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Crawley continues to grow as more tenants move into council accommodation

The population of Crawley’s newest neighbourhood is growing in size, with the 100th council tenant moving into their property earlier this month.

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The latest additions are part of the council’s ambitious programme to build more than 1,000 new council homes across Crawley, including more accessible properties for residents.

New tenant Katie Vye-Parminter, said:

“When I saw the house I was amazed, I cried when I saw the down stairs cloakroom, as my nine year old daughter has mobility issues so it’s just perfect for her. It is so spacious and it could be converted into a wet room if needed at a later date.

“The children now also have their own bedrooms and their own space. We are delighted.”

The borough’s newest neighbourhood is currently being developed by Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon and will have more than 1900 properties once completed.  All the council homes being built in Forge Wood will be charged at social rents.

Over in Lonsdale Court, Three Bridges Road, new tenant Danielle Miles is settling into her new accessible flat, that offers an adjustable sink, wider rooms and doorways, a spacious wet room and a wheelchair storage area.

Speaking about her new home, Danielle said:

“I was blown away! I had been looking at the plans for about a year and it’s exceeded my expectations.

“The flat is so spacious lots of room for my wheelchair. Where I was before, the doorways were so narrow I was always grazing my knuckles. The adaptations are first class.”

Lonsdale Court has ten one-bedroom and four two-bedroom flats and was completed earlier this year by regular council developer partner, Westridge Construction.

Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Ian Irvine, said:

“I am delighted to have been able to meet our new tenants and see and hear the difference that their new homes have made to them already.

“Building new homes for our residents is one of our top priorities and we are making great progress towards our goal.”

Work is also underway on two new developments in the town, 22 flats and 22 houses are currently being built at the old Goffs Park Depot and 32 flats and five houses at Kilnmead Car Park. Both development will be completed this year.  

Business

Did Crawley Council Leader really tell worried business owners ‘we’ll let the court decide’ over rent hikes?

It has become one of the hot topics of the year, the 30% rent increase for businesses on Tilgate Parade. But has an open letter from a councillor revealed more than just a heated debate.

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Take a walk through any part of Crawley where there are shops. How many of them are the same ones that were there just a few years ago?

In-fact if you walk through the town centre then you are almost going on a walk of memory as you pass empty units or one of the too-many-to-count coffee shops.

Parades so far have faired a little better with most retaining their stores but for how much longer?

Rules set out that rents for businesses must be set at a certain percentage of the value of the property, we will gloss over the fact that councils do have options in which they can reduce this as this has been spoken about at length before.

So a 30% rent hike, whilst shocking, is not surprising as prices increase over the years.

Tilgate Parade where rents are to increase by 30%.

But now an open letter by Tilgate Councillor Francis Guidera has potentially revealed just how much tension there really is between the business owners and the council.

In the letter (which you can read here) Mr Guidera talks about a discussion held after a recent Full Council meeting where eight Tilgate Parade business owners were ‘confronted’ by the Council Leader.

According to Mr Guidera’s letter, Council Leader Peter Lamb ‘demanded’ to know why the council should ‘subsidise’ profit making businesses.

Now heated words between disgruntled residents, business owners and opposing councillors are nothing new but according to Mr Guidera the parting words from the Council Leader appear to show that tensions are at breaking point.

“We’ll let the court decide” – these are the final words, according to Mr Guidera, that Peter Lamb used to the Crawley business owners as the conversation/debate/argument (use what you will because it is not clear what it was) came to a conclusion.

The whole country is on a political see-saw with every party taking any opportunity it can to score points from the other so letters like this can be seen to be just that, another point scoring opportunity – BUT – ‘if’ what Mr Guidera saying is right then it does beg the question of whether the council is really understanding the true concerns of the very people it represents.

CN24 approached Mr Lamb for comment but at time of publishing had not received a response.

There are rules, regulations, legislation to follow but there are also opportunities open to councils to make a difference and to help those it works hard to convince it wants to help. So why such defiance?

The see-saw has dropped on one side now, let’s see what comes out to make it tip the other way?

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