Major redevelopment plans for the Crawley Town Hall site have been strongly backed by residents, Crawley Borough Council has said.
The proposals will see the council’s headquarters demolished and replaced with new civic offices, two blocks containing around 275 homes, commercial offices, and a new public square.
The existing multi-storey car park would be retained and improved.
The council and developer Westrock wanted to hear what residents had to say, before the planning application was submitted.
A spokesman said: “The principle of regenerating the area is strongly supported or supported by 81 per cent of respondents.
“The same percentage of people think the regeneration scheme will have a very positive or positive impact on the town centre.”
It’s not hard to see why this gets a thumbs up from residents.Councillor Peter Lamb, leader of the council
Designs, artist’s impressions and plans were available to comment on at exhibitions in the Town Hall foyer, Crawley Library and K2 Crawley and online throughout July.
In addition, four manned exhibitions were held where residents could ask questions.
The consultation found that 80 per cent of respondents thought the design of the new Town Hall was ‘very good’, ‘good’ or ‘OK’, the council said. “It also found that 86 per cent thought the design of the residental blocks, including the provision of affordable housing, was ‘very good’, ‘good’, or ‘OK’,” said a spokesman.
“And 88 per cent said the landscaping and public square looked very good, good, or OK,” added the spokesman.
The outline agreement between the council and developer Westrock was agreed by councillors in February.
The planning application is expected to be submitted this month and, if approved, demolition of part of the existing Town Hall complex – to make way for the new building – would begin in spring 2018.
Construction of the new Town Hall would begin in summer 2018, with the first phase of housing already underway, and would be expected to be completed in summer 2020.
The construction of the second phase of housing would begin in autumn 2020 and be completed in summer 2022.
Councillor Andrew Skudder, cabinet member for Resources, said: “I’m delighted that residents have given their backing to this scheme, which will regenerate a key opportunity site in the town centre while delivering a good deal for the council and taxpayers.
“The commercial offices will give the council a significant future income and the redevelopment will also provide 275 new homes, at least 40 per cent of which will be affordable and prioritised for long-standing Crawley residents.”
Councillor Peter Lamb, leader of the council, added: “This council is committed to balancing the budget, without resorting to cuts. Our redevelopment scheme will not only provide an ongoing source of revenue to pay for services, but also low-carbon energy, affordable housing and a twenty-first century Town Hall while bringing new businesses into Crawley and regenerating part of the town centre.
“It’s not hard to see why this gets a thumbs up from residents.”
For the full set of consultation results visit www.regeneratingcrawley.org.uk/townhallsite.
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