Town centre redevelopment to bring ‘much-needed’ affordable housing

Aerial view of the town centre redevelopment. Picture supplied by Crawley Borough Council
Aerial view of the town centre redevelopment. Picture supplied by Crawley Borough Council

Plans for a major redevelopment in the town centre will provide ‘much-needed’ affordable housing, according to Crawley Borough Council.

The proposals for land at the eastern end of The Boulevard will see the current Town Hall and two-storey car park demolished, to be replaced with around 250 homes.

A new Town Hall over four floors with five floors of grade A commercial offices is also proposed, along with a new public square, public realm improvements, commercial units and the infrastructure for a district heating network.

The Town Hall multi-storey car park will remain, but will be upgraded under these proposals.

The outline agreement between the council and developer Westrock was agreed by councillors in February.

A council spokesman said: “The new facilities being built will transform a major town centre opportunity site, providing around 100 affordable housing units while securing the council’s finances through the ability to generate new revenue from commercial office tenants.

“A new Town Hall will also provide a better, fit-for-purpose building for staff, customers and councillors and achieve significant savings on the council’s current running costs.

“The council will look to incorporate key elements of the existing building in the new Town Hall to retain vital links with the past while preparing for the future.

“These elements could include the town’s coat of arms from the council chamber and the boards with names of past mayors, chairman’s, aldermen and freemen.

“If these plans go ahead the current Town Hall will remain the council’s administrative centre until the new building is ready to move into.”

Councillor Andrew Skudder, cabinet member for Resources, said: “This is a great deal for both the council and taxpayers, which is why the deal has cross-party support.

“The commercial offices and the housing elements of the development pay for the majority of the Town Hall, the refurbishment of the car park, the district heat network and public square.

“The commercial offices would also provide the council with a significant future income.”

The development agreement with Westrock is expected to be signed shortly, the council has said.

A public consultation on the proposals is expected to begin in July.

A planning application is expected to be submitted later this year 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 and the first phase of housing would begin in spring 2018 and would be expected to be completed in summer 2020.

The construction of the second phase of housing would begin in summer 2020 and be completed in spring 2022.

For more information on regeneration in Crawley visit www.regeneratingcrawley.org.uk.

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