Horse drawn carriages took visitors through the Causeway on Saturday, November 16 as part of the unveiling of the West Street enhancements to highlight Horsham’s past.
Horsham is a Saxon word meaning a place where horses were kept and the name was first mentioned in 947AD.
Horseshoes feature in the paving design along the new West Street, as do narratives that are embedded in the paving relating to the history of a particular building, area or the town’s rich history.
The redevelopment was funded by West Sussex County Council’s Kick Start Programme and Horsham District Council contributed further money in the hope of improving the town’s economic vitality.
Councillor Helena Croft, cabinet member for Communication, Horsham Town and Special Projects, officially unveiled the redevelopment and said: “We are seeing a snowball effect already with the attraction of other businesses and I am optimistic this will snowball further and attract much more investment in the coming months.”
Visitors attended events including the Christmas light switch on, music, a story-telling programme, historical re-enactments, a Ferrari display, a special Horsham Museum exhibition and West Street historical walking tours.
County councillor Brad Watson said: “I am delighted to be part of the Kick Start Programme to boost the Sussex economy. It’s gone so well and I’m thrilled to see the very attractive and successful development. This is a very important occasion for Horsham and the local economy. If a town isn’t vibrant and attractive we are not going to get the trade and shoppers coming here.”
Other improvements in the street include the wave paving design that was chosen by residents who attended a public exhibition in March, seating, way finding, drainage and red active lighting.
“The lighting scheme is stunning, it’s my favourite new feature. It includes different colours to create coloured shadows that are great fun for children and adults alike. Horsham is the first town to use it nationally,” Cllr Croft said.
In 2014, phase two will begin which will see further improvements to West Street including planting, more lighting, an ambient sound system, opportunities to improve shop fronts and additional way finding.