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Playgrounds & toilets closed, cuts to community funding & bin collections to likely become fortnightly as Crawley Council try to save money following Covid



It was inevitable that cuts had to be made and whatever the decision was there was always going to be anger.

But Crawley Councillors have now agreed a range of significant savings to mitigate the impact of coronavirus on Crawley Borough Council’s budget.

The council says that despite grants from central government helping to cover part of the council’s costs tackling Covid-19 this year, the council’s main sources of income have been hit hard by the economic impact, creating a budget gap of more than £2m which they say equates to a seventh of the council’s total net revenue expenditure.

The council says that while two-thirds of this gap has been closed through back-office efficiencies, councillors have been forced to decide where the remaining savings should be made.

Following a large public consultation, during which 1,200 residents gave their views on potential service changes, Crawley Borough Council’s Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet have jointly agreed savings proposals for the next council year.

While a move to fortnightly collections – the least popular option in the consultation – will not be progressed at this time, it’s expected to be an inevitable change in the medium term as new legislation around waste is introduced, as well as the need to increase recycling rates and reduce waste going to landfill.

On play, councillors agreed to the shift to a more flexible model of delivery, which is better targeted at the needs of the community.

This means that Cherry Lane and Waterlea Adventure Playgrounds will be converted into unsupervised play areas while Creasys Drive Adventure Playground in Broadfield and Millpond Adventure Playground in Bewbush will be closed. New capital funding will be allocated to bring forward alternative play provision in Broadfield and Bewbush.

Councillors also agreed to:

  • Reduce the grant funding available for community and voluntary sector bids
  • Close all five fee-charging ‘superloos’ in Crawley, leaving the nine free public toilets open around the town
  • Support greater self-management by clubs and increase income from the hire of our fine turf pitches
  • Price fees and charges more competitively
  • Internal efficiency reviews to generate further savings.

The council say that these savings are necessary despite the redevelopment of the Town Hall site being set in the next few years to both generate significant new income for the council and reduce the council’s running costs.

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of the Council, said:

“For six years, Crawley has stood alone in maintaining all our services, despite annual cuts to our grant. We’ve managed this by generating new income streams to make up for the money we’ve lost. Unfortunately, this simply isn’t an option in a pandemic, leaving us with no alternative to making savings.

“We’ve listened to the public feedback on the options and tried to make savings as painless as possible, but ultimately you can’t cut a seventh of a council’s budget without it being felt somewhere.”

Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of the Opposition, said:

“Thank you to everyone who took part in the consultation that helped to inform us. Covid-19 has brought unprecedented financial challenges to local government and while there are parts of the budget that in normal times we would prefer not to reduce, we’ve all worked hard to come up with a budget that keeps the council on a sound financial footing and that will protect key services for Crawley residents.” Results of the consultation can be found here:


Crawley boy receives pioneering kit to help with his disabilities



Eleven-year-old Theakston Lee-Watson is among the first recipients of innovative new equipment to provide disabled children with sensory activities in their own home.

Theakston, from Crawley in Sussex, received the equipment from Caudwell Children as part of a UK-first charity campaign to deliver sensory equipment and support to disabled children across the country.

The sensory pack will provide a range of therapeutic benefits for Theakston, who has autism and sensory processing disorder, helping him regulate his emotions and develop his motor skills. 

Theakston’s mum, Kitty Lee-Watson, has already noticed the benefits the equipment brings.

Kitty said:

“He has a lot of anxiety at the moment, I now have the sensory pack out on his bedroom floor so when he has a meltdown it’s easy to guide him to something or distract him. This has been a real help.

“Theakston’s favourite part of the Get Sensory pack is the Fibre Optic Light as it’s both visual and tactile. He likes touching the fibres.”

Caudwell Children has pledged to provide thousands of families with essential sensory equipment during the Covid-19 pandemic – with each family receiving a pack of appropriate and safe toys to support children living with a wide range of disabilities. 

Trudi Beswick, CEO of Caudwell Children, said:

“Our Get Sensory Packs are designed to support children who are likely to benefit from sensory resources – it’s so encouraging to hear that Theakston is enjoying using the equipment and his family can see the benefits already.”

“We’ve committed to provide thousands of families with a pack, because we know it’s difficult to access resources at the moment.

“To deliver on that we’re now calling for anyone who can to make a difference to the life of a disabled child by donating to our Get Sensory Packs campaign – you can make a life-changing difference from just £5.”

Caudwell Children launched its Get Sensory Packs campaign following consultation with parents to find the most appropriate and safe sensory items – selected by the charity’s Occupational Therapists.

The packs include:

  • A Liquid Cell Timer,
  • Scented Bubbles,
  • A BoBo Massager,
  • Sissle Brush,
  • 4 Ball Massager,
  • Weighted Cushion,
  • Spikey Domes,
  • Space Blanket, and
  • A Fibre Optic Lamp.

Packs are available to children who have a confirmed disability or chronic illness. Families can apply directly to Caudwell Children for support, with the charity providing 80% of the cost of each pack.

Families will be asked to contribute 20% of the cost, which is £20, and to confirm their financial status and their child’s diagnosis. More information is available at

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