Seven Towns Fund projects worth £12.6m that will boost Crawley’s economy have been approved by the government.
In September 2021, the government gave the Crawley Town Deal Board the go-ahead to fully develop 10 project business cases in detail to receive the money from the Towns Fund between 2021/22 and 2025/26.
Seven of these projects have been approved, with another expected to get the green light shortly.
The projects, listed below, will help boost job creation, business growth and economic recovery; develop skills, innovation and sustainability; and enhance art and culture amenities for businesses and residents.
Crawley Innovation Centre will be a green technology and advanced engineering centre in Manor Royal, which will help significantly increase innovation output; become a major new asset for the town’s advanced engineering business cluster; support that cluster’s huge contribution to Crawley’s economic output and productivity and unlock more prized high value jobs.
Crawley Innovation Centre has been granted £2.5m from the Towns Fund and a £8.4m from the Getting Building Fund. Planning permission was granted in November.
Green technology business grants and green infrastructure will help attract and retain green technology and construction businesses to Crawley, supporting their growth and helping to decarbonise business premises. The project has received £2m; half will be grants for small and medium-sized businesses and the other half will be invested in decarbonising existing premises in Manor Royal.
The Commercial Eastern Gateway plan receives £150,000 to fund a feasibility study for further phases of commercial space in this part of the town centre, following on from the new Town Hall with its 77,000 square feet of commercial space.
£2m goes to the Crawley Bus Station and Station Gateway improvements, along with £5.4m from the Crawley Growth Programme. The project will deliver a distinctive and enjoyable public space with improved bus shelter facilities that encourages vitality in this part of the town centre with a strong sense of place.
The project will be part of a wider set of plans to improve the interchange between the railway station, bus station and walking and cycling facilities. It will upgrade, reconfigure and maximise capacity in the bus station to improve the experience of passengers to ensure the future successful operation of bus services across the town.
The creation of a Town Centre Cultural Quarter receives £450,000. The first stage will be putting on a series of pop-up cultural / arts enterprises and events to test new venues and spaces within the town centre. The design of a new Cultural Quarter in the town centre will assist in attracting more footfall, creating new employment opportunities and business growth within the creative and cultural industries sector, improving the perception of place and unlocking significant new cultural amenities for the town centre.
Manor Royal’s business environment improvement programme will see further micro-parks created as well as a walking trail between each of them, thanks to £1.5m from the Towns Fund. The Crawley green homes retrofitting programme benefits from £4m. In the first phase, 300 flats are expected to benefit from cavity wall insulation by the end of March 2023. It will provide a ‘fabric first’ approach to improve energy efficiency and the decarbonisation of homes across Crawley to reduce energy consumption and help residents to tackle escalating energy costs.
The projects are guided by the Crawley Town Deal Board, an established group of more than 50 representatives from local businesses, community organisations and public organisations.
Councillor Atif Nawaz, Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development and Vice Chair Crawley Borough Council and Crawley Town Deal Board said;
"These Towns Fund projects will benefit the town centre, Manor Royal and residents across Crawley. The £12.6m will help the town embrace its full potential and boost job creation, business growth and economic recovery."
Chris Maidment, Chair, Crawley Town Deal Board said;
"These approvals represent an important milestone for the projects, and we can move forward to putting the ideas into action. The residents and businesses in the town, along with those who work or enjoy the amenities within Crawley, should see a direct benefit from this spend, and we will be seeking regular feedback to ensure we are delivering what is needed"