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Crawley Council purchases town centre car park

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A town centre car park has become the fourth purchase for Crawley Borough Council in its bid to generate alternative sources of income to support its services to the public.

Kingsgate Car Park, on Queensway opposite the Memorial Gardens, is a 10-level car park with 496 spaces.

It is currently let to National Car Parks Ltd. (NCP) on a lease until June 2027. The rent will generate more than £300,000 per year for the council and is subject to annual increase.

Councillors have agreed a total of £26.6m for commercial property purchases since 2013, enabling the council to make purchases where there is a sound business case and no undue risk.

The council’s portfolio includes Atlantic House in Three Bridges, Ashdown House on the High Street and Ask Restaurant, also in the High Street.

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

“The rental income generated from this investment will help to fund local services and limit Council Tax increases after a decade of cuts from central government.”

The council’s commercial property estate – primarily neighbourhood shops, light industrial units and workshops – is an important source of funding for council services, bringing in about £6.3m per year and providing a reliable income to spend on council services.

Business

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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