A £202million growth deal will see Crawley benefit from £18million of improvements to its transport network.
The deal, between the Government and the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, marked the start of a six-year investment in jobs, homes and employment spreading from London down to Brighton.
Some £38million of new funding will be freed up for 2015/16, including £2.6million for the Crawley Area Transport Package.
The package will include junction improvements, bus priority schemes and improvements to walking and cycling networks.
The announcement was welcomed by business and council leaders.
Cllr Peter Smith, Crawley Borough Council’s Cabinet member for planning and economic development, said: “It’s great news to hear that the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership has managed to secure a sizeable chunk of funding for improvements to the region.
“Crawley is often referred to as the economic powerhouse of the county and I’m pleased the area will see £18million spent on improving transport links to the town, and particularly pleased to see this specifically mentions sustainable transport like buses, cycling and walking.”
The growth deal was announced at Gatwick Airport on Monday (July 7) by David Gauke MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury.
The aim of the deal will be to provide investment in flood defences, major transport schemes, international trade and support for businesses across West Sussex, Brighton and Hove, Lewes, East Surrey, Croydon and the Gatwick Diamond.
The funding was secured from Whitehall after Coast to Capital’s prepared a strategic economic plan for the region.
Coast to Capital said the entire deal would create 14,000 jobs, 4,600 new homes and 190,000 square metres of employment space.
Chairman Tim Wates said: “We are pleased to sign this deal with Government as the start of the six-year growth plan.
“We believe this area has great potential for growth and is able to compete effectively with the most prosperous regions in Europe and indeed globally.
“This first year investment by Government shows that they too believe in our region’s potential.”
Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, praised the deal as “a great example of collaboration between the public sector, businesses, universities and the wider community”.
She added: “It is important we share a view of how to prioritise investment in transport and infrastructure and how we can most effectively support West Sussex businesses to grow and their workforces to succeed.
“This is only the first year of the programme we have agreed for the Coast to Capital area but we are pleased that the Government has backed our plans.”
Stewart Wingate, Gatwick CEO, said: This investment will encourage business growth and international trade throughout the region with a thriving Gatwick acting as the gateway to existing and emerging markets.
“This ambitious programme, together with Gatwick’s compelling case for a second runway, will help local, regional and national business compete on the global stage.”