I feel compelled to right in response to the letter ‘Justifying an unjustified plan’ from Mr Morris (7.11.13) and previous correspondence in your newspaper from readers claiming that the proposed business park on land north of Horsham is not credible.
Frequent requests have been made by opponents to the scheme for a list of companies seeking accommodation in the town.
The sad fact is that Horsham is not on the radar of companies with regional requirements due to the lack of modern space.
Horsham has also had a tendency to hide what commercial offering it has behind hedges and consequently it is not obviously open for business.
After all, who knows as you drive up the A24 that the town boasts the national HQ for the RSPCA.
Historically Horsham has had a very insular marketplace with many of the larger employers in the town having grown from humble beginning over many years.
There has been very little evidence of speculative development or even the strategic allocation of land in anticipation of attracting companies to the district and consequently there has been very little evidence of inward migration with regional companies often having to opt for the soulless Manor Royal estate in Crawley or the M25 towns beyond.
The town has sadly been over- dependant on too few large companies and as a consequence of this the pain is greater when companies such as Novartis, Royal and Sun Alliance, Applied Materials, Sunley etc decide for a variety of reasons to downsize or relocate elsewhere.
To protect Horsham from becoming a dormitory town there is an urgent need to provide a world class business park to attract high value companies to the district that will provide quality employment opportunities to replace those that have been lost in recent years.
Obsolescence is a sad fact of life and a considerable amount of Horsham’s existing office stock is no longer fit for purpose.
We receive regional enquiries for large modern space on a regular basis and unfortunately Horsham has nothing to offer.
There is the opportunity to become a major player in the Gatwick Diamond Economic Initiative but we will not achieve this unless we raises the bar and embraces a new high quality, high profile business park.
The old adage ‘build and they will come’ cannot be truer. There is plenty of evidence that if you provide a quality environment in a strategic location close to major infrastructure companies will come. Look at Nestlé in Crawley, Rolex in Kings Hill, Rolls Royce in Chichester and Cannon in Reigate to name but a few.
I am a firm believer that if you create the right environment what company would not want to be located on a low density, leafy business park within walking distance of home for many employees and with plenty of parking for those travelling from further afield, served by a mainline railway station adjacent to probably the most appealing town in the South East of England, yet 50 minutes from central London and 15 minutes from one of the world’s busiest airports.
I rest my case!
ADAM WALKER MRICS
Crickmay Chartered Surveyors, London Road, Horsham