A HORSHAM district councillor this week unveiled proposals for a major luxury hotel to be built on the edge of Horsham Park.
Gordon Brown, the vice-chairman of the council's northern planning committee said the 55-bedroom hotel on three storeys in a Queen Anne style of architecture could be constructed on the Horsham nursery school site when it is vacated.
He has written to all councillors outlining the proposal and making the plea that they "seriously consider these proposals objectively and do not recoil in horror that it would be located in Horsham Park."
But its location in the park is likely to prove extremely contentious.
Mr Brown's Conservative leader Liz Kitchen has already contacted the County Times to distance herself from the scheme and to make it clear that this is his own personal proposal and he is not speaking on behalf of her, her cabinet or the council.
In his letter to councilors and the County Times, Mr Brown said: "Since the closure of the King's Head many people have expressed concern that Horsham is without a quality hotel facility.
"I have been pursuing, on my own initiative, a hotel proposed for Horsham. It is one thing to say that we need a hotel but it is necessary to prove the need and to examine its sustainability.
"In August last year, I approached Danny Pecorelli the managing director of Exclusive Hotels, who have a significant presence in Horsham with the South Lodge Hotel and Mannings Heath Golf Club. In addition Exclusive Hotels own the Manor House Hotel in Castle Combe Wiltshire, Lainston House Hotel Winchester and Pennyhill Park in Basingstoke.
"All of these hotels are quality hotels, and as such Exclusive Hotels are well placed to offer advice on Horsham's needs.
"I must emphasize that the advice given by Exclusive Hotels has been on a "without prejudice" basis.
"Mr Pecorelli, in consultation with his market advisors, has recommended that Horsham could sustain a 55-bedroom hotel on three storeys in a Queen Anne style of architecture.
"The site that has been identified is Horsham Nursery School when that is vacated.
"The hotel would occupy that site with no further intrusions into Horsham Park. The car parking facilities would be at the front of the building entered from North Street.
"The Primary Care Trust currently occupy the car park, but I am advised that their car parking needs can be accommodated elsewhere.
"The new building would be some 50 metres from Park House, the well landscaped area to the rear of Park House would be extended toward the hotel building which would be tastefully landscaped creating a very pleasant area of landscaping contributing to Horsham In Bloom.
"The Queen Anne architectural style would be very sympathetic to Park House.
"The council would retain land ownership, granting the hotel developer a 125-year lease, paying a ground rent to the council reviewed every five years.
"The hotel proposed would be of 4 Star standard adding a dimension to Horsham that I believe a town of this quality deserves.
"In being sited close to the Capitol Theatre, it would be of benefit to the public who would be able to combine a theatre visit and an overnight stay if required. It would also be beneficial to the performers who must stay elsewhere when appearing in Horsham.
"A level of employment would be created and overall the hotel of the quality proposed would be very beneficial to Horsham."
What do you think? Do you support the proposal – or are you appalled by the location in Horsham Park? Register your comments below.
A full report plus pictures of the proposal and site plans will appear in the County Times on Friday January 25 – along with a selection of your comments and view.