30 years ago

FROM the West Sussex County Times of Friday, January 15, 1982.

A LAST ditch bid to prevent the Capitol Theatre being demolished to allow for the building of a Marks and Spencer store was under way in Horsham this week.

The protesters are planning their biggest show of strength yet on Monday when Horsham District Council is due to make the final decisions to approve the controversial proposals.

And it is understood that some councillors are planning to vote against the package deal which includes the provision of a new theatre in the present ABC cinema building in North Street.

Just ten days after the policy and resources committee made its unanimous recommendation to demolish the Capitol, the full council will vote on the plan.

There to meet the councillors when they arrive for their special meeting in the Town Hall at 6.30pm will be as many supporters of the theatre as the users’ clubs can muster.

“We will be protesting right up until that meeting and telling the council we do not want to lose the Capitol. So far they have given us no guarantee that if we lose our theatre we shall have another to replace it,” said one of the organisers.

FIRE stations at Henfield, Partridge Green and Storrington will remain open – despite fears they would face the axe in county council spending cuts.

A joint statement from the leader of the council’s ruling Conservative group and the chairman of the policy and resources committee was issued. The statement lifted the threat of closure at the Henfield and Partridge Green stations, and cutbacks in fire cover in Storrington, Findon and Petworth.

Plans for the cutbacks in emergency fire cover had been drawn up by West Sussex County council’s fire and public protection committee, which faced the prospect of trimming its budget by £177,000. When the proposed cuts were announced, there was an immediate reaction from angry Henfield residents who launched a petition and poster campaign to save their fire station.

TOBOGGANS and skis have proved the best form of transport in the snow and freezing temperatures of the past week – which have been described by weathermen as the worst to hit the area since the winters of 1947 and 1963.

Gatwick Airport was badly affected at the beginning of the bad spell and on Saturday was closed on and off throughout the day. However, after about 11pm on Saturday the airport was able to open again and a spokesman said: “We are pretty much back to normal.”

Crews have been working day and night to clear the snow from the runway to keep services operating. The spokesman said: “Our people have been working around the clock. It means a lot of hard work for them and very cold work as well.”

Train services stopped on Tuesday evening because of the strike by train drivers. On the roads, police said there had been a number of minor accidents but because people had been driving reasonably carefully there has only been slight injuries or damage.