Horsham MP Francis Maude has endorsed the creation of a masterplan to help rejuvenate Billingshurst’s village centre.
Horsham District Council appointed consultants to draw up a Supplementary Planning Document for the village centre, looking at what could be done to improve what it currently offers.
This follows concern about the future vitality of the centre of Billingshurst, including Jengers Mead, as it faces the prospect of hundreds of the new homes in the coming years.
Mr Maude attended a walkabout in Billingshurst late last month with county, district, and parish councillors, along with representatives of Billingshurst’s chamber of commerce and community partnership.
Horsham district councillor for Billingshurst and Shipley Andrew Breacher, who organised the event , said: “We have a real opportunity to develop a positive plan and to create a long-term vision for Billingshurst village centre that the community can get behind and support.
“Billingshurst has enormous potential and has a wealth of attractions and assets. Indeed, the community now has the chance to maximise the impact of these benefits. The village has an attractive high street and excellent amenities, but there are areas of the village centre that are isolated and are not used to their potential.
“We need to make these areas more amenable to people who wish to use the facilities on offer. The planning consultants will help us to consider how we can make these areas best work for the community.”
Mr Maude added: “I am delighted to see that the leading community and business organisations are working together in Billingshurst towards the long-term sustainability and future of the village.
“With schools, a railway station and excellent regional connections, Billingshurst has great potential if opportunities are seized.”
The work is currently being undertaken by Allies and Morrision along with GL Hearn, which will explore viable options for the village centre.
The SPD will then become a supplement to the Horsham District Planning Framework.
A community engagement day will be held allowing members of the public to share their views on draft plans.
When the project was discussed by Billingshurst Parish Council in April several councillors hoped plans could increase footfall through the village, but others wondered if it could compete with nearby settlements.