Last week, the WSCT published a letter and photos of the Queen Street area under the heading ‘Forgotten grubby end of Horsham’. It may look sadly neglected, but Horsham Blueprint had already begun to look at what can be done in the Queen Street area as part of our neighbourhood plan.
On August 9th, we had a walkabout from Clarence Road to the Iron Bridge. We identified problems such as the weeds, damaged road signs, broken pavements and empty shops. We took photographs as evidence.
We have also been to visit the shop traders to ask for their views as to what can be done to support their businesses. They raised more issues; confusing parking signs, cigarette ends, no coffee shop, not enough parking for staff and customers, difficulties with delivery lorries, and poor pavements.
There were comments that although local people walk along Queen Street to the town, anyone shopping in the town would be unlikely to come beyond the end of East Street. The morning traffic queues were mentioned as an advantage as people notice the shops while they are waiting! We also asked about the Queen Street Traders’ Association which used to organise the Christmas lights.
In addition, at Forest Neighbourhood Council, we heard from Hall and Woodhouse who own the Queen’s Head pub about their exciting proposals for regenerating their site. We hope that the pub will become the heart of this area. The plans raised another issue about what can be done for the turning from Queen Street into New Street. This is a dangerous corner and we need a new solution.
We also know that planning permission has been granted for the old barber’s shop to be replaced with housing and for flats to be built near King and Eastland and Londis. It is hoped this development will be started soon.
We are collating all of the information we have gathered so far, and we have more businesses to visit. However, some of the issues could be dealt with very quickly. We have already asked HDC and WSCC to clear the weeds. Flooding at the junction of New Street has been reported to WSCC and Southern Water should be fixing the loose manhole cover near Queensway.
Our plan has ‘to promote or improve the social, economic and environmental well-being of the area’. So what can we do for Queen Street?
Firstly we are hoping to form a working group to address the general state of the road. Tidying up the street furniture and clearing the weeds and litter will go a long way towards making this area more attractive.
We will talk to WSCC Highways about reviewing the traffic regulations and parking in this area, improving the signs for New Street car park and looking at whether we can do anything to improve the junction in to New Street.
We also need to work with the shop traders to see whether we can revive Queen Street Traders. This area has very distinct and specialised, niche businesses, many of which also trade online, so maybe there is scope for a shared website to promote them all.
If you have any ideas or wish to take part in the Forum, we would love to hear from you. If you would like to be involved in this project or could help revive Queen Street Traders, do let us know.
(LDem, Horsham district councillor for Horsham Park),
Horsham Blueprint Neighbourhood Forum, North Street, Horsham