In his article on 19th September, Cllr Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group, made reference to ‘poor planning policies’ that previous Labour Councils had apparently inflicted on Crawley. I would like to remind him – not for the first time – that Crawley Urban District Council was not created until 1956 and until then the planning of the New Town was supervised by Crawley Development Corporation – an arm of central government. Between 1947 when the New Towns Act was passed and 1956, the bulk of our Neighbourhoods were planned out and created – notably Pound Hill, Three Bridges, Northgate, West Green, Langley Green, Ifield, Southgate and Tilgate.

The Development Corporation was actually not wound up until 1962 by which time Gossops Green had also been completed. For most of those years (1947-62) central government was Conservative.

Whilst I would argue that the basic principles of New Town planning were admirable (eg socially-balanced self-contained communities called Neighbourhoods, parks and open spaces to enjoy, separation of through-traffic from local roads, an industrial area – now Manor Royal Business District- separated from Neighbourhoods) they could not predict the future. Indeed if it had, Crawley might well now be dominated by tarmac rather than the greenery that most of us appreciate or perhaps sometimes take for granted.

Geraint Thomas

Borough Councillor for Northgate Ward (Labour)

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