Crawley New Town: Communications

Page 81

A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 3, Bramber Rape (North-Eastern Part) Including Crawley New Town. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1987.

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The existing London-Brighton road along the Crawley bypass was assigned in the master plan as the western part of an outer ring road round the new town. Traffic was to be discouraged from using the old London- Brighton road through the centre. (fn. 1) A second route from London would be available when the London- Brighton motorway planned for 1963 was opened, with a link to the ring road on the north-east side of the town. (fn. 2) The M 23 motorway east of Crawley was begun only c. 1971 (fn. 3) and opened as far south as Pease Pottage in Slaugham in 1974. Crawley Avenue, the north-eastern link, was opened in 1975; (fn. 4) it was intended also to take traffic between Horsham and East Grinstead round the town. (fn. 5) That was achieved in 1984 when it was extended eastwards from the M 23 to Copthorne (in Worth). (fn. 6)

The East Grinstead road, which formerly ran from Three Bridges eastwards along Crawley Lane, was diverted north-eastwards along the new Worth Park Avenue, completed in 1956. (fn. 7) Between the new town centre and Three Bridges a new road, the eastern part of Haslett Avenue, was cut in 1962, the old road remaining as a residential road. (fn. 8) The north-eastern quadrant of the ring road was provided by Hazelwick Avenue linking the industrial estate and Three Bridges and built in 1960. (fn. 9) The south-eastern quadrant remained incomplete in 1985.

Radial roads were planned to connect the centre with the ring road and areas beyond it; they were to pass between neighbourhoods. (fn. 10) Existing main roads were among the radial roads. New radial roads planned and built included Northgate Avenue, running north-east from the town centre and opened in 1956, (fn. 11) and Ifield Avenue from Crawley High Street to Langley Green and Ifield, opened in 1960. (fn. 12) The Tilgate radial road southwards and south-eastwards was left incomplete but instead became Southgate Avenue, joining the west end of Haslett Avenue to the ring road on the south; it was finished in 1956. (fn. 13) Hawth Avenue, joining Haslett and Southgate avenues and providing a partial substitute for the completion of the ring road, was opened in 1968. (fn. 14) A planned western radial route to Rusper was not built, and the master plan's intended changes to the northern end of Horsham Road had not been made by 1985. (fn. 15)


The new town was served by the London-Brighton railway line, with stations at Gatwick and Three Bridges, by the Mid Sussex line, with stations at Crawley and Ifield, and by the branch line from Three Bridges to East Grinstead which was closed in 1967. (fn. 16) It was hoped that Gatwick station would serve the industrial area, although a new station entrance was needed; the other three stations would serve the residential parts of the town. At Crawley station the platforms were to be extended westwards and a new station building would close the vista at the south end of High Street; underpasses would replace the level crossing. A new goods yard was needed for coal traffic. (fn. 17) By 1950 it had been decided that the goods yard should be built at Three Bridges, and by 1952 that Crawley railway station should be moved eastwards. (fn. 18) A new station at Gatwick was opened in 1958, and new goods sidings on the London-Brighton line were built at about the same time. (fn. 19) After long delays (fn. 20) the new Crawley station was opened in 1968 (fn. 21) east of the old one. All four stations were still open in 1985; the level crossing at Crawley High Street had still not been replaced.


Bus services were planned to cross the town diagonally, calling en route at a central bus station next to the railway station. (fn. 22) The bus station south of the new town centre was opened in 1960 or 1961. Buses to all parts of the town were provided by the London Transport Executive and the Southdown Bus Co.; (fn. 23) London County Bus Services Ltd. took over London Transport's services in 1970 and Southdown's in 1971. A flat-fare network was introduced in 1978. In 1985 local buses ran through the the town centre between Gatwick airport and the northern and southern neighbourhoods, and between the eastern and western neighbourhoods, at intervals of 20 to 30 minutes. (fn. 24)


  • 1. Minoprio, 'Master Plan', 8, 14.
  • 2. Ibid. 5-6, 8.
  • 3. C.N.T. 10th Ann. Rep. 1972, 15.
  • 4. Idem, 13th Ann. Rep. 1975, 19.
  • 5. Minoprio, 'Master Plan', 14.
  • 6. Inf. from Mr. Kay and Mr. Frost (1986).
  • 7. C.D.C. 9th Ann. Rep. 1956, 153.
  • 8. Idem, 14th Ann. Rep. 1961, 156; C.N.T. 1st Ann. Rep. 1963, 13.
  • 9. C.D.C. 13th Ann. Rep. 1960, 151-2.
  • 10. Minoprio, 'Master Plan', 8.
  • 11. C.D.C. 9th Ann. Rep. 1956, 152.
  • 12. Idem, 13th Ann. Rep. 1960, 151-2; 14th Ann. Rep. 1961, 156.
  • 13. C.D.C. 9th Ann. Rep. 1956, 152.
  • 14. C.N.T. 7th Ann. Rep. 1969, 23.
  • 15. Minoprio, 'Master Plan', 19.
  • 16. Cf. above, Ifield, intro. For the branch, Southern Region Rec. comp. R. H. Clark, suppl. 7 (ref. from Mr. Kay).
  • 17. Minoprio, 'Master Plan', 21-4.
  • 18. C.D.C. 3rd Ann. Rep. 1950, 57; 5th Ann. Rep. 1952, 160.
  • 19. Idem, 11th Ann. Rep. 1958, 154.
  • 20. Idem, 5th Ann. Rep. 1952, 164; 14th Ann. Rep. 1961, 157; 15th Ann. Rep. 1962, 151.
  • 21. C.N.T. 5th Ann. Rep. 1967, 23; 7th Ann. Rep. 1969, 23; Bastable, Crawley, 121; above, pl. facing p. 64.
  • 22. Minoprio, 'Master Plan', 25. For previous bus services cf. above, Ifield, intro.
  • 23. C.D.C. 14th Ann. Rep. 1961, 157.
  • 24. Buses, Aug. 1971, 292-3; Crawley Observer, 23 June 1978; London County Bus Services timetable, Dec. 1985 (refs. from Mr. Kay).