Crawley in Premier League of business

Crawley has been named one of top places in the country to do business by independent economic research consultants.

Multimillion pound investments, excellent infrastructure links and good quality of life were all factors in making Crawley the seventh best British town to for business.

The report puts the town in the ‘Premier League’, according to the council’s economic development officer.

Steve Sawyer said: “If we’re talking about Premier League football than we’re one of the top sides.

“For those of us close to the town perhaps it wasn’t that surprising. It felt right to talk about our strengths – good connectivity, good supply of commercial space and access, talented labour pool.”

The research was carried out by John Fisher of Local Futures, a research and strategy consultancy.

He presented his findings to an audience and panel of business and political representatives at K2 Crawley (November 27).

Sole Traders, Gatwick Diamond Jobs, Forgotten Mobile, B&CE Benefit Schemes, Arora, Taylor Wimpey, Amey, West Sussex Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), University of Brighton and STEM (scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians) ambassadors were all present.

Meanwhile the panellists included council leader Cllr Bob Lanzer, cabinet member for planning and economic development Cllr Claire Denman, leader of the Labour Group Cllr Peter Lamb.

Cllr Denman said the companies investing hundreds of millions of pounds in the two town, including Nestle, Thales and Siemens, read like a ‘who’s who’ of the business world.

She said: “It really is a shot in the arm. It was really good to have external verification that Crawley is so well regarded. The challenge is to turn that statement into something on the ground.”

“One area we didn’t score so highly on was the cost of housing. It’s cheaper here than neighbouring places but it will always be a challenge to to keep costs down.”

She added that more needed to be done to help small to medium enterprises (SMEs) who sometimes struggle because of the town centre land ownership is concentrated large pension funds.