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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.”

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£2.2m redevelopment of Crawley town centre set for completion by Autumn

The regeneration of Queensway, The Pavement and Kingsgate, is progressing on time and on budget according to the council.

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Cllr Roger Elkins and Cllr Peter Smith

The £2.2m scheme is part of the Crawley Growth Programme, funded by Crawley Borough Council, West Sussex County Council, and the Local Growth Fund through the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership.

Blakedown Landscapes, who built the Queens Square, started on site in January, installing new paving along Queensway and The Pavement, and new benches and trees throughout both areas.

Work is currently underway outside Marks and Spencer and will move up towards Kingsgate over the coming weeks. The project is on time to complete in the autumn.

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

“It is great to see the project taking shape and the completed areas look fantastic and I thank the public and businesses for their patience while the work is completed.

“Once the development is finished, I am confident that the scheme will build on the success of Queens Square where we have seen around £30m private sector investment in the surrounding properties, including bringing a number of vacant units back into use.

“I look forward to seeing the end result.”

Continuing this, Councillor Roger Elkins, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said: “I am delighted to see the Queensway, Pavement and Kingsway scheme progressing to time and on budget.

“This is yet another exciting success story from the Crawley Growth Programme – showing what collaboration and partnership working can achieve to support regeneration.

“The scheme clearly complements and builds on the success of the Queens Square project and I look forward to its completion later this year.”

Jonathan Sharrock, Chief Executive at Coast to Capital said:

“We are thrilled to see such fantastic progress with the Crawley Growth Programme and look forward to seeing the regeneration of Queensway come to fruition.”

All business in the area will remain open while the remainder of the works are carried out. For more information about the project and regular progress reports, please visit www.regeneratingcrawley.org.uk/queensway

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