£350k project to improve district’s ‘best kept secret’

jpco-15-1-14 Manor Royal, Crawters Brook People Park (Pic by Jon Rigby)
jpco-15-1-14 Manor Royal, Crawters Brook People Park (Pic by Jon Rigby)

A planned park at Manor Royal would provide employees with a retreat from their hectic working days, says a business chief.

Manor Royal Business Group has applied to Crawley Borough Council to build a ‘People’s Park’ in the heart of the business quarter.

The plans were created by the Manor Royal BID (Business Improvement District) - a scheme which allows Manor Royal businesses to share ideas, help fund and attract additional investment for improvements in the district.

Steve Sawyer, executive director of the Manor Royal Business District, said the park would be created within Crawters Brook - a conservation area in the district.

He said: “I would describe Crawter’s Brook as Manor Royal’s best kept secret – except for some of the businesses of course.

“At the moment it is overgrown and fairly neglected. People can get in there now but as I’ve repeatedly said you have to be Indiana Jones to get from one end to the other at the moment. We’re going to change that.

“We hope it will be a place people can escape from a hectic day, have an informal meeting, take time out and go back to work recharged.”

The £350, 000 park project would be funded by a £300,000 Kick Start grant from West Sussex County Council - a fund provided to support capital projects designed to boost the economy and economic important areas.

The BID is providing a further £50,000.

Plans show the park, which would link Fleming Way and Manor Royal, would provide a boardwalk, decking area, cycle paths, seating and picnic benches and additional landscaping.

It should be complete by the end of Spring 2014, subject to planning permission being given.

Mr Sawyer added that the BID was working on a partnership with Sussex Wildlife Trust to help enhance the ecological value of the park and support employees who are interested in environmental projects and volunteering or team building days.

He said these types of activities could be held at local nature reserves, including the People’s Park.

He added: “We hope this will help increase volunteering, support team building and cross-company interaction and build a positive sense of community on Manor Royal that can also benefit the wider community.”

The BID will also be working on installation of better CCTV and acquisition of faster broadband.