40 years ago

FROM the West Sussex County Times of Friday, June 18, 1971.

NO WONDER foreigners think we are a little mad. There was Saturday afternoon on a typical flaming June day, chilly and drizzling.

And thousands of Englishmen (which includes women and children) paying to go into a soggy Horsham Park to do what? Watch unpredictable donkeys being ridden around an arena by insecure children.

“The French would have stayed at home,” commented a member of Horsham Round Table, the organisers, as if predicting what would happen if we joined the Common Market.

But about 4,000 people turned up for this ninth donkey derby, nearly as many as last year, and ensured that money would be raised for Forest Hospital and other local charities. Total proceeds were about £500.

The whole thing is something like a miniature Epsom Downs so that those who were inclined to become bored with watching donkeys charging (charging?) round an arena could watch Punch and Judy and spend money on the many sideshows and the two miniature railways.

ANOTHER bit of old Horsham, No 55 Bishopric, passed into the hands of the demolishers at the weekend. It is being taken down to widen Rice Brothers’ entrance to the rear of their present premises.

Behind the present agricultural machinery showrooms the company plans to build two huge workshops and an equally large spare parts department, the whole building, L-shaped, fitting in around two sides of the Horsham Bowls Club greens and facing the rear of the Waverley Court residential flats.

In the new building also proposed is a range of offices along one side.

The plans were due to come before the Horsham Urban Council’s planning committee this week.

Since March, Rice Brothers have had plans deposited with the urban council for a development which includes all of the houses in the block, but the person who has lived at No 59 throughout most of their life, has refused to sell their property, Nos 57 and 59.

Rice Brothers’ plans include not only the site occupied by the houses fronting the Bishopric but also the rough grass square, studded with trees, between No 59 and the entrance to the Pelham Court and Waverley Court residential estate.

The proposal for the Nos 53-69 Bishopric site and the land between the houses and the Pelham Court estate entrance is to build their showrooms, offices and a covered display area, this being linked with the development proposed to the rear of the present agricultural showrooms.

AN ASSERTION that ‘improvements’ made at Church Lane, Steyning, had made the Church Street-Church Lane corner more dangerous was made by Arthur Lee at Steyning Parish Council meeting.

A reply letter had been received from West Sussex County Council saying that it was acquiring land for the purpose of extending the footway.

“But it is about 12 months since we were told that negotiations had been completed for the transfer of the land for this purpose,” said Mr Lee.

“Why should we be told exactly the same thing all over again?”

He hoped that the county council would not delay in making the purchase and getting the work done.

“Many children are obliged to use the road to get to school,” he said.

“We don’t want an accident but, at the speeds of some of the cars going up and down there, one is quite likely to happen.”

Group Captain R.F.L. Hart, who was in the chair, said that nothing more had been heard from the county council about imposing control on heavy vehicles using the station forecourt for overnight and weekend parking.

The movement of the heavy vehicles up and down Church Street was a road hazard not welcomed by residents.

“Will Church Street be made a one-way street when the new Fletcher’s Croft car park is brought into use?” asked Bob Green.