One of the hallmarks of levelling up has been the Towns Fund. Worth some £3.6 billion nationally, this initiative from Government seeks to open up the economic potential of communities such as our own.
This can only achieve the best results by collaborative working between central and local government.
It has recently been confirmed that seven Towns Fund projects in Crawley, worth £12.6 million, have been approved by the Government.
This will provide an important boost to the Crawley economy as we continue to recover from Covid-19’s impact.
This welcome news follows Government giving the Crawley Town Deal Board agreement to go on and develop fully 10 project business cases in detail.
The aim of the Towns Fund is to secure regeneration of towns and delivery of long-term economic and productivity growth. Towns are also encouraged to show in practical terms how levelling up and reaching net zero carbon emissions are not mutually exclusive.
The Crawley Innovation Centre will boost innovation and research and development output in Crawley and throughout the Gatwick Diamond.
Based in Manor Royal, it will be a green technology and advanced engineering centre. Crawley already has a significant engineering sector and the Innovation Centre will contribute greatly to our town’s economic output, including through more high-value jobs.
After receiving planning permission late last year, the Crawley Innovation Centre has now been granted £2.5 million from the Towns Fund and £8.4 million from the Getting Building Fund.
Further support for Manor Royal will see additional micro-parks created as part of the business environment improvement programme. Through some £1.5 million of Towns Fund support, plans also include a walking trail between each of them.
Transport links will be boosted with £2 million for the Crawley Bus Station and Station Gateway programmes, alongside £5.4 million from the Crawley Growth Programme; part of wider plans to maximise capacity at the bus station.
Development of a Town Centre Cultural Quarter will see £450,000 towards this initiative. Pop-up displays and test events will be held to try out new town centre venues and spaces, helping to lead to enhanced business growth and town centre footfall.
Plans for the Commercial Eastern Gateway will see £150,000 of funding for a feasibility study for further phases of commercial space in this area.
£2 million has gone towards green technology business grants and green infrastructure; split evenly between grants for small and medium-sized businesses, and decarbonising existing premises in Manor Royal.
The Crawley green homes retrofitting programme will also receive £4 million. Energy efficiency improvements and decarbonisation of homes to reduce energy consumption will help address energy costs.
In Parliament during 2023 and beyond I will continue to back projects that support Crawley.
Henry Smith MP