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Coronavirus: Grant scheme available for Crawley’s local businesses

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Crawley Borough Council is supporting local businesses by distributing more than £12 million in grants – the first council in West Sussex to do this.

Last week, the Government announced two new schemes designed to support all local businesses significantly affected by the coronavirus shutdown.

The Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant is being administered by the council on behalf of the Government. 

Businesses will be eligible for a Small Business Grant of £10,000 if they are in receipt of either Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rates Relief in the business rates system.

Under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant, businesses that would have been in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) on 11 March with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for the following grants per property:

  • Businesses with a property that has a rateable value of up to and including £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000
  • Businesses with a property that has a rateable value of more than £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

Businesses which are not ratepayers in the business rates system and those eligible for a Small Business Grant will not be eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant scheme.

The council is currently processing a significant number of applications for both grant schemes and a team of officers is working hard to respond to each application as quickly as possible. We understand this is a particularly difficult time for many businesses and individuals and ask for people’s understanding and patience.

Leader of the council, Councillor Peter Lamb, said:

“With numerous industries severely affected by the pandemic, this is a very stressful and uncertain time for individuals and businesses. These grant schemes are a welcome source of funding and in line with Government guidance, the council is working hard to ensure businesses get the help they need. ”

Steve Sawyer, Executive Director of the Manor Royal BID, said:

“It is so important businesses know about and take advantage of the support available. I know the Council is working as quickly as they can to get these funds to where they are needed. We also know there are businesses who can’t access these grants but who still need support. We are lobbying for and hope more will follow. Manor Royal companies can contact the BID to let us know what they need.”

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BREAKING NEWS: Sainsbury’s to close Crawley town centre store

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It has been an historic part of the town centre for decades, but now the supermarket on Queensway is to close its doors with the potential loss of jobs.

Image: Google Street View

Sainsbury’s says it has made the difficult decision after announcing it would close up to 15 supermarkets a year ago, pre-covid.

Sources close to the Crawley supermarket say that staff began finding out the news yesterday.

The supermarket said they would work with their staff at the site to try to find alternative roles within the firm.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson speaking to Crawley News 24 said,

“We have updated colleagues on the difficult decision to close our Crawley store and we are doing everything we can to find alternative roles within Sainsbury’s for those affected.

“Customers can continue to shop with us online and at our nearby stores. For example, our West Green store is a short drive away.”

Whilst a date for the closure has not been announced, some sources say it could be as soon as January ’21.

Cllr Peter Smith Cabinet member for Planning and Economic said:

“I am sorry for the staff that will lose their jobs at this difficult time when most supermarkets are reporting improving profits.

We have had enquiries from other supermarkets looking for suitable sites who may recognise that there will shortly be an additional 2500 residential homes just a short walk away from this prestigious location. We will be doing all we can to help find a quality occupier as soon as we can.”

Crawley Councillor Francis Guidera said:

“It is tremendously saddening to read that one of the original major shops in the town centre is closing. A lot of housing provision is currently being created in the town centre area and there is an increasing, not decreasing need for food retailers in the town centre.

We haven’t even begun to knock down the administrative offices of the town hall which will be replaced by a huge apartment block, and they are still building the first apartment block on the former council car park as I type this! I genuinely hope that another food retailer grabs the huge opportunity to take on that store.”

The news comes just one after one of the most iconic town centre independent store, P&J Sweets also announced they were to close.

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