Could new stores on outskirts of Horsham be occupied by McDonald's, Aldi, Lidl, B&Q, Starbucks, B&M or Costa

A new business park is planned in Broadbridge Heath, but what new shops and food outlets can Horsham shoppers expect to open?

A planning application is currently being prepared and is set to be submitted this spring. Ahead of this, the council says it is keen to hear views from the public by March 17.

But what readers will want to know is what brands are set to open. They’ve already shared their views on Facebook. There are no details in the public domain yet, as the identity of occupiers will be covered by commercial confidentiality at this stage of the process.

But we here at the County Times have been looking for clues in the meantime.

WSCC says it would bring ‘a selection of new and exciting brands to the area.’

The new mix of shops would include a discount food retailer, along with a DIY centre and a garden store retailer – brands which, the council says, are currently not trading in Horsham. It would also include ‘two global food and beverage chains.’

When people hear discount food retailer, they usually thing Aldi or Lidl.

That is not to say one of them might also be eyeing up a new store in Broadbridge Heath too.

WSCC says the intended DIY and garden store retailer ‘will be a new brand for Horsham District’.

B&Q is probably the name that first springs to mind and it has units in Crawley, Burgess Hill, Bognor Regis, Shoreham and Worthing, but none in our district.

And a B&M homestore is always mentioned as a chain people would like to see open and they have stores in both Crawley and Bognor Regis at present.

The two new eateries are perhaps harder to suss out.

The smaller of the two units in the north-west corner of the site would look to lend itself to a drive-thru coffee shop.

Again, Starbucks and Costa are the two names that immediately spring to mind. But Tim Hortons, the Canadian fast food and coffee outlet, has recently opened in several parts of West Sussex, so perhaps they’re a contender.

And when it comes to the last unit, which we assume is a restaurant with a drive-thru due to the tables and chairs outside, it’s hard to look past the potential for McDonald’s. It closed its town centre restaurant in 2014, leaving a rather large gap in Horsham, and also wants to open at the new Billingshurst Business Park, with its attempt to secure planning permission so far unsuccessful.

The town has been long without a Burger King, but there is already a KFC in the Bishopric, which may be too close to warrant a second branch.

Or could we see another American chain such as Five Guys or Wendy’s?