Jobs at the heart of Uckfield economy

Business Scene March 2015

Jobs are at the heart of any thriving business community and there’s plenty of good news on that front around Uckfield at the moment, writes Paul Watson.

Commercial agents are letting and selling properties and that inevitably leads to more work.

Existing business are “ticking along nicely” while there is now a big push to boost apprenticeships.


In recent years there has been a resurgence in apprenticeships and the nation is now in the midst of a major upheaval in the way they are organised, under the Trailblazer banner.

The Trailblazers put the employers in charge but the funding arrangements are causing concerns, especially for SMEs.

In East Sussex, the county council and its partners have set themselves a challenge to find 500 businesses able to offer apprenticeships to young people and strengthen the county’s workforce in the process.

National Apprenticeship Service

The authority is teaming up with the National Apprenticeship Service, the five district and borough councils, colleges and training providers, the Alliance of Chambers East Sussex, the of Federation of Small Businesses, the Youth Employability Service and Apprenticeships in Sussex to call for willing businesses to come forward over five months.east_sussex_county_council_web

The campaign kicks off on Monday, March 9 – the beginning of National Apprenticeship Week – with launch events at Eastbourne Town Hall, Stade Hall in Hastings and Lewes Town Hall.

Representatives from businesses across the five district and boroughs will be able to meet others in the business community, apprentices and apprenticeship training providers and hear how taking on an apprentice can benefit their company.

Businesses can find out more at the launch events, which run from 5.30pm to 7.30pm on Monday, March 9 and book a place at one of these events by emailing

To find out more about apprenticeships call the National Apprenticeship Service on 0800 015 0600 or visit

Lawson Commercial

The former Swindells premises, which are set back from the High Street, have been sold.

Commercial agent Lawson Commercial reported the property had gone to an “architect who lives locally” and had traditionally worked in London but had now decided to open his own practice in Uckfield.

Chris Lawson said: “He will not, at least initially, require all the space for his own occupation together with his artist wife and is intending to create some serviced offices on an easy in, easy out basis. This is something which could be attractive as we do get enquiries from time to time from people seeking space on this basis and there is very little available of that type in the town centre.”


Chris Lawson

Swindells moved to Atlantic House on the Bellbrook Business Park.

Lawson’s has also sold an 800 sq ft office building at Ringles Cross at price in excess of £150,000.

The offices have been bought by a marketing and design company from Heathfield.

Wealden District Council

Recent social media workshops for local businesses in Wealden completely sold out, with more events being arranged for those who were unable to get a space on the first round.

The events, hosted by Wealden District Council and Sussex Downs College, helped 45 businesses ranging from micro online organisations to large tourist attractions across four sessions at Heathfield Community College, Beacon Academy and Sussex Downs College in Eastbourne.

Delegates learned about getting the most out of existing social media platforms.  They were introduced to the latest trends in social media and learnt about creating engaging online content.

Free workshops

“It is wonderful to see local businesses making the most of these free workshops and learning new ways of conducting business,” said Councillor Roy Galley, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Regeneration.

Roy Galley

Cllr Roy Galley

“Wealden is committed to supporting our local businesses in the digital economy and I understand the feedback from those that attended was glowing. I look forward to there being more events like these.”

Wealden District Council will now be meeting with Sussex Downs College to discuss further ways of helping local businesses develop their online presence with more workshops being lined up for the future.

Oldfield Smith & Co

Oldfield Smith & Co has sold one unit and let another at Bluebell Business Park in Sheffield Park.

Unit 30 comprises an overall area of 147.4 sq m (1580 sq ft) and benefits from an electric roller shutter door to front with good eaves and apex height.  The freehold has been sold for a figure close to the quoting price of £120,000.

The adjoining Unit 31 has an overall area of 110.6 sq m (1190 sq ft) with twin access doors to the front for loading.  A new lease was entered into in line with the quoting rent of £6,000 pa.

Did you see?

Malcolm Diamond is Chairman of the Year for the second time. Story here

Design and Display Structures have featured here before and yet again they are doing national, eye-catching work. They are playing an important role in the transformation of the Olympic Stadium in East London. More here

Last year we also  noted some milestones for Uckfield companies. First on the list this year is Duke Letting celebrating 20 years in business. Story here

More than 400 cars have been repaired at Car Repairs 4U in the two years since it moved to Uckfield, and in most cases the owners have avoided claiming on their insurance to get the work done. Find out more here

Problems with the garden?  Looking for a specialist? Chances are you need look no further than locally-based horticulturist Chris Vacher. RHS-trained Chris has assembled a team of experts able to tackle everything from tree surgery, wildflower meadow planting and landscaping to more mundane tasks such as land clearance and general maintenance. Read more here about Vacher Gardens

The Ashdown Business Park will soon come to life. At the turn of the year we highlighted this as being an important development which would provide jobs. Agreement has been reached on two plots of land with contracts being drawn up. More here

Uckfield Chamber of Commerce has written to the town’s regeneration joint committee saying members want to retain High Street parking and would rather have parking facilities than trees.

Chamber president Fiona Monson, of chartered accountants Armida, says the organisation, which represents business people and traders, generally supports proposals for High Street improvements but retains a strongly held view that parking should be retained.  See more here 

See also:

Businesses: get the power of working for you 

Dog walker brave the rain for Comic Relief

No support for 1,000 homes plan




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