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Crawley town centre report helps identify key opportunities for development

Key opportunities for development and economic growth within the borough have been identified thanks to a new report.

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As part of the One Public Estate Partnership, Crawley Borough Council, with West Sussex County and Crawley College, commissioned the report to explore routes for development across six town centre sites which are currently under-utilised.

One Public Estate is a national programme that brings public sector organisations together to collectively look at the use of land and buildings with the aim of improving public services, and supporting economic growth.

Crawley is already a significant economic hub, due to its good transport connectivity, proximity to London, Gatwick Airport and the presence of Manor Royal, which is one of the South East’s largest mixed activity business districts.

However, the report identified the following sites as areas with significant potential:

  • Queens Square
  • Station Gateway
  • Telford Place
  • Crawley College
  • County Buildings
  • Town Hall and adjacent car park

Each development site has been examined for their most suitable use, including a small quantity of commercial and business spaces at Station Gateway and Queens Square (of which already has an established concentration of office based activity and retail offerings).

Plans for the redevelopment of the Town Hall, along with Telford Place and Station Gateway have already progressed significantly. Offering more than 90,000 square feet of business and commercial spaces alongside residential properties.

The report identified the County Buildings (adjacent to the Town Hall), as an exciting development site, with potential for commercial spaces designed to offer workspace for a range of different businesses alongside further residential properties.

Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development at Crawley Borough Council, Councillor Peter Smith, said:

“With three million square feet of office space currently in the pipeline to be developed and more identified, the town centre potential as a place for economic growth across a number of industries is significant and exciting.

“The report has been pivotal in identifying areas of development that can be brought forwards quickly such as Queens Square and Telford Place.”

Leader of West Sussex County Council, Louise Goldsmith, said:

“This is an example of how the Growth Deals signed with every district and borough council in West Sussex and our One Public Estate Programme (OPE) are having a positive impact in helping to achieve economic growth across West Sussex.

“Collaborative working through OPE helps to secure resources and investment to boost the local economy, helping both residents and businesses to prosper and benefit from planned improvements. It puts a real focus on economic growth and development countywide.”

Continuing this, Group Managing Director (Commercial) for the Chichester College Group, Julie Kapsalis, said:

“Crawley College is very pleased to be part of this work. We are absolutely committed to developing the offer at our campus in Crawley to ensure that we can train people in the skills required by the local economy.

“We want to attract more students and learners to access our training and facilities. We welcome the joined up approach between partners and a focus on collaboration to ensure the most effective outcomes for Crawley, its businesses and residents.”

Under the council’s Town Centre Regeneration Programme, development of these opportunity sites alongside improvements to the town’s public realm and transport infrastructure has been detailed on www.regeneratingcrawley.org.uk.

Business

Crawley businesses take out over £90m in loans to survive COVID-19

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Statistics released by the Government have revealed the true extent of lending taken up by businesses across Crawley.

According to a release from the office of Crawley’s MP Henry SMith, businesses across Crawley have benefitted from £92,721,494 worth of loans since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

This includes 1,724 Bounce Back Loans worth £51,495,006 and 102 loans at a value of £41,226,488 through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme.

The number is part of the vast number that have been taken out throughout the whole of the south east of England, where a total of 175,946 Bounce Back Loans, worth £5,269,988,799, and 9,026 Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans, worth £2,154,703,689, have been provided to support businesses across all sectors, protecting jobs and livelihoods.

Crawley MP Henry Smith said;

“This year has been hugely challenging for businesses in Crawley, but these latest figures demonstrate the scale of support that the Government has put in place to protect livelihoods and businesses.

“Never has the Government’s agenda to level up the whole county been so important. I’ll continue to focus on supporting hardworking families across Crawley.”

With cases still rising and worries that more areas across the country may enter tighter restricttions, the Chancellor has also announced that the Government’s Job Support Scheme will be expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions, alongside increasing the cash grants to businesses in England required to shut in local lockdowns to support with fixed costs – worth up to £3,000 per month.

So far, the Government has provided over £200 billion throughout its economic response to coronavirus to support jobs and businesses in the UK.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, commented;

“Our support for businesses and workers has provided a lifeline to employers up and down the country, supporting people to stay in jobs and protecting livelihoods. “We will build on this as we move to the next stage of our recovery through the Winter Economy Plan, which will continue to protect jobs and help businesses through the months ahead.”

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