A high ropes course approved by the council on Tuesday will be a major attraction for the town bringing a ‘wow factor’ to Horsham Park.
Horsham District Council’s Development Control North Committee approved DC Leisure’s plans for a ten-metre high facility at the Pavilions in the Park leisure centre.
Several Conservative councillors spoke enthusiastically about the scheme which will consist of a series of obstacles suspended on ropes from steel cables, interspersed with wooden platforms.
One of the local ward members Josh Murphy (Con, Horsham Park) said: “I think this application does have the wow factor. It could be a great attraction for Horsham.”
This was backed up by deputy leader Helena Croft (Con, Roffey North), who added: “It’s going to be something that draws people from across the district and perhaps beyond.”
However Frances Haigh (LDem, Horsham Park) felt that the park was not the right area for the scheme, and somewhere different like Southwater Country Park might be more appropriate for a larger facility.
She explained: “This proposal looks penny pinching and half baked.
“Horsham Park is not the area for this facility.”
Mrs Haigh raised questions about whether there was enough parking, and noise during the evening as the facility could be open until 10pm.
Christine Costin (LDem, Trafalgar) added: “For me this application does not go far enough in what it wants to offer.
“There must be other places similarly close to the town where the whole caboodle could be there and they could really really enjoy themselves.”
A motion to refuse the scheme was soundly defeated.
John Chidlow (Con, Southwater) said: “There’s always reasons to prevaricate on schemes like this but I do not see any substance to the objections that have been voiced.”
He added: “I think this is an excellent facility for Horsham’s young people, or any age.
“I might try it myself.”
Jim Rae (Con, Holbrook East) added his support. He said: “This is just the sort of thing we need in Horsham to liven things up.
“Every survey we do we hear the youth and the young people have nothing to do.
“This will be the perfect thing to burn off some of that excess energy.”
A spokesperson for DC Leisure said the new course would provide an exciting and challenging addition to the existing leisure centre and they hoped to have it open by spring 2014.
It added that part of the scheme had been amended after consultation with local interest groups and residents, including a zip-wire element which was taken out.