With fast links by train to London from Horley railway station, it has grown popular with commuters in recent years. The Horley Master Plan, which was approved by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council in February 2005, will see almost 2,600 new homes, built by Wates and Martin Grant Homes.
In the past the Weald was a densely forested and marshy area. During Saxon times, the Manor of Horley came under the control of the Benedictine Abbey of St Peter at Chertsey. The Manor passed to Henry VIII on the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 and changed hands several times during the next sixty years.
In 1602 it became the property of Christ's Hospital in London and the original map of the manor is now held at the Guildhall in the City of London. This shows that Horley consisted of three hamlets around a huge open common. One was around the area occupied by St Bartholomew’s Church and the Six Bells public house; another by the River Mole and the third in Horley Row where some of Horley’s oldest buildings can still be seen.
The Common was enclosed in 1812, new roads were laid and the intervening land was sold. In 1809 and later in 1816, two turnpikes were introduced to allow the operation of regular coach services from London to Brighton. The railway was laid in 1841 and a station was built in the town. From that position, and from that date, Horley grew at a slow rate until 1950. Since then its population has doubled.
Horley is part of the Borough of Reigate and Banstead but also has a town council. The Town Mayor and Chairman of the Town Council, elected in May 2007 is Councillor Simon Marshall.