Thursday, 27 April 2017

Labour Make Crawley's Parking Worse

Not enough parking provision - a congested street in Crawley 
Residents in many of Crawley’s neighbourhoods will know that poor planning in the past with a lack of foresight about future car ownership, has led to today’s parking difficulties where some streets simply do not have enough parking provision.  While the past may be history, what I find frustrating is that with Labour at the helm at Crawley Borough Council, that yesterday’s mistakes are still being made today.

My colleague Cllr Kim Jaggard, submitted a very insightful written question at February’s Full Council meeting. Kim asked how many housing units in Crawley town centre had been given planning permission since May 2014 and what was the total number of parking spaces allocated for use by these housing units?
The revealing answer was that 901 housing units had received planning permission and that their parking provision was just 523 spaces. This is a deficit of nearly 400 parking spaces if each property were to have one parking space allocated to it, which many people would still consider a low amount. I am very supportive of housing in the town centre but these totally unrealistic parking provisions will store up parking problems for tomorrow, not just in the town centre but also in the surrounding neighbourhoods of Southgate, West Green, Northgate and Three Bridges.

At the same Full Council meeting in February it was very disappointing to see Labour scrap Crawley’s £1.3 million Neighbourhood Parking Improvement Budget in order to help fund the new Crawley Town Hall, as well as for them to vote down the Conservative group amendment to re-instate the Parking Improvements Budget and to seek alternative funds for this £1.3 million for the new Town Hall.
The good news is that last week, the Conservative Government stepped in by allocating £1.4 million of funding for the District Heat Network element of the new Town Hall development, which is what Labour were planning to use the Parking Improvements Budget for. Now that alternative funding has been secured, there really is no excuse for Labour not to re-instate the Neighbourhood Parking Improvements Budget. If they won’t, a future Conservative-run Council will.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

It is the Conservatives who stand up for Crawley in West Sussex

Crawley may be small in size, but we play a major part in West Sussex 
Championing Crawley comes naturally to me because we have so much going for our town. I certainly don’t need to invoke any politics of envy to make a good case as to why Crawley should have something. For political reasons, Labour pitch us here in Crawley as being some sort of victim of the rest of West Sussex as well as pitching Crawley Borough Council against West Sussex County Council.

For years I’ve observed Labour claims that ‘Tory Chichester gets everything and Crawley gets nothing’ and that ‘only Labour stands up for Crawley in West Sussex’, both of which are of course complete and utter nonsense. Ironically, the Liberal Democrats in Chichester campaign on how Crawley gets everything from West Sussex County Council because we are the economic powerhouse of the county and they claim that Chichester gets forgotten by the Conservatives. 
Realities are very different. Crawley Borough Council and West Sussex County Council actually work together very well. An obvious example of this is the regeneration of Queens Square, conceived by the County Council thanks to input from Conservative County Councillors from Crawley and then embraced in partnership by the Borough Council.

Crawley is very well represented at West Sussex County Council. The Chief Executive is from Crawley and the Executive Director for Economy, Infrastructure and Environment was until recently, the Chief Executive of Crawley Borough Council for the last eight years. Also, two of the three Conservative County Councillors from Crawley are members of the County Council’s decision-making Cabinet.

My own record in my County Council role championing Crawley is very strong. Indeed, I’ve never missed a Full Council meeting in my entire 12 years of office and I always vote for what is truly best for Crawley. Conversely, Labour’s record is poor, recently demonstrated by half their Crawley County Councillors being absent for the important February Budget Full Council meeting. Of those who did turn up, they all voted against the £11 million Better Pavements Programme. So next time Labour claim only they stand up for Crawley in West Sussex, ask yourself who is really doing so?