An Introduction to the village...
Despite considerable modern expansion. Handcross retains a historic core centred on the High Street. The majority of the buildings date back to the 19th century. but a number. including some that are listed. are 18th century or earlier.
The High Street is a busy through route and suffers from the effects of traffic. Nevertheless it is still visually attractive and the buildings substantially retain their original character and appearance, and there are a number of interesting features. Further south towards Nymans. as well as several older buildings. trees are important features in the street scene and provide an attractive approach to the village.
The village has two public houses: The Royal Oak. in Horsham Road and The Red Lion. an old coaching inn. situated at thejunction of the High Street and Horsham Road. In addition, there is the Handcross Parish Hall in the High Street. This is the largest community facility in the Parish and is situated next to the Handcross Sports and Social Club.
The recreation ground in the High Street is owned by the Parish Council and contains the Pavilion, which is used by a variety of organisations as well as the local sports clubs. The village also has two schools, the Handcross Primary School and Handcross Park School. a private co-educational school, both in the Old Brighton Road and there are two churches: All Saints, C of E in the Horsham Road and Zoar Baptist Chapel in the High Street.
The village suffers from the effects of traffic. being at the intersection of the A23, the A279 Horsham Road and the B2l14 to Cuckfield and Haywards Heath Traffic flows significantly affect the environment of the village. in particular along the High Street and Horsham Road.
Generally opportunities for the development of business floorspace are limited. however a number of small firms are located along the Brighton Road. Traffic is able to enter and leave the Brighton Road at the junction with the B2114 Cuckfield Road; it is also able to leave to the south on to the A23.
Whilst not an industrial estate this mixed residential/commercial area, particularly on the west side of Brighton Road backing onto the A23 and at the southern end on the east side, provides a significant amount of floorspace for business including a number of industrial operators.
The area around the village is particularly attractive, including the Handcross Recreation Ground and extensive areas of woodland and farmland, as well as the landscaped gardens of Nymans, a National Trust property located just outside the parish boundary to the east.
Both Nymans and High Beeches (about a mile northeast of the village) are listed in English Heritage’s Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. The extensive Hyde Estate around the north of the village is forested for commercial timber and is used for breeding and hunting game.
ConservationAccording to MSDC’s Local Plan 2004, in Handcross there is a site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI): Section 27.7: Extensive areas of Harry’s Wood and Cow Wood, which adjoins the Parish boundary, to the east of High Street, are designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Roads & Transport
Handcross suffers from the effects of high traffic volumes, being at the intersection of the A23, the A279 Horsham Road and the B2114 to Cuckfield and Haywards Heath. Traffic flows significantly affect the environment of the village, in particular along the High Street and Horsham Road. There are major parking issues in the village, exacerbated by the high visitor numbers to Nymans Gardens. There are also major parking issues at Handcross Primary School at the beginning and end of the school day. At peak times local roads can become very congested, especially through the High Street. One large lorry delivering to a local shop can bring the road to a standstill and cars parked along the High Street in Handcross make travelling through the village difficult.
There is a lack of suitable off street parking, cars parked along the Handcross High Street can contribute to the traffic difficulties. Lack of suitable parking also impacts the shops in the Handcross High Street and peak times at Handcross Primary School.
Although predominantly residential in nature, Handcross has a significant number of commercial properties. These provide important sources of local employment.
Generally opportunities for the development of business floor space are limited; however a number of small firms are located along the Brighton Road. Traffic is able to enter and leave the Brighton Road at the junction with the B2114 Cuckfield Road; it is also able to leave to the south on to the A23.
Whilst not an industrial estate, this mixed residential/commercial area, particularly on the west side of Brighton Road backing onto the A23 and at the southern end on the east side, provides a significant amount of floor space for business including a number of industrial operators.
There is a small industrial estate located on the Hyde Estate, on the west side of the northern motorway bridge in Handcross. This form of small development is ideal in many ways for a community like Handcross, providing employment on a modest scale, along with parking for the staff. The amount of additional traffic that the businesses generate is manageable with current infrastructure.
Handcross has two pub restaurants, one in the north part of the village and one in the South. These are thriving businesses. The building currently housing the Red Lion pub in Handcross is one of the oldest in the area, with parts “dating probably from 1550 or earlier”
The village formerly had a third pub, which was recently razed to build houses.