Horsham Drill Hall: Council pledges to commission ‘independent report’
An independent report is to be commissioned into the future of Horsham’s historic Drill Hall.
That is the pledge being made today by Horsham District Council which announced proposals last week to convert the former Army building in Denne Road into 20 flats.
A flood of public opposition to the proposals has been put forward and two Save The Drill Hall petitions launched.
The council is due to discuss the proposals at a cabinet meeting on Thursday.
But in a statement today, the council said that cabinet member for leisure Jonathan Chowen will announce at the meeting that “an independent report to assess current and future provision of community facilities for Horsham town and the wider district will be commissioned and made public.”
The statement added: “The council will also confirm that any proposal for the Drill Hall will build in a full two years for further ongoing engagement with all interested parties, and the current activities of the Drill Hall will continue unchanged during this period.
“This will give time for the independent report to be produced and to allow other sustainable and financially viable options to come forward for discussion and assessment.
Councillor Chowen said:“I want to reassure people that we are at a stage where we are open to any viable and realistic suggestions for the Drill Hall that take into account its shortcomings, and that it will continue in operation for two years to give adequate time for this to happen.
“I am particularly pleased that we will also be developing an independent report to guide and inform us about what community facilities will be needed in the town centre going forward.”
At the meeting councillors will be looking at a cabinet report which maintains that the Drill Hall is currently underused and has a poor energy rating inconsistent with the council’s requirement to reduce its carbon footprint.
The council says that it will cost around £1million to bring the Drill Hall in line with modern standards. They say the bulding is currently costing taxpayers £45,000 a year to keep it running.