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FROM the West Sussex County Times of Friday, January 30, 1981.

OUT TO test the waters of public opinion, West Sussex Area Health Authority’s district management team has announced a plan to cut the number of beds in Horsham Hospital’s maternity unit by more than a third.

The Cuckfield and Crawley district administrator, Peter Catchpole, has said that if the number of beds can be cut from 18 to 11 the extra space will be used for increased ante-natal facilities.

But the idea has already been called ‘drastic’ by Cuckfield and Crawley Community Health Council secretary Arthur Harman who has appealed for people wanting to keep the unit as it is, to write to his office.

He said: “In the past when proposals have been made which affect this well loved maternity unit, considerable reaction has been aroused.”

As a result, he said, the CHC has given assurances that they would test local opinion and he pointed out that the area authority could not move on its plan, if there were objections, without reference to ‘a higher authority’.

He added: “It’s now up to members of the public. If they want to keep the unit as it is they should contact my office as soon as possible.”

Explaining the management team’s idea, Mr Catchpole’s deputy, David Long, said: “The number of births in Horsham Hospital has declined over the years and there are no longer facilities there for dealing with any complications.

“The emphasis today is on babies being born in units where consultants are available. Then there is the question of the cost of running the Horsham unit.” He denied, however, that the plan was a step towards eventually closing the unit altogether. “It’s to bring it into line with demand,” he said.

WITH more than 1,000 adults looking for jobs in Horsham town and the immediate area, the situation is the worst it has ever been.

Norman Haines, manager of the town’s Jobcentre, said that he had 1,055 adults, 772 men and 283 women, registered as looking for work.

These figures are even worse than those at the start of the year when 952 people were registered with the Jobcentre, much worse compared with the beginning of 1980 when the total was 576.

Some of the increase in the number of unemployed had been anticipated, said Mr Haines. “We were aware that we would be having about 30 men who were made redundant at Southwater Brickworks and warned three months ago.

“Then we had the usual pattern of some employers who intended to get rid of parts of their workforce keeping them on in some cases until Christmas and in other cases until the start of the New Year,” he said.

AFTER living in the attractive village of West Chiltington for 22 years, comic Norman Wisdom has dug up his roots and emigrated to the Isle of Man.

“My father did a summer season in the Isle of Man last year and thought the place was fantastic,” said his son Nicholas, who runs a sports shop in Haywards Heath.

“Mind you, he does tend to fall in love with everywhere he goes. Moving has been a slow process.

“He went over there in September. He sold his home in West Chiltington to the first buyer who came along.

“He is now trying to sell his flat in Kensington and has bought another flat in Epsom. He wants to live out of London. He’s just slowing down a bit I think,” said Nicholas.