Major town centre redevelopment plans take big step forward

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Plans for 250 homes, a new Town Hall and offices in the town centre have moved a major step forward.

Crawley Borough Council approved the outline of an agreement between the council and developer Westrock to redevelop the Town Hall site and adjacent decked car park at the full council meeting last night.

The proposed major redevelopment at the eastern end of The Boulevard would see the current Town Hall and two-storey car park demolished, to be replaced with around 250 homes in three blocks, a new Town Hall over four floors with five floors of grade A commercial offices above, a new public square, public realm improvements, commercial units and the infrastructure for a district heating network.

The Town Hall multi-storey car park will remain, but be upgraded under these proposals.

If these plans go ahead the current Town Hall will remain the council’s administrative centre until the new building is ready to move into.

Councillor Andrew Skudder, cabinet member for resources, said: “This is a big step towards achieving the regeneration of a major town centre opportunity site while providing great value for money for taxpayers.

“We could benefit from 250 new homes including up to 100 affordable housing units, a new Town Hall, a district heat network, a new public square and an improved multi-storey car park for less than the refurbishment costs would have been, and with less disruption to customers and staff.

“On top of that, literally, we have the opportunity to acquire five floors of commercial office space to generate significant additional income for the council to help protect services in the future.”

The council will look to incorporate key elements of the existing building in the new building to retain links with the past while preparing for the future. These elements could include the town’s coat of arms from the council chamber and the boards with names of past mayors, chairs, aldermen and freemen.

A new Town Hall will provide a better, fit-for-purpose building for staff, customers and councillors, achieve significant savings on the council’s current running costs and generate additional income, the council says.

Previously the council had looked into refurbishing the existing Town Hall. However, the new build option is better value because the commercial offices and the housing elements of the overall development pay for the majority of the Town Hall, the refurbishment of the car park, the district heat network and public square. The commercial offices would also provide the council with a significant future income, the council expects.

The development agreement is expected to be signed by the end of May, so that a planning application can be submitted later this year and, if approved, demolition of part of the existing Town Hall complex – to make way for the new building – would begin in spring 2018.

Construction of the new Town Hall and the first phase of housing would begin in spring 2018 and would be expected to be completed in summer 2020.

The construction of the second phase of housing would begin in summer 2020 and be completed in spring 2022.

For more information on regeneration in Crawley visit www.regeneratingcrawley.org.uk

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