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And the winner of Crawley’s Christmas Shop window is…

Henry Smith MP has visited Zoe’s Florist to congratulate them on being named the winner of his Festive Crawley Christmas Shop Window competition.

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Crawley’s MP presented the shop on Gales Drive in Three Bridges with a certificate congratulating them on their achievement.

The store, which sells special bouquets with stunning modern designs, as well as floristry for weddings and parties, sympathy and funeral flowers, and artificial displays, has a window display capturing the spirit of the festive season, inspired by the 2004 film ‘The Polar Express’.

Henry said;

“With so many brilliant entries, it was difficult to narrow them down to a winner and two runners-up in my Festive Crawley Christmas Shop Window competition.

“I’m grateful to all of the entrants for their hard work to help Crawley get into the Christmas spirit. With not long to go until the big day, there’s time to get those last-minute gifts for family and friends!

“I was delighted to go to Zoe’s Florist to congratulate Leanne and the team, and to thank them in person for all they’re doing to bring Christmas cheer to our town!”

Leanne Webb, Manageress of Zoe’s Florist, commented;

“It was a privilege to be offered the opportunity to enter Henry Smith MP’s ‘Festive Crawley Christmas Shop Window’ competition this year. I know that there are many stores around Crawley that put up some really fantastic decorations, so I was over the moon to hear that our store was to be picked as winner!

“Throughout the year we try to create window displays that have a special meaning and provoke thought in our customers and passers-by. I personally just love Christmas and this year we decided to go with the theme of ‘The Polar Express’ – a modern children’s classic that really embodies how special Christmas should be for children. I have found it wonderful seeing the local school children pass by the display, their faces full of excitement and wonderment.

“I want to thank Henry again for picking Zoe’s Florist as his ‘Festive Crawley Christmas Shop Window’ competition winner and I look forward to the prize of a personal tour around Parliament for myself and my staff.”

Shops right across Crawley were invited to take part in Henry Smith MP’s Festive Crawley Christmas Shop Window competition.

Runners-up were Chickidee in County Mall, which offers beautiful and affordable home interiors, giftware and stationery, and Bodyworks Day Spa on Church Walk in Crawley town centre, which provides spa treatments using organic, natural and ethically sourced products, a hair styling and colouring service, and a mobile service for bridal and big day preparation.

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More business rates to be kept local and pay for gigabit broadband

A successful bid to keep more business rates in West Sussex, supported by Crawley Borough Council, will enable residents and businesses to access gigabit broadband.

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The bid, to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, to keep 75 per cent of business rates collected in West Sussex – instead of the current 50 per cent – was one of 15 successful applications out of 35 nationwide. This means that there will be an additional £19.1m retained in the county annually from 2019/20. However, this will be spent on improving digital infrastructure as we are unable to use it to help with Crawley Borough Council’s financial challenges.

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

“This is good news for the digital infrastructure of the county and, once complete, the ‘spine’ will enable residents and businesses to connect to a full fibre network.

“Crawley has the biggest economy in the county and must benefit from this successful bid. However, this money is not extra for individual local authorities and will have very little impact on our finances, which are getting more challenging every year. Much is made of announcements like this but it will have no impact whatsoever on council finance or the services we provide.”

A digital ‘spine’ will be created alongside railway lines, to avoid digging up roads. A full fibre network will be laid from which residents and businesses can access gigabit broadband.

The spine will accelerate investment in and deployment of further new digital infrastructure by reducing barriers to investment in full fibre access networks and new wireless technologies.

The network will run along the Arun Valley railway line, from Ford to Three Bridges, the Brighton Mainline from Three Bridges to Brighton, and a coastal route from Brighton to Ford.

Crawley is the economic powerhouse of West Sussex. The town occupies just two per cent of the land but collects around 35 per cent of the county’s business rates. The town generates more than £120m in business rates each year but keeps only £6m; 10 per cent goes to West Sussex County Council and the rest currently goes to central government for redistribution.

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