Crawley Borough Council has granted Outline Planning Permission for Arora Group’s transformative redevelopment of the station area in Crawley town centre.
The residential led regeneration scheme includes 308 apartments with a new train station and plaza, full disabled access and multi-deck car park.
The site, currently graced by mainly vacant Overline House, but mainly taken up by surface car parking, can now become a net contributor to the town centre economy. THe new inhabitants will help bolster the existing retail and, together with other developments around the town centre such as Westrock’s Platform on the Boulevard, help create the conditions for a transformed night-time economy.
In addition, the public realm reatment around the station will create a much better “arrival experience” into Crawley, linking the station to the town centre much more effectively.
Arora say their scheme “promises to transform the Crawley gateway area into an attractive, inviting and safe environment, truly reflecting the town’s opportunities as a place to live and work”.
The plans include a new, modern station building with a completely new station entrance, ticket hall, footbridges and multi-storey car park. The development will also have a coffee shop, retail kiosk and a small start-up business hub, all designed to support Crawley Borough Council’s ambition to create a network of business hubs and enable small and start-up enterprises in the town.
Modernising Station Gateway to make it compatible with 21st century use, including living and working, is highlighted in the Town Centre Regeneration Programme.
Surinder Arora, Founder and Chairman of the Arora Group said: “The Arora Group has been part of the community in Crawley for over a decade, providing employment for local residents at the Arora Hotel Gatwick Crawley. With this important next step in the process achieved, we are fully committed to this complex development and look forward to working with all involved, including Network Rail, as we work towards improving the town for everyone.”
Councillor Peter Smith, Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development, said: “This is a fundamental part of the town; it’s a gateway into Crawley and as such, the first and last impression people get when they travel by train. At the moment it’s very much giving the wrong impression; it’s grey, tired and dominated by a dual carriageway.”
“I’m so happy these plans have been given the green light as it will make such a huge difference to the town centre – helping to create an environment which is modern, attractive and safe, providing good links from the station to the town centre, particularly for people walking, riding bikes and catching public transport. This application is also a great example of the council working with the private sector to encourage the right kind of regeneration.”
The plans look like they will make a major difference to the look and feel of the station area. Certainly the prospect of an improved night-time economy is one to savour. Hopefully this is the first of many such developments, and Crawley Town Centre can become something the Gatwick Diamond can be proud of.