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More bus lanes in Manor Royal as funding agreed to improve Crawley’s transport infrastructure

It’s a proposal that sounds good on paper but will the reality come back to bite?

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A £820,000 local growth fund has been approved by Coast to Captial which will allow the continuation of the Crawley Growth Programme.

This phase is all about improving transport connectivity in the business district which is infamous for its traffic congestion and lack of parking.

The aim is simple. Provide a better public transport network and encourage people to leave their cars at home and use the bus.

But will the idea actually translate into reality?

First is the aim to increase the bus lanes along Manor Royal so that it runs the whole length from London Rd down to Gatwick Road. At present it only runs west from Faraday Rd along to London Rd.

In order for this to work it means widening the road and removing much of the grass verges so that there is room for the additional bus lane. This in turn will of course mean roadworks but with an anticipated completion before the end of 2020 this minor disruption will then provide the bus lane infrastructure planned.

But there is also another reason to encourage people onto public transport. Carbon emissions. With so many commuters in the business district the pollution levels are high.

According to Coast to Capital, this scheme will unlock opportunities for the local area including further investment in housing and business space, but it is not clear how this would be the case as this would only naturally increase traffic not reduce it.

Jonathan Sharrock, Chief Executive at Coast to Capital said:

“Crawley helps establish the West Sussex area as a thriving economic hub. Close links to Gatwick airport place Crawley at the beating heart of Coast to Capital and we are delighted to award further Local Growth Funding towards the Crawley Growth Programme, bringing our total contribution up to £15.4 million. ”

Steve Sawyer, Executive Director at Manor Royal BID said:

“Our success as a business destination is intrinsically linked to having access to an efficient, easy and reliable transport system. This additional investment will contribute to plans to encourage more active, sustainable travel into and around Manor Royal and closely aligns to our shared aspirations for the area.”

Whatever the outcome be prepared for upcoming roadworks and a campaign to get you out of your car and onto a bus.

Business

Over £2m given to Crawley Council for discretionary business grants

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Eligible Crawley businesses can now apply for discretionary business grants.

The government has given the council £2,248,180 in Additional Restrictions Grant, which is given to businesses that have been affected by the lockdown but are not legally required to close.

This funding lasts until March 2022 and is based on £20 per person in Crawley rather than the number of businesses in the town.

Eligible businesses are those who:

  • Are not entitled to Local Restriction Support Grants, and
  • Were open and trading the day before national restrictions were imposed (Wednesday 4 November), and
  • Are now required to close under national restrictions or, while not legally forced to close, are severely impacted by the restrictions.

Applications for the Additional Restrictions Grant can now be made at grantapproval.co.uk

There are different types of grants based on the rateable value of property/property costs or business type.

Businesses can check if they’re eligible for the Additional Restrictions Grant by visiting gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-the-coronavirus-additional-restrictions-grant

There is further guidance and a copy of the West Sussex countywide policy on the council’s website. The scheme will close on Sunday 13 December and the aim is to make payments as soon as possible after that.

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of the Council, said:

“While we haven’t been allocated enough funding to help every local business, we will do everything we can to support as many Crawley businesses as possible.

“If you need support please get in touch via the council’s dedicated webpage.”

Applications for the Local Restriction Support Grant opened on 17 November. Businesses forced to close by the second lockdown can apply for this grant at grantapproval.co.uk For more details on help available for businesses visit crawley.gov.uk/emergency/coronavirus-information/businesses-and-employers

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