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High Street boost to café culture

Improvements to Crawley’s Historic High Street are helping to create a vibrant café culture and reduce anti-social behaviour.

Three of the large planters, which had been used to conceal items and attracted anti-social behaviour, have been removed by Crawley Borough Council at the request of High Street businesses and the police.

The areas have been repaved to match the rest of the High Street and it’s hoped that nearby businesses will create or extend external seating areas, subject to the necessary consents. The work has been funded by the government’s Welcome Back Fund, which aims to attract people back into their town centres.

Chris Mills, Director of The Comic Shop, said: “After only just surviving the pandemic, we needed all the help we could get. We really appreciate the effort gone in to help enhance the look and feel of the High Street.

“It will also enable us to explore arranging a proper outside area for our customers, which we hope adds to the overall improvements.”

Greg Lazarev, from Crow Coffee, commented: “We are grateful to Crawley council for listening to local businesses and creating more space at the top of the high street to use for outdoor seating and activities. We're sure it will make a huge difference and attract more visitors to this part of the Historic High Street and make it a more vibrant, welcoming environment for everyone.”

Hamza Ayyildiz, from Sage Café, said: “Just wanted to say a big thank you for getting the planter removed outside our cafe. It looks so much better and we have huge amounts of room for tables and chairs now.”

Councillor Peter Smith, Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development, said: “We’ve made these improvements in the Historic High Street following concerns from businesses about anti-social behaviour in the area.

“I’m pleased that they have been well received. The council is keen to support businesses to trade in these areas and move towards a vibrant outdoor café culture in the town centre.”

Wendy Bell, Manager of Crawley Town Centre BID, said: “Removing the planters is a very welcome first step in energising this area; allowing for more space to provide seating and a more social space on this part of the High Street.

“It is fantastic to know that Crawley Borough Council is listening to businesses and responding to their concerns – in this case actions certainly speak louder than words!”