30 years ago

FROM the West Sussex County Times of Friday, March 6, 1981.

A SCHEME to spend over £40,000 on a nuclear blast shelter in the basement of crumbling Park House in North Street, Horsham, was approved by members of Horsham District Council’s influential policy and resources committee.

The shelter would become command headquarters for the Horsham district in the event of a nuclear explosion taking place.

It would provide an operational centre and living accommodation for 20 people who would be able to survive for 30 days underground, with a ration of food and 350 gallons of water.

Built into the shelter would be special blast doors, air locks and another feature would be a 20 metre escape tunnel.

And councillors have also agreed that families of staff needed to man the bunker should be moved into ‘suitably prepared accommodation’ also in Park House, in the event of a nuclear attack.

The scheme is part of the nationwide War Emergency Plan in which local government officers would take over command of towns and villages should normal life break down.

Nominated officers would be responsible for organising relief work, co-ordinating essential services and supervise a return to order in the wake of a nuclear blast.

If the Horsham scheme goes ahead it will mean that the town will house two nuclear shelters for local government officers.

West Sussex County Council has already erected a purpose built shelter at Moons Lane, Horsham, which is designated to be a county ‘standby’ headquarters should Chichester be put out of action.

A DIRECTOR of EMI, owners of Horsham’s sole remaining cinema, admitted that his company was considering selling the long established North Street business.

But even before the official comment from David Jones, rumours had been rife in the town about the future of the cinema and hundreds of people have rallied to a call for help from staff there.

Petitions have cropped up all over the place, including pubs, and there has been no shortage of ready signatures.

Confirmation of the proposed change to a bingo hall came on Wednesday when EMI Cinemas issued a notice saying that application was being made to Horsham District Council for planning permission to change the use from cinema to bingo club.

A HEALTH centre for Storrington is ‘number one priority’ and is expected to be built next year, it was revealed.

A spokesman for West Sussex Area Health Authority said that although the centre was only in the early stages of planning, it was definitely included in the 1982-83 plan.

“We are unsure how the centre will be funded,” he said. “There will be a change of funding in that year and the money will not come from a specific budget, but will be thrown into a whole pool of capital projects.”

“A site has been suggested, but the owners have not been approached yet. The scheme is number one on the Worthing management team’s priority list, and negotiations are going on at the moment with all parties involved.”

The health centre would be manned by four general practitioners, and would be a medium sized centre, to serve Storrington and surrounding villages, he said.