LETTER: Group has done so much for Horsham

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I was delighted to read in the County Times that the council has stated that Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre is to be replaced by a bigger and better facility.

I have been a member of the gym since finishing cancer treatment five years ago and, due to the support and encouragement of their wonderful staff, I am now fitter than I have been for years.

The proposed expansion of the gym is a fitting tribute to their hard work and the wonderful atmosphere of the leisure centre.

I have also been a member of HAODS for almost 30 years. Unfortunately this group seems to have been overlooked in the council’s plans.

We are a large group of all ages who put on excellent musical productions at the Capitol twice a year. I believe our original premises were in a Nissen hut on the land where Tesco now stands.

Twenty-five years ago, when the existing leisure centre was built, we were given replacement premises within the new building with two rehearsal rooms, a scenery dock, costume and props rooms and a Green Room (refreshment area).

These are all fully utilised by HAODS and it is difficult to see how the council’s offer of space in the Drill Hall will meet our requirements.

They would need to move existing users; provide dry, secure storage for scenery, props and costumes; allow us access on most evenings and several weekends, and all for an affordable rent.

Our rehearsal room floor is marked out for each production, and the props for the current production are stored around the room for use at each rehearsal. Some of these props are large and it would be impractical to clear everything away each time.

We appreciate that we have been lucky to rent our existing facilities, but we played a major role in the artistic life of Horsham for 60 years.

Our membership has increased dramatically in recent years, with lots of younger people joining us. Young HAODS provides performance classes for 50 youngsters and contributes to what is a thriving and vibrant environment.

The Horsham public are able to see top class amateur productions of big musical shows.

We are currently completing rehearsals for ‘Sweeney Todd’ which we will stage at The Capitol from 8th - 12th April.

Does all this count for nothing? Surely the council should be doing more to help a group which provided so much for Horsham for 60 years.

JANE O’SULLIVAN

Rushams Road, Horsham