Commercial property space shortage in Newhaven

Corinne Day NEZ

Newhaven Enterprise Zone launches commercial property drive following ‘turnaround’ report 

Demand is at a record high for commercial space in Newhaven, according to a report commissioned by Newhaven Enterprise Zone (NEZ) and conducted by Flude Property Consultants.  

Landowners are being encouraged to unlock space and consider commercial property opportunities in the East Sussex harbour town, where return investment on commercial property now outstrips residential. 

The NEZ says if land is released for warehouse and industrial development in the town now, Newhaven will be in pole position to attract more businesses from across the region where demand is high. 

Corinne Day, NEZ Programme Director, said: “We’ve been working hard to boost business growth in the area since 2017. Those efforts are now paying off and we’re seeing a spike in interest. 

“Newhaven is fast becoming home to a booming and diverse economy with several successful international and national businesses, with sectors including maritime, manufacturing, distribution and healthcare to name a few.

“The next step is to unlock more sites for commercial space to allow existing local businesses to expand and attract new businesses to the town.”

Commercial property release

Central to NEZ’s strategy is to encourage local landowners to release new sites and to refurbish existing industrial and warehouse space. Corinne explained: “If landowners act now, there’s an opportunity to capitalise on the increased demand and attract businesses.

“Commercial rents have increased significantly and we’ve heard from several businesses in the area who are growing and would like more space to expand in the future.

“There is very little available warehouse or industrial space across Sussex so the opportunities for Newhaven are significant.”

Commercial property rents upswing

Traditionally, residential opportunities have trumped commercial in the area, but commercial rents have experienced a significant upswing.

Until 2018/9, Newhaven industrial rents rarely exceeded £6 per square foot. However, in the period before the pandemic in March 2020, the town saw increased uptake and available stock went down. By 2021 almost all available space had been let. As a result, new commercial accommodation coming onto the market is now achieving around £10 per square foot.

Corinne added: “There are many positives we can take from this. On the one hand, industrial property owners stand to gain if they move fast. On the other, making more commercial space available will boost investment in the town, which in turn will drive employment opportunities for local people and boost visitors to the town centre.”

Dick Shone, managing director at modular building company Boutique Modern, which is based in Newhaven, said: “Newhaven is a great place to work. It’s well connected with a workforce proficient in a range of skills. The town’s unique geographical location ensures a continued demand for industrial and commercial premises, large and small.”

NEZ is calling for landowners to get in touch so it can help them understand how to unlock sites for development. Funding is also available from NEZ to provide support.  

For more information about Newhaven Enterprise Zone, visit the website.

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