The Town Hall
Chairman's letter to West Sussex County Times 30.06.06
30 June 2006
Horsham Town Hall
The Horsham Society has followed the debate over the
Town Hall with mounting despair over the attitude of
Horsham Council to the future of this historic listed
building. Our consistent aim has been to secure an
outcome which ensures that the building will remain as
a focal point in the life of Horsham, providing
community facilities and public access.
The Society was invited to join the advisory group
which considered a number of options. We did not
support the final recommendation for a folk art centre
because we believed that a better outcome could be
achieved by combining their requirements with the
proposal for a creative arts centre open every day.
This is still our view.
It now seems that the council proposes to set aside
the recommendations of its own advisory group in
favour of a commercial lease, probably to a restaurant
or wine bar. Its approach is based solely on
maximising income and ensuring that the Town Hall does
not remain a net cost to the Council budget. The
Horsham Society is completely opposed to any
commercial use and the Council’s own consultation last
year showed the public feel the same way. We do not
accept that it is wrong in principle for council tax
payers to subsidise a community facility such as the
Town Hall, particularly since it seems such costs now
fall only on tax payers within the town.
We are also concerned that the Council seems
determined to relocate the Registrar’s office without
any clear idea of what other suitable premises might
be available. The Marriage Room in the Town Hall
provides a splendid setting for civil marriages and is
held in great affection by countless Horsham residents
who were married there. Unless it is possible to find
other premises which are at least as suitable there
should be no pressure on the Registrar to move.