The draft Green Space strategy, which was published by Horsham District Council, earlier this year set out a vision for well-designed and cared for open spaces for the next 20 years.
As one might expect, Horsham Park plays a key part in this strategy.
So it’s not really surprising that the recent application by DC Leisure for planning permission to erect zip lines in Horsham Park was greeted with such horror.
Over the years, the nature of our park has changed with the construction of what was a small sports centre, now a bowling alley, the Pavilions in the Park, the children’s play area and the Human Nature Landscape Garden.
Whatever one’s views as to the pros and cons of these changes, there can be no doubt that they’ve changed the nature of the park.
Whether this has been for the better or worse is a matter of opinion.
We all realise in the current economic climate that many of our green open spaces can and should be capable of generating revenue. We already do this to some extent.
For example, the park is used by visiting fairs and circuses. We should continue to encourage the use of the park for these and other events.
A number of smaller events already take place each year and it should be possible increase that number.
We also need to retain the football pitches and the tennis courts so as to encourage people of all ages to take the opportunity to become involved in a range of outdoor sporting activities.
The benefit of events and sporting activities is that they provide us with a great deal of pleasure whilst at the same time only having a temporary effect on our use the park in most cases.
Parts of the park are taken over for short periods of time and then returned to their original state. Clearly some essential repair or maintenance may be required to the grassed areas after certain events have taken place, especially when there’s been lots of rain, but this shouldn’t present a problem. Events should act as revenue generators, so repair and maintenance work should be self-financing.
Events are not only for the benefit of the people, who live in Horsham.
They also bring in people from outside the town, which can have a beneficial effect on the retail businesses within the town, provided the visitors are made aware of how close the town centre is to the park.
However, the latest proposal is an invasive and dangerous threat.
Do we really want what looks like a 12m high pylon erected in our park?
Can you imagine how the view would be changed when looking towards Park House from the North Parade end of the park?
Do we want some of the existing trees removed to create such a monstrosity?
If it’s such a good idea, let’s have it as a facility as part of our new leisure centre, when the replacement for the existing Broadbridge Heath leisure centre is built.
We certainly don’t want it in our park.