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Opinion

Peter Lamb: Boosting Crawley’s reputation

In his weekly article leader of Crawley Borough Council talks about the numerous ways the council is trying to promote the town.

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Five months into 2018 and it still feels like we’re waiting for the good weather to start.

True, the Early May Bank Holiday was the hottest on record, but it was still snowing in March and we’ve yet to go more than a few days without cold or rainy weather.

Campaigning in the rain during local elections wasn’t much fun and it has played havoc with grass cutting, where rain has both encouraged faster grass growth at the same time as preventing heavy cutting machinery from being used.

We did, however, get lucky with the weather on Sunday, as Crawley played host to the town’s first half marathon.

It was great to see such a large mass-participation event take place in Crawley, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and it gave a boost to a range of local businesses.

As a council administration, Labour are constantly working to increase the range of leisure opportunities and events in the town, to boost Crawley’s reputation and promote the local economy.

Unfortunately, it’s rarely plain sailing.

The half marathon inevitably involved some road closures and understandably this result in some complaints.

For all the people you see enjoying the new Queens Square there are others who view it as a waste of money, just as there were those who complained when we finally managed to bring an ice rink to Crawley at Christmas, after years of residents’ requests.

Sadly, in government, you’re never going to please everybody with anything you do. At the end of the day, the only way to avoid any objections or complaints would be to do nothing, in which case we’d all lose by default.

Crawley is a great place to live and so long as Labour control the council, we’re going to keep working to make it even better.

Cllr Peter Lamb
Leader, Crawley Borough Council

Opinion

Mayor Carlos Castro: Easing Crawley’s Post-Brexit fears

In his article, the Crawley Mayor talks about an event held in Broadfield to allow ‘many unanswered questions’ to be put forward to officials: providing some Post-Brexit clarity for Crawley’s Portuguese community.

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On July 14th, I had the pleasure to work with the Portuguese Consulate to bring clarity to the Portuguese community living in Crawley and surrounding areas regarding their rights Post Brexit.

There has been a lot of unanswered questions since the referendum from the Community and after taking the Mayor’s Office May 18th, bringing peace of mind to EU nationals was on top of my to do list.

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The Portuguese Consulate Officers were in attendance at the Mayor Making and coincidently they had the same idea in mind. It was that night that we started to make plans on how, where and when we could put this event together.

The event took place at the Broadfield Community Centre at 3pm. We had in attendance over 100 local residents, somehow only Labour Councillors in attendance, and a journalist reporting to the Journal de Noticias (Portuguese newspaper) and it was here that many unanswered questions were given a chance to be put forward to officials.

Sadly, within a couple of hours of this event starting, it became a political target! A Facebook post and later on the Crawley Observer, it stated that this event was being called as a way of scaring EU Nationals, that there was nothing to be afraid and called my efforts playing politics. Since when is putting your residents first a “political gain”! The role of Councillor is to help all constituents and as a human being embrace diversity.

Such statements were not only an insult to the community, but also a disrespect to the work of the Government Officials who came down from London to speak to these residents in aid of clarifying their doubts and worries.

The same way, giving someone a website to visit and fill out a complex application isn’t all that there is to getting “settled status”! Many questions referred to divorced parents, custody matters and which parent can do what, as well as how the Consulate will be or not be able to play a role in helping its Nationals with the process. We also had questions from residents who already have resident status and would they need to apply as well and those who may struggle with the language.

So telling residents that there is nothing to worry about when their own party started this, is absolutely ridiculing those who fear Post Brexit. A better man would have empathy, a better politician would have a better interest in his community.

This event was so well attended and well received by many, I now plan to put together another event where all of EU residents can attend and be offered the same opportunity to be given peace of mind. I urge everyone to share this news with your EU co-workers, neighbours, friends, family to get in touch. Together we can face this beast and keep what I call Post-Brexit fears away.

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