New bins but still no Christmas tree in Horsham town

JPCT 201112 Christmas lights in Horsham town centre. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 201112 Christmas lights in Horsham town centre. Photo by Derek Martin

Hundreds of people have expressed their wish for a Christmas tree in Horsham’s West Street.

In the past week temporary bins have been placed in the town centre but hundreds have taken to social media to call for a festive tree.

In a poll on the Horsham Facebook page 741 people said they want their high street pines back.

The poll was sparked by comments made to Wakefields Jewellers from customers about the absence of its Christmas tree - which has stood outside the store and proved a popular town centre attraction in recent years.

Facebook user Jose Manuel posted: “Oh my god it shows the state of this town that the public have to lobby the council for a xmas tree!”

This week Horsham District Council (HDC) said it is ready to work with businesses who want to financially support a re-introduction and plans have been drawn up for next year.

A spokesperson said: “The Wakefields funded tree in West Street was not present last year and the Neighbourhood Councils were able to introduce trees in the town as part of the 2012 lighting scheme, which was supplied as an extension of the original three-year contract, but these were vandalised last year.

“Unfortunately this is not the case with the current lighting contract as we have to renew and maintain the Carfax in-tree lighting for a further three years.

“This year’s lighting effect achieved on the bandstand and the in-tree lighting and cross street motifs have attracted very positive comments and we and our Neighbourhood Council partners feel that we are obtaining reasonable value from their relatively small budget.

“HDC is ready to work with businesses who want to financially support the re-introduction of a Horsham Christmas tree from next year with sponsorship packages already drafted for approval.”

The local authority added the recent West Street enhancement ‘was to improve sightlines for businesses and to encourage them to make even more of their own shop fronts - just as Wakefields Jewellers has done this Christmas’.

Store owner Dominic Wakefield said he is keen to work with businesses to fund a town centre tree next year and encourage ‘more of a Christmas feeling in town’.

Additional older style bins have been brought into West Street to deal with a litter increase which is expected during the festive period.

These have been placed alongside the new bins - which will be reviewed in coming months - with a sign that reads: “If these bins are full please hold on to your litter and use the next available one.”

The HDC spokesperson added: “Older style bins have been placed in West Street temporarily due to the busy Christmas period when more rubbish is expected. The new bins will be reviewed in the new year.”