has been praised by Mr Dawe as an experienced cabinet member but was forced to apologise in 2012, after making the ‘shanty town’ remarks during a discussion about improving Horsham town centre.
He said: “I am sure that there are councillors throughout the country who make remarks in the heat of a discussion that they might subsequently regret and then they usually more fully explain their remark and/or apologise.”