Horsham District Council's cabinet are planning to tear down Drill Hall and replace it with accomodation. The replacement community centre at Highwood whilst welcome still leaves the town centre's residents without a community facility and it loses a key piece of the town's heritage.
Providing community facilities in Horsham is not a zero-sum game. It is possible to provide a new community facility in the Highwood Village, more affordable homes and continued services at the Drill Hall simultaneously. The existence of one does not have to mean we cannot provide another.
Not only is it a bad deal for the town, those making the decision don’t represent the town either. The cabinet, of which only one represents a town ward, are making decision for the town, without its support or agreement. Of the 16 councillors for the town, the majority oppose this move, as do the three Neighbourhood councils. Not only is this an attack on our community assets, it’s an attack on our local democracy. Decisions are being imposed on the town without its consent.
Furthermore, following what is widely regarded as a successful Year of Culture, why are we now building on the facilities that helped us achieve it? The community groups that do use the Drill Hall are extremely successful and more should be done to encourage other groups to use the facility. This can only be a benefit for the Town and its culture.
We accept that it may need refurbishment, but this would be an investment in a community facility that benefits the entire Town and its residents.
If we carry on like this, we won’t have anything left for future generations. By investing in our facilities such as Drill Hall we retain our heritage and provide public spaces that the whole community can enjoy.
To Horsham District Council,
The petition of the residents of Horsham District declares that the Drill Hall should not be knocked down. Rather we should preserve our history by investing in our public infrastructure and seek other suitable locations where we can build affordable housing.
This petition calls on Horsham District Council to immediately halt all plans to knock down Drill Hall.