30 years ago

FROM the West Sussex County Times of Friday, March 26, 1982.

IN A FULL-scale row this week, Horsham council members blocked a move to let their staff have sole use of a little-known parking area in the town’s North Street.

Had it been approved, a card-operated barrier would have been provided and a total of £4,000 spent on turning the area, next to Horsham Telephone Exchange, into a new council staff car park.

There would have been a yearly loss of £1,500 from income on existing rented garages and parking spaces. The decision by the finance and general purposes committee, left its chairman, Walter Roberts, accusing his fellow-members of putting him in ‘a very embarrassing position’.

In an angry debate, one member, Danny Hilliard, called the idea ‘ridiculous’ and district secretary Martin Wright said he doubted whether many people knew the parking area existed.

In a report to the committee, finance director David Gould and technical services director Brian Bilton said that the site had nine garages and nine parking bays which were now let to the public and which were part of the Comewell House complex.

For £4,000, a total of 20 vehicles could be allowed to use the site and there was a potential loss of income from lettings of £1,500 a year.

They went on: “The area would provide additional car parking for staff in the chief executive’s department and the directorates of administration and planning.’’

But, when it was said to be a request from staff who were being moved from other exclusive parking spaces because of work at Park House, and when Mr Roberts said it was to ‘obviate the need for staff to use the Albion Way multi-storey car park’, the idea immediately raised a storm of protest.

Colin Linney said he was ‘somewhat concerned at the amount of parking space being swallowed up by staff’ and asked why it was being taken away from public use.

“It’s not a hardship for people to walk to work,” he argued. “But we are creating a hardship for, for instance, the nursery school users.”

CAR PARKING became a major issue in Horsham as work goes ahead to convert the council-owned car park in Hurst Road to a pay/display system.

Parents using the Horsham park nursery school have been protesting for the past three weeks over the loss of their former car park to local council workers.

And approximately 40 of the original 150 spaces in the Hurst Road car park have been lost to the building of the new council parks depot, which will be used by the council to store maintenance equipment.

A GLIMPSE of how the ABC cinema could look as an Arts Centre for Horsham was revealed by Horsham District Council’s theatre consultants.

Consultants Carr and Angier have concluded that a centre ‘more genuine and potentially more attractive than the Capitol, could be achieved within the shell of the ABC’.

The new centre in North Street would replace the present Capitol Theatre which is due for demolition after Christmas to make way for a Marks and Spencer store.

The ABC site was purchased by the council for £200,000 and £900,000 has been earmarked for conversion.