Town centre maintenance continues to frustrate local people

Building repairs in The Forum, Horsham
Building repairs in The Forum, Horsham

Maintenance works in Horsham town centre are causing anger and confusion as efforts to waterproof the Forum continue.

The maintenance in the Forum, off Blackhorse Way, has been irritating coffee drinkers and residents on and off for years now, ever since works initially began in June 2008.

Surface water flooding on the paving outside TK Maxx and Beales department store has been reported in the County Times numerous times, most recently on April 19 this year and also in January.

At this time Horsham District Council (HDC) and Sainsbury’s both denied that it was up to them to resolve the problem [WSCT 12/01/2012], and confusion still persists over who has contracted the works.

HDC told this paper ‘the works are being undertaken by building contractor Carillion working for J. Sainsbury’, while a spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said that the works had been contracted by the council.

Speaking of contractor Carillion, they said: “They are doing works on behalf of the council. The car park is owned by us but in terms of drain maintenance, it’s the council.”

At least Owen Edwards, from Carillion, could explain why works are still ongoing. He said: “We did the works last year and after that we still had a suspicion of a leak so it was decided to carry out works around the sun dial to water proof it to stop the water going into the Sainsbury’s car park.”

This information may provide some comfort for one frustrated local resident who contacted this paper to say she had not been able to get straight answers from the council.

Sophie Nason, 22, who lives in one of the flats above Beales department store, said that she had to complain to HDC’s building control department a couple of weeks ago.

“They were starting as early as 6am which meant it was impossible to go back to sleep,” she said. “The thing that made it more frustrating was when I did call no one could give me any straight answer as to what they were doing was legal or what they were even doing there.”

Meanwhile, Jessie Goodrich, 25, manager of Esquires cafe in the Forum, said the noise and upheaval have affected the cafe’s business.

“It’s terrible,” she said. “They have to dig up every bit of tile right by the doors. They keep saying that they had to relay the membrane between the two layers because it wasn’t water proof but this time I don’t know what they’re doing.”

Katie Hill, 21, who also works in the cafe, added the drills outside the door were ‘a constant headache’ and ‘shook the floor’.

Customers in Esquires cafe made the following comments:

“There’s no information, no notice boards saying ‘we apologise, this is what’s being done’,” said Michael Harvey a pensioner from Three Acres, Horsham.

Pam Goodall, 71, of Eyles Close added: “It’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s been going on for as long as I can remember.”

Meanwhile Abigail Puttock, 21, from New Street said all the dust ruined the space for her little boy.