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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.”

Business

Crawley businesses vote in favour of town centre initiative unlocking £2M of investment

Businesses in Crawley town centre have voted in favour of establishing a Business Improvement District (BID), unlocking more than £2million of investment over the next five years and help create a thriving town.

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68% of businesses in Crawley voted in favour of the BID, along with 73% in favour by Rateable Value.

A BID is a business-led initiative formed to improve a defined area. Crawley will now join more than 320 BIDs operating in the UK.

Commenting on the result, Chair of the Crawley Town Centre BID and a Director of Graves Jenkins, Neil Cooper, said:

“There is huge potential for Crawley to develop its own distinct offer and proposition and so we are delighted that businesses in the area have voted in favour of a BID. By working in collaboration with businesses and forming strong partnerships, the BID can make a positive difference”.

Paul Clement, director and head of place-shaping at Savills who were commissioned to support the development of the BID said:

“This successful ballot result opens up great opportunities for local businesses to act on solutions for the future of their town centre. Up and down the country BIDs are making a real difference not only to businesses that fund them, but to those who live, work and visit in BID locations. With over 320 BIDs nationally, Crawley businesses have embraced the model as the most appropriate to progress their town centre”.

Research with businesses in the area identified a number of improvements focused around crime reduction, feelings of safety, promotions and marketing, accessibility and business networking. The BID will commence delivery on 1st April 2020.

For more information on the Crawley Town Centre BID, please visit www.crawleytowncentrebid.co.uk

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