This year, many of us have been going out for walks or bike rides in order to exercise. It is also the cheapest and healthiest option to get somewhere if it’s not too far away. I support walking and cycling, noting that many Crawley residents do walk to their local shops or to the town centre, with a much smaller number cycling. If we can encourage more people to walk and cycle while making it easier and safer, then that’s great.
While encouraging walking and cycling, we also need to recognise that not everyone is either able to walk long distances or to cycle, or has the time and energy, if for example working a long day. We should also respect personal choice.
What we should never do is wage war on Crawley’s motorists, but last week this is what the Labour Cabinet at Crawley Borough Council did. They agreed a draft document that proposes to spend £23.5 million mostly on cycle improvements with some walking improvements, but shamefully not a penny to improve neighbourhood parking. Three years ago, Crawley Labour scrapped the programme to create extra on-street parking spaces in residential streets where badly needed.
While some of what’s in this plan are welcome improvements, there is much that’s alarming - seeking to punish Crawley residents simply for owning a car. Across Crawley, Labour are proposing to make it more difficult to drive out of and back into your road, and to drive across town as you go about your daily business.
In Labour’s plans, as well as narrower road lanes, pinch points, and in some places a reduction in neighbourhood parking spaces, thousands of Crawley motorists across several neighbourhoods will have to struggle over newly-installed raised tables at entrances to their estate that give priority to any passing occasional cyclists. Just two examples of this are Tollgate Hill in Broadfield and Coltash Road in Furnace Green.
There will be a public consultation this summer and I strongly urge everyone to look at these plans very carefully and to inform the Council on what’s welcome and what isn’t.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
1st July 2020