Crawley getting ‘raw deal’ as county council backs new Horsham station

Land where a new parkway  railway station could be built north of Horsham
Land where a new parkway railway station could be built north of Horsham

Crawley is getting a ‘raw deal’ over plans for a new railway station between the town and Horsham, says a councillor.

West Sussex County Council was asked by developers and Horsham District Council if it would prefer to see a new parkway station built north of Horsham or one west of Bewbush in the new Kilnwood Vale development.

Although the cabinet member’s draft response says both would bring potential benefits to each area, a new station next to a proposed North Horsham business park would be preferred due to the economic benefits it would bring.

County councillor Chris Oxlade (Lab, Bewbush and Ifield West) said: “It is incredibly disappointing, but not surprising that the Conservative run county council is not recommending a new station at Kilnwood Vale. From the initial plans, a new train station for the new housing development was pledged and looks like it now won’t be delivered.

“Kilnwood Vale is in the boundary of Horsham but added onto the edge of Crawley and as we predicted many of the facilities like a health centre and a train station are not being provided, meaning even more pressure on Crawley and in particular, Bewbush services.

“The people of Bewbush and Kilnwood Vale deserve the facilities and services they were promised, it’s just another example of Crawley getting a raw deal from the county council.”

An officers’ report, due to be discussed by WSCC’s Environmental and Community Services Select Committee on Thursday, says that according to Network Rail it is likely only one new station would be permitted.

A spokesperson for Crest Nicholson, which is building Kilnwood Vale, said: “Crest Nicholson has planning consent secured for a train station at Kilnwood Vale and would welcome a positive decision from West Sussex County Council to deliver this.

“The proposed Kilnwood Vale station would be set within a new neighbourhood, currently under construction, which when finished will provide up to 2,500 new homes, a neighbourhood retail centre as well as commercial space.

“We feel that the wider community would significantly benefit from the enhanced transport offering that a train station would provide. Considerable progress has already been made towards delivery of the station, with two key rail industry development stages completed. Crest Nicholson has worked closely with Horsham, Network Rail and Govia Thameslink Railway to bring forward the station and would encourage West Sussex County Council to support Kilnwood Vale as the most viable, deliverable option.”

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