Crawley Live Column, Summer 2021

After the dreariest Spring for some time, which saw snow falling in April, the arrival of Summer has been more than welcome.

Due to the gap between writing and publication, it is always risky making predictions. Yet, barring the sudden growth of new variants, it does feel as though we have entered the final stage of the pandemic and can look ahead to the world beyond COVID.

It is thanks to the amazing efforts of our National Health Service that this has become a reality, with practitioners going well beyond their day jobs to save as many lives as possible and get the vaccines out as quickly as possible. The vaccine centre at Saxonbrook in Maidenbower was even paid for up-front by the GPs and given planning permission by the council in record time to limit the delay in getting Crawley protected.

Clearly the town faces many challenges over the next few years as we look to rebuild local employment and deal with the knock-on consequences of being the hardest hit economy in the country, particularly when it comes to homelessness and council finances. However, not all of this has to be bad, we now have an opportunity to attract greener jobs with better employment conditions.

Beyond this, we all have a part to play in supporting Crawley’s economy: making sure to use local restaurants and hospitality where safe to do so, and avoiding online shopping where possible. Ultimately, a town centre only survives when people choose to use it.

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