These Crawley business areas could be protected from housing development

Crawley Borough Council has approved a proposal to stop four employment areas being converted into housing.
Cllr Peter SmithCllr Peter Smith
Cllr Peter Smith

A council spokesman said: “Crawley’s economy has grown by 31 per cent since 2010, and there is strong potential for further economic growth in Crawley.

“Many existing companies are seeking to expand their operations and new companies are enquiring about opportunities to locate in the borough.

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“However, a major impediment to continued growth is that Crawley has a very limited supply of available new business land and the council’s Local Plan identifies a land supply deficit of 35 hectares.”

Crawley has lost 61,500 square metres of commercial space to residential development.

It is currently possible to convert office, light industrial and storage and distribution uses to residential without planning permission.

Crawley Borough Council wants to stop this in some areas and require developers to apply for full planning permission to change the use of buildings.

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Currently, a planning application is only necessary if the conversion will cause issues relating to transport, contamination, flooding or business noise.

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Councillor Peter Smith, Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development, said: “We wish to provide more homes for Crawley people but only if they are to a decent standard – this is best achieved with a planning application.

“This proposal is designed to prevent the further loss of business space in main employment areas as this could have a major adverse economic impact on the town’s economy.”

The council has agreed to remove permitted development rights - known as prior approval - to protect these areas:

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The majority of the Three Bridges Corridor including Denvale Trade Park, Spindle Way and Stephenson Way

Maidenbower Business Park

Tilgate Forest Business Centre

Lowfield Heath

The council also agreed to investigate expanding this to the town centre.

A 12-month notification period, including a three-month consultation, will be carried out.

In 2016 and 2017, the council potected the Manor Royal Business Improvement District.