It is disappointing that the Horsham Society has chosen to criticise the West Street improvements in the County Times.
The Horsham Society chairman at the time, David Moore, attended every West Street project meeting on behalf of the Horsham Society. As an active project board member, he provided sound advice and opinions and thus the Horsham Society was fully aware of the ideas that had come forward and was involved in making the decisions which shaped the final scheme.
A considerable amount of the £600k budget was spent on essential drainage work, which has brought an end to the two streams that used to run the length of West Street causing discomfort for shoppers. Money was also spent upgrading and repairing the up-lighting, and the street lighting has been improved.
The decision to remove the hanging baskets came from the public consultation and feedback from project board meetings. There was a call for planting that is less intrusive and less overpowering in the high street. The council piloted the use of bamboo planting, but this wasn’t as envisaged so it was changed to a scheme that was more structured using box and yew. We also delivered a town centre way-finding scheme which has received praise, in particular from visitors to the town.
The ultimate test of a High Street is the shopping on offer. Since the scheme was introduced we have seen Joules, Jigsaw and Cotswold Outdoor Clothing opening shops in West Street. This complements the investments in East Street, Swan Walk and the John Lewis/Waitrose development.
(Con, Billingshurst and Shipley)Cabinet Member for the Local Economy, Horsham District Council, Chart Way, Horsham
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