REGARDING the future of Horsham Town Hall, if its community use is to end, then Bill’s restaurant might be the best solution and if the council leases it rather selling the freehold it will be able to retain some control over it.
The problem maybe that in its desire to accommodate Bill’s it may allow them to carry out works that will be detrimental to the town environment. The town hall does not lend itself naturally to conversion because of its unusual shape and its ‘island’ situation.
The council must therefore be resolute in maintaining the integrity of the listed building and the character and amenity of the important conservation area in which it stands.
Any external alteration should be of high quality and design in keeping with the area. For example the original design for the refuse store was poor. It comprised a lean-to and felt-roofed shed tacked on to the side of this important listed building.
This should be replanned requiring a high standard of design and materials (for example lead roofing, not felt) and with greater provision of concealed refuse storage space.
The disposal of refuse is a serious problem on this site. With no back yard or any outside space the Old Town Hall is surrounded on all sides by some of one of the most important conservation areas in the town. It is not at all an ideal site for a restaurant.
Restaurants produce large amounts of offensive waste - as can be seen (and smelt) in Colletts Alley off the Carfax. Already the north-west corner of Market Square is spoiled by unsightly bins and any extension of this would be very damaging.
It is essential that no rubbish or bins are left out in Market Square or the Causeway at any time and that all refuse is stored in closed containers within the confines of the building. The original provision for refuse for only two standard size refuse bins which could not be opened without bringing them out on to Market Square was quite inadequate.
External signs should be restricted in scale and extent and be of high quality design and in sympathy with the building and environment. Existing council notice boards should be removed.
Outside table chairs at the front could be an attractive feature if properly designed and landscaped but we do not want Market Square ending up looking a mess. The example of another property on the square seeking too many tables and chairs together with gas heaters, awnings, roped-off areas, A-boards and menu lecterns all taking up more than half the street, should be avoided.
No development on the Causeway side should be permitted, so that the character of this most important street can be maintained. No alteration to the outside of the building should be carried out without the consent of the council as landlords as this should give greater control than that provided by the planning system.
No vehicles of customers or staff be allowed to park in Market Square except for limited time delivery and no parking of customer or staff vehicles or deliveries should be allowed at any time in the Causeway.
Arrangements should be made for the flying of flags from the flag pole and the maintenance of the clock to continue as present.