Nik Butler and David Moore made some valuable points in last week’s edition of the West Sussex County Times. Nik described the new planters in Horsham’s West Street as ‘the country’s most expensive ashtray improvement scheme’.
When the refurbishment work was well underway, only then were Horsham in Bloom invited to meet the Project Team and that after requesting a meeting. They were supported by lobbying from town councillors, recognised community groups and interested individuals. At that meeting Horsham in Bloom demonstrated the ribbon of colour from the railway station through the Carfax and along West Street to the bus station.
Any break in the continuity of that planting would be detrimental, as had been identified earlier at the May 2013 meeting of the Project Team with the comment ‘We must ensure quality through the scheme and consider a town-vision through the process, not just West Street in isolation’, so it is hard to understand why a discontinuity was then introduced.
Horsham in Bloom advised the street level planting selected would require a high level of maintenance, be subject to a low level of vandalism and would be used as litter bins and ashtrays. People passing by would render these low-level additions unnoticeable, losing the impact of visible high-level colour.
Few people would be encouraged to linger, to the disadvantage of traders. Once the hard landscaping had been completed, experts from Horsham District Council and Horsham in Bloom were given the very narrow brief of sourcing planting suitable for the established non-optimal location along the edges of the street. Bamboos were chosen to introduce the height needed and provide some energy through their movement.
We are certain that the success brought to the town as the result of the 20 years of experience, culminating in the winning of the Gold Award of Britain in Bloom in 2007, has been sidelined by non-experts.
The project to refurbish the Bishopric is now being planned. As David Moore, chairman of the Horsham Society, rightly says, ‘We must get the changes to the Bishopric area right else Horsham could easily become a town which people choose to avoid’.
Chairman, Horsham in Bloom, North Street, Horsham