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Four micro parks to be created as Manor Royal, Crawley gets £500k grant

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Four new and improved public spaces will be created in the Manor Royal Business District following Crawley Borough Council’s successful Towns Fund application.

The grant of £565,000 will pay for the creation of four micro parks to provide better facilities, seating and public realm in key locations throughout Manor Royal. They will form the first phase of a network of small park areas that, when completed, will mean no employee will be more than a 5-10 minute walk from a place to sit, rest or have an informal alfresco meeting.

The concept has been developed by the Manor Royal BID, who have already produced initial designs and published the story of Manor Royal that will be the inspiration for the trails.

Each park area will be inspired by the history and stories of the people and businesses who work on Manor Royal and who have helped to make it what is today. This involved wide engagement through workshops, open days and social media to collect people’s experiences, photos and recollections.

This narrative will be used by artists appointed by the Manor Royal BID to inform the design of each park area to eventually form a connected trail with each site telling a different part of the story. These concept designs will now be refined.

Delivery of this project will enhance the area, support employee health and wellbeing and increase the amount of open space and urban environment as well as making Manor Royal a more attractive proposition for future and current commercial staff and visitors.

The council has applied for £25m from the government’s Towns Fund, which has been created to boost regeneration by kick-starting projects, driving growth and improving the environment. This initial funding, which also includes funds for gigabit infrastructure, has been fast-tracked because this project is ready to progress quickly.

The application includes the aspiration for Manor Royal to become ‘a stunning, highly productive, digitally-enhanced business park’.

Chris Maidment, Chair of the Town Deal Board, said:

“Manor Royal is already a cornerstone of business in Crawley, providing employment both directly and indirectly for many residents of the town.

“I am delighted that this investment, reflecting the heritage and culture of the community, will contribute to making the BID an even better place to work, as well as improving the wellbeing of those who will use the parks.”

Steve Sawyer, Executive Director of Manor Royal BID, said:

“People are demanding more from the places they are expected to work. They have to be safe, welcoming, comfortable and attractive.

“This project builds on the work of the BID and its partners over the past seven years to ensure the place looks good, is well connected and has excellent facilities so that businesses are happy to make Manor Royal their home. We are excited about the opportunity to deliver the vision set out in our Business Plan.”

Councillor Peter Smith is Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development at Crawley Borough Council and Vice Chair of the Town Deal Board.

He said:

“Manor Royal is a fantastic place to do business but we are well aware that there isn’t enough quality public realm for the people who work there to enjoy.

“This project builds on the successful pocket parks already installed in Manor Royal and helps to further improve the perception and attractiveness of the business district and the satisfaction, health and wellbeing of employees. It will also boost Manor Royal’s ability to attract new business investment and jobs to benefit Crawley’s residents and its economy.”

For more details visit manorroyal.org/mystory

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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