From the West Sussex County Times of Friday, October 29, 1982.

A flurry of cases in the divisional courts could follow the introduction of the motoring penalty points system.

David Redston, clerk to the justices at Horsham and Crawley, said the new system, being introduced under the Transport Act 1981, raised many problems of interpretation which would need to be resolved.

“I think there may be a flurry of cases in the divisional court to resolve some of these questions. I think the Magistrates’ Association will attempt to give some guidance as they have a training obligation. The Justices Clerks Society is also very involved in trying to assist both members and the courts.”

The new system has been criticised widely over the past few months and one national newspaper claimed there would be ‘chaos’ in the courts. Mr Redston said: “I would not agree with the word chaos. That is too strong. Certainly, there are interpretation problems. These are for advocates and clerks to sort out.”

Here’s how many points some offences are worth: reckless driving, ten points; careless or inconsiderate driving, two-five points; in charge of a motor vehicle with alcohol level above limit, ten points; failing to stop after an accident, five-nine points; use of a vehicle without insurance, four-eight points; exceeding speed limit, three points. Normally disqualification for six months will follow the accumulation of 12 points within three years.

Church officials in Ashurst are anxiously waiting to hear the cost of unexpected repairs to the ancient St James.

Stormy weather sent an ash tree crashing down on the village’s parish church – causing damage estimated at several thousand pounds.

The force of the falling tree smashed a gaping hole in the roof – leaving the eastern end of the church open to the elements.

Brigadier Henry Green, one of the church wardens, dashed over to the church and saw the extent of the damage. “Rain was coming in and the tree was lying against the east end of the roof,” he said.

Closer inspection revealed severe damage had been restricted to the Horsham stone roof, and the organ standing below was not badly affected.

The altar and nave of the church had escaped completely.

Roofing experts were called in to make immediate precautions against further water leaking into the church and the tree was cut away from the roof.

The American-owned pharmaceutical giant A H Robins Co Ltd has hinted it may base its European research centre in Horsham.

Company president E. Claiborne Robins Jr said the project would depend on the firm’s future and negotiations with Horsham District Council.

Mr Robins was in Horsham to launch the company’s £9m factory and office development with a ground breaking ceremony on the 29 acre site at Langhurst.

The development will bring more jobs to the area and provide a new and bigger home for the company’s UK subsidiary, which has been based in Horsham since 1961.

More than 150 jobs were almost lost from the area when the firm was unable to expand its present site in Redkiln Way and planned to move to Plymouth.

But a last minute deal to buy the Langhurst site from the district council for £950,000 persuaded it to stay.

Mr Robins said the company was continuing to expand worldwide.