Massive redevelopment of Crawley railway station area approved

Plans to remodel the interior of Crawley Railway Station, add two storeys to Overline House and convert it into 83 flats have been approved.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 11:00 am

The application, from Rockspring UK Value (Jersey) Ltd c/o Arora Management Services Ltd, was one of three which were given the nod during a meeting of the planning committee on Monday (April 26).

Between them, they will make the rather tired-looking Station Way almost unrecognisable.

The second application included improvements to the station forecourt as well as the appearance, layout and scale of three linked blocks of 223 flats along Station Way, one of which will be ten storeys high.

The central block will be nine storeys high and the third will be seven storeys.

Outline permission for the development was given in 2016.

While the Overline House development will include eight affordable homes – well short of the 40 per cent called for in the council’s Local Plan – the Station Way flats will include none at all.

The meeting was told the scheme would not be viable if affordable homes were included.

The third application will see the old footbridge which has linked Station Way to East Park for decades removed and repaired – though it could be two years before it is reinstalled.

Access to the bridge would be between the second and third blocks of flats, meaning it would simply not be possible for people to use it before the development is finished.

A spokesman for Arora said the £70m scheme was a ‘once in a generation opportunity’ to transform the area.

Peter Smith cabinet member for planning & economic development, said it had been ‘very difficult’ to get all the interested parties such as Network Rail, West Sussex County Council and Govia Thameslink Railway to work together over the years.

He added: “I think it’s now on the verge of becoming a real scheme that’s going to make not just a significant investment into our town but a significant difference to the main railway gateway into the town and the whole appearance of the southern side of the town centre.”

While the idea of bringing more jobs, homes and business to the town was welcomed, the applications were not without their flaws.

Questions were asked about parking – only 75 spaces were included – the small size of some of the flats, the fact a living green wall was no longer included and fears of overdevelopment.

Despite these concerns, all three application were approved unanimously.

To view the applications in full, log on to planningregister.crawley.gov.uk and search for CR/2019/0660/FUL, CR/2019/0602/ARM and CR/2019/0661/FUL.