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Disabled couples, pregnant women, families with young children all suffering in stifling heat with no running water. Where is this? Pound Hill, Crawley!

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It is something you do not expect to read about in Sussex. But the truth is that this is a very real problem for dozens of families right now in Crawley.

Residents in the Pound Hill flats at Milton Mount have had to endure this ongoing problem for months and now with temperatures at an all time high the stress has become unbearable.

‘How is this not a crisis that is at the top of the councils agenda’

The Crawley Council owned building has suffered from water problems for so long that some of the residents have been left with no-where to turn.

Calls to the council have resulted in positive responses but that’s it, just words, little action.

After pressure from ourselves action was finally taken yesterday and Mears, one of the councils new contractors finally brought bottled water to some of the residents yesterday evening and now they have confirmed they will continue to do so till a solution is found.

How is this not a crisis that is at the top of the councils agenda to fix?

Over the past weeks and months residents have lost count of the number of times they have complained and begged for assistance. The response? ‘We have logged your issue, an engineer will be in touch’.

Weeks later nothing.

‘a lottery game of whether they would be able to have a glass of water in the morning’

There is obviously a serious problem that needs to be addressed, but more worryingly there is an immediate problem which seems to be being overlooked. People need water to survive – not just live.

This isn’t just a case of having problems to wash, this is a health crisis and one that has only now begun to be addressed as a result of a resident contacting the press.

Since then we heard from couples, some disabled who woke up each morning to play a lottery game of whether they would be able to have a glass of water in the morning.

Another family who had to resort to washing their young children using baby wipes alone and who were relying on family members from other areas of the town to fill up water bottles so they can have a drink.

After we got in touch with some councillors they jumped into action with Pound Hill North Cllr McCarthy in particular making sure something was being done, but even they found ‘the system‘ hard to work ‘out of hours‘.

‘Mistakes happen, problems occur, but when a crisis hits and it is ignored it becomes so much more’

The main issue affecting two whole floors of the huge apartment building seemed to be a pressure one. So who was responsible? The council or the water company.

Guess what, it doesn’t matter, it really doesn’t!

Because the real issue is why it has taken so long to be sorted and why an intervention was required to help so many people who had been crying out for help for so long; but all calls were falling on seemingly deaf ears.

Mistakes happen, problems occur, but when a crisis hits and it is ignored or pushed aside as just a ‘problem’ then that is when it becomes so much more.

The actions of Mears as the new contractor demonstrating that it will not just sit back and ‘log complaints’ but will actually take action (albeit after some intervention) are positive, and whether they realise it or not, this could be just the opportunity they need to show how good a contractor can be to residents, residents who have felt for a very long time that they were always being ‘fobbed off‘ all the time.

But now questions need answering at the council about how it has come to this and how they will ensure this never happens again. This is certainly not the end, this is the start of changing how things happen here.

Business

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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