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 Local issues

June 2006 

Concern over Horsham Park

Following news of a proposal to use parkland for an extension to the Hurst Road car park, the Society's chairman wrote to the Chief Executive of Horsham District Council as follows:

Dear Mr Crowley

I am writing on behalf of the Horsham Society to express our considerable concern over proposed changes to Horsham Park and the apparently piecemeal way in which decisions are taken about its future. Most urgently we request that the Cabinet defer a decision on the proposal before its meeting next Thursday to enlarge Hurst Road car park until there has been proper consultation.

Our members consider the Park to be the jewel in the crown of Horsham. We are very fortunate to have such an attractive and accessible facility so close the centre of the town and have the wisdom and foresight of our former municipal leaders to thank for this. The Society has long opposed any developments which encroach upon the open space, particularly for buildings or car parks, and we look to the present Council to respect and protect its unique character for future generations.

Evan Giles was good enough to attend a recent meeting of our Committee to explain the proposals for upgrading the area outside the nightclub. While this could certainly do with improvement the initial plans required a further incursion into the grassed area in order to reposition the car park and provide a better entrance to the park. Whether this will be justified will depend on the final plans and we look forward to seeing them soon.

Our Secretary, Michael Hall, recently wrote separately to you about the future of the nursery building. The Society has previously had assurances that when the existing use came to an end, as it will soon, the site would be restored to parkland. It now seems that there may be a proposal to continue the use of the site for other purposes. The Society would see this as an act of bad faith and an indication that the Council was not serious in its determination to take opportunities as they arise to restore and improve the Park.

We now see that there is a proposal before the Cabinet next Thursday to extend the Hurst Road car park on to land that was formerly part of the Park and should be restored to the Park. It is clear from the paper that there has been no proper consultation on this proposal and the Society considers that it would be wrong for the Cabinet to come to a decision until the community has had a chance to comment. I should be grateful if our strong representations could be conveyed to the Chairman and Members at the meeting.

The Horsham Society is not opposed to all change, but to changes which cumulatively threaten to destroy the open parkland character of Horsham Park. The piecemeal way in which proposals seem to emerge suggests a lack of an overall vision and plan for preserving and improving our Park.

Yours sincerely

John Steele