Residents in many of Crawley’s neighbourhoods will know that poor planning in the past with a lack of foresight about future car ownership, has led to today’s parking difficulties where some streets simply do not have enough parking provision. While the past may be history, what I find frustrating is that with Labour at the helm at Crawley Borough Council, that yesterday’s mistakes are still being made today.
My colleague Cllr Kim Jaggard, submitted a very insightful written question at February’s Full Council meeting. Kim asked how many housing units in Crawley town centre had been given planning permission since May 2014 and what was the total number of parking spaces allocated for use by these housing units?
The revealing answer was that 901 housing units had received planning permission and that their parking provision was just 523 spaces. This is a deficit of nearly 400 parking spaces if each property were to have one parking space allocated to it, which many people would still consider a low amount. I am very supportive of housing in the town centre but these totally unrealistic parking provisions will store up parking problems for tomorrow, not just in the town centre but also in the surrounding neighbourhoods of Southgate, West Green, Northgate and Three Bridges.
At the same Full Council meeting in February it was very disappointing to see Labour scrap Crawley’s £1.3 million Neighbourhood Parking Improvement Budget in order to help fund the new Crawley Town Hall, as well as for them to vote down the Conservative group amendment to re-instate the Parking Improvements Budget and to seek alternative funds for this £1.3 million for the new Town Hall.
The good news is that last week, the Conservative Government stepped in by allocating £1.4 million of funding for the District Heat Network element of the new Town Hall development, which is what Labour were planning to use the Parking Improvements Budget for. Now that alternative funding has been secured, there really is no excuse for Labour not to re-instate the Neighbourhood Parking Improvements Budget. If they won’t, a future Conservative-run Council will.