Paul Marshall, Leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “We are committed to supporting the economic regeneration of Crawley and have made it one of our council priorities. I’m very disappointed that Crawley Borough Council has issued a statement like this when the County Council has been doing everything it can to help the town’s economic regeneration.
“The Borough Council itself was aware there was insufficient time for county councillors and other stakeholders to be consulted and fully consider the “Mini Holland” bid. The Government made it clear that high-level political support was a pre-requisite for a bid to succeed.
“For a scheme of this magnitude to be feasible, the local community has to be behind it, especially considering the highway restructuring and restrictions it would involve and changes for all road users.
“The borough needs to demonstrate to the County Council and the local MP that all stakeholders have been fully consulted and engaged with and until then it will not be possible to support the bid.”
Paul added: “Be of no doubt: as I have said, Crawley’s economic regeneration is a very important priority – as shown through the ongoing, multi-million-pound Crawley Growth Programme , with the £8.85million Eastern Gateway scheme , currently under construction, being one example of how we are working with our partners to make improvements a reality.
“We believe there is every possibility of funding being available for future bids similar to the Mini Holland one and would welcome the opportunity of working with the Borough Council and all other stakeholders and partners in a constructive way for the benefit of Crawley’s residents and its economy.
“We take sustainable transport very seriously and one of our priorities is to improve or introduce cycling infrastructure across the county. In 2019/2020, the County Council completed a new, 1.2km shared cycleway/footway in Ifield Avenue, Crawley, and we continue to work with our partners on Crawley Growth Programme schemes which include provision for cyclists.
“Over the last three years, the County Council has been working in partnership with a number of district and borough councils, including Crawley Borough Council, to develop Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans. These plans will help to direct investment and will support future bids for Government funding to progress priority schemes that align with new national cycling design guidance published last year.”