Friday, 5 December 2014

Starbucks Comes To Crawley

This week in my Crawley Observer column, I have written about the new Starbucks that opened in Crawley's Queens Square last Friday and the joint £3 million investment for Queens Square that Crawley Borough Council (decision taken by previous Conservative Administration) and West Sussex County Council are putting in to transform the centre of our town.

Crawley MP Henry Smith officially opening Starbucks Crawley
"Last Friday, along with other councillors and popular Crawley MP Henry Smith, who did the honours in cutting the ribbon, I was pleased to attend the official opening of the new Starbucks in Queens Square. Starbucks is a major brand that has been missing from Crawley town centre (excluding the one in the leisure park cinema) and I welcome this greater variety and choice for our town centre.
Some people say there are too many coffee shops in the town centre but I would say there are only too many if there are not the customers to sustain them all. While I may be euro-sceptic in my political outlook, I do embrace a more European-style café culture when it comes to ensuring that our town centre remains popular. Nobody wants to see a declining town centre with lots of empty shops.

Town centres have to change and evolve if they are to stay vibrant and successful. Major changes in shopping habits with booming online sales, means that while shopping will always be an important part of town centres; it can no longer be the sole focus. We have worked hard to help Crawley buck the declining trend of other towns, with the new development of Morrisons, Turtle Bay and Travelodge regenerating the north of the High Street.

We need to invest if we are to keep the town centre thriving, which is why I am enthusiastic about the £3 million Queens Square project that is being jointly funded by Crawley Borough Council and West Sussex County Council. This is good partnership working between the two councils and as well as between the two main political parties, with at Crawley Council, the new Labour administration continuing with the work started by the previous Conservative administration. 
We are now at the public consultation stage and three design concepts have been published. We very much welcome your feedback and we will listen to residents, businesses, visitors and expert advice, in coming up with a design that ensures Queens Square is a credit to our town and a place that people want to visit."

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