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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 College to reopen following incident

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Crawley College will be beginning a phased reopening to students from tomorrow, Thursday 29 April.

The phased reopening will take place between tomorrow and Tuesday 4 May with full details by courses provided on the college website www.crawley.ac.uk . Students should check details before returning to campus.

The campus has remained closed for the past two days following police investigations into the incident that took place at the college on Monday (26 April).

Vicki Illingworth, Principal of Crawley College, said:

“We are looking forward to welcoming our students and staff back to the college.

“We’d like to reassure everyone, the college is safe and they will be well supported in their return to the campus.

“Sussex Police have confirmed that this is being treated as an isolated incident which is not terror related and nobody else is being sought in connection with the incident.  The individual concerned is in police custody and has been charged.”

“We are now focussed on ensuring we can bring students and staff safely back on site. We’re proud of the service we provide to our students to give them opportunities in education and training.

“I can reassure everyone that this was a one-off incident and we have strategies in place to keep everyone as safe as possible, as well as giving the students the support they need to come back and join us to complete their studies successfully.”

Vicki also echoed her earlier comments, paying tribute to the staff who supported students who were on site during the events of Monday afternoon.

She added:

“I continue to remain full of admiration of our team. They pulled together on Monday and implemented all of the protocols we have in place to keep students safe.

“They’ve continued to work together to support each other and their students over the past couple of days – and they will continue to do so when students return to campus.

“We are also particularly proud of the two members of staff who acted so bravely and swiftly to apprehend the individual before the police arrived. They acted selflessly to protect their students and the college community. They have asked for privacy during this time.

“It was a very intense time for everyone involved.

“The students who were kept inside the college and who were part of the emergency evacuation were supported throughout by our staff and counselling services have been available to them this week. These services will continue to be in place for them to access.

“We’ve continued to be in touch with our students through our support services to check that they are ok and we will resume face-to-face counselling as soon as we can.”

Work is taking place at the college campus to repair some damage which was sustained during the evacuation and subsequent investigations, with teams working hard to ensure the campus is ready for reopening.

The college would like to thank students, staff, the Police and Emergency Services and the wider community for their ongoing support and understanding.

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