Public backlash over plans to convert Horsham town centre building into new homes

Proposals to convert an historic building in Horsham town centre into new homes have sparked a public backlash.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 5:07 pm
Updated Friday, 17th January 2020, 11:06 am

Horsham District Council is considering replacing the Drill Hall in Denne Road - built for the local Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment in the 1920s - with ‘affordable homes.’

But scores of people have taken to social media to complain about the proposals. They are angry at the prospect of losing a large community building which caters for a number of local organisations and events.

The council is considering replacing the hall - which it took over after the Territorial Army moved out - with a new purpose-built community centre in Highwood village off the A24.

Horsham Drill Hall -photo by Steve Cobb ENGSUS00120120817123807

The council says it would cost more than £1 million to carry on using the Drill Hall and bring the building up to scratch.

But many residents say the Drill Hall is an asset to the area and should be preserved. They say it is regularly used for adult education classes as well as by many organisations for large-scale events.

Many posted concerns on the County Times’ Facebook page. Darren Palmer said: “It would cost over a £1m to reconstruct it? What a load of croc.

“I used this hall late last year and yes it’s not as modern as a new build but it’s more than fit for many many purposes.”

Dave Toye said: “Another part of Horsham potentially ruined.” And Jo Astridge Willis added: “The events they hold there are fabulous and we should be using it for events not more housing.”

Dionne Benn said: “This is a beautiful historic piece of art that should be preserved.”

Maureen Magee added: “It’s disgusting, seems everything historic is now being turned to flats, well you can’t call Horsham a quaint market town anymore.”

Paula Daly said: “This is OUTRAGEOUS. It’s the same excuse they used to get rid of the historic town hall as a community space and now they’re doing it again. So there will be nothing in Horsham centre for the community. Highwood is outside Horsham.”

Andrew Oakley said: “Don’t we already have enough new houses popping up and around Horsham without having to pull down a part of the town’s history?”

Sarah Chandler added: “Leave it alone! Beautiful building, useful building and a building full of memories for lots of people.”

Councillors are to be asked to approve a business case for a new community centre at Highwood at a meeting on January 23.