New village plan ‘great news’ for Billingshurst

The Billingshurst Chamber of Commerce's newly elected Executive Committee: (Left to right) Fadoua Amrani, Patrick Perks, Sandy Duck (Secretary and Treasurer), Tom Mills, Mark Sheath, Martin Spurrier (Chair), Lauren Smith (Vice Chair) Sarah McNeil, Alan Wright. Graham Phillips was unable to attend. Photo submitted. SUS-150428-134928001

The Billingshurst Chamber of Commerce's newly elected Executive Committee: (Left to right) Fadoua Amrani, Patrick Perks, Sandy Duck (Secretary and Treasurer), Tom Mills, Mark Sheath, Martin Spurrier (Chair), Lauren Smith (Vice Chair) Sarah McNeil, Alan Wright. Graham Phillips was unable to attend. Photo submitted. SUS-150428-134928001

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Plans to regenerate Billingshurst’s village centre moved a step closer to fruition as they were presented to the chamber of commerce’s annual general meeting last week.

The draft document entitled ‘Billingshurst Village Centre - Supplementary Planning Document’ was commissioned by Horsham District Council in 2014 and will be published for consultation later this year.

It recommends creating ‘a real sense of arrival’, improved retail pedestrian ‘circuits’, better civic spaces, and a diversity of retail floor space and types.

Martin Spurrier, who was elected chairman of the Billingshurst Chamber of Commerce at its AGM, said: “This is great news for Billingshurst.

“There have been a number of attempts in the past to revitalise our village centre but there was no money to implement them. The consequent delays have created frustration, particularly among retailers.”

Once approved by HDC, proposals in the SPD could be funded from £1.72 million of developer contributions from the 475 new homes already approved east of the village.

Presenting the emerging proposals, Alistair Macdonald, director of Allies and Morrison Urban Practitioners, responsible for the SPD, said that the new plan builds on earlier studies and is the result of close working between HDC, his firm, Billingshurst Parish Council, Billingshurst Community Partnership and the chamber of commerce.

Mr Macdonald added: “The level of co-operation and involvement between the Billingshurst organisations and the council has been remarkable. There is a strong desire among the local community and the council to improve the performance and attractiveness of the retail offer.”

A new executive committee was voted in at the AGM and the outgoing chairman, Susan Venturi, was made an honorary life member for her six years of leadership.

Pictured is the newly elected executive committee: Fadoua Amrani, Patrick Perks, Sandy Duck (Secretary and Treasurer), Tom Mills, Mark Sheath, Martin Spurrier (Chair), Lauren Smith (Vice Chair) Sarah McNeil, Alan Wright. Graham Phillips was unable to attend.

For more information visit billingshurstchamber.co.uk