It was a night of mixed fortunes at the Crawley Borough Council elections. The council has stayed in No Overall Control, with the Conservatives finishing the night with 18 seats, Labour with 17 and one Independent.
There were 14 seats up for grabs and, while the Tories made gains in Ifield, Southgate and Tilgate, they lost a seat in Three Bridges, which has long been a true blue stronghold.
Crawley Borough Council Credit: Google Earth
The three seats the Conservatives did gain had been vacant following the resignation of Tilgate councillor Francis Guidera and the deaths of Geraint Thomas (Ifield) and Raj Sharma (Southgate).
Independent Karen Sudan, who threw a spanner in the Labour works when she quit the party, lost her Northgate seat to Labour, leaving her son Rory Fiveash as the only Independent on the council.
Leader of Crawley Borough Council, Cllr Peter Lab gave his reaction to the results.
Cllr Peter Lamb, Leader, Crawley Borough Council
There has been an air of co-operation at the council during the pandemic, with Labour and the Tories largely working together to get things done.
Crawley has been one of the worst hit towns during the pandemic due to the high levels of employment at Gatwick Airport. In May last year, community leaders in the town called on the government to step in urgently to avoid what they describe as an “employment catastrophe”.
Crawley was one of the hardest hit towns during the Covid-19 crisis
Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council said, “We’ve gone from being the densest centre of employment in the country outside of London to having the highest levels of furlough and job losses. So we are certainly an economy that is needing to recover and needs support, and that support has not been forthcoming from the Government. We need to bear in mind that even if aviation restarts, it’s going to be a long road back to the same level of passenger numbers. And a lot of the airlines are taking the opportunity to restructure in ways that means there’s going to be less employment, so the town needs a focus on generating replacement employment for those people, protecting families while they are out of employment from the impact of that.
We need to bear in mind that even if aviation restarts, it’s going to be a long road back to the same level of passenger numbers.