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Watch Coast to Capital Launch Gatwick 360 – its Ambitious Manifesto for the Area

Watch the promo video for Coast to Capital’s new Strategic Economic Plan, Gatwick 360°.

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Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) launched its new Strategic Economic Plan at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) last month.

The plan – Gatwick 360˚ – sets out the scope for economic growth in an area which is hugely important for the national economy and has Gatwick Airport at its heart.

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Following this event a promotional video has now been unveiled which shares the key messages from the strategy and showcases the launch. The AGM was held in public providing full transparency to the public and all of Coast to Capital’s stakeholders and partners.

Coast to Capital’s vision by 2030 is for the towns and cities in the Coast to Capital area to be known around the world as fantastic places to live, to grow and succeed and for the area to become the most dynamic non-city region in England, centred around a highly successful Gatwick Airport.

The strategy sets out eight priorities to grow the area’s economy which include specific actions on urban centres, business infrastructure, sustainable growth, skills, innovation, digital networks, transport and identity. The publication of the strategy is the first step in the LEP’s plan to negotiate a strong Local Industrial Strategy with Government and attract significant investment for the region.

Tim Wates, Coast to Capital Chairman said:

“The Prime Minister has confirmed LEPs as vehicles for local growth. On the back of our significant achievements to date this bold strategy will bring wealth to all our towns and cities in an area which has Gatwick Airport at the beating heart of its economy. We stand ready to make the case for investment to Government in order to scale up our contribution to the UK economy.”

Jonathan Sharrock, Coast to Capital Chief Executive said:

“I am delighted to be launching our new strategy today, the culmination of over a year’s worth of evidence gathering, analysis and stakeholder engagement. Our strategy sets out exciting and practical plans for growing our economy over the next decade, and we are now leading work with our partners to deliver them.”

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick Airport Ltd Chief Executive said:

“It’s great to see Gatwick’s vital role at the heart of the region recognised in this ambitious strategy. The Growth Corridor from London to Brighton has many strategic advantages, not least the global connectivity and ongoing investment provided by Gatwick, and I fully support Coast to Capital’s vision for the future.”

The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said:

“Thank you for all the hard work that you have put into making this area of the country one of the most successful. The breadth of activity in such a relatively small geographical area is truly outstanding. From the industrious businesses surrounding Gatwick airport and Crawley, to the beauty of the South Downs, and the creative and tech industries, this really is an area that has everything. The work that you co-ordinate is hugely appreciated. It is the bringing together of these strengths that reinforces the success you enjoy.” 

Councillor Garry Wall, Chairman of Greater Brighton, said:

“We welcome today’s publication of the Coast to Capital Strategic Economic Plan which has the potential to deliver great benefits to the nearly one million residents of the Greater Brighton region. Greater Brighton knows full well the importance of Gatwick Airport to the region which is why we are delighted to have them as members of our board. We look forward to working with partners from across local authorities, business, universities and further education, to deliver on some of the aims within this ambitious strategy.”

Councillor Andy Smith, Leader of Lewes District Council, said:

“I’m delighted to support this progressive and very welcome manifesto. Coast to Capital’s integral role in the development of the Newhaven Enterprise Zone and wider contribution to other important local projects has been invaluable. We share the same ambition, standing shoulder to shoulder together in a drive to create and nurture the future prosperity of the Lewes district.”

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

“The SEP dovetails with our West Sussex Economic Growth Plan: this ambitious plan will ensure that West Sussex continues to have a growing economy, that our towns flourish and that the county remains a prosperous place.”

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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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