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Big ideas needed for run-down Crawley square

jpco-12-3-14 Crawley MP, Henry Smith, has branded the image of Queens Square as not being good enough for the standard local consumers and shoppers visiting the town should expect. (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-141003-105934001

jpco-12-3-14 Crawley MP, Henry Smith, has branded the image of Queens Square as not being good enough for the standard local consumers and shoppers visiting the town should expect. (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-141003-105934001

Crawley MP Henry Smith says a £3million fund is not enough to create a town centre square residents can be proud of.

Crawley Borough Council (CBC) and West Sussex County Council have each provided £1.5 million to go towards improving Queens Square.

Mr Smith said he welcomed the investment but added that bigger ideas were needed in order to properly revitalise the square.

He said:“Councils investing £3 million to revamp the square is a great start but I think a broader vision is needed, perhaps including ideas for an ice rink and extended market too.

“The heart of Crawley’s otherwise successful economy needs a central square all can be proud of.”

CBC has been asking for residents to give their opinions about how they would like the £3million to be spent.

Suggestions have included: creating an indoor market, levelling off the area to prevent flooding and to increase access, improving pavements and seating, creating an ice rink, covering the square, removing the pavilion and creating exhibition spaces.

Mr Smith said most of Queens Square was in separate private ownership so shops and landlords should also contribute to improvements.

County councillor Michael Jones (Lab, Southgate and Crawley Central) said the run-down state of the square was partly due to decisions made by Mr Smith.

Cllr Jones said: “Henry Smith was leader of West Sussex county council until three years ago, and it barely spent anything on the square throughout his leadership.

“He has also actively supported a Tory borough council that has allowed the town centre to decline through sheer neglect.”

Mr Smith responded to these comments and said Cllr Jones’ statements were inaccurate.

He said: “When I was leader of West Sussex highways budgets were increased and indeed last month were raised again by the county council Conservative administration.”

 

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