A community vision for Horley

A vision and a plan for Horley town centre that reflects the aspirations of the local community

Building on the vision for Horley town centre developed in 2015 by the Horley Town Management Group, local stakeholders and residents have come together once more, working with all the local councils in the area, to help bring to life their ambition for Horley. Photo: Horley High Street's pedestrian precinct.

This work has involved many partners working together, including residents, volunteer groups and organisations, Horley Town Council, schools, cultural organisations, local employers, town centre businesses, health partners, and many other local stakeholders looking to re-imagine Horley, with support from Surrey County Council and Reigate and Banstead Borough Council.

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Make It Happen Horley

This work is presented under the banner of Make It Happen Horley, a campaign designed to reflect a collaborative approach to building communities.

It's playful and energetic style tries to encourage as many different people as possible to join up and join in, bringing individuals, groups and organisations together to share ideas, knowledge and expertise to help their local community thrive.

In short, to Make It Happen.

It has been important to reconvene and consider the future of Horley town centre in the context of what is happening to towns across the UK; the impact of Covid, even more people shopping online, changes to how and where we live and work.

All of this leading to people seeing their town centre more as a place to meet up and have fun, rather than simply shop.

This brings about an opportunity for people in the town to 'do things differently'; coming together to re-imagine their high street and work on a plan that reflects the aspirations of the local community.

Significant investment is being made to support the implementation of this plan however further funding and partnership work will be required to achieve the delivery of all the priorities identified so far.

Since December 2021

The councils worked together with place branding specialists to bring residents, businesses, local organisations and stakeholder groups together, and facilitate group discussions to create the vision. A Horley Steering Group with local representatives was also set up to oversee progress.

Since December 2021, local people have contributed via individual conversations, workshops, events, focus groups and surveys. Towns and their populations adapt and change overtime and stakeholders have been clear from the outset this will be a live conversation, evolving and refining priorities as work progresses.

Building on all the fantastic work carried out by local communities to date, and the things that already make Horley special, has been vital to shape the future and ensure the town will prosper.

The community's vision for the future

This is what living in Horley will be like

Horley is praised for its enviable location. Sitting 30 miles from London and Brighton, with Gatwick Airport merely a five-minute drive and frequent rail services to the capital, it is extremely well connected. Horley sits at the heart of magnificent countryside too, with the south coast in easy reach. We will capitalise on these strengths to improve quality of life for existing residents and newcomers. Photo: Victoria Road, Horley

Horley will have a quality town centre, a place where people come together in an environment where they want to spend time, enjoy company, have fun, and use local shops and businesses. Whilst previously the centre was primarily about shopping, the reasons to be there in the future will be much more varied; more people will live there, many will use the station to get to London for work and leisure, people working from home around the edge of the town will come in to eat, drink and perhaps use shared work space, there will be events and spaces for activity, family restaurants and new places to drink, and people will make more use of the local clubs and groups.

Horley will continue to be a strong community with many local groups, sports clubs, and leisure facilities, a great place for healthy living. It is also a hidden gem, with fantastic value to be had, not just because house prices are slightly cheaper than many places nearby, but because of the surrounding countryside, leisure facilities and things to enjoy such as the theatre, the coast, and the city. Photo: Victoria Road, Horley.

One of the main things that make it an attractive place to live is quality education and learning opportunities which will continue to improve, expand, and diversify as the population grows. Horley will be a place that young people want to spend time in, with facilities they want and value. Horley is 'one place' and to ensure this, new housing developments must be linked to the centre by safe walking and cycling routes. Existing residents and new ones need opportunities to come together and the town both sides of the railway line must be better connected.

This is what it will be like to work in and experience Horley

The town will actively encourage entrepreneurship and start-up businesses, with relevant support, excellent broadband, modern business space and a town centre people want to be part of. There will be a focus on the rapidly growing desire of people to spend some time working from home, which will require shared workspace, safe travel routes from new housing to the centre, and meeting spaces both inside and outside.

Horley will actively encourage independent cafes, eating places and bars that will provide the informal leisure facilities to support this vital part of the local economy; a real opportunity to bring higher paid jobs (for at least some of the working week) into the town.

