LETTER: Billingshurst - get your pride back

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Having returned to West Sussex from Hampshire after a 15 year absence I took the opportunity to visit one of my favourite villages,Billingshurst,and what a shock I received.

Billingshurst used to be a ‘beautiful, well presented village’ and I knew from friends it had a make-over a few years ago with new footpaths and landscaping etc which I looked forward to seeing after an absence of so many years.

Having moved back to nearby Wisborough Green I had cause to go into Billy as my car was being serviced down at the Station so I decided to walk up and have a coffee and a browse.

To say I was shocked is an understatement as I honestly thought I had taken a wrong turn and ended up in a South London suburb such was the decay and shabbyness.

Overgrown weeds outside 90 per cent of shops, flaking paint, dirty windows, litter piles and general unkemptness greets the visitor to what should be one of West Sussex’s finest.

A couple of exceptions I may add being Budgens and the Six Bells which both made the effort to keep their shop fronts clean and tidy.

I understood from friends that hundreds of new houses have been built in and around the village during the past few years and several hundred more are in the pipeline yet, it would appear, local businesses are doing everything possible to deter these new customers from spending their hard-earned disposable income in the village.

What does it cost to pull out a few weeds , apply a coat of paint or run a cloth over a window?

I for one would be embarrassed to bring any visitors into Billingsurst in its current state and would implore both the local councillors and the business community to do as I did and walk down the High Street with your eyes fully open... you will be shocked!

Finally, we recently visited both Steyning and Petworth... what a contrast!

‘Come on Billy’ - get back your pride.

PETER MCLAUGHLIN

Kirdford Road, Wisborough Green