Save Horsham’s ‘symbol of military heritage’ says former Army colonel

An impassioned plea to save Horsham’s Drill Hall - described as a ‘symbol of the town’s military heritage’ - has gone out from former Army Colonel Richard Putnam.

Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 10:32 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 10:42 am

He spoke out in a letter to Horsham District Council chief executive Glen Chipp in which he called on the council to abandon plans to convert the Drill Hall into 20 flats.

Mr Puttnam - president of the Horsham branch of the Queen’s Regiment Association and a former Commanding Officer of 6/7 (Volunteer) Battalion The Queen’s Regiment - said the council should not consider the need for 20 affordable flats as justification for demolishing the hall.

He said the hall should be retained and refurbished ‘as a community asset for the good and benefit of the people of Horsham and the wider community.’

Drill Hall, Denne Road, Horsham. Photo: Steve Robards SR20012202 SUS-200122-150139001

He said any need for a community centre at Highwood Village - which the council has earmarked as a replacement venue for current users of the Drill Hill - should be considered as a separate issue.

He said in his letter to the council chief executive: “Our branch preserves the link with the now closed Territorial Army Centre where many of our members served their time in the Army Reserve.

“During the Second World War Horsham men were mobilised from this Drill Hall, some never to return.

“You are well aware the Drill Hall is a symbol of the military heritage of Horsham.

“It was paid for by former officer of the 4th Battalion The Royal Sussex Regiment and built for both military use and for public use.

“When it closed it was sold by the Miinistry of Defence to Horsham District Council to be used by the good people of Horsham.

“This was linked to the loss of the old town hall as a centre for events. It is a fine building, ‘an asset of community value’, it should be preserved and handed on to future generations of Horsham residents.”

He added that the Horsham branch of the Queen’s Regiment Association “has at no time been consulted about this closure and we have had little time to voice our objections.”