On Thursday 27th November, Crawley Council made a landmark decision for the huge Town Centre North development scheme. We endorsed the Development Agreement with Grosvenor, our scheme partner. Once Grosvenor’s board approves the document, the scheme can proceed to the next stage which will include planning applications for consideration by the council. A useful perspective on the development scheme can be seen at www.crawleytcn.com.
The £750 million development is the largest single investment in the centre ofCrawleysince the 1947 creation of the new town. We are proud to have initiated this scheme on a cross-party basis during a recession. Perhaps that seems counter-intuitive at this time but the economy moves in cycles and we should take a long view. In years to come, I hope that people will see thatCrawley’s timing was exactly right. How many other locations could take such a bold decision in these difficult market conditions?
Town Centre North is a development that will enhance our retail offer. It will assist with the broadening of our economy and deliver many new homes. During construction a large number of jobs will be created and sustained. The scheme will also raiseCrawley’s status as an important sub-regional centre.
None of this activity should be seen as a threat to Crawley’s neighbours, who have their own distinct offers in the market place. It is not our way inCrawleyto stand still and be complacent about our future prosperity. If we lack ambition, we can be a threat to ourselves. Last week’s decision shows the opposite intent. We retain the ambition for our community that was a hallmark of the early new town pioneers.
Last week’s agreement was the result of a great deal of hard work by officers and councillors. I pay tribute to their unwavering commitment. There have been many challenges to overcome in these difficult economic conditions but I believe that we have approved a scheme thatCrawleywill be proud of. It seeks to achieve the right balance between retail, housing and public open space.
We want the benefits of Town Centre North to extend beyond its immediate boundary which is one of the reasons for the link from Memorial Gardens. Our vision for the town centre goes further than this and we will work with partners to assist in the development of further sites. This is to ensure that prosperity is spread across the town centre without leaving areas behind.
It is exciting to be making such a substantial new investment inCrawleyduring a recession. This is brave and bold and right for our town. The council will play its full part in pursuing the Town Centre North scheme. Crawleyleads again.
Councillor Bob Lanzer, Leader of Crawley Borough Council
1st December 2008