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New deal for Manor Royal BID

The Manor Royal BID Company has signed a new deal with Crawley Borough Council and West Sussex County Council aimed at supporting local businesses and boosting economic growth.

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The signing of the Manor Royal Deal comes on the back of the recent vote by businesses to renew the Manor Royal BID (Business Improvement District) and the successful Crawley Growth Programme bid to secure an investment package of £60m for the town.

A recent study revealed the increasing importance of the Manor Royal Business District that now provides over a quarter of all jobs in Crawley, more than 30% of all business rates for the town and a home to over 600 businesses.

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The study also highlighted the increasingly competitive environment in which Manor Royal operates and that close partnership working between businesses and the local authorities would be key to continued success.

The deal is the first of its kind in the county and sets out how the Manor Royal BID and the two councils will work together to plan and deliver additional services, including the Crawley Growth Programme, the new BID Business Plan, as well as respond to other opportunities as they arise.

“This Deal with the county and borough councils formalises what has become a very productive partnership over the past few years,” said Trevor Williams, Thales UK and Manor Royal BID Chair.

“The future programme is exciting but can only be achieved by clear and positive partnership between the BID and both councils. This is what the deal provides.”

Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, said:

“The business community’s vote of confidence in the Manor Royal BID is testament to all the hard work that’s gone into the initiative in the last five years.

“Now we’re looking forward to continuing to help forge effective business partnerships in the Manor Royal Business District in the future.”

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council, said:

“Crawley Borough Council is committed to delivering better career prospects for local residents and to do that we need to maintain and develop Manor Royal’s status as one of the leading locations in the UK for doing business.

“The BID, in partnership with local councils, has already delivered much for the business district. This deal will enable us to take things to the next level.”

The three organisations are wasting no time and are already working together to plan the first projects to be delivered following the signing of the deal that will include new digital advertising signage and information boards, improvements to entranceways and significant investment in transport infrastructure.

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EXCLUSIVE: Post Office WILL CLOSE whatever consultation says

A source within the Post Office has revealed that despite a public consulation coming up, the decision to close the current location has already been made.

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Despite press releases and statements from the head office of the Post Office asking residents to express their views over the ‘proposed’ closure, it now appears that whatever views come through, a decision of whether to close the site has already been determined.

A source says the consultation is nothing more than lip service to residents.

Speaking to CN24, the source said that all the consultation will look at is ‘how’ the change of venue will work, not ‘if’ or ‘should’ it happen.

“it is an utter betrayal” – Leader of Crawley Council

This will come as a shock to many in the area who rely heavily on the services that are currently offered and will put in doubt any faith over public consultations.

In a letter aimed at the management of the Post Office and sent to CN24, one resident,  Mrs Elmer from Tilgate has expressed her views over the proposed closure.

She writes:

“I am extremely concerned about the possible closure of Crawley Post Office.

I find it very worrying that in a town with a population of over 106,000 the management is considering popping it into a shop in the shopping mall.

The fact that one always has to queue to be served because it is so busy, even though it has at least five stations of service as well as several self service positions, a parcel counter, an external parcel collection office plus a fully trained staff, how is all of that going to fit into WH Smith’s in the Mall?

To park in the Mall you have to pay.

It is not an easy shop to get to, you have to walk half the length of the Mall to get there.
It is not a very large shop and it has a quite dismal atmosphere.

Disabled people would not be able to reach it very easily.

To carry out all the functions the current post office does it would have to enlarge the premises half as much again.

Working on the assumption that it would work on the same premise that the local one in Tilgate does, it will take a month of Sundays to carry out the same amount of work the real post office does.

Will all the staff move over to continue the secure work they carry out?

Please have a serious look at the situation before making a huge mistake.

J Elmer”

But it now seems that this will fall on deaf ears.  CN24 contacted the Post Office press team where a member verbally confirmed that the consultation would be about access to the new site.

Crawley Council Leader Peter Lamb said:

“It is clear now that this was only ever a public relations exercise.  For the thousands of people who will be disadvantaged by this it is an utter betrayal.”

Tilgate Councillor Francis Guidera said:

“The planned post office DOWNGRADE which their PR department is marketing as a move, is bad for the staff, bad for the customers and bad for the town in general.

Our main post office will no longer be able to offer Crown Services going forward and nobody I’ve spoken to is ok with it. I would strongly urge the post office not to go ahead with this.”

A Post Office spokesperson said:

“We would really value and welcome any feedback and comments from you, our customers that can help inform our plans to make changes to Crawley Post Office, particularly on issues like accessibility. And are there any wider other local community issues which you believe could be affected by or affect the proposed move? Please do let us know.

However, the element of our plans that we not seeking feedback is the principle of franchising a branch. This is because the change of management at Crawley Post Office to one that is operated by a retail partner rather than Post Office directly is a commercial decision, and we believe it is the right one in order to sustain Post Office services in communities – not just today, but for the long term too.”

Crawley MP Henry Smith said:

“I’ve got accessibility concerns with the Post Office’s proposals to move their current Boulevard counters to WHSmith’s in County mall and have written to its management to raise these.

If it turns our their consultation – officially still open – is a sham then I will be raising the issue in Parliament.”

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