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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.”

Lifestyle

Aged 9-15? Auditions announced for this years panto at The Hawth

The Hawth, in partnership with Evolution Productions are looking for girls to be part of the Juvenile Ensemble for their spectacular pantomime, DICK WHITTINGTON this Christmas!

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Registration will take place at 10am on Saturday 22 June 2019 at The Hawth.

To audition you must be between the ages 9–15 (inclusive) on 1 September 2019 and be under 5’ 2”.

Producers say that auditions will end approximately 2 hours after the start time but you may need to stay longer if you are successful.

You don’t need to prepare anything – you’ll be taught a routine on the day. They ask you come wearing comfortable clothes and soft/dance shoes and advise that you bring some water, but no other food or drink.

They added, “Pantomime is a huge team effort, and we will require full commitment for the rehearsal period and the full run of the production (Monday 25 November 2019 – Sunday 5 January 2020).”

Click here to download an audition registration form.

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