Confronting rapid change is a problem for many of us of riper years. Yet we are told that we must move with the times - or go under.
It’s called progress - or dog eat dog!
We live in times that I would describe as, ‘Social Darwinism’ - the survival of the fittest. And this philosophy is reflected in contemporary business ethics - or rather lack of them.
And Horsham is yet another victim of this soulless commercial world view. A key quality for the modern shopper is to be street-wise - or risk being taken for a ride - from supermarkets to call-out charges.
A couple of local examples which should make all of us reflect upon the future of our town.
We had a so-called Crown Post Office located in the Carfax - dating back to the beginning of the last century - with a memorial to those Post Office employees who made the supreme sacrifice in two World Wars.
Now our Crown Post Office has been relocated to the back of the retail premises of W.H. Smith in Swan Walk. It doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to forecast the chaotic scenes in the run-up to Christmas. Add to this the ever increasing cost of postage.
The Roffey branch of Lloyds Bank was recently refurbished - doubtless at considerable cost both to the bank and its customers.
The branch has now closed its doors for the last time - along with two cash machines. A notice informs its customers that their nearest branch is West Street, Horsham. That’s a great reward for years of personal loyalty to a local bank.
Looking to the future of Horsham - if one dare - just a cursory glance at the plans for Piries Place - one of the better pieces of planning when the town was revamped some years ago.
It is now due for what is termed a make-over since Waitrose moved to the other side of town - thus displacing the long-standing Horsham bowling club to the outer reaches of North Heath.
And we can expect a bijou cinema and a hotel - along with yet more restaurants and classy shops to compete with neighbouring East Street ‘foodies’. Yet another example of ad hoc development.
The Town and Country Planning Act of 1947 was one of the more imaginative policies of the post War Labour government under Clement Attlee.
It introduced the concept of the New Town - Crawley being a prime example. People from areas of inner London - who had been on the receiving end of the Luftwaffe could for the first time enjoy the countryside along with local employment.
But building Crawley alongside the main railway line to London was, in my view, a mistake. It merely created a growing commuting public.
Surely we urgently need more considered strategic town planning in our overcrowded South-East?
Labour’s post-war pipe-dream of the garden city has long gone by the board and it is now left to the whim of private developers to build where they want - also the type of houses that maximise their profits.
Local authority constraints have little effect. In short, what does the term, ‘affordable housing’ mean for young couples seeking a home in Horsham District in this 21st century?
Ask me another!
Robert B. Worley
Bourns Court, Ayshe Court Drive, Horsham
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