Nik Butler: Streetlamps and roads will likely replace hedgerows

JPCT 120314 S14110969x Nik Butler -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141203-095917001
JPCT 120314 S14110969x Nik Butler -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141203-095917001

One of the unspoken victims in the potential North Horsham preferred strategy will be Horsham’s youngest, and most promising, community project, The Riverside Walk.

It is hardly obscure though as it get a mention on the council’s website. It is the result of careful curation of established, and newly developed, routes which encompass Horsham in an 11 mile stroll.

For the most part the Riverside Walk lives up to its title. It follows the streams and rivers on which Horsham is defined. The project has been established through investments, grants, funds, effort and time, by a community who have been dedicated to recognising the beauty in our landscape and the health benefits provided from such features.

Frustratingly the preferred strategy to build in North Horsham will unwind some of these careful plans. In place of a field and brief walk through the edge of Horsham’s northern greenbelt there will, most likely, be a street and a road. They will build new streetlights in place of hedgerows which mark out the route. The money which has been invested, with all good intentions, will be made a mockery by the actions of a determined plan.

It takes a Liberty with the effort to develop North Horsham as somewhere scenic. Quite how this project was so easily overlooked, possibly dismissed, in the consideration of North Horsham development would seem shocking had we not been left so thoroughly punch drunk by the paucity of planning forethought demonstrated in this district. The Riverside Walk features as a large part of my own transport experience in Horsham; be it walking, running or cycling. I find myself planning its use precisely because it takes me away from cars and paved pedestrian access and in the height of the summer heat the green shade refreshes the spirit.

There are few places in Horsham which have do not prioritise vehicle access; even the new builds towards Broadbridge Heath appear to have forsaken pathways in place of mixed usage. All with the assumption that cars have authority. The advent of the inaugural Riverside Walk on the 26th July, 9.30am at the Rugby Club on Hammerpond Road, is a chance for many to discover Horsham from the outside in; it is important that everyone in Horsham from north to south realise that this newly founded gem may be sliced up for profit.