Crawley Labour party has announced that, if it takes control of the Borough Council in May 2014, it will immediately commence work towards implementing an investment programme in Crawley’s infrastructure.
Manor Royal is the economic heart of both West Sussex and the Gatwick Diamond providing 30,000 jobs (40% of Crawley’s employment) and 19% of all employment in the Gatwick Diamond. Every day 18,000 people commute to Manor Royal and the transport infrastructure is creaking at the seams and a block to attracting further businesses to both Manor Royal and Crawley Town centre.
The Government’s ‘Growth Deals’ approach is making both national and European funding available for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP). Crawley is part of the Coast to Capital LEP and CBC need to take an active lead in securing funding for Crawley infrastructure by arranging the drawing up a ‘Strategic Economic Plan’ for our area.
Crawley needs to bring forward investments in both rail, bus and road infrastructure in order to support existing and predicted needs, as well as helping Crawley people to secure a bigger share of the jobs in Crawley’s business areas.
The Strategic plan should include investments in:
- Reducing road bottlenecks including M23 junction 10, Hazelwick roundabout and Cheal’s roundabout
- Additional rail capacity through Gatwick and Three Bridges including east/west train services
- Improving sustainable transport links with extension to Fastway bus lanes through junctions and improved service levels
- Congestion reduction through improvements to bus services and cycle facilities as well as encouraging car sharing
Shadow Cabinet member for planning and economic development – Cllr Peter Smith (Labour, Ifield and Ifield West) said:
“It is time that Crawley Borough Council took a lead, on behalf of Crawley businesses and Crawley residents, by taking advantage of investment opportunities to improve Crawley’s infrastructure rather than always playing second fiddle to West Sussex County Council in these matters. We cannot afford to leave all infrastructure challenges to West Sussex as they have a track record of failure to step up to the plate and put Crawley’s interests first. Crawley Labour group will always put Crawley and Crawley’s interests first.”
Labour Group Leader – Cllr Peter Lamb (Labour, Northgate) said:
“This initiative is long overdue. For the last eight years the ruling Tory group on CBC have been happy to follow the party line of the Tories at Chichester. This is why we so often see strategic investment taking place elsewhere, and why we have had to put a quite a fight to get even basic things, like road resurfacing, in Crawley. Well, we are determined to change this situation for the betterment of Crawley.”