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‘Save Tilgate Parade’ is the message as petition is launched to stop ‘incomprehensible’ rent increase

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Following the news that rent increases are to go up for businesses in Tilgate Parade, Tilgate Councillor Francis Guidera and Tilgate resident and Conservative candidate Maureen Mgwale, along with the towns MP visited the parade yesterday to meet with local business owners.

Tilgate Councillor Francis Guidera said

“Our Labour-run council has made a decision that literally threatens the future of Tilgate parade.

I’ve been involved with this for a while now, and our Labour run council who like to ‘claim’ they are business-friendly are actually putting many of our parade businesses under threat of closure. Shop owners don’t think they can cope with such a massive rent hike and survive. They are extremely distressed and we have to make residents aware of how serious this situation is.

There is still time for negotiation. I believe it is wrong for the council to base the achievable market rent per shop on what one business is prepared to pay. We really could end up with a parade that has no newsagents, no hairdresser, no bakery, no chippy and no launderette and it angers Henry Smith, myself and Maureen that this decision doesn’t take into account the community value of Tilgate parade. Their contributions to Tilgate in the things some of those small business owners do for the community on the parade is invaluable. Also, the opportunities they give to our young people, many of whom getting their first part-time job there, opportunities not so readily available from national chains who usually only hire 18+ year olds, may no longer be there if this goes ahead!

And then there’s the environmental considerations. At a time when local and national government is saying use cars less, a decision like this sends the opposite message! For example, in Tilgate we have a lot of dog owners and having a great pet food shop here means they don’t have to drive to County Oak or into town. If it closes they will have to! Cllr Peter Smith (Labour) has ultimate control over this decision and he really needs to show some leadership instead of hiding behind council officers!”

A petition which is being made available among most of the shops in the parade has launched today for residents to sign.

A spokesman for the Tilgate parade association said:

“Huge rent increases seem incompressible in the current econominc climate. Having tried to speak to the council there seems to be little moral imperative to support the smaller independent businesses. Having put our heart and soul into not just this family business but the community also, it feels soul destroying to face this threat to our livelihoods and our employees livelihoods too.”

Crawley Borough Council have been approached for comment.

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Give Crawley back its police, demands towns council leader

Crawley Council Leader Peter Lamb has called for the Prime Minister to return funding to Crawley’s police after he says new figures show cuts to police budgets are much higher than the new funding recently announced.

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In a press statement Cllr Lamb says that Sussex Police have lost 32.3% of their funding from central government, leaving local policing in a weakened state.

Speaking about the state of policing in Crawley, Cllr Lamb said:

“Following the loss of frontline officers, crime and antisocial behaviour are now the top issues residents raise with me on the doorstep. They are tired of seeing it in our town centre and across Crawley’s neighbourhoods. Only the police have the power to end the decline and only the Government has the funding to give us the officers we need.

“We deserve more from our Prime Minister than empty promises, it’s time he learnt to keep his word and gave Crawley back its police.”

Crawley Labour adds that this news comes on the back of recent revelations that despite 98% of police officers lost from the service in recent years having been cut from the frontline, around 7,000 police recruits will never see frontline duty.

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