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keyfact Horsham District

The Horsham District is located on the edge of the South Downs National Park and covers an area of 205 square miles.

Plans underway for enhancement of Horsham town centre

PLANS are well underway for an exciting enhancement project for Horsham’s West Street, which sees Horsham District Council linking closely with various different partners to improve the town centre experience.

The project is taking place after Horsham District Council secured funding from West Sussex County Council’s ‘Kick-Start’ Programme towards the end of 2012.

The District Council has been awarded £500,000 to be used to uplift the street’s public realm, with improvements being made to hard and soft landscaping, street furniture, signage and lighting, including community safety improvements.  This will contribute towards providing better pedestrian circulation and way finding in the town centre, encouraging greater footfall to quieter parts of the town and supporting businesses in these areas.

The project, which has been funded / part funded by the Kick-Start programme, will also seek to include elements of public art that could add to the street’s distinctiveness.  Kick-Start is a partnership between West Sussex County Council and all seven local district and borough councils to boost the local economy.

A wide range of projects have been designed to promote growth, maintain and create jobs, and attract new investment from the private sector.

Kick-Start will deliver real and sustainable benefits across a variety of sectors from construction to retail, and business to tourism.

The whole initiative in West Street is being steered by the Cabinet Member for Horsham Town, Cllr Helena Croft, who chairs a ‘Project Board’, which has wider representation from groups and partners with a clear involvement and interest in West Street and the town.

The board is made up of a Horsham town centre ward Councillor as well as officers from Horsham District Council, a West Sussex County Councillor and its Kick-Start Programme Manager, Horsham Unlimited (the Town Centre Business Partnership), the town Community Partnership, Denne Neighbourhood Council, the Horsham Society, Crickmay Chartered Surveyors and Wakefields Jewellers, representing the business community voice as a West Street business and having been in the town for over 100 years.

Cllr Helena Croft from Horsham District Council said:“This is a very exciting opportunity to really enhance and lift the whole of Horsham’s main high street. ”Working in conjunction with all the interested parties in the town, I’m confident that this will bring a much needed boost to our local economy.”

The changes will underpin the street’s role as a major retail destination in its own right, supporting existing businesses and helping to attract new private investment and businesses to the area.  Improvements to lighting will also contribute to providing a safe and welcoming environment to enhance the evening economy.

The agreed bid also contained certain objectives to be met which include business support, job creation and skills development. Horsham District Council will seek to use local contractors and suppliers wherever possible.

The scheme will be complementary to any proposed development west ofAlbion Wayby ensuring a holistic approach to design and functionality. The project delivery team are in discussions with the developer - Westrock - to ensure the most joined up approach and synergy through any development and enhancements to the area.

Timescales will differ considerably however, with the West Street enhancement implementation scheduled over a 12 week period between mid August and late October, with strong consideration given to minimal disruption for businesses, particularly in the lead up to the busy Christmas period.

Cllr Roger Paterson, Horsham District Council’s Cabinet Member for the Local Economy, said:“This is a very exciting project to revitaliseWest Streetand is designed to attract both existing and new shoppers and visitors to Horsh am. The partnership working between Horsham District Council and West Sussex County Council, together with numerous stakeholders involved, particularly Horsham Unlimited, will I’m sure create a very successful project which will be widely appreciated by local residents.”

Public Exhibition Planned
A staffed exhibition for businesses and residents will be held in Middle Street, Horsham, (in a vacant unit opposite Waterstones) from Thursday 7 to Saturday 9 March, where the various options will be displayed and feedback will be welcomed.

The 7 March date has been specifically set up for businesses in the town to come along to discuss the scheme options and share opinions.

There will also be an opportunity for people to view options and share their views on the Horsham District Council website between Thursday 7 and Friday 15 March. Details will be promoted on the Council’s website, facebook and Twitter pages in advance.

Gill Buchanan, Chair of Horsham Unlimited and Swan Walk Centre Manager, who sits on the Project Board said: “West Street is critical to the success of Horsham being not just a retail destination in its own right but also the link betweenEast Street, Bishopric, The Forum and Swan Walk. The planned improvements will put the somewhat tired and dated area back on the map and I believe if delivered successfully the scheme will have a pebble effect across the town in terms of customer circulation and dwell time.

“Café culture, lighter brighter street scene, seating zones and opening sight lines will encourage customers to stay longer in the town centre which will in turn increase spend in stores and improve the overall shopping experience.

“I would expect and encourage all West Street businesses to look at their own store frontages and to ensure that they are making the best possible first impression so that by October the improved standards and environment run through the whole West Street shopping experience.”


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