30 years ago

The long-awaited plans for an arts centre in Horsham’s ABC cinema in North Street are about to be revealed – at the same time as a public meeting on an alternative is being planned.

The plans, formulated by a Horsham District Council theatre subcommittee, have been delivered to the council by consultant architects and the rush is on to release them soon.

The council is expected to make a statement on the scheme in the next few days and the plans will be made available for people to see at Grandford House.

The news comes in the same week that the Horsham Society announced that Lord Ezra would be chairing a public meeting on thesociety’s own arts centre proposals in July.

But councillors have already said that the alternative ideas are too late for consideration.

The council’s own scheme is expected to have some modifications to earlier drawings that were prepared.

It will include a multi-purpose theatre, with a flat floor and retractable raked seating as well as conventional auditorium.

There will also be a small separate cinema and a large exhibition space with refreshment areas, dressing rooms and other ancillary accommodation.

The council has imposed a cost ceiling on the project of £1.3m which is the sum it received from the sale of the Capitol Theatre site to Marks and Spencer’s.

Health chiefs could face a public inquiry if they decide to pull down or redevelop Horsham’s Forest Hospital.

The oldest part of the Crawley Road site, the former workhouse built in 1838, is a grade two listed building.

This means it is officially recognised as having special historical architectural interest and is protected from demolition or alteration.

In a report the Mid Downs Health Authority working group on mental handicap services recommended closing Forest Hospital by 1990 and selling the entire site to finance new community bungalows.

If final plans include pulling down or altering the former workhouse, Mid Downs will have to apply first to Horsham District Council and then the Department of the Environment for listed building consent to go ahead.

Mid Downs Health Authority says it does not regard this as a stumbling block for any future plans.

Deputy district administratorDavid Long said: “All sorts of compromise solutions could be found.

The façade might be retained or the listing altered. We may even sell it as it stands and the developer would then be faced with the problem.”

A pledge to press for the completion of the proposed sports hall at Rydon School, Thakeham, by 1985 has been made by Horsham District Council’s recreation and environment committee chairman.

“I spend my time pushing people,” Mrs Evelyn Mauchel told members of Storrington Parish council when she attended a meeting with David Fisher, Horsham’s leisure and recreation manager.

“The way I would like to see it happen is a start during the next financial year.

It would take about nine months to build.

“If this is what you want, this is what I shall push for,” she promised.