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Peter Lamb: Who is really at fault for the problems with parking in Crawley?

In his article Leader of Crawley Borough Council talks about canvassing and one of the biggest questions being asked.

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Elections are exhausting. Countless hours go into every campaign canvassing and leafleting, amongst a vast array of other activities required to fight an election. If most people knew how few people were sustaining our democracy and how much time they give up to do it, they’d be amazed.

Nonetheless, I support retaining Crawley’s annual elections, against Conservative wishes, as they ensure representatives remain in touch with residents and give the public the power to do something about it if they fail.

I joke with Labour canvassers that if a resident raises a problem, it’s probably the county council’s fault. The sad thing is, that tends to be true and this year was no exception. The main issues this year were: potholes, pavements and parking. All county council responsibilities and all failing to meet residents’ expectations.

Parking is a particularly difficult issue. Much of Crawley was built when households couldn’t afford a car, certainly not more than one, with little that can now be done to fix things and every new bay costing on average tens of thousands of pounds. Even starting to address parking would cost more than twice Crawley Borough Council’s annual budget.

Consequently, it came as a surprise that the Conservatives appear to be committing to fixing Crawley’s parking problems on their election leaflets. Putting aside the fact we lack the space and money, they already run the county council, the only organisation with the Highways powers necessary to tackle parking and with a far bigger budget than the borough council. The relevant cabinet member is even a Crawley Conservative.

So if, in the remaining hours of the campaign you have a chance to speak with a Conservative representative, make sure you ask why, if they’re serious about tackling Crawley’s parking issues, they haven’t just done it already?

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Mike Pickett

    2nd May 2018 at 1:58 pm

    Peter Lamb is absolutely correct about parking. It is something that is firmly the responsibility of West Sussex County Council. Our local MP Henry Smith knows this as does Duncan Crow, leader of the Tory group on Crawley Borough Council. And yet both of these mean keep pushing the line that Labour is at fault and that if only there was a Tory Council in Crawley then this problem can be sorted out. This is dishonest.

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Crime

Two jailed after attempt to smuggle 8.5kgs of cocaine through Gatwick

“This was a deliberate, if unsophisticated attempt to smuggle dangerous Class A drugs into the UK”, says Chris Capel, Assistant Director of Border Force South.

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The drugs, which had been wrapped in plastic and hidden inside boxes marked ‘rum’, weighed approximately 8.5kgs.

Two men from Barbados are facing a total of 13 years in jail after pleading guilty to attempting to smuggle an estimated 8.5kgs of cocaine into the UK.

On 1 September, Border Force officers stopped 62-year-old Grantley Herbert Thompson, and 30-year-old Jamal Ricardo Walcott, in the customs channels at Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal. Both had arrived on a flight from Barbados.

More news: Crawley’s Community Wardens earn RSPCA award

During a search of their baggage officers discovered a white powder, wrapped in green plastic, and hidden inside boxes marked rum. The powder was subsequently tested and gave a positive reaction to the field test for cocaine. The cocaine had an estimated street value of £535,000.

Chris Capel, Assistant Director of Border Force South said:

“This was a deliberate, if unsophisticated attempt to smuggle dangerous Class A drugs into the UK and I commend the Border Force officers whose work ensured that Thompson and Walcott are now behind bars.

“Illegal drugs have a significant impact on our society, being the root cause behind countless burglaries, thefts and robberies. They are also used as a commodity by organised criminals linked to violence and exploitation of the vulnerable.

“We continue to work with our colleagues from the National Crime Agency (NCA) to do all we can to stamp out this despicable trade and bring those responsible to justice.”

The case was referred to the NCA and Thompson and Walcott were charged with importation of a class A drug.

62-year-old Grantley Thompson.

On Thursday, 11 October the pair appeared at Croydon Crown Court where they admitted the smuggling attempt. Both were sentenced to six years and six months imprisonment immediately.

30-year-old Jamal Walcott.

The Government’s Serious Violence Strategy, which was launched in April, aims to combat the devastating impact drugs have on levels of serious violence.

It also highlights a strong link between drugs and serious violence and the related harm and exploitation from county lines. The Government has set out the action it will take to tackle this violent and exploitative criminal activity. The action of Border Force to stop drugs before they get into the country forms a key part of this work.

Border Force officers use hi-tech search equipment to combat immigration crime and detect banned and restricted goods that smugglers attempt to bring into the country.

Nationally, they use an array of search techniques including sniffer dogs, carbon dioxide detectors, heartbeat monitors and scanners – as well as visual searches – to find well-hidden stowaways, illegal drugs, firearms and tobacco which would otherwise end up causing harm to local people, businesses and communities.

Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or go to https://www.gov.uk/report-smuggling

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