In September 2019, the government announced 101 places invited to develop Town Deal proposals as part of the £3.6 billion Towns Fund.
Crawley was included and, following the submission of a Town Investment Plan in July 2020, has now received £21.1 million to help boost job creation, business growth and economic recovery.
The Town Investment Plan highlighted a range of priority projects that will help the town embrace its full potential and ensure the town can absorb more investment in the future. It also takes into consideration the impact of the pandemic on Crawley, Gatwick Airport and the local economy, and seeks to deliver transformative regeneration schemes, which will unlock jobs and boost economic activity.
The projects will be guided by the Crawley Town Deal Board an established group of more than 50 representatives from local businesses, community organisations and public organisations. This will ensure each project remains focused on community and business needs.
The projects include:
- Crawley innovation centre – establishing Crawley’s first advanced engineering and digital technologies fusion centre in Manor Royal
- Invest in skills – green construction skills training programmes, new further education skills training infrastructure and expand university-level training provision to help Crawley residents boost qualifications
- Green business technology and infrastructure grants – to attract green technology and construction businesses to Crawley, support their growth and help decarbonise business premises
- New commercial Eastern Gateway plan for the town centre – as a business space hub for professional services
- A transformed bus station and sustainable transport interchange
- An investment programme in a priority arterial and segregated cycle track – to link key employment destinations between Gatwick Airport, Manor Royal and the town centre, to maximise “active commuting”
- Manor Royal Gigabit Business Park – a programme for Manor Royal businesses to connect to full fibre infrastructure and digital services
- Designing a new Cultural Quarter and programme in the town centre – to unlock employment and business growth in the cultural and creative industries
- Manor Royal business environment improvement programme – business environment upgrades and modernisation
- Crawley home “green retrofitting” programme – to design, launch and deliver home “green retrofit” grants to help the push to net zero carbon
The Crawley Towns Fund Programme was also awarded £1m of “accelerated” Towns Fund money in 2020, which is being invested in regeneration schemes including four new “micro parks” in the Manor Royal Business District. These will improve the public realm in the area, ensuring employees will be no more than 10 minutes’ walk away from an outside space to sit, rest or have an informal meeting.
Following the submission of the full Town Investment Plan in 2020, the Heads of Terms was signed in March 2021. Full business cases for each project will be developed based on the HM Treasury Green Book model between autumn 2021 and early 2022. Over this timeframe, details about the town and the individual projects are expected to evolve.