Parking problems could force out firm

jpco-29-5-13 Gatwick Diamond Business Forum (Pic by Jon Rigby)
jpco-29-5-13 Gatwick Diamond Business Forum (Pic by Jon Rigby)
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One of the biggest firms in Crawley may have to leave if parking issues are not resolved.

The warning was issued by pioneering cancer clinical company Elekta at a meeting of the Gatwick Diamond Economic Growth Forum, at the Arora Hotel, last Thursday (May 23).

Brett North, marketing director of oncology at the firm, which has operated from Manor Royal for 60 years and employs around 800 people, told the the meeting that Elekta had plans to expand and hire another 200 skilled employees.

But parking issues have led to problems when it comes to developing the site.

Mr North said: “I’m concerned that we may look to move elsewhere.

“We would very much like to stay in the area. The only thing I can echo is as a major employer in the area, as a company that is looking to innovate, we are trying to create skilled employees.

“It’s important that we all work together to meet these needs and keep 1,000 jobs.

“I’m here, and we’re here because of people, but we do need to address the issue of parking and development.”

Mr North said Elekta treated around a million patients a year but wanted to double that by 2015.

Steve Sawyer, Manor Royal Business District manager, said: “I think I can say that nobody wants a company like Elekta to leave the area.

“They have been here for such a long time, they are just the kind of company we want to keep here.

“We keep in open dialogue with Mr North all the time and we will do whatever we can to find solutions and we would support them in an application to use a vacant site to relieve the pressure.”

He added that Crawley Borough Council had approved an application to use a site temporarily.

Mr North added: “At the moment manufacturing is best here because of the people we have here. The people is what keeps us in the area.

“Access to transport will keep international companies.”

Speaking earlier at the forum, Grant Ashley, CEO of International Logistics Group, suggested that shared parking for businesses could be made available in one of the vacant Manor Royal sites.