The story of West Street will be told during a day of celebration in Horsham town centre today (Saturday November 16).
At a time when Britain’s high streets are facing more challenges than ever before, Horsham District Council and its partners at West Sussex County Council have invested more than £600,000 to breathe life into the town’s most popular street.
This major rejuvenation, which began in October, includes new signage and furniture, and a curvy pavement design capturing Horsham’s rich heritage concerning horses.
The project was made possible thanks to funding from West Sussex County Council’s Kick Start programme.
A total of £565,000 was allocated from this pot and Horsham District Council contributed another £100,000 which is hoped to last for improvements beyond this scheme.
The money awarded by the county council could only be used for this purpose.
Today a series of fun events are taking place to celebrate West Street’s grand unveiling.
Horsham District Council’s deputy leader Helena Croft said: “I am really excited by the programme that our team are putting together.
“As well as a lot of fun on the day, the latest developments to the street will be presented in their proper context with the town’s history, showing how it has responded to the social, commercial and environmental changes that have shaped people’s reasons for being there over time.”
Visitors can look forward to: Christmas lights, entertainments and music; horse-drawn carriage rides along the Causeway; a fantastic programme of story-telling for all ages; demonstrations of horses and associated trades; historical re-enactors; local authors and artists; a special Horsham Museum exhibition; West Street historical walking tours; a marquee full of horse-themed children’s activities; a Ferrari display and local produce and general markets.
Numerous businesses will host their own events too.
Pret A Manger will have a face painter, and Mr Simms sweet shop will be handing out free confectionary to the winner of their own crossword competition.
Dixey Opticians will be giving away a free coffee with every Italian cake purchased, and in Piries Place La Vida is offering 20 per cent off all weekend.
Visitors can also meet characters from Horsham’s past, from William Albery to Marilyn Monroe and learn about their connections with West Street and the town.
For those wanting to get an in-depth look at the street’s history, Horsham Museum curator Jeremy Knight will be conducting walking tours on Saturday. These will take around 30 minutes and are available at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm.
Modern-day horse power will be represented in the form of supercars in The Forum to highlight the town’s annual Piazza Italia festival which will mark its 8th year in 2014.
A spokesperson for the local authority said: “Whatever people feel about how worthwhile this development is, businesses have taken it as an opportunity to get involved and host a string of fun events to increase footfall and make the day that extra special.”
Horsham District Council is encouraging everyone to bring their cameras and take part in bringing this day in Horsham’s history to life.
Further information about the launch events will be posted online at www.horsham.gov.uk/weststreet.
For more information please contact Horsham District Council by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01403 215386.