Removal of Horsham subway flowers ‘regrettable’

The 'grim' subway linking North Road and Station Road, Horsham Photo by  Christine Duerschner
The 'grim' subway linking North Road and Station Road, Horsham Photo by Christine Duerschner

It is a pity that there have been so many negative comments about the recent changes to the path leading to the railway subway and that the good work that has been done has been ignored so far (County Times, Horsham edition, March 28).

Some explanation is in order: firstly that the work is not yet finished and also something of the history.

The railway line forms the boundary between the Denne and Forest Neighbourhood Council areas and both councils have been working hard since 2012 to achieve improvements to both the safety and appearance of the approach to the subway.

We were delighted that work is being done at long last as negotiations had proved to be extremely difficult and time consuming since responsibility for the area is shared between Network Rail, Southern, WSCC and HDC; we even had to get Horsham MP Jeremy Quin involved in order to raise a response from Network Rail after our initial contact was moved on.

Different authorities have responsibility for the car park, the footpath surface, the subway walls, ceiling, lighting and flooding so getting any agreement was certainly not easy.

Network Rail will only do essential work related to safety or maintenance and will not spend any money on purely decorative changes.

The project is the result of the persistence of the Neighbourhood Councils, facilitated by Horsham District Council. Over the years the lighting in the subway has been significantly improved and the footpath resurfaced by WSSC, albeit not to the standard we expected, but still an improvement.

The recent work has included widening the entrances to the car park on both sides of the path so these no longer present trip hazards, and installing safety bollards to prevent cars dropping down onto the path from the Southern car park.

By the time you read this work should have started on installing proper railings to replace the tatty wire mesh fence either side of the car park and also the ‘prison’ fence alongside the path into Horsham Park. We are still pressing to get the subway ceiling repainted which will make using the route a much more pleasant experience for everyone.

It is regrettable that the flowers had to go but they certainly did not always look as pretty as the printed picture.

Any involvement of Horsham in Bloom had ceased long ago and no one had legitimate responsibility for maintenance, so another solution had to be found.

Hopefully people who use the path will be pleased with the end result.

Trudie Mitchell

Chair of Horsham Denne Neighbourhood Council, Brockhurst Close, Horsham