Here’s where new Billingshurst car park will be built

Plans to build a 16-space car park in Billingshurst have been approved by Horsham District Council.

The application, for council-owned land behind 54-55 High Street, was given an firm thumbs-up during a meeting of the planning committee on Tuesday (January 25).

The application includes the creation of a vehicular link to the neighbouring car parks at Jengers Mead and Sainsbury’s.

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Billingshurst councillors Kate Rowbottom and Nigel Jupp enthusiastically spoke in favour of the application.

Proposed location for the new car park just of Billingshurst's High Street (Google Maps)

Mrs Rowbottom said: “I believe that the residents of Billingshurst have been waiting for this for a long time.

“It’s going to make an awful lot of difference.”

Mr Jupp added that the plans were ‘long-awaited’ and would bring a ‘considerable and meaningful’ increase in parking spaces – especially as the Billingshurst Parish Neighbourhood Plan states that there is not enough public-owned parking at peak times.

But Michael Croker (Green, Bramber, Upper Beeding & Woodmancote) did not share their enthusiasm.

The site is part of a medieval burgage plot – a plot of land used by a trader – described by the council’s conservationist as ‘an unusual survivor in this part of the village’.

Mr Croker called it ‘a green island surrounded by car parks’ and warned the benefits of the car park were outweighed by the harm it would cause.

With a quick nod to the song Big Yellow Taxi, by Joni Mitchell – ‘They paved paradise and put up a parking lot’ – he added: “In some respects this is the last place in Billingshurst in the centre.

“I just feel that the loss of that green space, which could be used far more creatively – perhaps a mini park – would have been a much better use of it given that we own the land.”

The car park will include two spaces for the use of 55 High Street, two electric vehicle charging spots and one disabled accessible parking spot.

Two spaces from the Sainsbury’s car park will be lost to allow for the vehicular access between the sites.

A report to the committee said an archaeological investigation of the site would take place.

It added: “Billingshurst has its roots in the Anglo-Saxon period and it is likely that the application site contains multi-period archaeological remains.”

To view the application in full, log on to public-access.horsham.gov.uk and search for DC/19/2319.