I was initially delighted to read that there is a possibility of John Lewis opening a Home Store in Horsham.
However I then read that it could include the relocation of Waitrose to the new site off Albion Way/Bishopric and my enthusiasm diminished.
My concerns about this are as follows:
I do not consider the proposed site to be ‘town centre’. It would be the western edge of the retail area and certainly disadvantage those on the east side of Horsham.
Anyone wishing to shop at a major supermarket from that side of Horsham would have to use Albion Way to access Sainsbury’s, Waitrose or Tesco.
This road is already very busy and can become very congested at peak times.
At present people can park in Waitrose car park from the east side of town for their shopping
without joining Albion Way and while there visit other town centre shops.
Those living in east Horsham would have no supermarket within walking distance and Waitrose is used by a considerable number of older people who do not drive any longer and
who also find the larger supermarkets somewhat intimidating.
If Waitrose vacates the Piries Place premises, the footfall through Piries Place could be considerably less without a larger retail attraction and impact on the independent traders there.
There are already vacant retail premises in Swan Walk and West Street, we do not wish to add to them in Piries Place.
The plethora of eating establishments that have appeared may attract people to the town,
particularly in the evenings, but many residents do not use these on a regular basis and in these times of recession it will be surprising if they all survive.
I fear that the East Street Quarter, as it is so pretentiously called, could well end up the poor relation again with retail
focus to the west of the town centre.
I await with interest further revelations concerning redevelopment.