Press Release: Historic High Street changes improve safety

Changes to the Historic High Street will improve pedestrian safety and prevent further damage to street furniture and fixtures.

Funded by Crawley Borough Council in partnership with West Sussex County Council, works are currently taking place in the Historic High Street to secure the pedestrianised area from vehicles and prevent illegal parking.

The High Street is a Restricted Parking Zone from the entrance of Pegler Way to just north of its junction at Cross Keys and any vehicle not correctly parked in a bay is liable for a Penalty Charge Notice.

In the past it has been difficult to enforce these restrictions during evenings and weekends. The continued excessive use of cars in this area puts pedestrian safety at risk, damages street infrastructure, affects local businesses and the local environment negatively.

Owing to the Historic High Street’s status as a conservation area great care has been taken with the designs of new street furniture to ensure the proposed installations are in keeping with the surrounding area. The scheme includes:

•         Installation of a small span of new fencing and fixed/lockable bollards

•         Repairs and repainting of damaged electrical posts

•         Relocation of seating for events and to protect a potential vehicle access point

•         Repainting of other bollards in this area.

Long-term improvements are being considered to repair or replace damage caused by vehicles in this area, including tactile paving slabs designed to help people with visual impairments and the base of the ‘Golden Tree’ artwork.

Parking in the Historic High Street is only permitted in designated bays. However, other car parks are available in the area and in some cases are free (or very inexpensive) in the evenings including:

NCP Car Park at Cross Keys (near the entrance to Church Walk)
Cross Keys House car park
RCP Broadway surface car park
Orchard Street multi-storey and surface car park.

Councillor Peter Smith, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “The Historic High Street is one of the town centre’s greatest assets and we want to ensure that we protect both its historical value and value as a leisure space.”

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of the Council, said: “The council is committed to preserving our Historic High Street as an important public space. As the recent damage to the Golden Tree sculpture has highlighted, uncontrolled vehicle movements in this area pose a risk to both pedestrians and property.”

Claire Oak, Co-Chair of the Historic High Street Business Forum and Facilitator of the Circles Network, said: “I welcome the changes being made and the great thought that’s been put into our Historic High Street. It’s a place brimming with character and stories of old.

“It’s my desire to see our Historic High Street showcase our diverse, vibrant culture and be a place of great interest, full of creativity.”

Nicki Cheek, Co-Chair of the Historic High Street Business Forum and landlady of The Brewery Shades, said: “Parking and moving vehicles blight the Historic High Street so these improvements will make this historic area much safer and more family-friendly.”

The works are due to finish by 3 November. For more information about parking in the town centre, visit http://www.crawley.gov.uk/parking

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