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An enthusiastic group of delegates spent a day touring Crawley and learning about the town’s businesses and development opportunities for investors.
This was Crawley Borough Council’s third investor tour and was oversubscribed by investors keen to find out more about the town. The event included a walkthrough and coach-ride with tour guides highlighting the diverse and successful business mix, while showcasing opportunities for inward investment.
In his opening address, Leader of the Council, Councillor Peter Lamb said: “Multiple tiers of public bodies and partners are working together, each of whom are totally committed to the local area and to inward investment. We have an administration and a council that is wholly progressive.”
This was followed by Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development, Councillor Peter Smith, who added: “We are actively working to deliver for our people and for all of the positive investment that we receive, we will continue to focus on the best outcomes for the future.”
During the event, delegates learned that 25 per cent of economic output in West Sussex is generated by Crawley, despite the borough occupying just 2 per cent of the land and highlighted the number of world-leading companies Crawley is home to, such as Virgin Atlantic, Elekta, Varian, Thales, Boeing and many other professional services and that Manor Royal business district has 600 businesses and provides 30,000 jobs.
Steve Sawyer, Executive Director of Manor Royal BID, shared with interested investors insight about the history and development opportunities while highlighting the successful businesses which have a base in the area. He added: “‘Logistics and distribution, professional services, leading global suppliers, dynamic local entrepreneurs and manufacturers of life-saving healthcare products, alongside key players in the aerospace world and numerous others - they are all here.”
Alison Addy, Gatwick’s Head of Community Engagement, indicated the airport’s aspiration for further growth and said a ‘collaborative focus and positive investment’ has resulted in Crawley’s success. She shared how the airport now carries 228 global connections across 70 countries.
She added: “With unrivalled road and rail connections, Gatwick connects businesses in Crawley with the rest of the UK, and the world.”
Crawley Town Centre’s thriving retail sector with a mix of big brands, independent shops and a high weekly footfall are all part of the town’s charm.
During the town centre walking tour, Lynn Hainge, Economic Regeneration Manager at Crawley Borough Councilsaid: “Compared to the national situation, Crawley has fared well in the retail arena with retailers choosing to relocate and invest in the area. This means we have quality brands setting up new stores and ensuring they are still here; we have been able to accommodate the space.”
Speaking about the council’s consultation before the regeneration of Queens Square, Lynn added: “We wanted to design and deliver a dwell space for residents and to add to the shoppers’ experience. This scheme is just one of many that has been incredibly successful, and we are pleased to say that £3.2million of public sector funding has resulted in more than £30million of private investment in the surrounding properties.”
Natalie Brahma-Pearl, Chief Executive of Crawley Borough Council, said: “Crawley is punching well above its economic weight. We have the second highest number of commuters coming to work here, outside of London.
“Crawley is also set to be a resilient UK town despite Brexit outcomes. The potential and opportunity are definitely here.
“We are a town that is growing, a town that is going to keep growing and Crawley is certainly open for conversation about business development.”