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Have your say on town centre redevelopment

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Residents are being asked for their views on plans for a major redevelopment in the town centre.

The proposals for land at the eastern end of The Boulevard will see the current Town Hall replaced with a new Town Hall with grade A commercial offices for rent to help fund local services, a new public square and public realm improvements. The neighbouring two-storey car park also makes way for the masterplan proposal.

The proposals also include around 275 homes in two residential blocks, one of which has ground floor commercial retail, and the infrastructure for a district heating network. At least 40 per cent of the housing on site will be affordable and the council’s allocations policy prioritises these units for long-standing residents. The Town Hall multi-storey car park will remain and will be upgraded under these proposals.

Crawley Borough Council and developer Westrock want to hear what residents think of the plans before the planning application is submitted.

Designs, artist’s impressions and plans will be available to comment on at exhibitions and online at www.regeneratingcrawley.org.uk/townhallsite until 31 July.

Manned exhibition time and dates are:

  • Town Hall foyer, Tuesday 4 July, 11am-2pm
  • County Mall (ground floor, outside Boots), Saturday 8 July, 10am-2pm
  • County Mall (ground floor, outside Boots), Monday 17 July, 11am-3pm
  • Town Hall foyer, Monday 24 July, 10am-1pm

 

Public consultation displays will be in the:

  • Town Hall foyer, 3 July, 11am-5pm
  • Town Hall foyer, 4-7 July, 9am-5pm
  • Town Hall foyer, 10-12 July, 9am-5pm
  • K2 Crawley foyer, 13-16 July, 8am-8pm
  • Town Hall foyer, 18-31 July, 9am-5pm.

 

Town centre stakeholders, council staff and councillors are also being given their chance to give their views on the proposals.

The outline agreement between the council and developer Westrock was agreed by councillors in February.

The new facilities will transform a major town centre opportunity site, providing around 100 affordable housing units while securing the council’s finances through the ability to generate new revenue from commercial office tenants.

A new Town Hall will also provide a better, fit-for-purpose building for staff, customers and councillors and achieve significant savings on the council’s current running costs.

The council will look to incorporate key elements of the existing building in the new Town Hall to retain vital links with the past while preparing for the future.

If these plans go ahead the current Town Hall will remain the council’s administrative centre until the new building is ready to move into.

Councillor Andrew Skudder, Cabinet member for Resources, said: “This will be one of the most important planning applications to be considered by the council so I urge as many people as possible to tell us what they think.

“All comments received will be considered before the planning application is submitted.”

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of the Council, said: “This scheme will enable the council to work more efficiently and provide much-needed affordable housing, while generating new income for services and helping to improve the appearance, economic vitality and environmental-friendliness of the town centre.

“We want this scheme to do as much good for Crawley as possible and you can help us to ensure we don’t miss anything out.”

The planning application is expected to be submitted at the end of July and, if approved, demolition of part of the existing Town Hall complex – to make way for the new building – would begin in spring 2018.

Construction of the new Town Hall would begin in summer 2018, with the first phase of housing already underway, and would be expected to be completed in summer 2020.

The construction of the second phase of housing would begin in autumn 2020 and be completed in summer 2022.

For more information on regeneration in Crawley visit www.regeneratingcrawley.org.uk

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BREAKING NEWS: Sainsbury’s to close Crawley town centre store

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It has been an historic part of the town centre for decades, but now the supermarket on Queensway is to close its doors with the potential loss of jobs.

Image: Google Street View

Sainsbury’s says it has made the difficult decision after announcing it would close up to 15 supermarkets a year ago, pre-covid.

Sources close to the Crawley supermarket say that staff began finding out the news yesterday.

The supermarket said they would work with their staff at the site to try to find alternative roles within the firm.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson speaking to Crawley News 24 said,

“We have updated colleagues on the difficult decision to close our Crawley store and we are doing everything we can to find alternative roles within Sainsbury’s for those affected.

“Customers can continue to shop with us online and at our nearby stores. For example, our West Green store is a short drive away.”

Whilst a date for the closure has not been announced, some sources say it could be as soon as January ’21.

Cllr Peter Smith Cabinet member for Planning and Economic said:

“I am sorry for the staff that will lose their jobs at this difficult time when most supermarkets are reporting improving profits.

We have had enquiries from other supermarkets looking for suitable sites who may recognise that there will shortly be an additional 2500 residential homes just a short walk away from this prestigious location. We will be doing all we can to help find a quality occupier as soon as we can.”

Crawley Councillor Francis Guidera said:

“It is tremendously saddening to read that one of the original major shops in the town centre is closing. A lot of housing provision is currently being created in the town centre area and there is an increasing, not decreasing need for food retailers in the town centre.

We haven’t even begun to knock down the administrative offices of the town hall which will be replaced by a huge apartment block, and they are still building the first apartment block on the former council car park as I type this! I genuinely hope that another food retailer grabs the huge opportunity to take on that store.”

The news comes just one after one of the most iconic town centre independent store, P&J Sweets also announced they were to close.

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