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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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‘How is COVID-19 impacting your business?’ Crawley Council wants to know

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Tell Crawley Borough Council about the impact of coronavirus on your business.

The council, working together with Manor Royal BID, has released a new survey asking businesses to report how they have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. 

In response to the pandemic, the council is forming an Economic Recovery Taskforce alongside local businesses, community and stakeholder representatives to evaluate the true impact of the crisis on the local economy and develop a coherent Economic Recovery Plan for the town, including how the forthcoming Crawley Towns Fund programme should be spent to aid recovery.

This survey will provide the council and Manor Royal BID with “real time” information on the impact of the crisis on day to day business activity in Crawley and help the council and the BID to understand what additional support is needed for local businesses at this time.  

Businesses will be asked how staffing levels and turnover have been affected, what Government business support schemes they have used and what further support they may need.

All responses to the survey will be treated with confidence and the results will only be read by those involved in formulating a response to the COVID-19 crisis as part of Crawley’s Economic Recovery Plan.

Leader of Crawley Borough Council, Councillor Peter Lamb, said: “Our initial aim was to support businesses as quickly as possible, using the Government’s Small Business Rates Relief Grant and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant. Now we need to look at our long term recovery plan and this includes hearing from businesses and finding out where further resources need to be directed.”

Executive Director at Manor Royal BID, Steve Sawyer, said:

“How we come through this will depend on our ability to work together for an even better Crawley. We will work enthusiastically alongside the council as part of the Crawley Taskforce, which begins with collecting meaningful data from businesses so we can design a place-specific collective response. We encourage all businesses to complete this short but important survey.”

To fill out the survey, visit crawley.gov.uk/council-information/how-council-works/consultation

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