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Crawley’s historic High Street changed to improve safety

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Changes to the Historic High Street will improve pedestrian safety and prevent further damage to street furniture and fixtures.

Funded by Crawley Borough Council in partnership with West Sussex County Council, works are currently taking place in the Historic High Street to secure the pedestrianised area from vehicles and prevent illegal parking.

The High Street is a Restricted Parking Zone from the entrance of Pegler Way to just north of its junction at Cross Keys and any vehicle not correctly parked in a bay is liable for a Penalty Charge Notice.

In the past it has been difficult to enforce these restrictions during evenings and weekends. The continued excessive use of cars in this area puts pedestrian safety at risk, damages street infrastructure, affects local businesses and the local environment negatively.

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Owing to the Historic High Street’s status as a conservation area great care has been taken with the designs of new street furniture to ensure the proposed installations are in keeping with the surrounding area. The scheme includes:

•         Installation of a small span of new fencing and fixed/lockable bollards

•         Repairs and repainting of damaged electrical posts

•         Relocation of seating for events and to protect a potential vehicle access point

•         Repainting of other bollards in this area.

Long-term improvements are being considered to repair or replace damage caused by vehicles in this area, including tactile paving slabs designed to help people with visual impairments and the base of the ‘Golden Tree’ artwork.

Parking in the Historic High Street is only permitted in designated bays. However, other car parks are available in the area and in some cases are free (or very inexpensive) in the evenings including:

  • NCP Car Park at Cross Keys (near the entrance to Church Walk)
  • Cross Keys House car park
  • RCP Broadway surface car park
  • Orchard Street multi-storey and surface car park.

Councillor Peter Smith, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said:

“The Historic High Street is one of the town centre’s greatest assets and we want to ensure that we protect both its historical value and value as a leisure space.”

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of the Council, said:

“The council is committed to preserving our Historic High Street as an important public space. As the recent damage to the Golden Tree sculpture has highlighted, uncontrolled vehicle movements in this area pose a risk to both pedestrians and property.” 

Claire Oak, Co-Chair of the Historic High Street Business Forum and Facilitator of the Circles Network, said:

“I welcome the changes being made and the great thought that’s been put into our Historic High Street. It’s a place brimming with character and stories of old.

“It’s my desire to see our Historic High Street showcase our diverse, vibrant culture and be a place of great interest, full of creativity.” 

Nicki Cheek, Co-Chair of the Historic High Street Business Forum and landlady of The Brewery Shades, said:

“Parking and moving vehicles blight the Historic High Street so these improvements will make this historic area much safer and more family-friendly.” 

The works are due to finish by 3 November. For more information about parking in the town centre, visit www.crawley.gov.uk/parking

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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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