30 years ago

FROM the West Sussex County Times of Friday, April 3, 1981.

FREE car parking in Horsham could only be achieved by a substantial increase in rates, say Horsham District Council.

That was the official reply to a suggestion that the town should encourage shoppers and motorists by considering free parking, instead of embarking on a new round of price increases.

The suggestion was made by Horsham businessman Bernard Newman and was taken up by the County Times in a comment entitled ‘Give drivers a break’.

However, the district council say that if the motorist does not pay for his parking, then every ratepayer would have to share the burden of paying for and running the car parks.

The council’s chief executive Douglas Balmford said it was wrong to assume that there was a relatively minimal cost involved in keeping the present multi-storey and on-surface car parks in repair.

Loans are still being repaid and rates have to be paid on them which will cost in the order of £200,000 this year in respect of multi-storey car parks alone, he pointed out.

The Albion Way multi-storey cost £1.25m to build between 1974 and 1976 and the Worthing Road car park a similar sum.

ANGRY Upper Beeding parents have decided to go it alone in a bid to cut the cost of school bus fares.

Parents who pay three pounds a week for each of their children to travel to school in Steyning, crowded into Upper Beeding Village Hall to draw up plans to run a private-hire coach.

After years of fighting to get either concessionary fares from County Hall, or half fares from Southdown, parents decided ‘enough was enough’, and the only answer was to go it alone. A parent, who has one child at the school, contacted the education authority and the school, and then called this meeting.

Ian Wills, of West Sussex County Council’s educational transport department, explained the problems the parents would face, and suggested how they could be overcome.

“The cost of one trip is very high,” he said, “but a second run is that much cheaper. I have spoken to one of the drivers who does the trip for the education department, and he reckons he can do the trip for £15 a day, which means about 30 pence per child.”

He explained that under the 1980 Traffic Act, groups like the parents could organise alternative transport, on condition all the passengers get on and off at the same place, and fares are not collected on the bus.

The parents became more determined to succeed when they heard Mr Wills’ estimate of £15 a day for the hire of the coach. “That works out that we would be paying exactly half what we are paying now,” said a parent.

STRONG language from a Women’s Institute drama group took the audience by surprise at Barns Green Drama Festival.

Four-letter words used by the cast were part of the script of John Reason’s play ‘Comedienne’ presented by Warnham WI.

Festival adjudicator Peter Carr in his summing up afterwards suggested the rough language could have been altered, although he accepted it was apt in the context of the play.

Producer Pat Bensted-Smith who also took part in the play, said later that she could not tell from the stage whether the audience had been shocked or not.

“But I think the language was quite dated,” she said. “It would be fair to say that if people were shocked they were taking offence unnecessarily.”

The play takes place on the stage of a small provincial theatre and portrays a touring company getting ready for rehearsals.

The six characters used various Anglo-Saxon four letter words during conversation in what was considered to be ‘common’ backstage language in theatre-land.

But members of the audience, which included some children and elderly people, were taken aback, although there were no official protests.