There will be an emphasis on making the best use of spaces, both urban and green, with the focus being on activity, play, health, and community interaction. Every effort will be made to make the town centre as green as possible. There will be investment to create more community space to promote meeting and activity that will further strengthen the sense of community, with the added benefit of improving mental health.

As improvements are made to the communal spaces and facilities within the town centre it will be vital to introduce colour, allow for activities and events, bring in temporary shops or eateries, celebrate the history of Horley, develop clearer signage to link the important aspects of the town, tell the stories of the place, make better use of lighting for safety, and to shine a light on the great bits of the town; making it a space and an experience everyone wants to enjoy.

Let's do things differently and bring this thinking to life

The feedback from stakeholders has been clear. By changing thinking, communicating better, and coming together, we can make better use of the great things we have as a place, we can be more confident in what we do and say, and we can cultivate and encourage strong leadership bringing businesses and community together. Photo: Riverside Park, Horley.

Whilst this list is flexible and will continue to evolve as work progresses, local stakeholders have so far identified the following priorities to help us all work together to realise this vision.

  • A stronger, community-led approach with local leaders, engaging as many local stakeholders as possible and putting the local community at the heart of developing the town.
  • Improved local communication between and from local authorities and groups to highlight activities, volunteering opportunities, events, etc. ensuring that new and existing residents know what's going on and how they can get involved.
  • Work together to secure more resource to manage this programme, a place coordinator role to be a point of contact for everyone and help make activities happen and communicate them.
  • Collaboration and cohesion amongst local community groups, working on a shared goal of helping bring this vision to life.
  • Carry out and maintain a property ownership audit of the town centre so we can gain a better understanding of proprietorship and work strategically with local landlords and tenants.
  • Improve active travel links, linking new neighbourhoods and key surrounding locations with the high street and the town centre.
  • Explore, develop, and secure new commercial hub space at the heart of the town to encourage local entrepreneurship.
  • Improve the public realm across the town centre, creating a welcoming, attractive, and greener environment, where people want to spend time, enjoy company, have fun, and shop.
  • More green spaces, more play space, more events and markets, better community spaces and hubs.
  • Develop a strong and attractive town centre offer for young people, providing spaces and facilities where they can meet and spend time together.

The commitment from the councils to support these ideas

Surrey County Council and Reigate and Banstead Borough Council will continue to work together to support and enable these priorities.

There is already a live programme of activity, working with local stakeholders, to deliver stronger local place leadership, to improve local communications, and to explore and develop new commercial hub provision in the town centre.

Councils are also working together to deliver a programme of interventions across the town centre including:

  • the installation of wayfinding and signage
  • addressing the flooding in the subway
  • making the subway a more attractive pedestrian route to and from the High

Street through refurbishment and redecoration of the existing structure

  • improving the look and feel of the High Street with extensive investment in public spaces
  • modernisation of Central Car Park with pedestrian friendly routes, tree planting and electric charging points

Improving public realm across the town centre is also a top priority, with improvements concentrated along the High Street between the precinct and the subway. The aim is a coordinated series of improvements to enhance the look, feel and flow of the High Street.

Proposals include new street furniture, planting and signage as well as improving safety, pedestrian connectivity, and cycle priority through investment in the pavements, crossings, and measures to promote cycling.

The enhanced public realm will help the High Street to better serve local people and improve resident and business experience, which in turn will help to attract visitors and investment and contribute further towards the regeneration of the town centre. We will continue to explore further how to best deliver more green spaces and play areas.

Using funding from developers (known as Section 106 contributions) secured through the Horley Masterplan, the councils will enhance existing pitch and play provision in Horley.

Significant investment is being made to support the implementation of this plan however further funding and partnership work will be required to achieve the delivery of all the priorities.

We will continue to work with local stakeholders to deliver this vision together.

The latest programme timeline can be found online at the Reigate and Banstead website.

Local stakeholders in Horley work together to deliver this vision. To find out more or for tips to take active part in your community, visit: Make It Happen in your local area.

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