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‘We cannot pick and choose’ responds Crawley Council after big increase in towns food & drink retailers

A report showed that Crawley’s retail vacancy rate had dropped significantly since 2018 but the increase in retailers was mainly in the food and drink sector.

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Crawley town centre is certainly starting to get busier helped by the influx of footfall as people come to visit new shops.

This has been evident by the figures released from a report but on closer inspection it has been noted that of the ‘boom’ in independent shops they are mainly made up of food and beverage outlets, or those with food and beverage included.

Queens Square for example is awash with three dedicated coffee shops and a cafe/deli taking up almost a third of the retail space in the square.

Gone are the large range of clothing stores, now you have to wander higher up to The Mall.

Crawley Council were approached to find out how this was being addressed.

A council spokesperson said:

“We cannot pick and choose which type of businesses move into vacant units and we welcome any new traders, considering them an asset to our town centre retail offering.

“It is important to recognise that with national reports showing the habits and demands of shoppers changing in recent years, town centres are becoming more residential and should not rely solely on retail; to thrive, they must become places where people visit for a variety of experiences including retail, hospitality, events and leisure activities.

“However, the council works hard to encourage a range of retailers to come into the town centre and combined with the continued regeneration of the public realm, we hope that new businesses will see Crawley as an attractive place to set up shop.”

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‘How is COVID-19 impacting your business?’ Crawley Council wants to know

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Tell Crawley Borough Council about the impact of coronavirus on your business.

The council, working together with Manor Royal BID, has released a new survey asking businesses to report how they have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. 

In response to the pandemic, the council is forming an Economic Recovery Taskforce alongside local businesses, community and stakeholder representatives to evaluate the true impact of the crisis on the local economy and develop a coherent Economic Recovery Plan for the town, including how the forthcoming Crawley Towns Fund programme should be spent to aid recovery.

This survey will provide the council and Manor Royal BID with “real time” information on the impact of the crisis on day to day business activity in Crawley and help the council and the BID to understand what additional support is needed for local businesses at this time.  

Businesses will be asked how staffing levels and turnover have been affected, what Government business support schemes they have used and what further support they may need.

All responses to the survey will be treated with confidence and the results will only be read by those involved in formulating a response to the COVID-19 crisis as part of Crawley’s Economic Recovery Plan.

Leader of Crawley Borough Council, Councillor Peter Lamb, said: “Our initial aim was to support businesses as quickly as possible, using the Government’s Small Business Rates Relief Grant and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant. Now we need to look at our long term recovery plan and this includes hearing from businesses and finding out where further resources need to be directed.”

Executive Director at Manor Royal BID, Steve Sawyer, said:

“How we come through this will depend on our ability to work together for an even better Crawley. We will work enthusiastically alongside the council as part of the Crawley Taskforce, which begins with collecting meaningful data from businesses so we can design a place-specific collective response. We encourage all businesses to complete this short but important survey.”

To fill out the survey, visit crawley.gov.uk/council-information/how-council-works/consultation

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