People living in one half of a town have been told they will live for five years less than their neighbours on the other side.

New statistics have revealed a shocking imbalance in life expectancy for the residents of Crawley.

The figures have caused concern among officials who have begun work on a package of measures intended to redress the situation.

Part of the plan is to knock down a pub in one of the worst affected areas.

Crawley Borough Councillor Chris Redmayne, who has pushed for improvements, said: "It is not going to make everything better instantly but you have to take a first step on every journey - and this is that first step."

The Department of Health study has shown people in the West Crawley neighbourhoods of Bewbush, Broadfield and Southgate have a life expectancy of 77.6 years.

In Pound Hill and Maidenbower in the east of the town the figure is significantly higher, at 82.7 years.

Crawley Borough Council said it had been aware of an imbalance for some time and was in the final preparation stages for regeneration work intended to help.

It has worked alongside West Sussex County Council and the Primary Care Trust to prepare a revamp of shopping parades in both Bewbush and Langley Green.

Both schemes will create new medical surgeries designed to help more people.

In Bewbush the leisure centre in Breezehurst Drive will be sold to housing developers to pay for a £5 million redevelopment of Dorsten Square.

A new doctors' surgery, dentists and healthy living centre, including sports facilities, will be built next to a redesigned and improved public area. There will be a ground to play football and possibly a skate park.

In the process the Dorsten pub, in a building leased from the council, will be torn down.

Coun Redmayne, who represents Bewbush on the council, said: "All of this will help boost life expectancy, there will be better and more accessible services for people to keep healthy and a better channel to educate people about good health."

The work will coincide with a drive to combat antisocial behaviour and drug abuse, which has been a problem in Bewbush.

Coun Redmayne said Dorsten Square was currently a no-go area for many people because of young people creating an intimidating atmosphere.

He said: "This work will make it a proper focal point for the community."

In Langley Green a new children's centre and medical surgery will be built at Langley Green Primary and the adjacent Langley Parade shops will be given an extensive facelift. An island traffic system will be removed to create a single roadway.

Coun Brenda Smith, who represents the area, said: "We have put in a lot of hard work for this to happen and I really think it will make a considerable difference to the area."

A West Sussex PCT spokeswoman said as well as the surgeries it was working on a range of projects in Crawley, where Bewbush, Langley Green and Broadfield had been identified as areas creating cause for concern.

They included breastfeeding support groups, a skateboarding outreach project and a scheme to promote physical activity in surrounding areas.

Do you live in Crawley? What do you think about the imbalance? Tell us your views below.