I am worried that the proposed Waitrose/John Lewis development may lead to some undesirable changes to the Bishopric in Horsham.
Concern has been expressed that shoppers at the new development will not bother to cross Albion Way and, as a result, the town centre shops will lose custom.
The developers have said that they want to have connectivity with the town centre and it has been suggested that, with the removal of the now defunct ‘Shelley’ fountain, there should be a ‘smartening up’ of the stub of Bishopric between the Lynd Cross and Albion Way.
At present there are some quite desirable features here. The trees at the Albion Way end provide a good visual and sound screen from the traffic on Albion Way.
As a result it is surprisingly peaceful and the water feature with its ‘waterfall’ and ‘stream’ are attractive features. And there are seats, too! HDC, for all its difficulties, manages to keep this area clean and tidy.
It would be a great pity if all this was swept away in the name of connectivity.
Yes, there will be a problem of people going to Waitrose but not entering the town centre. The greatest difficulty is not the screen of trees, nor the water feature, but Albion Way itself.
It must be made easier to cross. Consideration must also be given to car parking at the new Waitrose. If users are given long enough (free, as at Sainsbury’s) to pop into town as well as shop at the store, they will soon find their way into the town centre.
If they are penalised for this, they will not do it. Not many will go to Waitrose and then go on to another town centre car park for more shopping.
In short HDC and the developers have got to think their parking strategy out carefully.
With good signage and a positive parking philosophy it will not be necessary to destroy the relative peace of that little bit of Bishopric between Lynd Cross and Albion Way.
Better for us all!