Championing Crawley comes naturally to me because we have so much going for our town. I certainly don’t need to invoke any politics of envy to make a good case as to why Crawley should have something. For political reasons, Labour pitch us here in Crawley as being some sort of victim of the rest of West Sussex as well as pitching Crawley Borough Council against West Sussex County Council.
For years I’ve observed Labour claims that ‘Tory Chichester gets everything and Crawley gets nothing’ and that ‘only Labour stands up for Crawley in West Sussex’, both of which are of course complete and utter nonsense. Ironically, the Liberal Democrats in Chichester campaign on how Crawley gets everything from West Sussex County Council because we are the economic powerhouse of the county and they claim that Chichester gets forgotten by the Conservatives.
Realities are very different. Crawley Borough Council and West Sussex County Council actually work together very well. An obvious example of this is the regeneration of Queens Square, conceived by the County Council thanks to input from Conservative County Councillors from Crawley and then embraced in partnership by the Borough Council.
Crawley is very well represented at West Sussex County Council. The Chief Executive is from Crawley and the Executive Director for Economy, Infrastructure and Environment was until recently, the Chief Executive of Crawley Borough Council for the last eight years. Also, two of the three Conservative County Councillors from Crawley are members of the County Council’s decision-making Cabinet.
My own record in my County Council role championing Crawley is very strong. Indeed, I’ve never missed a Full Council meeting in my entire 12 years of office and I always vote for what is truly best for Crawley. Conversely, Labour’s record is poor, recently demonstrated by half their Crawley County Councillors being absent for the important February Budget Full Council meeting.
Of those who did turn up, they all voted against the £11 million Better Pavements Programme. So next time Labour claim only they stand up for Crawley in West Sussex, ask yourself who is really doing so?