30 years ago

From the West Sussex County Times of Friday, April 8, 1983.

Horsham’s Forest Hospital should be closed by March 1990 and the entire site sold to help pay for new, smaller centres in a major shake-up of services for the mentally handicapped.

That is one of the main conclusions in a special report by the Mid Downs Health Authority whose members met at the Horsham hospital.

Top priority should be given to building the first 24-bed community unit for adults in Crawley by late 1985, funded by the sale of eight acres of the Forest site, goes on the report.

Similar units would follow at Haywards Heath or Burgess Hill, Horsham, and perhaps East Grinstead.

These may have to be paid for initially by a bridging loan.

Forest’s 220 residents, most of whom come from other health districts, would be gradually transferred.

Some, where appropriate, would be sent back to their own areas. Others would be moved either to the new units of social services accommodation.

The report stresses that no resident should be transferred without considering personal relationships, family links and lengths of stay. The people concerned and their relatives should be consulted.

Horsham Town Twinning Association is to consider a request to link Horsham with a town in West Germany.

This was revealed by association chairman Col Harold Nelson at a district council reception for rugby players from Horsham’s twin town of St Maixent L’Ecole.

He said members of a football team from Lage, in the North Rhine area, had put the idea to him during their visit to Horsham over Easter.

“They are very anxious to set up town twinning with Horsham. It’s a definite possibility and we will be bringing it up at our next executive meeting.”

The reception at New Park House for the two French teams, also visiting Horsham over Easter, was marked by the now familiar round of complimentary speeches and a presentation of gifts.

St Maixent Rugby Club president Serge Nisse said the visit was ‘particularly meaningful’ for the people of his town.

“Rugby has been the pioneer and today we are celebrating the first anniversary, that is to say the first meeting of the rugby clubs of our two towns, since the twinning ceremony in July in Horsham and November in St Maixent.”

A new supermarket in Billingshurst High Street has been accepted in principle by district planners – but the would-be developers will have to scale it down.

A supermarket as large as Sainsburys in Horsham would need far more parking spaces than the 11 already planned for staff only, members of the area one plans sub-committee agreed.

The plan has so far found favour – in principle – with the district and parish councils and the Billingshurst Society, but all have expressed concern about the lack of parking.

District council officers have said a supermarket of the size proposed would require 48 spaces.

Councillors were discussing an application by Southern Counties Garages of 66 High Street, for the demolition of the post office at 62 High Street and the garage.

The plan is to build a supermarket of more than 19,000 square feet with a post office counter and staff room of 538 square feet.

The application was deferred for further negotiation.

District planning officer Philip Hodskinson said officers considered the principle of demolition and retail use of the site were acceptable and although there were access problems these were capable of solution.