A visit to Horsham police station

A wonderful example of the hostility of the UK urban environment to people making journeys on foot or by bike is provided by Horsham police station, where I unfortunately had to make a journey recently, to report an accident in which I was sent flying through the air from my bicycle by a motorist who, for some reason, failed to see my dazzlingly bright light. Or me, for that matter.

The police station lies marked, by the ‘A’ symbol, on the map below, just to the north-east of Horsham park – a pleasant five to ten minute walk from Horsham town centre, which appears at the bottom of the image.

But of course, you cannot walk into the police station, or the law courts, or the hospital, from the park. It is fenced off, through the line of trees you can see on the map. Simply walking in would be too easy; and besides, what kind of lunatic is going to want to make a short five minute walk to the police station when they could just drive the long way round and park? So anyone who wants to walk also has to go the long way round, and anyone who wishes to cycle has to deal with Hurst Road, a wide, fast boulevard which will require ‘Bikeability Level 3’ skills to negotiate (according to the Horsham Cycling Review carried out by Transport Initiatives).

And here is an example of how to park once you get to the police station.

On the pavement.

Every single one of these cars, almost completely obstructing the rather wide pavement here, must belong either to a police officer or a member of staff. It’s not really the best example to be setting, but as dealing with pavement parking is a council matter, I don’t suppose the police really care. In any case, nobody walks to the police station. The pavement is redundant, and best used as extra parking spaces.

But let’s not be too hasty – if you do manage to walk all the way to the front door of the police station, there is some evidence of your needs being considered.

Yes, there are some crash barriers, dutifully guarding the pavement and the pedestrians assuming their rightful place on it, which will hopefully stop any speeding motorist, careering around the corner into this dead-end, from obliterating you. Lucky you.

You won’t find anywhere to lock your bicycle though –

But then again, what kind of idiot rides a bike?

Certainly not the kind of person who might want to visit Horsham District Council’s own offices at Park North in the centre of town, where there are no bicycle stands (and yet dozens of free parking spaces), and the mere act of wheeling your Brompton into the reception area before folding it merits the stern warning ‘You can’t bring that in here!’

Why cycling and walking in West Sussex is going nowhere fast.

This entry was posted in Car dependence, Horsham, Horsham District Council, Horsham Police, Infrastructure, Parking, Pavement parking, Town planning. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to A visit to Horsham police station

  1. An interesting observation and one that i can agree with wholeheartedly, we are a nation of car lovers…dogs are now so pass’e
    It’s my opinion that some of the efforts that are being put into safe cycleways should be focused at the provision of safe clearly designated cycle parking. While the bicycle is regarded mainly as a sport or minority pursuit this provision will never happen. If pressure were brought to bear on suspermarkets and local authorities to legally provide safe single bike bicycle lockers and other provision for safe parking, more folk would use those amenities. It would also send out the message that bicycles can be used for transport which is what they were invented for in the first place. This idea works well with other campaigns, getting for folk on the roads.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/8083795@N06/6357546359/ for how visual i would like cycle locker and parking spaces to be…In the same way that the ‘less able’ were catered for and enabled, so there should be a concerted effort to enable the bicycle user. Theft is the biggest threat to mass cycle useage IMO.

  2. “Some of the efforts that are being put into safe cycleways…”
    What efforts would those be then? I’m not aware of any. In the UK.

    “Theft is the biggest threat to mass cycle usage”
    No it isn’t. Theft is very low where I live, and so is bike usage. See here

    • Both Cycle embassy and LCC. they work for safer cycleways…groups you support..they work hard for improved cycle provision…Living streets too work towards safer and better streets for all..Bristol Green capital are working for better air quality amongst other things, all working hard for people inc those on bikes…I am pleased you live in an area of low bke theft, but few bikes too..perhaps there is a correleation, more bikes more theft?..Bikes are great transport, so why do we not see more of them at the shops..?

  3. Timoohz says:

    The whole park is fenced off? All the way around? Really? Or just on the north side, as there seems to be paths on the park in the southern half of it? Is the fence built by council or by private land owners around the park?

    • No, there are entrances to the park. It is only the perimeter of the police station and law courts that is not accessible from the park.

      • Timoohz says:

        Thought so. Understandable that they want to control who gets to walk in their back yards. Although on the satellite image it looks like it might be possible to provide access to Bowling Green Lane, or trough the crescent thingy near the hospital. But my understanding of British public access paths is based on the tv-show Emmerdale. 🙂

        This diminishing permeability is happening also in my home town, although not many have yet realized it’s effects. A few condominiums have built fences to stop people (both their own people and the “riff-raff from other buildings who damage and steal our property”) walking and biking through their yards. Typically these are short-cuts to the nearest bikeways or bus stops. These self-made paths through grass and woods are on the desire lines of people, not where the architects expected people to walk (=to the parking lot, mostly). So they might pass right under someone’s windows, and if you’re living on the first floor (ground level) you’ll find that uncomfortable.

        Those using the cars don’t see any difference, but people walking and cycling are forced to take the longer route.

  4. Don says:

    Presumably they think it would be a “security risk” to allow access to the rear of the buildings, but that can’t really be argued for a hospital. It seems crazy that you can’t at least get through onto Bowling Green Lane or to the back of the hospital.

    Perhaps some representations to the local authority might be worthwhile in this instance. The Police and Health authorities are almost certain to have some much vaunted (but totally forgotten) ‘sustainable travel policy’ that purports to encourage cycling and walking. It seems easy enough to justify being able to walk from the south and west of the town.

  5. Mark Strong says:

    As for cycle parking at Horsham DC offices, I pointed it out when I did the report some 3 years ago. They promised they would put some in soon..

  6. Greg Collins says:

    OK. HDC have now installed two Sheffield Stands directly outside their offices at Park North, and three outside the Barn in Horsham Park. I’m told five have also been put in for staff us.

    I’d love you to go and take a look at the two outside Park North when you get a chance and tell us what you think. I’ll not prejudice the outcome by saying why! 😉

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