LETTER: Attractive ‘green lung’ is neglected

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As I recall, it was that rousing Labour politician and founding voice of our NHS - Aneurin Bevan - who described all politics as being, ‘a matter of priorities’.

With his words in mind, I read of the construction of what appears to be a costly piece of kit - soon to be opened in Horsham Park.

Here, of course, I refer to the new ten-metre high ‘obstacle course’ due to opened to the public on February 23rd. At a time when public money is so tight, it will be interesting to know the cost of this project to the public purse. Also whether its construction is entirely necessary in these cash-strapped times.

I say this because I live beside the lower of two lakes or ponds which formed part of the Ayshe Court estate before it was developed for housing in 1967/68.

Ayshe Court was an impressive Edwardian house with a pathway entrance fronting Depot Road, Horsham.

But when the then Urban District Council granted planning permission for development, it appears to have omitted any mention of ownership of two interlinked lakes - leaving them in limbo, without ownership being registered with the Land Registry.

So clearly in this instance it was either a mistake or deliberate oversight on behalf of the then local authority.

Fast forward to the early years of the present century when a mature tree - lining the lower lake and abutting a council-owned pathway - was felled by high winds and fell across the lake.

The cost to the council removing it would have been minimal. Their continuing refusal to offer help of any kind is based upon lack of public funds also because ownership of the two lakes or ponds cannot be proven.

However, had the tree fallen in the opposite direction, they would have paid for removal. How mean-spirited can one get?

So why all the fuss? The fact that the so-called Ayshe Court lakes form an attractive ‘green lung’ in the heart of high density housing and are also the home of many forms of wildlife seems to have escaped the council’s notice.

Also that both sides of the lakes are used daily by young children and their parents en route to schools in Harwood Road.

This has led to the managements of both Bourns Court and Lyon Court apartments having to erect ‘Warning’ signs as the lakes present a possible danger to high-spirited youngsters running amok unsupervised.

It should also be noted that all the trees lining the lower lake - close to the two blocks of flats - are subject to preservation orders and are properly tended by professional tree surgeons on a regular basis.

But our council allows all other remaining trees lining both lakes to decay and die off - also turning a blind eye to the surrounding fencing being vandalised.

The moral of this letter? It appears that there is one priority for an obstacle course for young daring climbers in the park - but quite another for a unique area of our town which has great potential for much needed recreational facilities to this neglected area of Horsham.

As Nye Bevan indicated, ‘it’s simply a question of priorities’!

ROBERT B. WORLEY

Bourns Court, Ayshe Court Drive, Horsham

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