Whether it is nationally or locally, I generally take the view that it is better to get things right for the long-term. Being proactive and taking a longer view by planning ahead makes addressing the challenges of tomorrow less difficult. As a growing town with limited space, it is important that Crawley’s growth is planned and managed in a sustainable way. This is why last week’s announcement of £14.64 million of Local Growth Fund investment by the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership for a significant regeneration programme in Crawley, is very welcome news.
This growth programme includes an investment package of infrastructure improvements and regeneration that is designed to support significant increases in business investment, employment growth and new homes. This funding is being matched by West Sussex County Council and Crawley Borough Council making a total investment package for Crawley of £31.412 million.
To keep Crawley moving, investment in sustainable transport infrastructure and highway upgrades are planned, in order to boost overall transport capacity. There will also be connectivity enhancements at Crawley, Three Bridges and Gatwick train stations that will greatly facilitate commuter access to Manor Royal and the town centre via public transport connections.
We will soon see the completion of the regeneration of Queens Square and further investment is planned for Crawley town centre, as well as for Manor Royal. The plan is to transform and upgrade the quality of both the living and business environment in order to attract higher quality new jobs and homes. It will also be a catalyst for significant new Grade A commercial office space in the town centre’s ‘Eastern Gateway’ and for a new business and jobs growth hub. It is envisaged that the whole programme will see the creation of 7,000 new jobs.
Crawley’s growth programme is ambitious. It is a good example of partnership working and planning for the future. Keeping our local economy strong and creating skilled jobs will underpin our public services. This is why it is right that both West Sussex County Council and Crawley Borough Council use public money to invest in Crawley’s future.