One of the nice bits about being a councillor is getting invited to various community events.
It’s great to live in a place where so many and different groups are willing to work for their community, where people take pride in their town.
Over the weekend it was my pleasure to attend a range of events across Crawley. From the 60th anniversary of St Paul’s Methodist Church in Northgate and the 5th anniversary of Crawley Black History Month to a Celebration Day held to commemorate the merger of Three Bridges’ infant and junior schools, the hard work which local residents are willing to put into their community and the pride they take from it were clear to see.
New Towns like Crawley were influenced by the Garden City Movement, promoting decent living conditions and a positive social life for residents through the physical design of towns.
The men and women who then left London after the war came and invested their time and energy into turning those new streets and houses into a homes.
Their legacy can be seen today in the communities of the town and subsequent generations have added to them with civic achievements like the Hawth, Tilgate Park and K2.
In recent years some improvements have been made in doing up parades, but far too much of the fabric of the town is being left to decay. The Garden City Movement taught us that the built environment has a huge impact on the quality of our lives and the state of our communities; it’s something the council forgets at its peril.
Money is tighter these days but that’s why it has to be used in smarter ways, focused on real priorities.
The council must also be less frightened of using regulatory powers, when necessary, to act in the public interest. More can and must be done.
It’s great that Crawley is a place where community groups do take pride in their town but it can’t simply be left to residents to go it alone, the council has a role to play as well and the Labour Group are ready to get on with the job.