Crawley council to have another go at agreeing plan for town’s future


Crawley Borough Council is to make a second attempt at deciding on a Local Plan which will guide development in the town for 15 years.

The plan, known as Crawley 2030, was rejected in December after a heated debate ended with Conservative Cllr Keith Brockwell voting against his own party.

Since then, adjustments have been made to the plan, including the removal of several proposed housing developments earmarked for Bewbush.

A report due to go before the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Commission on June 30 will state proposals for homes to be built on a playing field in Skelmersdale Walk and land adjacent to Gemini Close have been scrapped.

In addition, the number of homes proposed for Breezehurst Drive Playing Fields has been reduced from 100 to 65.

But the number of homes the council plans to deliver over the 15 years of the plan was increased from 3,800 to 4,900 – a target council leader Cllr Peter Lamb (Lab, Northgate) described as “deliverable”.

But he highlighted Crawley’s lack of space as a concern when it came to fulfilling the town’s housing obligations and said that, although all viable sites had been identified in the plan, there was still a shortfall.

Cllr Lamb added: “So officers are working with our neighbours, particularly Horsham District Council and Mid-Sussex District Council, under the duty to co-operate to identify and allocate some of Crawley’s needs outside our boundary.

“This is a difficult and continuing process.”

Conservative leader Cllr Duncan Crow (Furnace Green) said he was “seeking clarification” as to where the extra 1,100 homes would be placed.

He said: “Their precise location is not clear and a surprisingly high total is planned for the town centre and I fear with very inadequate parking provision.”

Cllr Crow questioned the viability of some of the sites highlighted for development and added: “If some of these sites are not viable as I suspect, I fear Labour have their eye on the playing fields that border Tilgate and Furnace Green in order to reach their higher housing target numbers.

“I strongly oppose losing the playing fields at Gainsborough Road and Loppets Road to housing.”

The plan will be considered by the council’s Cabinet on July 2 before going to full council on July 23.

Cllr Lamb said he expected the plan to be approved this time, “barring unexpected circumstances ‘on the night”.