Let’s all sing our praises from the same songsheet

Aren’t we proud when we are told that, ‘Horsham is the place where people want to live’? We know it’s true and it’s why most of us live here. It’s also true to say that many of us are immigrants, who’ve moved into the town over the years.

So it’s not too surprising that other people on the outside feel the same and it’s why the pressure for the construction of new homes in Horsham district is ongoing.

Unfortunately, many of the articles written about the town are by their nature very negative, as they are trying to address perceived threats to the town. Unfortunately, continued success can make us inward looking and so create its own problems.

Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at the positive features, which make Horsham such a desirable place to visit and ‘visit’ is the operative word. Just because somewhere’s great to visit, it doesn’t mean that the visitors have to become permanent residents. For example, we have our open spaces such as the park, Warnham Nature Reserve and Chesworth Farm. What we don’t want to see is areas such as these become building sites.

We also have lots of smaller open spaces scattered around the town, which brighten up many of our residential areas. These are often at threat of being enclosed.

How often have you seen an open patch of grass, which was left for a very good reason during the planning of a housing development many years ago, suddenly disappear when it’s enclosed by a hedge or, even worse, a fence?

We have to protect and preserve these small spaces just as much as we do the larger, more developed open areas.

In addition, we have the fantastic advantage of the surrounding open countryside, which is so easy for us to reach and enjoy.

There are also the initiatives, which have a positive and beneficial effect on the town. A good example of this is the town centre markets in Carfax on a Thursday as well as in Carfax and the Bishopric on a Saturday.

There’s no doubt that the Carfax markets have been particularly successful and it’s good to see that they continue to expand as more and more traders are attracted to the town.

Sometimes this type of success has its downsides and some people will regret the recent need to move the fair from Carfax to the Bishopric. One of the consequences of success is that it often leads to change and then it becomes a matter of determining priorities.

In this particular case, there was a simple question as to which should have precedence; should we allow the successful and developing weekly Carfax markets to continue or let them be replaced by the once a year appearance of the fair? The answer is fairly obvious and the real question that needs to be answered is how the fair can be made a success in its new location. There’s room for both.

So let’s sing our praises and recognise our successes while also protecting what we have. Let’s continue to enhance the attractiveness of the town without destroying it.

The Horsham Society is concerned about the past, present and future of the town. It seeks to promote good planning and design for the built environment and open spaces. Membership of the Horsham Society is open to anyone, who shares these concerns. For more information, visit our website www.horshamsociety.org or telephone 01403 261640.