A call to ‘stop the rot’ of once-prime parts of Horsham has gone out from town watchdogs.
Members of the conservation group the Horsham Society say that East Street and Queen Street in Horsham are ‘in a disgraceful state.’
Now they are calling on Horsham District Council to take action to force the owners of dilapidated areas to tidy up their premises.
Society member David Holmes said problems were first highlighted in East and Queen streets four years ago, but nothing had been done and the areas remained eyesores.
“Queen Street is the A281, the main road into the town from Mannings Heath, Cowfold, Henfield and Brighton and Shoreham further south. It is a very poor introduction to Horsham town and creates completely the worng impression on visitors about our town,” said David.
“Queen Street with its small shops could be an attractive part of Horsham offering an alternative to the national retailers in the town centre. In Christmases long-past I recall that the street was once attractive with small tastefully illuminated Christmas trees projecting above the shop fronts. Sadly, the area now has no such charm.”
He singled out the frontage of KwikFit as an eyesore along with the rusty Iron Bridge, the closed Queen’s Head pub, the empty former Antix second hand furniture shop and another boarded up shop on the corner of New Street.
He also criticised herring-bone patterned paving which had become ‘uglier’ after being dug up several times and filled in with concrete.
“Also,” he said, “buddleia still grows on the wall by the bridge obscuring the East Street sign.
“To be fair though,” he added, “the district council in partnership with Forest Neighbourhood Council has improved the planted area to the east of the railway bridge.
“The Iron Bridge itself is rusty and has deteriorated. Worse still, the Quens Head is closed and neglected with a large ragged umbrella left flapping in the wind as if the town has been struck by some natural disaster.”
He urged: “The council should take firm action with the owners of premises not properly maintained and that require improvement,” adding: “Some properties may be awaiting development but that is no excuse for the way they currently look.”