Latest Stories

After the titanic political battles and controversies of the past couple of years, you might find it surprising that I should use this opportunity to write about something as seemingly basic as Council shrub beds.

Yet, nearly every year I badger the Council into maintaining shrub beds in Broadfield North, which can quickly become overrun with unwelcome plants such as bramble and buddleia. Buddleia is not for nothing also known as the butterfly bush, but unchecked it grows like a rampant weed.

To me, shrub beds help break up the street scene and if planted imaginatively, change with the seasons, bringing colour and interest into our daily lives. Crawley has been described as an ‘urban forest’ because of the number of trees it contains. Trees, green spaces and shrub beds all help to prevent Crawley becoming dull, boring and monochrome- a place which not so long ago would have been described as a ‘concrete jungle’.

Broadfield North has many shrub beds, so I was delighted to see that the Council is proposing to invest an extra £100,000 to renovate up to 2,250 shrub beds over the next three years.  This could make a huge difference to the appearance of Crawley’s environment.

Of course, if the replanting of these beds is just of evergreen plants, an opportunity to enrich our daily outlook will be lost. I hope the Council will consider introducing plants which produce berries, (great for birds), and seeding some beds with flowering plants. This could also benefit insects, which have suffered a massive decline in numbers, which threatens the diversity of nature in general. I also hope the Council will not be afraid to experiment.

The Local Government Association recently published a report ‘Being Mindful of Mental Health’, in which a link is made between good mental health and contact with nature. Who in Crawley hasn’t felt even the smallest uplift of their spirit at the sight of the first colourful crocuses emerging in our verges after a long, grim winter?

I think that a colourful Crawley is good for us and good for nature. I will be doing my bit, as a Councillor, to urge the Council on. The case for this, to my mind, is irrefutable.

If you have any views or suggestions on this, I would be delighted to hear from you.

Source: Town & Country Planning October 2017, Planning our Green Infrastucture, ‘Seeded Cities’ by Sue France

CllrIanIrvine.jpgCllr Ian Irvine

Councillor for Broadfield North

Colourful Crawley or Monochrome Municipality?

After the titanic political battles and controversies of the past couple of years, you might find it surprising that I should use this opportunity to write about something as seemingly...

This morning I represented Crawley at our first meeting as members of the Greater Brighton Economic Board.

Greater Brighton formed part of the first wave of devolution to local authorities, securing a 'City Deal' package of funding and powers based around economic development from Government, using legislation passed under Labour.

The board consists of councils, universities, businesses and economic organisations, tasked with delivering growth. Unlike later deals, there's no mayor, council leaders instead take turns chairing and consensus is sought on issues.

The decision to join last Autumn faced significant opposition from those Conservatives who also serve as county councillors. West Sussex has always refused to join the board, presumably due to large sections of the county having little economic connectivity with those of us based within the Greater Brighton area. With Crawley joining, our sub-region's economic centre is now clearly focused along the A23/M23 corridor.

Why did we join? Well, there are investment and delivery opportunities, but at the core was the importance of devolution. I supported devolution long before I ran for council. Decisions taken closer to the frontline tend to be both more democratic and more effective at delivering for their area.

A key example for us is the Brighton Main Line. By 2040, trains leaving Brighton will be completely full, there will be no space for Crawley residents. The works to prevent this will take 20 years and it is critical for us they begin right away. However, the UK has one of the most centralised democratic governments in the world, making it difficult to attract national focus onto critical local issues, at this point Brighton Main Line simply isn't a priority for them. It's only by working together that we can gain the voice we need to attract the investment we require to deliver for our residents.

Cllr Peter Lamb

Leader, Crawley Borough Council

Why Greater Brighton?

This morning I represented Crawley at our first meeting as members of the Greater Brighton Economic Board. Greater Brighton formed part of the first wave of devolution to local authorities,...

Three years ago, we celebrated the eight hundredth anniversary of Magna Carter. While the document itself meant nothing to anyone except a handful of barons, it symbolised the start of a movement away from an absolute monarchy and towards democracy. The news last week that the Welsh Government will be trialing giving 16 and 17 year olds the vote at local elections is simply the latest phase in the long march of suffrage.

Yesterday marked an important anniversary in that long history, the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918. The Act gave women the vote for the first time, but even then only for those aged over 30 and with property. It would be another decade before women got the right to vote on equal footing with men.

This change hadn't come about easily, suffragettes had literally lost their lives, most notably Emily Wilding Davison who died after throwing herself under the King's horse in an act of protest.

Yet, extension of the franchise was not simply the result of protest, it was part of a wider shift in societal norms stemming from WWI, with the huge contribution of women undertaking war work challenging sexist beliefs around capability and gender.

Despite the progress made over the decades, women still lack full equality in our society. Labour are committed to tackling this inequality, almost every law which has sought to do so was passed under a Labour Government and plans are in place to move things forward, both locally and nationally.

Yesterday, Labour unveiled a year long campaign commemorating the 100th anniversary of the extension of the electoral franchise to women and exploring what can be done next to move towards full equality.

Since 2010, cuts to public services and social security have fallen harder on women. At the same time women face increasing harassment and discrimination, only just reaching public debate through developments such as the #MeToo campaign.

For Labour in government, strengthening legislation around sex discrimination and tackling the structural and economic barriers which hold women back will be a priority. A century on from suffrage, there's still work to do.

Cllr Peter Lamb

Leader, Crawley Borough Council

Still work to do

Three years ago, we celebrated the eight hundredth anniversary of Magna Carter. While the document itself meant nothing to anyone except a handful of barons, it symbolised the start of...

More Stories >

The Labour Party will place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better.

Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.

To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.