JULY 21 2020 – “COUNCIL STILL OPPOSED TO MASSIVE HOUSEBUILDING WEST OF CRAWLEY” – ‘CRAWLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL HAS REPEATED ITS OPPOSITION TO PLANS FOR 10,000 WEST OF THE TOWN’ – CRAWLEY OBSERVER

 

 

 

“COUNCIL STILL OPPOSED TO MASSIVE HOUSEBUILDING WEST OF CRAWLEY” – ‘CRAWLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL HAS REPEATED ITS OPPOSITION TO PLANS FOR 10,000 WEST OF THE TOWN’ – CRAWLEY OBSERVER

By Karen Dunn, local democracy reporter

Monday, 20th July 2020, 5:03 pm

 

” alt=”” aria-hidden=”true” />The scale of Homes England's ambitions for the West of Ifield site

The subject was raised at a meeting of the full council when a member of the public asked why the council was happy to rent office space at the town hall to Homes England.

Peter Smith, cabinet member for planning & economic development, told the meeting it was simply a business arrangement.

He said: “Renting space in the town hall to other organisations is a way of helping to pay our bills and a way to avoid having to make cuts when we’re faced with a £2m shortfall in our budget in 2020/21.

“All the rent we can get from the commercial properties that we own goes towards that and reduces the amount of money that we need from the taxpayer.

“The two things are completely separate.”

In its strategic plan for 2018-2023, Homes England said the aim was to begin ‘major infrastructure work’ on the huge site west of Ifield and start construction of the first 200 homes by 2022/23.

There has been strong opposition to the plans, with the council stepping up early to declare its lack of support.

Mr Smith said renting an office to Homes England would not influence the council’s position or affect any planning decision it had to make.

He added: “I think that it’s clear the council is not supporting at this time the Homes England proposal, as much as we know them.

“We are, as a planning authority, talking to Homes England to try to understand their proposals as part of preparing our Local Plan.”