I have just read with utter amazement of the decision to hold another inquiry into the pedestrianisation of East Street costing a whopping £25,000 for yet another so-called independant consultant’s report!
You only have to go down the pedestrianised East Street to see just how much of an improvement getting rid of cars and other vehicles has made to this important part of our town centre.
It doesn’t take a genius, much less another bureaucratic exercise to see the benefits to the great majority of our citizens.
It is not that long ago that this street had a really tatty and very unloved appearance, people squeezing past cars and using this only as a necessary evil to get to the Carfax and more up-market parts of the town to do their shopping.
Now we have a wonderful restaurant district, smarter shops and a truly continental ambience that draws people from far and wide to our lovely town.
Of course, it is important to protect the needs of the disabled members of our community but we can’t just allow them to have uncontrolled vehicular access to every part of the town at the expense of our traders, majority of residents and, increasingly importantly, those many visitors from outside Horsham who are helping us to try and maintain our vibrant consumer economy.
I suggest the council may possibly increase its supply of disabled parking permits to allow people of less mobility to park near to the town centre and then use wheelchairs or the council’s own disabled powered chairs to reach the pedestrianised streets such as East Street.
Pedstrianisation should not stop at just East Street (and the equally successful West Street) but in the long term we should think about getting rid of cars altogether from the Carfax, too!
To those that oppose pedestrianisation, I recommend they look at the success stories of those towns and cities that have kept the car away from people in their shopping districts.
From the newly revamped pedestrianised parts of the great Birmingham city centre, to the relaxed atmosphere of the non-car square of Banska Bystric (in Slovakia) and on to the busy pedestrianised shopping centre of the Old Nanjing Road in Shanghai.
The story is always the same. Get rid of the car and you will free up the people to shop and trade in a safe, prosperous town centre environment.
I have enjoyed my 40 years in Horsham and welcome such imaginative changes as East Street presents to us.