30 years ago

From the West Sussex County Times of Friday, April 22 1983

The new Crawley-Reigate commercial radio station may be based near Horsham in a deal which could also help solve the RSPCA’s money problems.

Oak Ridge Radio, which plans to be on the air next year, is bidding for Roffey Place, the Horsham-based charity’s former training college and period residence.

The property in Crawley Road, Faygate, has been on the market since last summer at £600,000. Its sale could finally erase the memory of the RSPCA’s financial deficit, which at one point peaked £1 million.

Frank Carpenter, who launched the campaign to bring independent radio to the Horsham area, has quit Oak Ridge Radio station after being ousted from his post last month.

A brief company statement said Mr Carpenter had left in an “amicable agreement” and neither party wished to comment further.

Oak Ridge has applied to Horsham planners for permission to change the use of the 37-bed Faygate college for RSPCA inspectors, from educational to a radio station with offices.

The 280-year-old Queen Anne house in the grounds, home of the charity’s former executive director, Julian Hopkins, would be sold off with some of its four acres.

The radio station was to have been based in Crawley, but the building originally earmarked was leased to someone else only days before the company got its franchise.

Controversial proposals for a big extension to a West Sussex County Council rubbish tip at Faygate have been backed by the planners.

People living near the tip have complained about flies, noise, smell and rats, the county applications sub-committee was told.

But Mr Alf Pegler commented: “Wherever you put these sites you will meet opposition and resentment from local people.”

The sub-committee agreed to recommend planning consent for the development regarded as vital to cope with rubbish from Horsham, Crawley and East Grinstead.

It heard the existing tip was nearing saturation point and that a ten-year search in the areas around had failed to find an alternative site.

Sub-committee members want to impose a string of conditions including the setting up of a local liaison group and an “early and progressive reinstatement” of the site.

They also want the life of the tip limited to 1995.

A warning that immediate action is needed to save Stopham Bridge came from West Sussex County Council’s roads and transportation committee chairman.

“A lot of consideration and thought has gone into ways of solving this problem,” said Mr Martyn Long. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the consultation plan is the best solution for all concerned.

I hope that everyone supports it.”

Stopham Bridge, a grade one listed building, is suffering severe damage from the effects of traffic.

The road over the bridge is restricted to single lane working, controlled by traffic lights.

The county’s proposals are for a new road bridge to be sited just to the north of the old bridge.

This would enable Stopham Bridge to be repaired and preserved as an ancient monument.

Opposition to the £1.5 million scheme by residents, who claim that the bypass will create an “eyesore”, has prompted the county council to hold a consultation evening.

The views of parish and district councils, amenity societies and landowners and tenants will be considered before the final bridge design is prepared.