Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent in renovating the streets, in improving signage, and creating photo opportunities for district councillors, all of which appears to have culminated in a plethora of green plastic squares stuck to the ground around Horsham town centre.
If you were to give a five year old an ink stamp, a map of the retail areas, and a selection of sugared snacks for lunch, they would not have made more of an impact to presentation of our town than these adverts for a parking system.
The question has to be asked; why are decision makers so quick to dismiss any attempt at taking pride in the work already completed. From the yellow brick road of West Street and its evergreen ashtrays they go ahead and paste over the bubblegum evidence with adverts that might be mistaken for advanced stop areas for cyclists.
There may once have been a time in our local heritage where the craftsman and civil servant alike would take great pains to show a pride in their creations; to create a public work that established a lineage of professional effort which would encourage a similar public respect. I feel those times are the past on which Horsham would attempt to trade its image. We could be a rural town, with rustic character, defined by centuries of heritage in market and farming. Instead with a few layers of advertising underfoot the thin end of the wedge is firmly in place.
It cannot be long before the realisation of income possibilities is tabled before a council meeting. Excuses, validation, statistics, and approval will be generated and before long more of these foot worn adverts will be laid out.
With a generation already neck bent and face down into their mobile devices they walk around oblivious to posters and notices. The only place an advert has a chance to be seen is underfoot. This is not to say that the information is unwelcome but that it is misplaced and poorly presented.
Between garish pink baubles and lurid green stickers the message sent is not one of information and guidance but afterthought and disinterest. Just as the public bridleway message over Albion Way fails to ‘fit in’ with the style and presentation of other signs so these artifacts of urban life show that money may be spent but pride in presentation and placement are lacking.