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‘There is no democracy in Crawley’ – residents furious outcry as part of Three Bridges could become Langley Green

Some Crawley residents could find the area they live in has changed as Council puts forward their boundary change recommendations.

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Residents have been voicing their furious views over the Councils decision to vote for a recommendation on electoral ward changes that will see some Three Bridges and Northgate residents change ward to Langley Green.

The recommendation will also see Three Bridges extend its boundaries to cover the town centre which is currently covered by Northgate.

Additionally Broadfield North and South will be combined and Gossops Green will extend into the current Broadfield North ward.

In a heated full council meeting last night, residents voiced their concerns to the councillors who, in the opinion of some of the residents, were just not listening.

One resident said:

“What is the purpose of being allowed to speak at these meetings if all they are going to do is put down everything we say and go with what they want?”

Another resident said:

“We are very disappointed to see that there is no democracy in Crawley.  It seems so unnecessary what they are doing when there are perfectly respectable ways to do it.”

So what is the all the fuss about?

Crawley has been informed by the boundaries commission that they must reduce the number of councillors by one for the town.

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In order that this still gives a fair representation to the residents and that each ward has a similar number of people represented by a councillor this means that ward boundaries are going to have to alter.

The commission has asked the council to put through their recommendation which is what was voted for last night with a proposal put forward by Labour winning the vote 19/17.

But what didn’t help was councillors commenting to the residents saying, “there are winners and losers”.

A spokesperson for Crawley Borough Council said:

“It is important to note that we are a consultee and therefore not a decision maker on the ward changes. We have been consulted and put forward our recommendation.  Any resident who wishes to put forward their opinion should goto the boundaries commission website before the 9th April.

No-one is having their neighbourhood changed, it is only the electoral boundaries.”

This is actually a very important note as whilst the council has voted on their recommendation it in no way means that this will actually happen.  It is now down to the commission to make the final decision taking into account both the council and residents views.

But residents hit back with one saying:

“Of course we wont lose our neighbourhood but what we will lose is the relationship with councillors we have built up over years.  Having a new councillor who has looked after an area miles from us and who now has to start again learning about our area is ludicrous.”

Henry Smith MP has spoken out against the changes on Twitter:

If you would like to see the map of the recommendations voted for by the council then click here.

If you would like to put forward your views to the commission then you have till the 9th April.  To do this click here.

Keep up to date with all the latest news.

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Business

‘It’s not nearly enough funding’ warns Crawley Council as business grant applications open

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Eligible businesses can now apply for the latest round of business grants but Crawley Borough Council says the funding is not nearly enough.

Despite Crawley being responsible for 25 per cent of the economic output in West Sussex, it has been given some of the lowest grant funding in the county.

The government has given the council £3,733,396 made up of:

  • £1,485,216 in Local Restrictions Support Grant to distribute to businesses that pay business rates and have had to close during the second lockdown
  • £2,248,180 in Additional Restrictions Grant, which is given to businesses that don’t pay business rates and have been affected by the lockdown but not legally required to close.

Out of seven local authorities in West Sussex, only one received less than Crawley’s combined grants figure. Five councils received more.

The Additional Restrictions Grant is based on £20 per person in Crawley rather than the number of businesses in the town. This means that Arun District Council, for example, has received £3,215,160 due to a larger population but smaller economy.

And only one council in West Sussex received less than Crawley across both rounds of grant funding in April and November. Crawley received a total of £17,167,646. The highest – Chichester District Council – received £43,739,396.

In the first round of grants earlier this year only 23 per cent of Crawley businesses received financial help from the government.

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of the Council, said:

“The pot of grant funding provided by the government is very limited and does not recognise the number of businesses we have in Crawley.

“The way the grant settlement is calculated – on population and not on the size of the economy – means we have to turn most businesses away, while other councils have millions to spare. This is causing major hardship at a time when Crawley is already the hardest-hit economy in the UK.”

Businesses that have had to close during the second lockdown can apply for a Local Restrictions Support Grant by visiting https://grantapproval.co.uk

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