A HORSHAM councillor was under fire yesterday for calling parts of Crawley ‘a shanty town’.
Roy Cornell (Con, Roffey South) made the comment on Tuesday as members of the Horsham District Council’s strategic planning advisory group were discussing the Horsham Town Plan, a report looking at ways to improve the retail and business opportunities in the town centre.
Referring to a paragraph about Horsham’s shopping experience he said: “There’s criticism of Horsham in this report about competing centres like Crawley, Guildford and Worthing.
“Crawley? In one part of Crawley it’s like a shanty town. I don’t think Horsham has very much to worry about there.”
He added: “I want to be positive about Horsham town.”
The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of a shanty town is: “A deprived area on the outskirts of a town consisting of large numbers of shanty dwellings.”
Shanties are defined as ‘small, crudely built shacks’.
Henry Smith, Conservative MP for Crawley, and other supporters of the town, hit back at Mr Cornell’s comments.
Mr Smith said: “In my experience people who talk down Crawley are often jealous of our success. Crawley has a strong vision for its future, from retail and entertainment and from hospitality to leisure.
“I won’t waste time worrying about what our detractors may say but rather concentrate on working towards Crawley growing future.
“Anyway, I bet Crawley Town FC would beat Horsham Town FC any day.”
West Sussex county councillor Chris Oxlade (Lab, Bewbush and Ifield West) said: “Councillor Cornell is not the first Conservative councillor to try and talk down Crawley. I don’t think global names like Nestle would be moving their headquarters to Crawley if his comments were true.
“It smacks of total ignorance and ‘Crawley envy’ from a Conservative politician whose political party at the county council would rather give tax payers’ money to subsidise yachts at Chichester Harbour than keep youth centres or day centres for the elderly open in Horsham and the rest of West Sussex.
“I’d like to invite Councillor Cornell to Crawley and show me where he is talking about.”
Read this week’s West Sussex County Times and Wednesday’s Crawley Observer to read more reaction.