Agenda item

Councillors' Questions Time

There will be a maximum of 30 minutes for Councillors’ Question Time (CQT). Councillors may ask questions relating to either a portfolio issue or with regard to the functions delegated to a Committee.


There are two methods for Councillors asking questions:


1.     Councillors can submit written questions in advance of the meeting and written answers will be provided on the evening of the Full Council.


2.     Councillors can also verbally ask questions during the CQT.


Councillors have the opportunity to ask oral supplementary questions in relation to either of the methods above.


Name of Councillor asking Question

Name of Cabinet Member Responding

Councillor Hellier to the Cabinet Member for Leisure and Wellbeing


Supplementary question to written question -

Thank you for your response. I just wanted to seek clarification that the site is going to remain for use by children because the response mentions ‘development of the site’.


Councillor C Mullins, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Wellbeing


The site is still being used by children as there is a nursery using the facility and there isn’t the intention to change that.  However the site itself has limits on its popularity and development. There was an approach by a tennis association for Paddle Tennis but that did not come forward.  I cannot guarantee the site will remain purely for children’s use as the site needs a use that will be beneficial and work, particularly as there are now the 2 main centres within the town.  It is not the intention to close the site, but we want to investigate all options and consider all proposals and consult local councillors and residents.

Councillor McCarthy to the Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development


With the recent news that Marks and Spencer is the latest shop to leave Crawley town centre, how does the current administration score its performance on preventing the loss of high profile retailers?








Supplementary question –

What actions specifically are in the pipeline to make the town centre more desirable?

Councillor Nawaz, Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development


It is sad news for the town and a great loss for the town centre.  I can’t say I agree with the decision, but it is one that Marks and Spencer have made based on what they believe to be the most profitable business model for them in the future. We will work with Employ Crawley to help any members of staff who do not wish to be transferred to another store and we will continue to invest in improving in the town centre to make it attractive for businesses and retailers.



We will do public art, improvement grants, update shop fronts and regeneration improvements to The Boulevard, The Marlets and the Station Gateway.  Whilst the majority of properties are owned by private companies we will help the owners in any way we can to find a suitable replacement tenant in the current building. Vacancy rate in Crawley town centre is 11% which is below the national average (which is 14%).  Recent data from Town Centre BID shows that Crawley is outperforming the neighbouring towns.  With BA Holidays and Varian moving into the town it is hoped this will attract further businesses and retailers to the town.

Councillor Charatan to the Leader of the Council


I’m aware we recently had a visit from the Home Secretary, and I understand you recently wrote to the Home Secretary and perhaps you were a little disappointed that he didn’t take the time to speak to you following the borough housing emergency?

Councillor Jones, Leader of the Council



It is tremendously disappointing, and that in the midst of a housing crisis where councillors have unanimously declared a housing emergency one of the ministers who is directly accountable for attributing to the pressures on the borough visits the town announcing policy issues and yet fails to engage on the most serious issue facing the borough. This was apparently a ministerial visit and yet neither the council nor the Safer Crawley Partnership were notified. The Home Office still has 3 asylum contingency hotels within the borough, and this is a further reduction in the nightly paid accommodation available to the council, resulting in out of town temporary accommodation and impacts on council finances. A discussion with the Home Office would have been beneficial.

Councillor Mwagale to the Cabinet Member for Leisure and Wellbeing


This question is regarding the deterioration of the facilities at K2 Crawley.  It is unacceptable that one of the women’s showers has been out of action since summer 2023, another since before Christmas and a third just last week.  Not to mention, there is a lack of hot water in the other showers.  They are filthy and I’m not even sure when the changing rooms were last cleaned. Furthermore, there is broken equipment in the gym, which is not only an inconvenience but also a health concern as four of the machines today were out of order. The water fountains keep breaking and the ground floor one is out of order.  Please can you kindly confirm what specific steps will be taken to improve the facilities and services for the benefit of the community?  And how will you ensure the improvements are carried out in a timely and cost effective manner?

Councillor C Mullins, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Wellbeing


The cleaning regime is the responsibility of Everyone Active but I’m not sure about all the equipment. The cleanliness is important and should be a high standard. We do need people to report issues to us to ensure they are rectified.  I have made a note of all these that you mention, and I will speak to the officers, investigate and try to resolve. 


Councillor Pritchard to the Cabinet Member for Environment, Sustainability and Climate Change


I have noticed a significant improvement in the pathway following my question at the last Full Council regarding the pathway behind the Snooty Fox which runs along the Gatwick Stream. A lot of rubbish has been cleared on the riverbank. However there is a lot of fencing that needs repairing or replacing and there is a lot of mud on the pathway, and I’ve seen in other areas where measures have been taken to mitigate the mud. Please can you kindly provide an update on whether you will be able to do anything about these issues?

