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‘Immoral & Jobsworths’ says Tilgate business owner as Crawley Council refuse to move on rent increase

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Darren Kirkham from Tilgate Bakery.

Businesses on Tilgate Parade who were warned of a rent increase of 30% by Crawley Borough Council have been told there is no option but to pay the increase.

Following the news last week that the council were going to look into the huge increase that some of the smaller businesses said they would not be able to reach, it now appears that following an internal review no change is to happen.

Some of the businesses on the parade have been receiving calls already from council staff who have said that if businesses do not comply then legal action could be forthcoming.

Darren Kirkham from Tiglate Bakery said:

“This is immoral and jobsworths! This is bigger than here and now. This is sustainabilty for small buisnmess and i am just frustrated that the council is being short-sighted in their policy and not willing to review it as it will change the face of parades across the town.

It’s going to affect every parade in 2 and 5 years, everyones going to get hit and ultimately it’s gojng to be the smaller businesses that are goin to go under first.”

In response to the news Crawley Borough Council Leader Peter Lamb said:

“Crawley Borough Council faces a £1.3m budget deficit over the next several years due to government cuts. The choice for residents is, would they rather the council subsidises the rents of profit making businesses or would they would prefer to see services cut and council tax go up?”

Crawley MP Henry Smith said:

“I think it is extremely regrettable that the Crawley Council leadership are unwilling to negotiate fairer rents for smaller shop owners in Tilgate parade. My fear is that this will lead to firms closing and the community shops provided by those in the parade could be lost.

What’s happening now in Tilgate will no doubt be visited upon the other neighbourhood parades across Crawley which I think goes against one of the finest new town principles.”

Coronavirus

BREAKING NEWS: Coronavirus cases jump 200% in one week across Crawley

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On Monday 14th Sept the new “rule of six” comes into force across England with news breaking today that children under 12 will not be exempt from it.

The new rules mean people are limited to meeting in groups no larger than six people both indoors and outdoors.

The rule ‘could’ potentially be coming slightly too late as new figures for Crawley reveal a 200% jump in recorded cases in just one week.

People need to realise the harm it can do you without putting you directly in hospital

Data from the UK public health bodies shows that in last week (2nd – 8th Sept) there were 15 NEW cases reported in Crawley. This number does not seem a lot but when compared to the week(s) before it shows a dramatic jump.

In only the previous week there were only 5 new cases reported, with 4 separate days reporting no cases at all.

But in the past week this figure jumped with 8 reported in one day alone.

So far the worst single day for reported cases in Crawley was back on the 28th April when 19 cases were reported in a day.

To date, since recording began there have been 502 cases, with 77 of these resulting in death.

As more parts of the UK are also having to deal with stricter lock down restrictions Crawley remains below the national average of cases per 100,000 at 13. The national average is currently 18.

The towns neighbour, Horsham, saw an even greater rise of 360% with 23 cases reported between 2-8 Sept.

Across the UK an additional 3.497 cases were reported in the past 24 hours, an increase of 36% on the same day a week ago, taking the total to 365,174.

A local doctor, who asked to remain anonymous, said her and her colleagues were very worried about how too many people were downplaying the risk of infection.

“I hear every day some people talking about how the number of people in hospital through Covid are so low so we shouldn’t worry about the number of cases increasing – but we should. People need to realise the harm it can do you without putting you directly in hospital.”

But questions on how the new rules will be enforced are still not clear with new statements released from the Police that talk about ‘engaging, encouraging and explaining’ before even considering taking any action.

A source close to Sussex Police has told Crawley News 24 that there is both confusion and dismay within the ranks about who and how officers are going to contend with issues of larger groups than allowed meeting up, while juggling the increase of daily issues that are returning since the full lockdown.

Another source said they were awaiting a full outline of what powers the police really will have on Monday (14th Sept) before officers would be given full guidance on what they should do.

Sussex Police told Crawley News 24:

“As we start to see a rise in infections it is vitally important that we all follow the regulations and restrictions in place to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

Everyone has a role to play limiting the outbreak by following the regulations, including those about gatherings which will be limited to six people both indoors and outside when the new legislation comes into force on Monday 14 September.

People need to take personal responsibility for their actions, in particular during this heath emergency, and this includes adhering to the latest government guidance.

Sussex Police will continue its approach of engaging, encouraging and explaining the current regulations and only taking enforcement action when necessary. “

Only 1 week after schools reopen, a couple of weeks after a house party alarmed residents in the town, (and Crawley Council confirming they were investigating the event), and new rules coming into force, all eyes will now be set to see just how well the town responds to the new measures and whether the rise is just a ‘blip’ or if it is a sign of a returning rise.

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