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Incredible news as Manor Royal now provides 25% of all Crawley jobs

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A new study reveals the growing importance of Manor Royal and its impact in terms of jobs, business and its contribution to the economy.

The Economic Impact Study, jointly commissioned by the Manor Royal BID and Crawley Borough Council, was conducted by leading economic and regeneration consultants, Lichfields, to assess how well the Business District is performing and what it needs to do to remain competitive.

The study revealed that since 2010, Manor Royal has grown in a number of important ways. It is now home to over 600 businesses and provides 25% of all Crawley jobs – a whopping 32,800 jobs in total. On top of that it contributes £34m in rates each, about a third of all rates generated by Crawley that includes Gatwick Airport, and provides over 9m square feet of commercial floorspace. Not bad for a place that accounts for less than 6% of Crawley’s overall landmass.   This shows a notable change from the last study when there was over 90 acres of land available for development and about 20% of all the buildings were empty.

Not bad for a place that accounts for less than 6% of Crawley’s overall landmass

The last study was carried out almost ten years ago and led to many changes, including the creation of the UK’s largest “industrial” Business Improvement District (BID) – the Manor Royal BID.  Since then the environment in which Manor Royal operates has been radically altered by large macro-economic events as well as changes closer to home. The study aimed to capture this and make recommendations for future improvements.

“This important study reinforces the vital role Manor Royal plays,” said Trevor Williams, Thales UK and Chairman of the Manor Royal BID.

“It is especially pleasing to see the contribution of the Manor Royal BID being highlighted both in terms of what has been achieved to date and the role it can play in its continued success.”

Councillor Peter Smith, Cabinet member for Economic Regeneration, said:

“Here at Crawley Borough Council we know that Manor Royal plays a key part in Crawley’s economic growth and recent strong jobs growth performance – it’s great to see confirmation of how far we’ve come in ten years. It is critical to Crawley and its residents that Manor Royal Business District continues to prosper and grow, and we intend to work with the BID to help make this happen.”

The report also highlights a number of ways Manor Royal needs to improve looking ahead. This includes provision of facilities, wider promotion, enhancements to the public realm and continued efforts by the Manor Royal BID to represent and co-ordinate activities across the Business District.  The Manor Royal BID will look to work with Crawley Borough Council and other key partners to explore ways to act on the recommendations, but this will be dependent on the outcome of the BID Renewal Ballot in February when businesses will vote to decide whether to continue with the BID.

The report is available to view on the Manor Royal BID website here.

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Business

More business rates to be kept local and pay for gigabit broadband

A successful bid to keep more business rates in West Sussex, supported by Crawley Borough Council, will enable residents and businesses to access gigabit broadband.

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The bid, to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, to keep 75 per cent of business rates collected in West Sussex – instead of the current 50 per cent – was one of 15 successful applications out of 35 nationwide. This means that there will be an additional £19.1m retained in the county annually from 2019/20. However, this will be spent on improving digital infrastructure as we are unable to use it to help with Crawley Borough Council’s financial challenges.

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council, said:

“This is good news for the digital infrastructure of the county and, once complete, the ‘spine’ will enable residents and businesses to connect to a full fibre network.

“Crawley has the biggest economy in the county and must benefit from this successful bid. However, this money is not extra for individual local authorities and will have very little impact on our finances, which are getting more challenging every year. Much is made of announcements like this but it will have no impact whatsoever on council finance or the services we provide.”

A digital ‘spine’ will be created alongside railway lines, to avoid digging up roads. A full fibre network will be laid from which residents and businesses can access gigabit broadband.

The spine will accelerate investment in and deployment of further new digital infrastructure by reducing barriers to investment in full fibre access networks and new wireless technologies.

The network will run along the Arun Valley railway line, from Ford to Three Bridges, the Brighton Mainline from Three Bridges to Brighton, and a coastal route from Brighton to Ford.

Crawley is the economic powerhouse of West Sussex. The town occupies just two per cent of the land but collects around 35 per cent of the county’s business rates. The town generates more than £120m in business rates each year but keeps only £6m; 10 per cent goes to West Sussex County Council and the rest currently goes to central government for redistribution.

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