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Commercial Property Register

June - October 2018




The continuing development of

roads and housebuilding across

the three counties is bringing

increased pressure on resources

as well as protests from local


At the same time commercial

developers are finding it increasingly

difficult to access land for developments,

particularly industrial schemes. This

applies strongly along the south coast.

The problem goes back decades

to the time when governments

starting putting pressure on the local

authorities to increase the amount of

housebuilding in rural areas, a policy

identified with former Secretary of

State John Prescott.

The latest battle is on a site in

Lancing where New Monks Farm

Development, a subsidiary of Brighton

and Hove Football Club, wants to

build an IKEA store and 600 homes.

The site, close to Shoreham

Airport, is zoned for development in

the Adur local plan and it generated

considerable controversy when it

was included. Even so, the number of

people registering their support for

an IKEA is larger than the opponents,

whose organisation is called Adur

Residents Environmental Action (AREA).

Its Chair, Barb O’Kelly, said:

“There is a growing awareness of

the congestion and pollution

problems that would be generated

by the additional two million extra

journeys a year from IKEA alone”.

This congestion problem now applies

right along the south coast and is a

hindrance to commercial development.

Local authorities are under

considerable pressure to increase

the rate of housebuilding they

allow throughout the south east.

One example is Arun which is

required to construct 20,000 new

homes over a 20 year period.

That often means employment

land being used for housing, notably

the large horticultural complexes in

the three counties. Large numbers of

greenhouses have been demolished

to make way for housing and some

villages such as Angmering have

become small suburban towns.

Meanwhile, agents complain about

the shortage of land for industrial

development, particularly for logistics

use to cater for the increased amount

of on line shopping, which is also

bringing changes to the retail scene.

IKEA and the Monks Farm development

will be a test of all this.


As fierce as the debate is about

property development, whether it

be lack of industrial or too much

residential, the fact is that the

construction industry is having a

difficult period.

Blane Perrotton of Naismiths said:

“Despite the low interest rates

environment and abundance of

finance available, developers are

increasingly doubling down,

concentrating on completing existing

projects rather than commissioning

new ones. There is likely to be more

pain to come and there is little sign

of an end to the limbo which is

prompting investors in London and

the south east to sit on their hands”.

In his view the slump in output is

the worst for six years, having been

hit by low confidence, softening

investor demand and rising input costs.

The question is to what extent

Brexit has damaged confidence among

developers and brought a long term

decline in output. Yet the majority of

the agents in Kent, Surrey and Sussex

point to a healthy demand for

industrial property, as they do further

west in Southampton and Portsmouth.



One sector enjoying growth is

hotels which remain popular with

investors as well as existing operators.

An example of a typical deal is

the sale of Stanhill Court Hotel in

Horley, Surrey through Christie & Co

for £4.8 million.

It ticks all the boxes in being a

popular wedding venue as well as

conference centre set in 35 acres with

a five acre amphitheatre overlooking

the South Downs National Park. It has

34 bedrooms as well as 10

conference rooms and can

accommodate up to 360 guests.

It has been sold to an existing

hotel operator in Kent who plans to

invest substantial capital in the

business. Andrew Moore of Christie

said: “This is a significant property in

an enviable location which we sold

on behalf of Mr and Mrs Antonio

Colas, who are now retiring”.



3,615 sq.metres (39,811


.) Conqueror Court in Sittingbourne has

been recently sold to London & County, the property investment and

development group who, unlike many landlords, have adopted a flexible

approach to leasing as well as selling both vacant and fully let units on the

12 office park as investments.



Stanhill Court Hotel


right size

A 2,415 sq.metres (26,000



warehouse in Bexhill has been

let through SHW to Skinners


David Martin of SHW said:

“Buildings of this size with a yard

are rarely available which was

borne out by the number of

enquiries which were from a wide

range of different users attracted

principally by the extensive yard”.

According to SHW, this size of

warehouse is in most demand

among occupiers in the

Bexhill/Hastings area.

David Martin