30 years ago

From the West Sussex County Times of Friday, October 15, 1982.

A decision to shelve plans for a £350,000 health centre in Southwater has been described as ‘absolutely scandalous’ by district councillor Roland Albrecht.

The new Mid Downs Health Authority has said the planned centre for College Road, due to be started in 1985, was to be dropped at least until the early 1990s.

Peter Ward, Mid Downs administrator for community health, blamed the cutting of a government fund designed specifically to encourage the provision of health centres.

Mr Albrecht said: “The whole decision is just illogical. The population is increasing and the Horsham health centre alone cannot cope with the whole area. If Southwater had a new health centre it could provide facilities for those in the south whilst Horsham served the north.”

The elderly and others without cars needed a health centre nearby, as the bus service into Horsham was both bad and expensive, he said.

Calling for a pressure group to be set up to get the health authority to change its mind, he said: “Things at the bottom of the list of priorities could very soon be pushed to the top.”

Horsham Society has won its battle to save an old Horsham farmhouse from demolition.

With the help of Peter Hordern, MP for Horsham and Crawley, the society has succeeded in getting the 17th century house, number 31 New Street, listed as being of architectural and historic interest by the Department of the Environment.

Before it was listed, the house was under threat of demolition. Horsham District Council’s director of planning, Tony Jones, who described the house as ‘somewhat pseudo’, said that it was ‘almost bound to be pulled down sooner or later’.

The society’s secretary, Annabelle Hughes, approached the Department of the Environment to try and get the house listed when she knew that it was under threat of demolition, but her attempt failed. She then contacted Mr Hordern, who agreed to take the matter up with the DoE.

Horsham council bought the house in the 1960s with a view to redeveloping the land it was on for road improvements. The plans fell through and it was let to a council employee. Later it was used as a half-way home for psychiatric patients before becoming vacant.

The teenager whose mother owned a shop in Horsham’s Carfax cannot have dreamed he would one day preside over his country’s most patriotic celebrations since the end of the Second World War.

But the man who proudly took the salute of 1,250 Falklands veterans in the City of London as Lord Mayor was that young boy who lived in the town for 17 years.

Christopher Leaver moved to Horsham in the 1950s when his mother started the children’s shop next to the King’s Head Hotel.

Then he lived at Littlehaven, later moving to Tower Hill and then to Mannings Heath where his mother bought the village shop ‘with the Bovril sign still in the window’ and converted it into a house.

If the career of Sir Christopher Leaver has the fairytale ring of his famous predecessor Richard Whittington, it was not magic but hard work which made him the youngest Lord Mayor of London this century at 44.

Highlight of his term of office must have been the march past which was his own idea. Sir Christopher said: “It was so exciting to me that my idea bore fruit and was a success. I was able to take the salute on behalf of the City and the nation.”