Live Facebook chat on Broadbridge Heath Quadrant branded ‘box-ticking exercise’

JPCT 280612  BBHLC Joint user group march on the capitol. Photo by Derek Martin ENGSUS00120120628100524
JPCT 280612 BBHLC Joint user group march on the capitol. Photo by Derek Martin ENGSUS00120120628100524

The council’s cabinet member for leisure answered questions on proposals for the Broadbridge Heath Quadrant during a live Facebook chat but some branded it a ‘box-ticking exercise’.

But just six questions were pre-submitted to Jonathan Chowen (Con, Cowfold, Shermanbury, and West Grinstead), Horsham District Council’s cabinet member for arts, heritage, and leisure before his live Facebook chat on proposals on Monday night (March 17).

A handful of extra questions were asked on the night, but finished with some calling for a public meeting, branding the chat a ‘tick-box exercise’.

Last month HDC unveiled its initial proposals for the quadrant, which include a new leisure centre, retail and restaurant units, a new hotel, medical centre, and up to 200 apartments.

Mr Chowen confirmed a new leisure centre would be run for HDC by a contractor, would likely contain two dance studios, and would include some courts for tennis, netball, and five-a-side football.

However some residents expressed their frustration at the level of detail he was able to provide. Sue Kornycky said: “As Philip Circus is not in the chair we expect to get reasonable answers. You must have an overall figure for the sq ft of this building, why won’t you tell us please?”

Mr Chowen replied: “These are broad plans, the details will come later following consultation and further work.”

The future of the Horsham Indoor Bowls Club was a recurring theme throughout.

Fran Baillie called it a lifeline to many people and asked whether the club could be relocated if their building was knocked down.

Mr Chowen answered:“No final decision has been made on this but last month I did share some of our concerns with the club about providing indoor bowls in the new centre.

“The council has to make sure that the facilities planned for the new leisure centre meet demand for the long term and provides value for money.”

The club is due to hold a demonstration in Horsham town centre’s Carfax on Saturday March 22 at 10.45am.