Should West Street be reopened for traffic?

West Street in the 1930s.
West Street in the 1930s.

PROPOSALS improve Horsham Town and possibly reintroduce traffic into West Street are due to go out to public consultation in May.

The full details of the debate over the plans were discussed at the Horsham District Council Strategic Planning Advisory Group meeting last night (Tuesday) and will be published in the County Times tomorrow (Thursday).

The council released this information to the public this morning (Wednesday).

Horsham District Council is to extend its consultation on an exciting initiative called ‘the Future Prosperity of Horsham Project’.

The project aims to steer future changes in the town to maximise its economic potential whilst maintaining and conserving its attractive and historic environment for the benefit of all. The additional consultation will run between May 4 and June 1 2012.

Consultants Urban Practitioners were commissioned to kick start the project by producing an independent and objective ‘Town Framework Report’.

This report identifies the existing strengths and areas for improvement within the town and puts forward a vision and strategy for the future.

As part of the overall project, Horsham District Council will use this report as a basis to produce planning guidance for future retail, commercial and leisure development in the town.

The key areas which have been identified for regeneration are Albion Way, The Quarter (Piries Place, East Street and Denne Road), The Bishopric, Hurst Road and Nightingale Road area, The Forum, West Street and Swan Walk

The Future Prosperity of Horsham Project is an initiative that is supported by West Sussex County Council, which has a significant interest in the town.

As well as the county council, the district council is working in partnership with other interested groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry on this project.

There are a number of opportunities for the wider public to be involved in this exciting and important initiative for the town.

The first was in response to the draft Horsham Town Plan, which was published for consultation on October 28 2011 for six weeks.

The council invited all who live, work and visit the town to give their views on this important document and many people gave their views.

In light of the comments received during this consultation, the area covered by the draft Horsham Town Plan has been extended to include The Forum, West Street and Swan Walk.

It will enable the regeneration of key areas within Horsham town which will increase the vitality and vibrancy of the town, help steer potential developers and will act as the council’s starting point for more detailed discussions and proposals that arise in the town over future years.

Exciting opportunities for change in the town centre include:

Albion Way – ‘a walkable Albion Boulevard’, with shops lining the street in places. Narrowing carriageways with dedicated bus and cycle lanes, widening pavements, tree lined with safer and more attractive crossing points

Piries Place – new shops, new link from the Carfax through the old King’s Head Hotel service area, new pedestrian link between East Street and Copnall Way

Bishopric – new shops, new and improved public spaces and better pedestrian and vehicular links to create a western anchor to the town 

Hurst Road area – redevelopment of underused railway land and better use of Nightingale Estate for employment, a new hotel on Hurst Road and improved pedestrian links through to the park

The Forum – new shops and the introduction of additional uses such as market uses to enhance the public space

West Street – improvements to street furniture, shop fronts, lighting, paving and signage, a more attractive route from Swan Walk to Sainsbury’s via West Walk and the possible introduction of vehicular traffic

Swan Walk – creation of additional shops within the key retail area of the town

The responses received through the additional period of consultation will be considered by officers and Members before a draft Horsham Town Plan is presented to Council for adoption in September 2012.

Any questions should be addressed to Horsham District Council’s Strategic Planning team on 01403 215398.

Read more about the council’s plans to introduce traffic into West Street and other areas of the town in tomorrow’s County Times.