Building imminent on town’s John Lewis site

Proposed John Lewis/Waitrose off Albion Way Horsham (submitted).
Proposed John Lewis/Waitrose off Albion Way Horsham (submitted).

Work to transform a Horsham site into a retail park housing a John Lewis at Home and a new Waitrose store will start in the next few weeks.

The long-awaited £35m ‘West End’ development by town centre specialist Westrock includes the transformation of the area to the west of Albion Way.

Westrock development director Robin Barton said: “We are on programme to start on site in late July, early August.

“That has a programme completion date of May next year.

“Those two units will be a joint Waitrose and John Lewis site. That’s on target.”

Once complete, the existing Waitrose store and staff in Piries Place would relocate, with an added 50 jobs provided on top of the 120 already employed.

The Lifestyle Ford car dealership located there announced earlier this month 100 of its employees on that site will be relocating to its new site on Guildford Road and seven jobs will be lost.

The Horsham Bowls Club, also on the site, has already moved to Holbrook Tythe Barn.

The other part of the scheme, which is yet to receive planning permission, is for the east side of Albion Way.

Westrock’s plans propose the part demolition and refurbishment of Bishop Weald House in the Bishopric.

The County Times revealed last week that the lease on McDonald’s would not be renewed in August.

Mr Barton said Westrock was ‘looking at other options for the building’. The Entertainer and Argos will stay.

On the side fronting Albion Way, there will be new shop units built.

Mr Barton added: “The proposal is to keep the existing units in Worthing Road and where we have the empty office space, we are remodelling the building to put in 53 flats.

“It is going to make a contribution to the town centre as well as bring more retail into the Albion Way frontage,

“Overall it will be a positive improvement.”

Westrock submitted its planning application for this part of the scheme to Horsham District Council in November.

The plans are likely to go to the council’s development control committee for councillors’ consideration.