Investing in our green spaces

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I read with interest the comments of David Hide in last week’s County Times. I must admit that I was surprised and disappointed at his perceptions of Horsham Park.

It is difficult to relate David’s statements of dissatisfaction with Horsham Park with the user feedback we received from the Park Survey that was carried out last October, when 96 per cent of users (out of 890) expressed that they were satisfied with the park. When we looked specifically at levels of dissatisfaction with maintenance, this amounted to only two per cent of responses.

This does not mean that we are complacent. The challenge that we have had with a rise in the rat population in the park after a long hot summer with an increase in picnicking, has been dealt with head-on by sealing off all the litter bins in the park and temporarily installing lidded bins to close off the available food supply.

This has meant that baiting has been more successful and the rat problem is under control. The council is also considering the installation of new replacement bins (with additional recycling options) to help further with the situation.

The council is fully committed to a proactive approach in dealing with the current and future management of the park, and is actively involved in developing a new park management plan for the next ten years.

We are currently running a series of forums to inform its future direction in full collaboration with Denne Neighbourhood Council, the Friends of Horsham Park and other stakeholder groups. David and his colleagues are welcome to contribute.

In terms of street cleansing, Horsham town centre is cleaned every morning by 8am. The council also sweeps the kerbsides in every residential road on a quarterly basis as part of a scheduled service covering the entire district.

We have only received 13 resident requests for additional servicing across the whole district in the last three months. This commitment reduces the likelihood of flooding, however it should be noted that the storm water gullies are serviced by West Sussex County Council.

David appears not to be properly informed regarding the council’s statutory responsibilities. The provision and maintenance of the park are not in fact, statutory, although the council and its members fully recognise their responsibilities and the value that our green spaces have in contributing to the quality of life for our local residents.

That is why we are making ongoing investments in Horsham Park, Roffey Rec, Warnham Local Nature Reserve and the floral displays have been reinstated in West Street, Horsham.

I would like to thank the dedication of the Parks and Countryside team and all the volunteers who strive to maintain the park and the many open spaces across our district.

Jonathan Chowen

Deputy Leader of Horsham District Council and Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture, Chart Way, Horsham