Crawley is a large town and borough in West Sussex, England. It is located 28 miles (45 km) south of London, 18 miles (29 km) north of Brighton and Hove, and 32 miles (51 km) northeast of the county town of Chichester. Crawley covered an area of ??17.36 square miles (44.96 km2) and had a population of 106,597 as of the 2011 Census. The area has been inhabited since the Stone Age and was a centre of iron processing in Roman times. Crawley slowly developed from the 13th century into a market town, serving the surrounding Weald villages. Its location on the main road between London and Brighton attracted passing traders and encouraged the development of the inn. In 1841 the railway to London opened. Gatwick Airport, now one of the UK's busiest international airports, opened on the city's outskirts in the 1940s, spurring commercial and industrial growth. After World War II, the British government planned to move many people and jobs from London to new cities in the South East of England. The New Towns Act of 1946 designated Crawley as one of these towns. Master plans were drawn up to establish new residential, commercial, industrial, and metropolitan areas, and rapid development has significantly increased the city's size and population over the decades. The city consists of 14 residential districts radiating from the old town centre, separated by major roads and railways. The nearby communities of Field, Pound Hill and Three Bridges were incorporated into the new town at various stages of development. In 2009, expansions were planned to the west and northwest of the town in collaboration with Horsham District Council, now in a new area called Kilnwood Vale, which does not exist in Crawley. Has developed into one of the most important industrial and employment centres between London and the South Coast. Its vast industrial areas support manufacturing and service industries connected to airports. The commercial and retail sector continues to expand.
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