Crawley Borough Council

Election results for 2019

    Elected in 2019
    Total
    +/-
    19
    19
    +1
    Elected in 2019
    Total
    +/-
    17
    17
    -1

Most Recent

Labour sees off Tory efforts to chair Crawley council committees

Karen Dunn

Local Democracy Reporter

Labour councillors will chair all of Crawley Borough Council's committees in the coming year, despite protests from opposition Conservatives.

The Tories now have just two fewer councillors than Labour on the 36-member authority following the council elections earlier this month, prompting their leader, Duncan Crow, to call for stronger representation for his party at the head of the committees.

But councillors voted to retain Labour's dominance of the roles, while only two deputies - agreed before the meeting - will be opposition councillors.

Richard Burrett will be vice-chairman of the governance committee and Jennifer Millar-Smith vice-chairwoman of the audit committee.

The Conservatives also fielded candidates for mayor and deputy mayor, but Labour councillors secured both posts, with Raj Sharma taking the chain of office for the second time in three years. His deputy will be Shahzad Malik.

Mr Sharma said: “It is indeed a privilege to be the mayor of any town but to be the mayor of Crawley twice - and so soon - is an outstanding honour.”

Today's local news website headlines

Newspapers (generic)
Getty Images

The Argus: Hustpierpoint girl donated her organs which saved 5 people

Kent Online: Fireman awarded £23,500 payout from the Ministry of Defence after workplace injury

Get Surrey: Godalming pub CCTV captures moment drunk England fan knocks out friend with single punch

Chichester Observer: Recycling collections delayed in Selsey after accident

Brighton and Hove Independent: Police seize staggering £40,000 worth of drugs in Brighton raids

Eastbourne Herald: East Sussex’s first female firefighter urges more women to come forward

Crawley and Horley Observer: Mid Sussex accused of being a ‘bad neighbour’ by Crawley leader

Worthing Herald: Watch this fearless, friendly seal getting up close and personal in Littlehampton Harbour

Mid Sussex Times: Haywards Heath mayor highlights town achievements

Brighton and Hove News: Upside Down House attraction set for Brighton seafront

Hastings Observer: Couple who celebrate Diamond wedding anniversary say a cup of tea in bed each morning is secret to long and happy marriage

Plans get go-ahead despite objections

Karen Dunn

Local Democracy Reporter

Plans for a new road leading to three houses built in back gardens in Southgate have been approved by Crawley Borough Council.

The access road will run between numbers 5 and 7 Southgate Road, while the detached four-bedroom houses will be built to the rear of numbers 5, 7 and 9.

Plans for new houses in Crawley
BBC
The plans have been approved despite objections

Over the years, similar applications have been approved further along the road, with numbers 11 to 17 giving up half of their lengthy gardens to new homes.

Members of the planning committee heard concerns from neighbours, who were worried about the impact of the new houses on their own homes, as well as pollution from the extra cars the development would bring.

Council writes off £1.5m debts

Karen Dunn

Local Democracy Reporter

More than £460,000 of unpaid business rates are due to be written off by Crawley Borough Council.

The debts, owed by five companies, have been deemed irrecoverable for various reasons, such as going into liquidation or being based offshore.

cash
Pixabay
Crawley Borough Council is writing off debts of nearly half a million

The report also said a further £693,524.48 of debts were written off in 2018/19 for bills such as housing rent, council tax and overpaid benefits, taking the total to more than £1.15m.

The highest portion of those further debts, though, was still business rates, with another £386,840.69 written off.

The report to the cabinet said the council was due to have collected £300m in business rates in 2018/19, with recovery action started for any bills not paid within a set period.

Church hall site plans 'should be refused'

Karen Dunn

Local Democracy Reporter

Plans to demolish a church hall and replace it with shops and 34 homes have been submitted to Crawley Borough Council.

Councillors have been asked to refuse the application for the site of St John's church hall, which would also see the loss of the neighbouring NCP car park.

The building on the site would include 28 one-bedroom and six two-bedroom flats, seven of which would be on the ground floor.

Shops and community space would look out on to the Broadway.

No parking is included in the application - and the 29 spaces in the current car park would also be lost.

St John's plan
BBC

A report from the planning officer said the applicant had not provided an adequate heritage statement - a way of assessing the impact of the development on the church - and had not shown that the church hall was now surplus to requirements.

The report added: "The overall scale and massing of the development is considered to harm the setting of St John the Baptist Church, which is a Grade II* listed building, and is harmful to the character of the High Street Conservation Area.

The application will be put to a meeting of the planning committee at the town hall on Tuesday.

Council feels heat over power plan

Karen Dunn

Local Democracy Reporter

Crawley Borough Council has denied that its planned district heat network will cost almost £7.5m to produce.

The network will pipe heat and electricity from a combined heat and power plant at the new town hall development to nearby buildings, reducing their carbon and energy commissions.

At a meeting of the full council, Kim Jaggard (Con, Maidenbower) shared details of a report from the government's department for business, energy and industrial strategy, which said Crawley's network would cost £7.48m to complete.

Crawley Heat Network
Cartwright Pickard/Crawley Borough Council
An artists impression of the planned facility

Mrs Jaggard asked the meeting: "After the government grant of £1.25m, how is the £6.25m balance going to be funded, how much is it going to cost council taxpayers of Crawley, and how long will the payback time be before we break even?"

A council spokesman said the document referred to by Mrs Jaggard was based on a very early bid for the project.

Since then, both the cabinet and full council have received reports setting out the latest costs, budget, scale and scope of the project - but due to reasons of commercial sensitivity, they have not been discussed in public.

Council's budget 'alternative to cuts'

Karen Dunn

Local Democracy Reporter

Crawley Borough Council has approved a rise in council tax of 2.49%.

The rise will see bill for a Band D home increasing in April to £203.94.

The increase was approved at a full council meeting as part of the authority's budget of £14.23m.

With Sussex Police announcing a rise of £24, and West Sussex County Council's bill going up by more than £65, the average council tax bill will rise by about £95.

The Labour council's leader Peter Lamb said the same amount of money was being put into local services now as when he took office five years ago.

He said: "We've proven that there is an alternative to the cuts that we were told were an absolute necessity. We've delivered it without depending upon council tax".

The budget contained £1.25m of cuts, including savings of £645,000 made by re-tendering a number of contracts, including a cleaning contract.

Plans to improve Gatwick railway station

Gatwick Airport railway station
Network Rail

Plans for major improvements to Gatwick Airport's ageing railway station are expected to be given the go-ahead by Crawley Borough Council.

An application to build a first-floor concourse and entrance area above platforms 5, 6 and 7 will be considered by the planning committee on Monday.

The station opened in 1958 and, despite reconstruction and renovation over the years, has found it increasingly difficult to cope with the ever-increasing passenger numbers.

The application would see platforms 5 and 6 widened, with new lifts and escalators fitted to platforms 3-7.

The new concourse would have a curved roof, while canopies would also be put up over platforms 3-7.

Alterations to the land east of the railway line - to include a two-storey 'back of house' building - would mean a public footpath would have to be diverted.

A report to the planning committee said the work would help to address issues affecting the operation of the station.