It would be tempting fate for someone of my age to be looking ahead to the year 2031 but I was interested to read Frances Haigh’s forecast (WSCT - August 6th).
In her article, she questions whether Horsham and its surroundings will be a good place to live or a faceless urban sprawl - sixteen years on.
Why she has to wait until 2031 to find the answer is beyond me - just take a look around now!
In my opinion, our former Sussex market town has already been ruined by those who have been elected to Horsham District Council over the years. True, much has been placed upon the shoulders our county and district councillors by central government.
For example, Margaret Thatcher’s cynical short-term policy of selling off council houses at a discount has depleted our affordable housing stock. Again - with a view to courting popularity- the present Tory government plans to encourage housing associations to do likewise.
But the principal reason for our town’s decline is that we are now over-populated.
In recent years, there has been a mass exodus from south London to pastures new. Visions of a safer life in rural surroundings have acted as a magnet to what is perceived as the ideal environment in which to bring up children - away from the demands of the increasingly cosmopolitan suburbs.
And Gatwick Airport provides lucrative employment. In short, Horsham has the best of both worlds in this 21st century.
That said, all I would ask is that new-comers to the town spare a thought for those of us whose forebears have lived in a much more modest environment for generations and who can recall the days when Horsham really was a market town and where one’s loyalty was to one’s county - rather than a post-code.
A town with its own distinctive brewery and county regiment and a town where supermarkets did not rule the roost - allowing individual small high street retailers to prosper.
A Carfax without the phoney cobbles.
In short, a town with some genuine character.
Today, the Conservative government is busy lobbying the Church of England to support greater Sunday trading.
It’s called progress - soon one will have the stark choice between God and Mammon - the Tory Party standing solidly behind the latter.
So, looking at past performance, in my opinion Frances Haigh already has the answer as to how Horsham and district will look in 2031 - one huge featureless urban sprawl from Horsham extending to the coast where boring retirement settlements will flourish.
I really can’t wait!
BARBARA A. WORLEY
Ayshe Court Drive, Horsham
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