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Crawley council takes a stand against offices being turned into homes

Crawley Borough Council has approved a proposal to safeguard four areas from having employment buildings converted into unplanned housing.

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The council’s Cabinet approved ‘non-immediate Article 4 Directions’ at its meeting on Wednesday (13 March), which would remove permitted development rights (known as prior approval) for the conversion of office, light industrial and storage and distribution uses to residential.

This would mean that developers would need full planning permission to change the use of buildings. Currently a planning application is only necessary if the conversion will cause issues relating to transport, contamination, flooding or business noise.

The Directions would apply in:

  • The majority of the Three Bridges Corridor (including Denvale Trade Park, Spindle Way and Stephenson Way)
  • Maidenbower Business Park
  • Tilgate Forest Business Centre
  • Lowfield Heath.

The Cabinet also agreed to investigate a potential Article 4 Direction for the town centre in future.

In 2016 and 2017, the council was successful in bringing into force Article 4 Directions in Manor Royal Business Improvement District.

Before the new Directions can be introduced a 12-month notification period, including a three-month consultation, which will begin shortly, will be carried out.

Crawley’s economy has grown by 31 per cent since 2010, and there is strong potential for further economic growth in Crawley. Many existing companies are seeking to expand their operations, and new companies are enquiring about opportunities to locate in the borough.

However, a major impediment to continued growth is that Crawley has a very limited supply of available new business land, and the council’s Local Plan identifies a land supply deficit of 35 hectares. Further, Crawley has lost 61,500 square metres of commercial space to residential development via permitted development rights.

Councillor Peter Smith, Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development, said:

“We wish to provide more homes for Crawley people but only if they are to a decent standard – this is best achieved with a planning application.

“This proposal is designed to prevent the further loss of business space in main employment areas as this could have a major adverse economic impact on the town’s economy.”

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Crawley A-Level students show that it’s not just about University

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L-R, Angelo Amirthanayagam, St Wilfrids Headteacher Michael Ferry and Liam Draddy. Liam gained A* A* A* and Angelo A* A* A, both are off to study physics at Bristol and Warwick respectively.

There is always a deluge of press releases every year from schools across the town ready to impress everyone with their top students results.

Of course it’s always great to celebrate these and this year is no different but before we mention some outstanding results it is worth nothing that it is not all about going to University.

An ecstatic Kieron Stephens gained A A and is off to Exeter to study politics and Int. relations with study abroad.

There has always been a large amount of pressure of young people to follow the course of University after doing A-Levels, but in-fact this should be looked at as a choice not a necessity.

In this modern world the route to your chosen career can take many routes and whilst some do require a degree avenue there are many more that simply don’t.

One student from St Wilfrids is a prime example.

Faye Bromige with St Wilfrids Headteacher Michael Ferry.

Faye Bromige did exceptionally well in her results this year with A* A* A, but rather than choosing a place at University she battled through over 500 applicants to gain an apprenticeship with Virgin Atlantic in their finance department.

A spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic said:

“We’re delighted to welcome Faye along with four other finance apprentices this September. Faye and her peers will be an integral part of our finance business partnering team and will graduate with level 7 qualifications at the end of the programme. We’re also investing in apprenticeship programmes across our engineering and cabin crew teams and look forward to welcoming our new recruits this Autumn.”

Faye is not alone though as headteacher Michael Ferry explains:

“Some of our students have already gained apprenticeships since leaving Yr 13 with many being successful in gaining university places from September.”

For others though there was great joy that they were able to take the places they were offered.

Thomas Bennett Community College students celebrating their results.

Over at Thomas Bennett Community College there was real pride. A Level students achieved excellent results across all subjects.  In vocational students achieved 100% pass rates across all subjects at Merit and Distinction level with half of all the results at Distinction* (equivalent to A* at A Level). The Chelsea Academy also posted a 100% pass rate for all its NVQ students.

Headteacher Stuart Smith said:

“These results are an outstanding achievement for the college community.  Congratulations to all students on their hard work and for continuing the rise in exam success.  We would like to thank the staff who have given many additional hours of guidance and support to help our students realise their potential. We wish all leavers the very best of luck as they move on and know they have a bright future ahead.”

With other Crawley schools having similar success it is another great year for the towns schools.

But the real message here for all students is to remember it is not just about university and there are plenty of options always available no matter what your results are as this is just the start of an exciting journey!

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