The Tory government have changed planning rules again to allow property owners to convert light industrial units to residential accommodation, without planning permission. We have already put protection in place, against this unwanted government interference in our local policies, for offices, storage and distribution uses which has been welcomed by Manor Royal businesses. I was pleased to obtain Cabinet support for extending this protection to Manor Royal Business District against this further unwanted policy. As a Town we simply can’t afford to lose sites on Manor Royal to residential uses as we are already short of sites to provide employment. We are determined to take action wherever we can to provide homes for people that are built to a decent standard and in the right place. Manor Royal is not that place!
Support from Crawley Borough Council for Manor Royal Business District now becomes even more important following the post-Brexit announcement that new runway capacity will go to Heathrow. While this is welcomed by many residents, many businesses worry about the potential impact on Crawley of this investment in Heathrow. The Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, was asked during his announcement on airport capacity in Parliament, for confirmation that the planned investment in the Brighton Main line would continue. His reply was “I do not think that any of us could think that the Brighton main line was the priority, for a whole variety of different reasons.”
While central government may not consider that investment in Crawley is a priority we will continue to recognise the crucial importance to us of Manor Royal, as a major source of jobs and prosperity for Crawley and its residents. We do intend to continue to work with the Manor Royal Business District to maintain this prosperity for our Town.
Cllr Peter Smith,
Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development