30 years ago

FROM the West Sussex County Times of Friday, October 30, 1981.

APART from her wedding day, Friday was the most wonderful day of her life for Evelyn Mauchel when she received the key for the front door of Horsham’s new indoor swimming pool.

Mrs Mauchel, chairman of Horsham District Council’s recreation and environment committee, received the key from Max Hunt, managing director of John Hunt Ltd, the firm which designed and built the pool.

She said it was something she had been working towards for 12 years, trying to convince other councillors that a new indoor swimming pool was something that was needed.

“It is here, on November 21,” she said, “that the pool will have the people of Horsham swimming in it.”

She told Mr Hunt: “This has been a great partnership. This is marvellous for Horsham.”

Mr Hunt said he was personally delighted to see the project and he congratulated Mrs Mauchel, councillors and council officers on providing an amenity of which the people of Horsham could be proud.

Because of the delays the council has had to find not £300,000, but £875,000. And the public has had to raise another £78,000 to help pay for fixtures and fittings.

But those who enjoyed a sneak preview of the new building on Friday believe that the anguish has been well worthwhile.

BINGO playing in Horsham comes to an end next Saturday with the closure of the town’s sole hall, the Mecca in North Street.

Marketing director of Mecca in London, Robin Booker, confirmed the lease on the property was expiring and would not be renewed.

“The staff are aware we are closing on November 7 and most of them are being made redundant,” he said.

Several people employed by the North Street based entertainment centre – once a cinema – informed the Horsham Jobcentre that they had received redundancy notices.

The bingo hall site has already been the subject of a speculative planning application for the building of a major office complex, including land adjacent to it.

And earlier this year the bingo club had been linked with proposals to take over the present ABC cinema in Horsham as a new bingo centre.

But those plans collapsed when the council refused permission for bingo there.

The news brings more gloom to the town’s employment situation, now being badly hit by the recession.

STORRINGTON, last week threatened with pay and display charging for the use of its Horsham District Council car parks, came under fresh fire on Tuesday.

Until now, small but ever-growing Storrington has been a shopping magnet, attracting visitors not only from most of Chanctonbury’s villages but others along the coast to the south.

The big attraction has been not only a wide variety offered by Storrington’s shops but the fact that visitors have unlimited free use of its car parks.

But on Tuesday a hammer blow to Storrington and its shopping attractions came with the opening of a new Tesco supermarket at West Durrington, near Worthing, south of the Downs.

There are 400 free parking spaces next to the giant store and its 17 separate individual shops which make the considerable shopping precinct off New Road.

Storrington Chamber of Trade chairman John Grenfield is aware of the dangers facing shopkeepers but is at a loss to know what steps should be taken to fight off the now twin attack on the shopping attractions of his village-cum-town.

“We have been well aware that ever since Horsham took over from the old Chanctonbury rural council there would be the possibility that the larger and remote district council would want to capitalise on the car parks handed to them on a plate by Chanctonbury,” he said.

He could understand Horsham’s anxieties about car park maintenance and management in the rural parts but did not think the existing situation could be improved by Horsham slapping charges on motorists using the car parks.