Hands off our park! Residents raise concerns for Bewbush land earmarked for development

A group of residents are still concerned about housing being built on a  nearby park, despite the leader of Crawley Borough Council assuring them there are ‘no plans for bringing development forward at this location’.

Bewbush West park is used by residents as an area for exercise, play, dog-walking and they believe it would harm the community if building is allowed to go ahead there.

Gary Murphy and other residents have got together to organise picnics in the park to to raise the concerns and talk about the issues. The first took place on June 5 and the second is planned for Saturday, July 3.

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Bewbush residents at the first picnic on June 5

The area was indentified as part of the national planning process to meet Crawley’s housing need, but council leader Peter Lamb says ‘it does not mandate development to occur at those locations’.

Mr Murphy says the parks need to be ‘ring-fenced’.

Mr Murphy said: “Peter Lamb hasn’t ruled it out. We need our parks ring-fenced.

“It has been raised with Henry Smith, the concerns about Crawley running out of space and the Government push to build more houses.

“Crawley is still classed as a overflow town for London and this puts greater demand on Crawley. Other areas like Horsham, that have massive amounts of land, should be used and it must be recognised by the Government that trying to push more housing onto Crawley is going to creat massive social issue. So there is a much bigger issue here.”

Mr Murphy was also pleased with the turnout at the first picnic and hopes for more of the same on July 3.

He said:“It was a fantastic day, fun had by all and there is a call to organise another picnic soon and other events in the future.

“The residences of Bewbush West are concerned about potential loss of the park amenities that are used by many people every day of the week. The parks are used for exercise, play, sports, walking dogs and social events, all of which are felt especially important for mental health and wellbeing of the community.

“Bewbush Park is a beautiful natural woodland park full of wildlife habitats that needs to be protected.

“Any damage to the park areas would be very harmful to the local community, its wellbeing, the Environment, and the wildlife that live in the park. It was felt, by all, that these social events are strategic in repairing our communities after the Covid 19 disruption to people’s lives.”

The residents have set up a Facebook group for people to discuss the issues.