Bigger replacement for car park at Piries Place?

JPCT 110114 S14030247x  Horsham. Piries Place car park -photo by Steve Cobb ENGSUS00120140114110231
JPCT 110114 S14030247x Horsham. Piries Place car park -photo by Steve Cobb ENGSUS00120140114110231

A major Horsham town centre car park could be replaced with a ‘larger facility on the same site’, as part of plans being considered by the council.

Piries Place Car Park, which has 330 spaces, is the third largest in the town behind Swan Walk and The Forum in Blackhorse Way.

It has previously been described as a ‘disaster’ even by Horsham district councillors, with one saying in 2014 ‘the whole area needs completely taking apart and putting back together again’.

A spokesman for HDC said: “We are currently investigating the potential to replace Piries Place Car Park with a larger facility on the same site.

“This proposal has been prompted by the redevelopment of the adjoining Piries Place retail scheme. The work is currently at concept design and feasibility stage.

“The car park is owned and operated by Horsham District Council and is freehold. At this stage, it is too premature to decide on the source of finance for this project.”

Earlier this year a £35m regeneration scheme for Piries Place was approved by the council’s Planning Committee North.

A three-screen Everyman cinema is set to open at the site of the former Waitrose store, alongside new retail, restaurant, and drinking establishments, as well as a Premier Inn hotel.

John Steele, from the Horsham Society, said the group had an open mind about redevelopment, adding: “We would not want anything much higher because it would overbear on the town centre.”

He continued: “It’s a badly designed car park so we should be able to do better.”

Tony Hogben, one of two Horsham district councillors representing the Denne ward, described the current car park as ‘barely fit for purpose’.

He suggested at the minimum spaces needed to be made bigger, but the council may look to add another floor or pull the car park down completely and start again.

Mr Hogben argued any new car park had to be ‘sympathetic and in keeping with the location’, adding: “I’m 100 per cent supportive of the scheme and it needs to be done sooner rather than later.”

HDC’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which met on Monday night, requested more information on the proposals as well as the council’s overall car parking strategy for Horsham.

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