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Crawley constituents discuss how to spend slice of £15m on rail improvements

MP Henry Smith held a public meeting in Crawley to discuss how the Passenger Benefit Fund should be spent

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MP Henry Smith held a public meeting in Crawley to discuss how money from the Passenger Benefit Fund should be invested

Passengers, rail user group representatives and councillors have had their say on how a slice of £15million should be used to improve the rail experience for people in Crawley, Horsham and Horley.

MP Henry Smith welcomed ideas on how thousands of pounds should be spent on improving passengers’ rail experience in his constituency when he held a public meeting this month (14 June) at the Arora Hotel in Crawley.

Following disruption faced by passengers in the summer of 2018, the Secretary of State for Transport announced that Govia Thameslink Railway would contribute £15million towards a Passenger Benefit Fund, which would be used to provide tangible benefits to passengers.

The Secretary of State appointed three MPs to oversee the programme, Bim Afolami, Heidi Allen and Henry Smith – one for each of the routes affected in May 2018 – Great Northern, Thameslink and Southern.

The MPs recommended that decisions on how the fund is spent should be made at as local a level as possible, which is why an amount from the fund has been allocated to passengers at stations depending on how much the station was impacted by the May 2018 timetable introduction.

Stations worst affected by the disruption will receive £80,000, stations considerably affected will receive £50,000 and all other GTR managed and Thameslink served stations will get £30,000. Horley and Three Bridges will each get £80,000, while Crawley and Horsham are both set to receive £50,000.

Mr Smith’s public meeting was attended by passengers, local councillors, rail user group representatives and GTR’s Local Development Manager Patrick Ladbury, who gave a presentation on the fund and answered questions.

A number of ideas were discussed and these included water bottle refill schemes with counters to show how many times they have been used, the refurbishment of the underpass at Horley to prevent it from flooding and developing a second entrance at Horsham. Questions over how the fund fits in with the Crawley station redevelopment plans were also addressed.

GTR’s Patrick Ladbury said: “Some interesting ideas were put forward at the meeting. I would encourage as many people as possible to make their voices heard if they have suggestions for how the fund should be used. It is easy to get involved and submit your ideas. Just visit https://www.passengerbenefitfund.co.uk. Ideas need to be submitted by 31 July so that we can assess them and get started on the selected schemes as quickly as possible.”

Govia Thameslink Railway

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:

  • Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
  • Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
  • Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
  • Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria

www.southernrailway.com, www.thameslinkrailway.com, www.gatwickexpress.com, www.greatnorthernrail.com

Business

What to expect when Primark reopens in Crawley in two weeks

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Primark is working re-open their stores on the 15th june and the store has been working hard to ensure their employee and customer safety is their highest priority.

So what can customers expect to find implemented when they reopen?

Social distancing:

There will be a limit on the number of customers allowed in store at any one time to allow for the appropriate distance in between customers and employees, following government guidelines.

There will be clear signage and floor decals, as well as dedicated employees and additional security staff, to guide customers through the store in a way that limits contact with others.

Every second till will be closed to allow more space between customers and between employees.

The store will temporarily close off fitting rooms and customer toilets.

Personal protection for employees and customers:

Hand sanitiser stations will be made available at the entrance and on the shop floor and back of house for employee and customer use. Face masks and gloves will be made available to all Primark employees.

Perspex screens have been installed on tills to protect customers and employees.

Increased in-store cleaning:

The frequency and rigour of store cleaning will increase, particularly around high frequency touchpoints such as tills, escalators, lifts, and employee areas in back of house.

A basket cleaning system is also being introduced.

Primark CEO, Paul Marchant, said:

“As we re-open our stores in England, nothing matters more than the health and wellbeing of our colleagues and customers.

“We have really missed our customers and we are delighted to be back on 15 June and able to provide them with the quality, affordable products they love from Primark.

“We know that life for our customers is going to look different for a while. We want our stores to be safe and reassuring places to shop and work. While it might take a little longer to get into our stores, once inside, customers will find all their favourite Primark products and we have worked hard to make sure that clear signage and extra help will be there to guide them through the changes we have made to allow for social distancing.

“We will adopt all government safety advice as a minimum in our stores and have benefited from our experience in the other markets in Europe where we have already opened successfully. As we open, we will continue to look at best practice across the retail sector and amend our measures appropriately.

“I would like to thank all of our colleagues and partners for the commitment, strength and resilience they have shown through these challenging times.”

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