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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

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Peter Lamb: Making the railways accountable to the public

In his article this week the Leader of Crawley Borough Council talks about changes needed for the railways.

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It seems as though railways are never really out of the news. In the same week as we’re faced with radical timetable changes, the Government has decided to temporarily nationalise the East Coast Mainline. Railways have a big impact upon Crawley.

Increasing numbers of residents commute to London daily, two-thirds of Crawley’s own workforce lives outside of town and millions of passengers pass through Gatwick monthly. When railways fail the local impact is huge.

The Government’s decision to takeover the East Coast franchise was prompted by poor performance, although they say they intend to hand it back to the private sector in due course. We’ve been round this circle before: companies are brought in and fail, franchises are then taken over by the Government and recover, before being re-privatised.

The irony that many of the companies running the franchises are owned by foreign Governments appears lost on them, but the reality is UK passengers are subsidising other countries’ networks with their high ticket prices.

This has to stop. Since 2002, the physical rail network has been back in public hands and working well again, it’s time to do likewise with the rail companies. It doesn’t even have to cost anything, all we have to do is to wait for the franchises to run out and they automatically revert to public ownership.

As a council, we’ve worked hard to try to improve local rail services, helping to secure the investment for major improvements to both Three Bridges and Crawley, pushing for a solution to ongoing poor performance by GTR and standing up for customers over the gradual reductions in service standards.

Unfortunately, at the end of the day so long as the railways are accountable to these companies and not to the British public, the likelihood of things changing course is low.

Cllr Peter Lamb
Leader, Crawley Borough Council

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