Building at the heart of Crawley set for major revamp

Designs are being drawn up for a repair and revamp of the Decathlon building, in Crawley town centre.
The building is due for a major revampThe building is due for a major revamp
The building is due for a major revamp

Work on the four-storey building, on the corner of Queens Square and Queensway, is expected to be complete by March 2025.

In its day, the building, known as the Queensway department store, was the jewel of the new town centre – hailed in 1959 as ‘Britain’s most modern store’.

But those days have long gone.

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While Decathlon and its range of sports goods have brought things to life, brightening up the bottom two floors, the top two look out over the refurbished Queens Square with rather tired, run-down eyes.

Peter Smith, cabinet member for planning & economic development, described them as ‘rotten’.

Mr Smith explained that the redesign of the building was one of the Crawley Growth Programme schemes – a £60m body of work on the growth and regeneration of the town.

While the building does not belong to the council, he said a ‘close relationship’ had been developed with the owners, who had taken on designers to look at the project.

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Mr Smith added: “The designs they’ve got are really quite exciting. I was surprised at the detail.

“Although we’re coordinating it and shaping it and making it happen, it’s the building owner’s responsibility.

“He’s engaged some designers and they’ve gone right back to the origins of the New Town and pulled out the designs.

“So they’ve got the Queensway designs and they’ve looked at things like the long external views and the way the buildings fit together and they’ve come up with some excellent designs.”

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While those designs have been shown to councillors, a council spokesman said they were not yet ready to share with the public.

Mr Smith said there would be no change to Decathlon’s lease/tenancy and the upper floors would be put to commercial and community use.

A council spokesman added: “The proposed designs for the revamp of the Queensway/Decathlon building are still being worked on and are not yet ready to share.

“Subject to full business case approval as part of the Crawley Growth programme by Crawley Borough Council, West Sussex County Council and the Coast to Capital LEP – and also subject to planning permission the project would need to be completed and fully operational by March 2025.”