Horsham council agrees key visions for town

Nightingale Road Industrial Estate. Photo by Derek Martin
Nightingale Road Industrial Estate. Photo by Derek Martin

A historic document outlining to developers how the councillors and the public would like to see Horsham town has been adopted by Horsham District Council.

After two public consultations and talks with businesses and employers, the Horsham Town Supplementary Planning Document was accepted as a vision for the town by councillors last Wednesday.

The document focuses on seven areas of the town - Carfax; West Street; Piries Place; the Forum; Albion Way; The Quarter (including East Street, Market Square and Denne Road); Hurst Road and Nightingale Road.

Developed and adapted over the past 18 months, the document states how HDC would like to see these areas looking in the future should developers put plans forward.

The visions include making an Albion Way boulevard, which would be more pedestrian-friendly with shops fronting the road, potential expansion of Swan Walk Shopping Centre with extensions into adjacent areas and adding entrances to increase footfall, but in all areas of the town centre refurbishment of existing retail units is considered ‘more appropriate’ than redevelopment.

If sites become available in Hurst Road and Nightingale Road areas, the document states that due to the proximity to the railway station it would be an attractive residential area.

Amid concerns of some of the ideas in the report being concrete plans for the future, deputy leader of the council Roger Arthur (Con, Chanctonbury) stressed this was a vision

He said: “This strategic planning document is an aspirational document preparing the way forward so that developers coming to us will have some idea of what we are looking for and how we want the town developed.

“It’s having joined-up thinking between the town centre and the outer areas.

“We have got a plan developers can see where, for example, we want a hotel, where industrial use would be suitable, where residential area may be suitable.

“There may be lots of things we could to, but we want it where we want it and not where developers would like it.”

Cabinet member for communication, special projects and Horsham town Helena Croft (Con, Roffey North) said: “I want to lend my support to this document. It’s a framework, a vision and level of control.

“I would also like to congratulate officers on making sure the consultation was as widespread as possible.”