The Forum was developed in the space between Blackhorse Way and Sainsbury’s and provides recreational areas and more shops to expand the town centre. The sundial was unveiled by the Queen on the 24th of October, 2003. Aerial photos on Google Maps and Local.Live have not yet been updated to show the new development. For posterity the aerial views currently available (May 2008) have been saved on this site. To see up to date aerial views you will need to go to the internet.
The £22m redevelopment began on the 7th of May, 2002 and also included the new multi-storey car park, affordable housing and the bus station. Some of the 65 new homes were reserved for key workers such as nurses and teachers. The much-loved weeping beech tree was carefully guarded during the work and still takes pride of place in the Forum. A cycle route runs in parallel with Blackhorse Way, via Furneaux Walk, from The Causeway to the library.
The sundial, which has its own extensive feature on this blog, is another work of art from Lorne McKean to add to the flying swans in Swan Walk and the donkey and cart in Piries Place; both crafted in bronze. The piece was sponsored by Sainsbury’s and Allders* once again in bronze with the cost put at £160,000. In the plinth of the the 9 foot diameter sundial the Horsham Time Capsule was installed, put together to mark the Millennium. Unlike many capsules, this one was planned to be view through a glass panel – this never happened, instead it is buried somewhere in the plinth…allegedly.
Allders went bankrupt and the site is now occupied by Beales
The sundial features references to the dinosaur remains at Rudgwick and Southwater, the influence of Saxons and Romans, the bronze age at Chanctonbury Hill, of St Cuthman at Steyning, myths and legends of the forests, the Quakers, Shipley Mill and Hilaire Belloc, the Knights Templar, the Carthusian Monastery at Cowfold, Percy Bysshe Shelley and his cat, and much more.
The development was dedicated on the 25th of July, 2003 when the Chairman of Horsham District Council, Cllr Vivien Lyth, laid the stone in the centre of the works which were still underway.
The Forum was used by What Car? magazine in a photo shoot of three superminis on the 24th August 2007. At the time of writing this feature (2008) the area is about to undergo a 30 week repair programme to stop water leaks into the lower car parks; Dec 2010 update: the works are still underway but suspended to allow free access for Christmas shopping.
In the south eastern corner there are pavement mounted water jets for display and where children run to cool off in the summer. Unfortunately these are rarely working.