A proposal to construct more business units on Council-owned land in Crowborough was agreed this morning.
Wealden District Council owns a 1.8 acre site on the edge of the industrial estate in Farningham Road close to Mount Pleasant, however only half of the site can be developed due to protected trees to the north and west of the site and steep banks.
In a closed-session, the Council’s Cabinet agreed to retain the site and progress towards detailed planning permission.
The Council believes the site represents an excellent opportunity to deliver much needed employment land in Crowborough whilst also delivering an income. Councillor Philip Lunn, Wealden District Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Commercial, Economic Development and Leisure, said:
There has been a shortage of smaller, starter units in the Crowborough area and the Farningham Road site could help to alleviate the position. This project would provide a valuable opportunity to contribute to the local economy, and also to create employment opportunities.
Strategically, development of the site provides an opportunity for the Council to retain a direct financial interest, which would generate an annual income stream and full payback of the investment within 15 years. Obviously, there is also the capital value of the whole, which will appreciate over time, should consideration be given to selling in future years.
Thoughtful delivery of this site will also contribute towards the Council’s net zero commitment, for instance by creating additional business floor space and jobs within the district – to help reduce the need for some residents to travel out of the town for work purposes. The Council will seek to deliver some of the most environmentally friendly, low carbon business premises in the district.Councillor Philip Lunn
The plans are also supported by Crowborough and District Chamber of Commerce. Jeremy Woolger, Chairman and President of the Chamber, said:
We welcome any development of commercial space in Crowborough as availability of land is very limited.
We would particularly welcome the right type of business units being built to help those smaller businesses which want to expand into larger premises.Jeremy Woolger
An outline scheme would provide for units with a total floor area of around 12,500 square feet and planning uses could include general industrial, storage and distribution, light industrial, office and potentially retail.
As part of the initial assessment of the site, an ecological assessment, ground investigation and highways surveys will take place. A recommendation to approve a £1.5 million budget to progress the project will be considered at the next meeting of the Full Council on the 23rd November.