30 years ago

From the West Sussex County Times of Friday, June 10, 1983.

Horsham’s Queen Street football pitch and stands could be bulldozed to make way for “intensive housing” development if current behind-the-scenes negotiations are successful. If a package deal can be put together it would include the relocation of the football club on another site and possibly facilities for other sports as well.

Club director Bernard Newman said that “plans for the benefit of the town” were under discussion but confidentiality was critical.

Part of the negotiations have included an approach to the Horsham Rifle and Pistol Club which has premises close to the football club entrance into Queen Street.

Mr Newman confirmed that he and estate agent John Horner-Hill held a meeting in May with rifle club representatives to discuss the possible sale of their premises.

Their club chairman John Dolding said he had been asked to keep the discussions confidential at the time but, he added, “a month has gone by and there have been several items in your paper.”

He continued: “Basically they are going for outline planning permission for intensive housing within the area of the football ground itself.

“The suggestion was that we might combine with the football club in selling the whole plot of ground and moving to Broadbridge Heath,” said Mr Dolding. He described the plans outlined to him as “complicated”.

Massive support from Broadbridge Heath residents for a scheme to give the village its own multi-purpose community centre is essential to get it off the ground. Plans for the £175,000 building, on a one acre site off Wickhurst Lane next to the bypass, have now been finalised and will go on show to villagers at a gala fête. However, the real problems are just beginning with the daunting task of raising the money to build the centre. Of the scheme’s total cost, £75,000 is hoped to be raised through grants from local authorities leaving the rest of the £100,000 to be raised through donations and money-raising events.

Response to requests for help in the village so far have received only lukewarm response according to fund-raising committee chairman Geoffrey Bennett. This apathy has put the projected start to building date of April 1985 in jeopardy.

“There are 2,300 on the electoral roll and a small donation from each of them would go a long way to making the building a reality,” he said.

Local businesses had stepped in to offer some money towards the cost of the building but it was now for the villagers themselves to put their hands in their pockets.

The multi-purpose hall will have seating for 300 and would be available for meetings, wedding receptions, disco/dances, drama and concerts. It will have recreation facilities for table tennis, indoor netball and basketball.

Emotions ran high as over 1,000 demonstrators massed outside the premises of the monkey importation company, Shamrock Farms, south of Small Dole, on Saturday afternoon.

Although there were few outbreaks of violence, the anger and despair felt by many demonstrators was evident.

Many of them openly wept when they went to the farm entrance. Emotion also erupted in angry chants calling for the firm’s managing director and threatening him with violence.

The company claims only to import animals and says it does not experiment on them. It points to the many medical achievements brought forward by the use of animals in experimentation.

However, the protesters pointed to injuries which can occur to animals in transit and said the animal research they abhorred would not be possible without companies such as Shamrock Farms.

The farm has been the victim of an attack by the clandestine Animal Liberation Front in the past and the protesters did not leave last Saturday before threatening to return without warning.*