From the West Sussex County Times
of Friday, June 3, 1983.
Tuesday night’s violent thunderstorms
cut electricity supplies to about 1,000
homes in the
and flooded shops
and offices in Bill-ingshurst.
Many households in Southwater and
Rusper were without power for several
hours after lightning damaged power
cables and blew fuses.
“It was a particularly vicious storm,”
said a Seeboard spokesman, “but we
got off quite lightly”. Engineers worked
through the night to restore supplies
and staff were drafted in at 6am to an-swer distress calls.
Torrential rain flooded several buildings
in High Street, Billingshurst. The Fruit
Shop, which suffered the same fate
only last December, was swamped with
three inches of water.
The Billingshurst offices of estate
agents, Churchman Burt and Sons,
were also affected. The manager was
woken by police just after 5am with the
news that water was seeping into the
There was also flooding in New Street,
Billingshurst, and in Horsham a man-hole cover outside the railway station
was forced off by water.
Horsham firemen were called out just
after 3am when lightning set off an au-tomatic fire detector. West Sussex Fire
Brigade received 25 calls during the
night because of the storm.
Bethany Fellowship, a Christian organi-sation based near Handcross, is in the
running to buy Roffey Place, the former
RSPCA training college near Horsham.
An elder of the 200-member communi-ty said: “The whole thing is not clinched
at this stage.
“As far as we are concerned the wheels
are turning and they have not com-pleted the cycle. But the whole thing
is very serious and we are following it
The fellowship, founded by Colin Ur-quhart five years ago and dedicated to
‘spiritual renewal’, sends missionary
teams all over the world.
The news that it had put in an offer for
Roffey Place came as another inter-ested buyer, Oak Ridge Radio Ltd, was
given the go-ahead to use the building
as studios for the independent station
serving Reigate and Crawley.
But at a meeting area one plans sub-committee heard there was a ‘suspi-cion’ that Oak Ridge might have had its
bid for Roffey Place turned down.
Oak Ridge’s chairman, John Christian,
said: “I just don’t know. We put in a very
substantial offer, but as I understand
it we were outbid by a religious com-munity and they had until last Friday to
exchange contracts. But no one has
said a word to me. There is no distress
on our side. We are well in line for an-other property and we shall be on the
air in time.”
Warnham parish councillors have
slammed conversion plans for Field
Place, birthplace of the poet Shelley.
A Guernsey-based development com-pany Curstar Ltd, which now owns the
15 bedroom house – parts of which date
back to 1410 – has applied to convert
part of the second floor into offices.
The company has also applied to Hor-sham District Council for the removal of
an agricultural occupancy condition on
an adjoining cottage.
Charles Lucas, chairman of the council
and also a county councillor, said it was
difficult to know what Curstar planned
for the building with only piecemeal ap-plications being made.
Whatever they had in mind, he said, he
would like to see the house remain as
a private home. “Our view is that it has
always been a residential house and it
should remain as a residential house.”
He said there had been a lot of rumour
about just what Curstar planned
and many objections from Warnham
residents to the two applications. Any
change in the building’s structure which
might endanger its listing as a grade
one building of special historical and
architectural interest should be fought,