Review of town’s conservation plans

High Street, Steyning. Photo by Derek Martin ENGPPP00320130509233131
High Street, Steyning. Photo by Derek Martin ENGPPP00320130509233131

Reviews of conservation areas in the largest South Downs villages and towns have been published by the council.

There are currently 37 designated areas across the Horsham district but only four, Horsham, Amberley, Bramber, and Slinfold, have an adopted appraisal.

Therefore Horsham District Council has started a rolling programme of producing conservation area appraisals and management plans with Billingshurst, Pulborough, Storrington, Henfield, and Steyning making up the first wave.

Cabinet members approved the draft plans for public consultation to start in September for four weeks at a meeting last month.

Claire Vickers (Con, Southwater), cabinet member for planning and development, said: “This council recognises that the district’s historic environment is an irreplaceable resource which should be conserved for future generations.

“It’s what makes our district unique and is important for both tourism and the local economy.”

The draft appraisals recommend extending the conservation areas in some areas and removing parts of others.

In Steyning the boundary has been extended to include the police station, recreation ground, Mill Road, the railway suburb, and more of Jarvis Lane.

According to the draft appraisal good management of the streetscape is ‘essential to maintain the sense of place’, adding: “It is spoilt by the use of street furniture of a type marketed as suitable for Conservation Areas, but in fact ‘off the peg’ and poorly designed.

“This is evident in features such a finger posts, litter bins and lamp posts, which draw excessive attention to themselves.

Utilitarian features can be no less intrusive, especially the prominent ‘wirescape’ and numerous telegraph poles, as well as poor quality boundary markers, like slatted fences and concrete posts.

“The tall CCTV camera next to the bus shelter and public toilets by the entrance to the car park is particularly unfortunate.

“Signage and other features associated with road traffic needs to be more carefully managed in places.”

Other negative factors affecting the conservation area include the ‘constant stream’ of cars down the high street and the numerous parked cars, with poor quality concrete or tarmac resurfacing also listed as a problem in the twittens and service roads leading off the main streets.

The document explains that existing areas of high quality traditional paving should be protected, further areas should be added if funding is available, street lights need upgrading and out of date fittings removed, redundant street furniture should be removed, while ‘visually poor’ car parking areas could be improved by resurfacing, sensitive bay marking, and soft landscaping.

Opportunities to enhance the conservation area are listed alongside potential redevelopment sites such as the ‘severely utilitarian’ premises of the athletics club, the rear service entrance of the Co-op, and the SME Ltd premises at the south end of Mill Road.

For more information visit www.horsham.gov.uk/planning/design-and-conservation/conservation-areas