Council blocks controversial business hub change

The councils decision is subject to a 12 month notification period. Picture: Jon Rigby
The councils decision is subject to a 12 month notification period. Picture: Jon Rigby

An important Crawley business hub will remain so after councillors stopped a controversial development right that could have seen houses built on it.

Crawley Borough Council’s cabinet removed a new permitted development right that would allow the change of use of buildings at Manor Royal from light industrial use to residential.

There is significant concern from the council and local business groups that an unplanned introduction of residential properties into Manor Royal would undermine the employment function of the business district.

The council’s decision is subject to a 12 month notification period, including a consultation period of which residents are able to comment until January 16, 2017.

Cabinet member for economic development at Crawley Borough Council, councillor Peter Smith, said: “Manor Royal is a very important part of the business and employment sector in Crawley and we want to keep it that way.

“While we wish to provide decent homes for all Crawley people, changing the use of sites in Manor Royal Business District to residential properties will not benefit the town’s future.”

Steve Sawyer, executive director of Manor Royal Business District, said: “We applaud and support the council without reservation in looking to introduce this Article 4 direction for Manor Royal.

“With commercial land in short supply, we need to continue to enforce the Business District’s primary role as an employment hub.”

All feedback received will be considered by the council. Subject to the feedback received, it is intended that the direction will come into force on October 16, 2017.

Details of the council’s direction and consultation materials can be viewed at www.crawley.gov.uk/manorroyal.

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