At a meeting of the cabinet on Thursday (March 25), members agreed to adopt the town centre Public Realm Strategy and Design Guide, which lays out ways to improve access and connectivity, make better use of space and enhance the existing heritage of the town.
With the strategy in place and the various project designs built up, the council will have extra leverage when it comes to bidding for grant funding.
Claire Vickers, cabinet member for planning and development, told the meeting that the strategy had been 12 months in the making, with the likes of the Horsham Society and the neighbourhood councils sharing their input.
Stressing that none of the designs were set in stone, she said: “Our aspiration is to have detailed, shovel-ready designs developed so Horsham can effectively bid for government and other potential sources of funding to bring these schemes to fruition.”
Suggestions for the Carfax include reducing the width of the cobbled road, de-cluttering and improving the street furniture and banning cars between 10.30am and 4.30pm.
In the Causeway, the plans include repaving the historic street, adding more crossings and using planting to create a buffer from the road.
In Albion Way, the suggested changes are more large-scale.
They include the removal of the underpass and the creation of a raised ‘super-crossing’ as well as the softening of the look with planted verges.
Other projects include the Bishopric, Blackhorse Way, The Forum and Queen Street.
Clive Burley, corporate project manager, suggested the Carfax scheme should be prioritised.
Explaining how the council had missed out on funding in the past, he said: “We’ve lost out previously because we haven’t had any shovel ready designs ready to go.
“The purpose of doing that is to be able to cost them effectively so we actually know what we’re bidding for.”
Mr Burley told the meeting the council would bid for any funding opened up by the government as well as approaching the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership and working with the county council to find any other ways of bringing in money.
Liberal Democrat leader Frances Haigh said: “It’s a good basis for us to go forward in improving the town centre and I hope we obtain funds as soon as we can so we can get some of the work done.
“I hope priority will be given to Blackhorse Way because the crossing there is really dangerous and if that could be brought to the top of the list that would be appreciated.”
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