A Profile of Horley
Welcome to Horley
Horley is a commuter town situated close to London and Gatwick airport, providing good employment prospects for our residents. As of the 2011 census there were 23,000 people residing within the Horley parish boundary, of which 19,545 are registered electors (as of January 2020). With new residential developments becoming occupied since the last census, this figure is likely to rise significantly, with associated housing growth underpinning economic growth.
Early in its history, Horley was owned by the Benedictine Abbey of St Peter at Chertsey. Following the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539, the land passed on to Henry VIII who sold or gifted the land of a variety of people.
By 1602, Horley has come to be wholly owned by Christ’s Hospital, London. Charts from this time show that Horley consisted of three settlements around the western and northern edges of a huge open common: one by St Bartholomew’s Church and the Six Bells Inn, another by a watermill which once stood by the River Mole, and a final settlement in the North where Horley Row is found today.
At the start of the Nineteenth Century Horley only had a population of less than 1000 people. In 1841, the railway was laid across the common and the first Horley station came into operation to serve its population. From that point the town of Horley grew steadily to around 8000 people in 1940. Following the Second World War, Horley’s primary industry rapidly shifted away from agriculture to providing services and workers for Gatwick Airport, which had become continental airport in 1936, as well as housing increasing numbers of commuters who worked in London. *
Horley is well provided with supermarket shopping and a growing range of specialist/niche shops. Community activities are further supported by the Archway Theatre, Horley Library Regent Hall, and several community centres around the town.
Recreational facilities, playgrounds, sports fields, allotments, and the Town’s green spaces are well managed with new, additional facilities planned as part of the regeneration plan for Horley. Recent projects include the resurfacing of Horley Recreation Ground’s tennis courts, the construction of a new café to service the Recreation Ground, and an extension of the Recreation Ground’s parking to facilitate better access for users.
Horley is a very safe and friendly town with little crime and anti-social behaviour and we are well supported by the local police. Three medical centres and several pharmacies provide Horley with good access to health care. The town also sits near East Surrey Hospital, which provides a full range of medical services including an A&E facility. Recently we have also introduced several defibrillators locations into local shops and public spaces.
The Council runs and supports various community events. Regular town events include Horley in Bloom, a competition with categories in gardening and landscaping open to residents and businesses, the Horley Carnival, A procession of floats and marching bands made their way through the town to Horley Recreation Ground where there were many stalls, a funfair and arena events, and Horley Lions Bonfire and Fireworks night, an event organised by Horley Lions which raises funds for charities and good causes.
There are two industrial parks within the town boundary namely The Metro and Bridge Industrial Estates. These, together with other commercial premises in the town, cover a wide range of retail, industrial, and commercial operations, totalling over 100 separate businesses.
Horley’s proximity to Gatwick airport makes it a convenient gateway to London and the South coast. The town has a thriving hotel/guest house industry to meet the accommodation needs of our visitors coupled with a growing reputation for independent shops and a good range of restaurants.
Our vision seeks to allow Horley to become a prosperous town featuring sustainable economic growth, better employment opportunities, quality neighbourhoods with a range of housing schemes, an improved complement of shops to rejuvenate the scope of High Street retail, excellent cultural and leisure amenities as well as a diverse range of facilities to benefit the whole community.
* Adapted from the Horley Local History Society’s webpage: About Horley, Horley Local History Society, https://www.horleyhistory.org.uk/about-horley/