Horsham town centre development was under scrutiny by a class of 3rd Form (Year 8) pupils. They conducted their own survey during a field trip as part of an ongoing study of local geography.
The children were particularly interested in the impact of the new, larger Waitrose on the edge of the town alongside the John Lewis department store, from the smaller Waitrose store originally located in the town centre.
The class, which was divided into small groups of pupils, carried out different surveys including an environmental one, footfall count and, using a questionnaire, they asked members of the public and shopkeepers for their opinion.
Matilda, aged 13, said: “We started our surveys in Piries Place where the old Waitrose was and noticed how quiet it is. People only seemed to be using it to get to other places not as a destination in itself. We thought about how it could be developed and what might benefit Horsham. Our ideas ranged from a green space for children or adults, a development of cafes with a seating area in the middle of the square to more office space.
“We then moved on towards the Carfax where the difference was instantly recognisable. It was cleaner, more presentable and there were lots more people. We evaluated several streets with the same surveys and visited the Horsham Museum where we found out about the history of Horsham and old shops that are no longer trading such as the Bridle shop and the Blacksmiths. We looked for familiar products - some of them included Oxo and Marmite. It was really interesting to see how Horsham used to be and it helped us to think about how it could be in the future.
“One of the most enjoyable parts for me was asking members of the public if they could answer our questionnaires. It was helpful to see what different people thought of the new Waitrose and John Lewis. One of the significant points that came across was that the new establishment was used a lot and very helpful. When we asked what Horsham needs, many said less upmarket shops for your normal shopping.
“I really enjoyed this fieldwork trip, it has made my interest in what happens locally much stronger and I am looking forward to carrying on with this topic this year.”
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