Retiring Crawley building manager who offers tenants a ‘smile and a warm welcome’

Charles Cripps, building manager of Overline House, Crawley. Pic Steve Robards  SR1528975 SUS-151221-191038001

Charles Cripps, building manager of Overline House, Crawley. Pic Steve Robards SR1528975 SUS-151221-191038001

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The retiring manager of landmark Crawley offices said he tries to make his tenants’ day with a ‘smile and a warm welcome’.

Arora Property, which owns Overline House next to Crawley Railway Station, announced earlier this month it was looking to redevelop the building and had served notice on the small number of remaining tenants.

Building manager Charles Cripps, 80, who lives with his wife in Bonnetts Lane, Ifield, said he was not surprised at the move as it had been on the cards for several years , describing his time in charge of the building as ‘wonderful’.

Charles said: “It’s a sad day for Overline House and it’s a sad day for me.”

He added: “It’s a lovely building and we have had some wonderful tenants.”

Currently only two of the five floors of the building are occupied, and the remaining tenants were given notice and are scheduled to move out by the end of May.

While Charles has not been given his official notice, he expects to stay on slightly longer while the building is locked down.

Charles said: “The tenants are sad that it’s coming to an end. It’s the end of an era. They keep saying: ‘We want to take you with us’, but I’m going to retire.”

Before working at Overline House he ran a Thai restaurant in Pulborough with his wife, but after being diagnosed with cancer decided to take a break from work to fight off the disease.

When he was given the all clear by doctors he started working at Overline House in security around 20 years ago, working his way up to building manager a decade later.

He added: “It’s just been wonderful to be here. I have always had wonderful references. I try to make their day when they come in to work with a smile and a warm welcome.

“You spend most of your time at work and if you’re not happy it’s not worth coming to work.”

He said he would miss creating displays in the area next to the car park, which he puts out every Christmas and several other times of the year.

According to Charles, Overline House was built in 1968 and was the largest building in Crawley at the time.

A planning application is expected to be submitted to Crawley Borough Council for the site in the new year.

Earlier this month John Donaldson, executive director of Arora Property, said the redevelopment of the site could be a ‘major catalyst’ for the regeneration of Crawley town centre.

The ‘Station Gateway’ is included in CBC’s town centre regeneration programme as it is hoped a mixed-use development will also see public realm and facilities upgrades to Crawley Railway Station.

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