Opinion

Is the town centre being turned into a theme park?

By Nik Butler

I think that I might have discovered a problem with the West Street redevelopment plans. It may be a small thing but it is sure to drive those of us with a more obsessive compulsive nature to distraction and it is certainly beginning to bug me.

In renovating the pavement along West Street there is a suggestion that there will be zones of arcs and waves of patterns all of which are designed to highlight areas of interest along the street. I personally have a preference for those curves and sweeping lines.

I am also looking forward to watching many an adult caught unaware as a small child wanders underfoot as they follow those newly laid lines whilst walking up the street. High streets are hard enough to navigate with dithering shoppers wander left or right whilst trying to walk in a straight line and now we are enabling them with subconscious designed behaviour enforcement.

Meanwhile further up the street there is Eat street, my apologies I mean East Street, and if we look to the pavement the design is strong, straight lines, square patterns and generally not sweeping or circular or smooth.

Maybe the idea is to divide up our town into Zones as if Horsham town centre is a theme park with Commercial zone West Street, Food Mall East Street, Discovery Carfax and Fantasy Land North Street. Actually this is not a bad idea. All this needs to be complete are the costumed individuals walking around between the visitors, sorry that should be ‘Guests’.

We could have Shelly the Flushing Fountain only she is a little dry at present and would appreciate a little attention. Then there is the Carfax Kid a sassy man child always dressing to gain attention and worried that he is overlooked. Finally there is the Bishopric but he did not test well with focus groups and the kids find him a little creepy.

The trouble with all this is that theme parks tend to be ghost towns in the evenings and Horsham is a market town in which people wish to live and enjoy the features and facilities. With more homes, more villages and more people moving into the area is this town becoming a place where you can live and take part and contribute or are we becoming a super market town filled with day trip experiences and limitations on parking access.

2 comments on “Is the town centre being turned into a theme park?

  1. Thank you for these splendid comments Nick they have made me smile. Somewhere within it there is certainly a weird element of reality in what you are saying! A magical mystery tour of the town that brings people back time and time again is within our reach. Horsham as a happy and welcoming family destination where people can have fun sounds brilliant!. What kind of fun depends on individual desires.This town can cater for all tastes, there is something for everyone; from flowers to wild life, whether people are addicted to unique shops or are gluttons for different food experiences or whether they want to follow the Heritage and Art trails people CAN find ways of having a good time in Horsham. We certainly can’t risk it becoming a ghost town – so we should all try to support the local economy by spending our money locally and by encouraging our Council to take a refreshed and inspired look at long term planning and parking policies. More than a simple fairground attraction, our town should be setting examples that others will come to envy by growing an unbeatable reputation for ground breaking fairness and thoughtfulness, towards its ‘guests’ and towards its local businesses.

  2. Went to Horsham first about six years ago purely by ‘accident’ – was staying nearby and went into your town on a whim. It’s a marvelous place! Been back five times since and will be there again in a few weeks – everything is accessible, the buildings are clean and have ‘character’, the people are really pleasant and in short it seems to me to be about as close to the idea of ‘England’ that we pick up on over here through BBC programs etc. Please continue the good ideas and be careful of changing too much too quickly. Looking forward to once again being in Horsham – the place my friends and business acquaintances cannot understand why I pass on ‘going to London/Oxford/Bath/etc”….until they too visit it.

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