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Over 1300 people sign petition calling for Crawley Council to stop 30% rent hike

The petition was presented to the towns MP, Tilgate councillor and also a candidate for the upcoming by-election.

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It was only a couple of weeks ago that Crawley Council announced publically that they would not move on the 30% rent hike for businesses on Tilgate Parade.

Despite pleas from business owners the council took the decision to uphold their sizeable rent increase.

In a sign of solidarity over 1300 people signed a petition to call for the rent hike to be changed. It was handed over to Henry Smith MP, Tilgate Councillor Francis Guidera and Conservative candidate in the upcoming by-election, Maureen Mwagale by some of Tilgate Parade’s small business owners and staff on Friday 20th of September.

In a press release from the local conservatives they said:

“After months of desperate negotiation by Tilgate Parade business owners, the Labour administration has chosen to ignore their pleas and plough on with a huge rent increase which threatens the immediate future of several of the shops and small businesses, and leaves others questioning whether to try and carry on anymore. Tilgate Parade’s businesses recently started a petition which they placed in their shops for customers to sign. This has gained huge support in Tilgate with well over 1300 signatures so far, going up daily.”

Tilgate Councillor Francis Guidera said:

“Tilgate Parade’s small businesses are almost all staffed by the people who own them. When you go into these shops you are often talking to the person who owns it and they are not joking when they say they cannot afford what they are being asked to pay.

Some are faced with the option to either give up now or continue at a loss and hope for a miracle. Some of these businesses have been on the parade for 20, 30, even 40+ years and I’ve been told about some of their elderly customers who are distraught at the idea they may be gone soon. What’s really upsetting people is it’s the elected Labour leaders of this town who are quite literally putting their parade out of business.

I was disgusted to read Cllr Peter Lamb repeatedly talking about “subsidising” profit-making businesses. He should have a look at some of their books. Some are barely breaking even. This will finish some of them. Nobody is subsidising anything, the council is asking for more rent than is commercially viable for some parade shops and when Crawley was built the parades were central to the neighborhood plans. The purpose of each parade was to serve the local community, not be a cash machine for the council.”

Conservative Tilgate election candidate, Maureen Mwagale said:

“I’ve knocked on many doors and spoken to so many people, and especially for the elderly these shops are a lifeline. They are the ones who cannot make daily journeys into the town centre and the parade is a big part of their daily social life. If I am elected I will be pushing hard for an urgent review of how we negotiate neighbourhood parade rents going forwards, starting with Tilgate which is of course my priority!”

There are still around ten Tilgate Parade businesses still currently battling the council for a change in the rent hike.

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Crawley Down man pleads ‘not guilty’ to double murder as date set for trial

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Daniel Gary Appleton, 37, an engineer, of Hazel Way, Crawley Down, is to face trial over the deaths of both his wife Amy Appleton, 32, and another woman, Sandy Seagrave, 76, of Kiln Road, Crawley Down, outside his property on Sunday, 22 December, 2019.

Appleton appeared by video-link at a plea and trial preparation hearing (PTPH) at Lewes Crown Court on Tuesday (25 February) where he entered not guilty pleas to both murders.

His defence barrister, speaking on Appleton’s behalf, admitted his responsibility for both killings.

The trial is set for 6 July.

At the opening of inquests into the two women’s deaths at Centenary House, Crawley, on Tuesday 7 January West Sussex coroner Penelope Schofield heard that post-mortem examinations had shown both women had died from head injuries.

Those hearings were adjourned until Tuesday 28 April.

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