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October 2007 

 2 October 2007

The Editor
West Sussex County Times
Market Square
Horsham, RH12 1HD

Dear Sir

It is excellent news that common sense has prevailed and the swans are to return to Swan Walk.

But the cynical contempt with which the management have treated the people of Horsham will take a long time to live down. History shows that the sculpture has been treated with scant regard ever since it was hemmed in by the wholly inappropriate café. So we must look to the Council to ensure that whatever the final reinstatement scheme there is a legally binding commitment on the part of Norwich Union to retain the sculpture.

Hopefully, this change of heart will be accompanied by a wider rethink. They removed the swans not because of environmental or safety considerations but primarily for commercial gain. Lorne McKean’s iconic sculpture stood in the way of “a series of planned modernisation initiatives to create a new flexible and interactive space for commercial and community services.” Whatever this nonsense means you can be sure they plan more commercial exploitation of what were once wide, pleasant circulation areas.

They think this will help them compete better with Crawley. What rot. Horsham’s commercial success depends not on aping Crawley but by offering a different shopping experience.

If the management want to breathe new life into the centre they should reduce the unrealistically high asking prices for the empty units and encourage smaller companies into the town.

A new approach is needed which reflects Horsham’s unique character. And, of course, the swans must be restored to pride of place and not tucked away in a corner.

Congratulations to everybody who added their voice to the protest. Make no mistake, it is people power that has changed minds.

Yours faithfully

John Steele