Horsham town hall on the market

HORSHAM District Council is seeking offers from parties interested in leasing or buying Horsham town hall.

Originally, the district council sought a leasehold arrangement for the grade II listed Market Square building restricting its future use to that of a restaurant.

However, at its meeting on December 21, the council agreed to extend the marketing of the premises, without prescribing the use to which it should be put, other than to require that it should be one suitable for the town hall’s status as a listed building and its location in the Horsham town centre conservation area.

In addition to removing the use restriction, rather than only offering the building on a leasehold basis, it proposed that bids for the freehold should also be entertained. Expressions of interest are invited by noon on April 13.

If offers for uses other than those that already exist (including the A3 (restaurant) use granted in 2009) are put forward, and they are considered suitable, agreement with the successful bidder would need to be made, subject to the necessary planning approvals being obtained.

The council has also agreed that consideration would be given to bids received from community organisations or other non-commercial parties.

Deputy council leader Ray Dawe said: “I believe that removing restrictions on the possible use of the building and allowing bids both on a leasehold and freehold basis will be in the best interests of the town and of the district’s council tax payers.

“By taking this action, we hope to become aware of any organisation that would be interested to re-activate and make positive use of the town hall.

“When making a final decision about it, the council will of course also need to take into account local sensitivities that surround this historic building.”

Further details are available online at www.horsham.gov.uk or by calling the joint sole agents: Crickmay Chartered Surveyors – 01403 264259 or Davis Coffer Lyons – 0207 299 0745.

For the full story and reaction, buy your County Times on Thursday February 23.