Delay to town centre improvement plans

The planning application for the Town Centre North development has been put back at least six months causing delays to the whole project.

The work to build a hotel, Morrisons supermarket and flats on the former Sussex House site is on schedule, but a planning application for phase two to development in The Boulevard is not expected in 2013.

A council spokesman said: “Regeneration of Town Centre North is a very long and complicated process which has been made much more challenging by the recession.

“The delay of the planning application obviously results in a delay in the overall project but Crawley Borough Council is keen to get all feasible improvements underway across the town centre, regardless of the time it takes to bring forward Town Centre North.”

Crawley Post Office is not one of the 76 branches Post Office Ltd want to close or franchise into the likes of WH Smiths, but that has not stopped speculation about its possible demolition.

The council spokesman said: “Plans for the existing Post Office/Royal Mail site have always featured in the redevelopment of Town Centre North but work with our partner developer, Stanhope, is ongoing and all potential designs are very much a concept at the moment.

“We hope to have a clear idea of which areas the Town Centre North design will cover by the end of the year.”

But Crawley Borough Council cabinet member for planning and economic development Cllr Claire Denman said they must look at the town as a whole before the Town Centre North development comes to fruition.

She said: “It’s trying to stitch together the different areas of Crawley so we end up with a really good scheme.

“We are trying to push on with the rest of the town centre making improvements where we can talking to landowners. When we are talking about Town Centre North it’s like a swan, calm on top, but under the water there are legs working to make sure a planning application comes forward.

“What we don’t want to happen is more retail gets built and there’s a mass exodus to the new development. Crawley has a big offering to people anywhere, not just in Crawley.