30 years ago

FROM the West Sussex County Times of Friday, September 11, 1981.

FEARS of trouble flaring up between rival groups have led to the banning of the disarmament rally in Horsham.

Organisers of the World Disarmament Campaign had hoped to hold a public sign-in at the bandstand in the Carfax as part of an international lobby.

But Horsham District Council refused them permission and at a meeting of the recreation and environment committee, councillors agreed to endorse the policy which only allows church and charity organisations to use the bandstand.

Arthur Sheppard was among those councillors firmly against the rally.

“We don’t want to see any trouble in this town. My concern is that this could spark something off – you get a load of youngsters and before you know where you are you’ve got smashed windows and so on,” he said.

FARMERS in the Horsham area were furious at suggestions that they had helped cause floods in the villages.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” was the angry reply from the secretary of the National Farmers’ Union in Surrey and West Sussex, John Biles.

Mr Biles was answering claims made at a meeting of Horsham District Council’s recreation and environment committee when recent cases of widespread flooding were debated.

In many cases, councillors believed the floods had been aggravated and sometimes caused by, blocked ditches and water courses following dumping by landowners.

Some owners were said to be vandalising the countryside and it was suggested that farmers should be reminded of their responsibilities in keeping ditches clear.

The Horsham area has been hit by three major floods in the past year and Horsham District Council published a detailed report into the causes and hopeful cures.

Mr Biles said he was very concerned by the council’s attitude towards farmers.

“While I realise that the term landowner could mean anyone from householder to a 2,000 acre estate, the implication in the article is that the farming community is to blame,” he commented.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. Can anyone seriously believe farmers would dump rubbish on their own land thereby risking injury to their stock or costly damage to their implements?

“Does anyone believe farmers infill ditches and thus cause flooding? Of course not. Any gardener knows plants will not grow in waterlogged soil.

“Farmers and landowners are concerned at the increasing practise of some members of the public who cannot be bothered to drive to their nearest local tip, and dump their household rubbish in the hedge and ditches of the neighbouring countryside.”

IN A YEAR in which they are celebrating the 750th anniversary of the first Vicar of Horsham, clergymen and churches in and around the town were facing the ‘very real’ threat of redundancy.

For the first time in years, income has dropped and church warden Jack Fielder said the parish will not be able to meet its £16,000 quota debt to the Chichester diocese.

“It is inevitable that the diocese will take a long, hard look at the number of clergy and churches in the parish, with a view to a reduction in one or the other, or both,” he commented.

He added: “This is not an idle threat, it is very real. We’ve got to pay our way.”

He made a special appeal at services held in the parish church on Sunday and, in the next few weeks, will be making similar appeals at the daughter churches of Holy Trinity, St Leonard’s, St Peter’s and St John’s at Broadbridge Heath.

“Just to meet our quota we need an extra £4,000 in the next four months and then there are fuel and maintenance costs and VAT to meet,” he went on.

“And that’s without putting anything at all into the fabric fund.”

By the end of the year, he said, the churches could well be a total of £10,000 in the red.