Garage site to host two shops

A FORMER car showroom and workshop at Guildford Road, Horsham, is to house a Co-op convenience store as well as Horsham Matters’ charity shop.

Tanfield Garage became the home of Horsham Matters, selling second hand furniture and white goods, without planning permission after the garage closed.

On Tuesday Horsham councillors heard Weyberg Ltd wanted to change the use of the site to two retail units.

The development control committee heard shop opening hours should be restricted to 6.30am to 11pm seven days a week.

Chris Hickey of Crickmay, agent for the freeholders, said Horsham Matters had ‘developed a thriving business in this location’, Southern Co-op was keen to have a new site and the plan would create opportunities for local people.

There had been extensive discussions with West Sussex County Council to achieve the best access arrangements.

The site would be more attractive with the removal of the canopy which had ‘blighted’ it for several years.

Laurence Deakins (Con, Denne) said the area was in need of a shop but he was concerned about the exit into Blackbridge Lane where a high wall could restrict views of children walking from the two primary schools.

He felt opening until 11pm was too late in a residential area.

Claire Vickers (Con, Southwater) said: “I think this will improve the site enormously and I look forward to seeing it.”

David Holmes (LDem, Horsham Park) was concerned about future use of the units and whether it could undermine the town centre and so go against the council’s policy.

Planning officer Stephen Booth said one could be deemed food and the other non food but because of the distance from the town centre it was unlikely to have a significant impact on the viability of the town centre. He agreed this would be looked into.

Councillors agreed to grant permission provided opening hours were limited to 10pm.