30 years ago

From the West Sussex County Times of Friday January 22, 1982.

AT LEAST 100 to 150 jobs could be saved in a major land deal being negotiated by Horsham District Council.

The council is proposing to buy 51 acres of the Langhurst site north of Horsham, formerly part of the Ministry of Defence’s Royal Armament and Research Establishment, and to sell part of it to pharmaceutical manufacturers AH Robins Co Ltd.

Robins had been planning to move its Horsham operations from Redkiln Way to Plymouth, and the deal will keep them in the town.

The firm was unable to expand at its present site and was considering moving to Plymouth, which would have meant the loss of the firm’s jobs to the Horsham area.

Now AH Robins intends to buy roughly half of the site from the council.

HDC has long been concerned about the possibility of intensive industrial development on the Langhurst site, particularly with the coming of the Horsham northern bypass, on which work is due to start in 1984-85.

By retaining ownership of the part of the site not being sold to AH Robins, the council aims to exercise strict control on its development.

THE VILLAGE of Capel was thronging with life on Sunday, as residents, both young and old, celebrated the completion of their new bypass, which is expected to open to traffic in the spring.

The revels took the form of a ‘fun run’ with 19 teams of competitors running through the village and along the new bypass – a distance of two and a half miles.

Villagers had campaigned many years for a new bypass, and a start was made in March last year. It was a moving occasion for Margaret Bell, who has lived in the village for 24 years.

Living at the first house in the village on Horsham Road, she has had her fair share of traffic problems over the years with lorries and cars taking the bend too fast, and landing in her front garden. Mrs Bell, who was given the honour of starting the race, said she hoped the bypass would bring an end to the experiences of the past.

COUNCILLORS have agreed that the Capitol Theatre in Horsham will be demolished, that Marks and Spencer will take over the prime shopping site and the council will purchase the ABC cinema in North Street as a replacement.

But the controversy may not be over. One Horsham ratepayer has complained to the Attorney General, Sir Michael Havers, over Horsham District Council’s actions.

Ken Prichard Jones has filed his complaint on the grounds that ratepayers are likely to suffer financial loss as a result of the council’s deal.

He has delivered a similar complaint letter to the local government ombudsman and is asking the district auditors to examine the council’s account with a view to surcharging members if they find in Mr Jones’ favour.

The proposals were approved by members of the full council at their meeting when there were noisy protests and many people unable to get into the packed Town Hall.