Councillor Noyce, Cabinet Member for Environment, Sustainability and Climate Change


The Patch Teams have been out and the pathway has been cleared.  The Patch Teams do wonderful work all over the town. The riverbanks were difficult areas to get to safely, but the waterworks team were able to address that. They are aware of the fence and looking at options to either repair or replace it in the near future. With regards to the muddy ground, it is an issue probably due to usage, and it would be beneficial to mitigate the concerns.  I’ll update you when I have further information on that issue.

Councillor Crow to the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission


We’re now at the end of the council year and all the Scrutiny meetings have taken place.  One of the key things Scrutiny does is to act as a critical friend to the Cabinet and seek to add value. What do you feel over the last year where the Overview and Scrutiny Commission has most added value to a Cabinet decision?

Councillor Ayling, Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission


I think that the Overview and Scrutiny Commission scrutinises all parts of the council and we do a good job of all items that come through at committee, such as homelessness and parking.  I can come back to you on other items that have been scrutinised and added value.

Councillor Russell to the Cabinet Member for Housing


At the last Full Council, I did receive confirmation on the process for the Bristol Close housing consultation and it’s clear from the outcome that we are a listening council.  As we go forward in the battle against the housing emergency, which hasn’t been as a result of this council, I would ask for the Cabinet Member’s reflections on how we balance the Ward interest and the borough-wide need and also how we continue to ensure local residents where there is a possibility of a development are clear about developments being put forward.

Councillor Irvine, Cabinet Member for Housing


I am keen on consultation, and it should be taken into account along with everything else. Regarding the Bristol Close consultation, we could have taken the decision that following the consultation the application would go to Planning Committee, but that would have only prolonged the process. Having reviewed the feedback the comments being made were realistic. We will look at any improvements from that process for the future. As Cabinet Member it’s important to look at what’s best for the town as a whole and there are only a few sites that have yet to be allocated.  There will inevitably be conflict when sites are identified.

Councillor Ali to the Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development


The Queens Square fountains have been out of action for 4 summers and cost a lot of money to repair. What more could the council have done to protect Crawley’s residents’ money spent on this work for example any insurance claim?

Councillor Nawaz, Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development


We did try to progress a legal route, but it was complicated. There were two options, which was to progress that route delaying the works or ensure the fountains were working for our residents and provide a facility that the community can enjoy.

When the fountains were switched on, there was a festival atmosphere. The equipment is now working and covered for the future.

Councillor Ayling to the Cabinet Member for Leisure and Wellbeing


Please can you provide an update on the animal exhibitions and feeding opportunities taking place at Tilgate Nature Centre please?

Councillor C Mullins, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Wellbeing


There will be opportunities coming forward. The Nature Centre is a fast developing and exciting centre with lots of new and interesting animals such as armadillo, porcupine, capybara, serval, lemur and meerkat. We have just imported some wildcats and hoping to expand further. Residents can obtain discount via myCrawley which we hope increases footfall.

Councillor Lanzer to the Leader of the Council


I refer to a specific press release (11020) issued on the 19 February “Views sought on first phase of major town centre regeneration scheme’. This refers to Station Gateway and a project that Crawley Borough Council leads on. The top of the press release emphasises the town centre regeneration programme and only very much later does it reference the Crawley Growth Programme. To the casual reader it could look as though the Station Gateway is entirely a Crawley Borough Council undertaking in terms of resources and financing. Would either the Leader or Cabinet Member agree with me that it is really important from the point of view of transparency that our press releases give credit to partner organisations, especially those within the Crawley Growth Programme of which this scheme is a part, which would include Project Centre (the former Coast to Capital Local Entreprise Partnership), London Gatwick Airport, WSCC, Metrobus and the UK government. Would you acknowledge and take care that appropriate reference is made to partner organisations?

Councillor Jones, Leader of the Council



I can assure Councillor Lanzer that there is no intention to understate any of our partners involvement in any our worthy projects and regeneration programme.  I would be surprised if WSCC press office had not been liaised with over the draft press release, but I will speak to our Communications Team and confirm going forward for the future.  We’ve had many joint projects and no intention to downplay any involvement from partners to make the borough a better place to live.

Councillor Sivarajah to the Cabinet Member for Public Protection


Is spiking of drinks a serious problem in the town following the Home Secretary’s announcement and if not, do you know why he decided to make the announcement here?

Councillor Y Khan, Cabinet Member for Public Protection


The Home Secretary’s visit seems mainly linked to the ‘Clear, Hold, Build’ project, which is Home Office initiated.  As the Cabinet Member and Chair of Safer Crawley Partnership we have a green rating for engagement with others. The town does not really have a spiking problem and information and guidance has been provided to premises across the town.  The council works with licensing team, Police and premises when any issue is reported.


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