Display boards showing shoppers the Horsham West End retail development have been attracting crowds since they went up in the Bishopric last week.
Days before roadworks start on the new layout of Albion Way next week, graphics showing artist’s impressions of the John Lewis at Home and Waitrose site and Bishopric have gone up on the former McDonald’s unit.
Since the fast food chain’s lease came to an end in the landmark unit last year many have commented on how dour the area looks.
On Saturday people were even seen crowding round the display boards promising ‘shopping, eating and living’ for Horsham’s West End.
Work is well underway on the long-awaited John Lewis at Home and Waitrose stores off Albion Way due to be open in the summer. There will be additional retail units on the east side of the road in Bishops Weald House.
Meanwhile Civil Engineering Contractor Gallagher Ltd will soon start work on the junction on Bishopric and Albion Way.
The works, which include widening of pavements, replacing signals and resurfacing the carriageways, are expected to last for three months and will require road narrowing and 24 hour traffic signals whilst they are taking place.
Motorists travelling during these hours are advised to allow extra time for their journey.
Also part of the West End improvement plan is town centre housing. The top floors of Bishops Weald House will become flats and there will be a block of apartments on the former Lifestyle Ford site used as emergency housing for homeless people.
Horsham District Council’s cabinet agreed last month to buy the block.
Sue Rogers (Con, Steyning), the cabinet member for a safer and healthier district, said at the April meeting it might see the council then eliminate their use of bed and breakfasts, saving the council money, and providing a ‘significant social impact’ as very often families were being housed outside the Horsham district in places like Worthing.
She told the council’s cabinet: “This is a really important opportunity to take this investment for the town to provide this accommodation for the homeless families.”
Horsham District Council is also working on options for the pedestrianised areas and held exhibitions on those last autumn.
Although no decision has been made about the future of the Shelley Fountain, two of the options involve removing it.
The first option is for the area to remain largely as it is, but with a continuation of the West Street paving theme. Vegetation would be thinned and furniture and artworks upgraded.
The Shelley Fountain, formally called the Rising Universe, would be retained.
The second scenario applies a new ‘canvas’ to the Bishopric with pedestrian routes more strongly defined with paving matched to West Street.
The Lynd Cross is scaled down into a more intimate and welcoming space using vegetation to screen it from the public area.
The area currently taken up with the rockery and shrubbery would be cleared to allow for to have a flexible use.
The third option involves keeping much of the current vegetation, but making it a more intimate space by planting more shrubs and trees.
For more information on these go to www.horsham.gov.uk/enhancing-bishopric