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New figures show Crawley has more retailers, but how many places to eat does it need?

A new report has shown that retail vacancy has dropped significantly. Only question is why are they mainly food and drink outlets?

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In a new report released earlier this year, Crawley’s retail vacancy rate has dropped significantly since 2018’s survey, which reported that 9.2 per cent of the town centre’s retail units were empty.

The new figure reports only 7.8 per cent of retail units are now empty which the lowest rate for Crawley since 2008.

The drop in vacant units can be partially attributed to a boom in independent shops in the High Street. Crow Coffee, the Comic Shop, Sage Vegan Café and Crama Romanesca are the latest additions to the area and chain buffet restaurant, Tamasha has taken over the former Rat and Parrot unit which had been vacant for some time.

But some have questioned why the town centre is now awash with so many food and drink establishments.

Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development, Councillor Peter Smith, said:

“I am delighted that more and more retailers are coming to our town centre. With Metrobank, Iceland and Peacocks moving into Queens Square and the Broadway last year and our new independents joining the High Street.

We recognise that this is a challenging time for high streets and are pleased to see Crawley’s town centre growing, encouraged by the Crawley Growth Programme investment in the Town, and offering more choice for our residents and visitors.”

Business

Crawley businesses vote in favour of town centre initiative unlocking £2M of investment

Businesses in Crawley town centre have voted in favour of establishing a Business Improvement District (BID), unlocking more than £2million of investment over the next five years and help create a thriving town.

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68% of businesses in Crawley voted in favour of the BID, along with 73% in favour by Rateable Value.

A BID is a business-led initiative formed to improve a defined area. Crawley will now join more than 320 BIDs operating in the UK.

Commenting on the result, Chair of the Crawley Town Centre BID and a Director of Graves Jenkins, Neil Cooper, said:

“There is huge potential for Crawley to develop its own distinct offer and proposition and so we are delighted that businesses in the area have voted in favour of a BID. By working in collaboration with businesses and forming strong partnerships, the BID can make a positive difference”.

Paul Clement, director and head of place-shaping at Savills who were commissioned to support the development of the BID said:

“This successful ballot result opens up great opportunities for local businesses to act on solutions for the future of their town centre. Up and down the country BIDs are making a real difference not only to businesses that fund them, but to those who live, work and visit in BID locations. With over 320 BIDs nationally, Crawley businesses have embraced the model as the most appropriate to progress their town centre”.

Research with businesses in the area identified a number of improvements focused around crime reduction, feelings of safety, promotions and marketing, accessibility and business networking. The BID will commence delivery on 1st April 2020.

For more information on the Crawley Town Centre BID, please visit www.crawleytowncentrebid.co.uk

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