Site has been a council ‘cash-cow’

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The Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre site has been a Horsham District Council ‘cash-cow’ since the amalgamation from Horsham Rural Council.

When the army bomb disposal site came on the market, Horsham Rural Council and West Sussex County Council were both interested in the purchase.

Horsham rural councillors instructed Peter Suthill, Government Officer, to negotiate the purchase of this site which he did for approximately £23k.

Horsham rural councillors then sold part of the site to West Sussex County Council, a site they still have, for £5k. Horsham Rural Council and Horsham Urban Council then amalgamated to become Horsham District Council, and they subsequently sold part of the site to Tesco, providing a cash flow bucket for this rural asset and enabling the Horsham Centre Development.

Since then, more money has been generated from the various site deals (Halfords, DIY Stores etc.) The leisure centre would never have existed if it was not for the Horsham rural councillors’ business acumen.

As a small gift for all the money HDC had taken from Rural Equity, they gave Billingshurst Parish Council payment for the Village Hall which was part of the Rural Council Area.

When other land in the area was purchased by the local farmer, I proposed that in his building plans he must give part of his land for a future dual carriageway.

At a later date it was agreed as part of a deal with Tesco’s, for them to carry out the top half of the dual carriageway.

The rest of the dual carriageway land should now generate HDC more income.

It is disgusting that the leisure centre is in such a state of disrepair as quoted after only 25 years.

Get it repaired urgently.

Everyone should do all that is possible to hold this valuable area and facility for public use for years to come, especially as this is a fast growing area and requiring more recreation space.

Langhurst’s 56 acres was another shrewd Horsham Rural Council purchase.

The site was bought for £1million and then half was sold on for £1million to A R Robins Chemical Company, who were going to relocate to Plymouth as their local site was too small.

This kept them in our area, saving 150 jobs.

The remaining 23 acre site cost nothing, another valuable asset form the astute purchase by Horsham Rural Council for Horsham District Council to raise money from. How much have they had from this so far?

C.P.H. GRIFFIN

Five Oaks, Billingshurst