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Major town centre regeneration begins in Crawley

Crawley Borough Council and property investment and development firm Westrock have started a major mixed-use scheme that will help regenerate the town centre and provide much-needed new housing and office space.

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The public private partnership between Crawley Borough Council and Westrock will ultimately see the current Town Hall replaced.

Once finished, the redevelopment at the eastern end of The Boulevard in Crawley will include:

  • A new, nine-storey building housing a new Town Hall and office space
  • 273 new apartments, including 109 affordable homes
  • A new public square with public artwork
  • New commercial units.

Work is well underway to build 91 apartments over nine storeys on the site of the former two-storey car park next to the current Town Hall. These are scheduled for completion in November 2020.

The eastern end of the Town Hall complex has been decommissioned, with demolition starting this month.

The nine-storey building, which will house the new 41,000 sq. ft. Town Hall and 77,000 sq. ft. commercial offices across 5.5 floors, will start to be constructed by Kier in spring 2020. This building is scheduled for completion in late 2021.

A new public square with artwork will also be created outside the new building.

Once the new building is open, the remainder of the current Town Hall will be demolished to make way for the final phase of redevelopment – a 10-storey block featuring 182 apartments with ground floor commercial space opening on to the new square.

Through its rental brand PLATFORM_, Westrock has already delivered 185 purpose-built rented homes in Crawley, which benefit from professional on-site management and a range of amenities including gym, residents’ lounge, roof terrace and a yoga studio.

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

“This is a hugely important step in this major project because this investment will save money for taxpayers and generate income for the council, which will help us maintain services. This is a very good deal for Crawley.”

Matt Willcock, Development Director of Westrock, said:

“Our joint venture with Crawley Borough Council shows the benefits of public-private partnerships. Working closely with Crawley, we will deliver much-needed new housing, workspace and public realm as well as an upgraded Town Hall.”

Chris Lawrence, Operations Director for Kier Regional Building, said:

“The start of works on this impressive project is a major milestone in the construction of the new Town Hall for Crawley Borough Council.

“As the local Crawley-based office of Kier Regional Building we are delighted to be delivering this project and look forward to seeing the structure take shape in the coming months.”

For more details on these plans visit https://investcrawley.co.uk/development/town-hall

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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