‘Let’s put the pride back in Horsham’

Horsham's Causeway ... a proud emblem of the town
Horsham's Causeway ... a proud emblem of the town

A rallying cry is going out to people in Horsham to spruce up the town following criticism that a number of areas have become rundown eyesores.

A plea was sounded last week to Horsham District Council to ‘stop the rot’ after parts of East Street and Queen Street were labelled ‘disgraceful.’

Now members of the watchdog group The Horsham Society aim to put the pride back in Horsham.

They say they want to work together with the council on an eight-point plan ‘with the aim of improving Horsham so that it can become more pleasant for all who live here or visit.’

As well as improvements for East and Queen streets, the plan urges improvements in Hurst Road; more pedestrian crossings of Albion Way; and a mixture of uses for the current Sainsbury’s town centre site if development goes ahead there.

It also urges the creation of attractive north-south routes with trees and open spaces; road system improvements; the adoption of good design principles for new buildings to protect the town’s heritage; and an imaginative plan for the former Shelley fountain site.

The society’s suggestions follow publication last year of the council’s ‘Horsham Town Centre Vision’ which pinpointed areas for possible development.

Society member Philip Ayerst, highlighting the eight-point plan, said: “We do not want piecemeal development but a well considered plan.”

Horsham councillor Christine Costin - who spearheaded Horsham In Bloom when the town won the coveted Britain In Bloom title in 2007 - has long campaigned for improvements.

She said the atmosphere back then “was progressive and dynamic, buzzing and alive with pride.” The town, she said, was “smart, clean and beautiful - embellished by high quality design, imaginative art, history and culture.

“Things have been deteriorating - volunteers try hard to maintain standards but without full commitment from businesses and the council, it is tough.”

She said the council had been handicapped because of its make-up - it had no parish council and most council members lived outside of the town area.

She added: “There is still a wealth of incredible open spaces in and around our local urban surroundings and these do help to retain some of the ‘magic’ that is Horsham.

“We must all lobby and work together for a better deal here in Horsham Town, it is somewhere that deserves inspired thinking and adequate protection.”