‘Future looks bright’ for Billingshurst

JPCT-09-03-12 Billingshurst. High Street.  S12110045a -photo by Steve Cobb ENGSUS00120120105114610
JPCT-09-03-12 Billingshurst. High Street. S12110045a -photo by Steve Cobb ENGSUS00120120105114610

The ‘future looks bright’ for Billingshurst as plans to improve its village centre are set to go out for consultation.

Enhancements to the centre of the village are set to be funded from £750,000 developer contributions from a number of housing sites and up to a £2.2m proportion from a 475-home development planned east of Billingshurst.

Improving character and design, sense of arrival, choice and vitality, open spaces and public realm, and car parking in the village were identified as key aims by the Billingshurst Working Group, which was made up of representatives from the county, district and parish councils and the village’s chamber of commerce.

A Billingshurst Village Centre Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which sets out future priorities for the village, was approved for public consultation by Horsham District Council last Wednesday (February 24).

Gordon Lindsay (Con, Billingshurst and Shipley), cabinet member for the local economy, said: “It’s basically dealing with how we propose to spend the section 106 money that’s going to be available for Billingshurst with all the new development.”

Leonard Crosbie (LDem, Trafalgar) added: “I’m delighted to see Billingshurst proposing a plan to deal with the centre of the town and improving the centre of the town.”

He explained that a recent visit to the main shopping square had left him feeling ‘depressed’, but added: “The future looks bright as far as Billingshurst is concerned.”

The SPD vision statement reads: “Billingshurst Village Centre will capitalise upon its historic setting to become a centre with attractive, high quality public spaces and a strong, diverse retail offer, which provides a more accessible, convenient and improved environment for local businesses and its growing resident population.”

It sets out the need for enhancements to the main junctions into the village to improve the sense of arrival for visitors, and plans for a wayfinding strategy.

The document also suggests measures to make the high street a more pedestrian friendly civic space, consideration of more on-street parking, and better connections between parking areas, such as a pedestrian link.

The consultation is set to run until April and the plan is set for adoption in June.

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