As proposals for hundreds of new homes in Uckfield pour in to Wealden Council commercial agent Chris Lawson asks: Where will all the new residents work?
The latest major schemes include 450 homes at Horstedpond Farm, Ridgewood, and 550 at Downlands Farm and you can see more in this Uckfield News story: New Uckfield housing: Here’s the ‘hit list’.
Chris, a partner at Uckfield-based Lawson Commercial said: “I wouldn’t mind betting that the vast majority probably will get planning, particularly as there is a new mood in the planning department to be a bit more flexible in their approach and to comply with the inspector’s recommendation.”
The agent was referring to a report from a Government planning inspector who threw out Wealden Council’s draft Local Plan saying more houses must be built.
Chris continued: “The problems that Gatwick airport are currently experiencing means there might be less of a draw for jobs there so we are going to need more opportunities in the immediate locality.”
He asked where the next Ashdown Business Park, which he has been marketing over the last few years, was going to be.
And Chris pointed out that while a previous planning application for development at Downlands Farm included about 100,000 sq ft of new business space, the current screening application was only about housing.
He said: “What has been most fascinating during the lockdown period is the demand for industrial space in the general East Sussex area.
“Throughout most of the lockdown period I was carrying out viewings almost every day of vacant industrial buildings because that’s where the demand was coming from, and we were receiving two or three new enquiries every day, most exclusively for industrial buildings.
“I was even successful in agreeing a couple of deals in the middle of lockdown which have now been signed.
“Since lockdown was lifted we have been really busy on the industrial front with lettings agreed in:
- Three at Palehouse Common
- Shortgate, The Broyle
- The Holmes Hill Estate on the A22
- Two in Newhaven
- 4,500 sq ft in Eastbourne
- 4,500 sq ft on the Ashdown Business Park at Maresfield
“In most cases these are existing businesses expanding, apart from one or two start-ups. It is as though many businesses took the lockdown period to consider planning their future expansion.
“There is now a huge shortage of space throughout the area, and we urgently need a new industrial estate in Wealden north.”
• Wealden Council is currently formulating a new Local Plan and assessing sites through the district which can be used to support future development – including economic development, including warehouses, factories and offices.
Read about their call for landowners to flag potential development land in this Uckfield News story: Wealden asks landowners to flag potential development land.