When considering the re-development of the Bishopric area of Horsham, the removal of the water-feature ‘Rising Universe’ should be a priority - for two reasons.
First, the fountain has nothing whatsoever to with the town’s most famous son, the romantic poet - Percy Bysshe Shelley - and second because this monstrosity has never worked - having been rejected by the City of Cambridge and passed on to us by a local supermarket.
Might I therefore suggest that a more conventional tribute to the radical poet, Shelley, should take its place.
Born at Field Place, near Broadbridge Heath in 1792, the young Shelley is reported to have been seen the worst for wear in various taverns in Horsham before departing for Eton and University College, Oxford.
In short, he was a rebel from the word go - and we should be proud of him. I well recall the socialist writer and broadcaster, the late Paul Foot, unveiling the water feature in 1992 at a ceremony to mark the 200th anniversary of Shelley’s birth - a truly remarkable gesture by a Conservative local authority.
Might I also suggest a more appropriate quotation to complement the statue - taken from his poem, ‘The Mask of Anarchy’ - which would serve to illustrate the views of a sizeable section of our electorate towards cabinet members of our Tory dominated district council.
Such a quotation would also act as a constant reminder of the need for open, transparent politics in local government - we deserve nothing less:
‘Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number;
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep have fallen on you.
Ye are many, they are few’.
To me, those radical lines illustrate the feelings towards a cabal of councillors who chose to ignore the views of their electorate and who punished one of their own who dared to break ranks - and do just that.
One does not have to agree wholeheartedly with Shelley’s political views in order to address the appalling shortcomings of our council - only to remember that, ‘We are many, they are few’ - come next year’s local elections!
ROBERT B. WORLEY
Ayshe Court Drive, Horsham