New Science & Tech Park in Sussex gets planning green light

Published: 08 Jul 2022

A 1.4 million sq ft Science & Technology Park (STP) at Burgess Hill has been allocated in the approved Local Plan.

The 120-acre (49-hectare) development west of the town, which would create thousands of new jobs, has been allocated following partnership working with key Stakeholders, Wortleford Trading Company, Dacorar (Southern) Ltd and Glenbeigh Developments Ltd.

Property consultancy Vail Williams has been leading a wider project team that has been working for nearly three years to guide the project through the planning process, alongside HNW Architects and highways consultants Connect Consultants.

The 1.4m sq ft floorspace development will provide a base for a wide range of innovation-led, high-growth, knowledge-based businesses. High quality buildings are proposed for occupiers with a technology or science bias, covering manufacturing, assembly, laboratory/research and development use, offices and incubation units.

The site allocation aligns with the United Kingdom Science Park Association (UKSPA) -defined project and has been supported by the Government’s Planning inspector and approved by Mid Sussex District Council on June 29.

Initial research by the project team indicates that the total floor space including amenity and support facilities as part of the Park, could generate between 2,500 and 4,500 jobs whilst creating a high quality landscaped environment. 

Vail Williams Partner, Suzanne Holloway, who is leading on planning and is based in the firm’s Gatwick office, said: “This is a unique opportunity to deliver a high-quality science and technology park in a central location within the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) economic region – with efficient building design, renewable energy provision and sustainable transport options.

“Strong environmental credentials incorporating efficient building design with renewable energy provision, solar energy links ­ as well as the integration of ancillary uses such as a hotel/gym, crèche, convenience store and/or café will build on the comprehensive nature of the site to meet demand.

“Connectivity of the site is key and sustainable transport options will link to the new green pedestrian and cycle networks within the Northern Arc development, by Homes England, to the east of the site which is providing up to 3,500 new homes, and both will enhance bus and train connectivity via Burgess Hill town centre, including the improved Wivelsfield station, aligning with MSDC’s Sustainable Economic Strategy around People, Place and Partnership.

“Key to the allocation has been the close partnership and collaboration with the District Council as well as West Sussex County Council and National Highways, and it builds on the Coast to Capital LEP ambitions to ensure a STP in the region, which has long been identified as a key part of its employment strategy.”

Vail Williams Development Partner, Andrew Osborne said “The site is prominently positioned north of the A2300 opposite the HUB. It is a short distance from the A23, with excellent travel communications. The A23/M23 provides a direct route to Gatwick Airport, M25 motorway to the north, and Brighton to the south.

“The development of this scale will attract science and tech focused occupiers from a wide catchment. At 1.4 million sq ft, it will take many years to complete, in line with occupiers’ needs, with phases anticipated to be around 200,000 sq ft. The project will be demand led with detailed planning consent, infrastructure and highway aspects being dealt with first.”

For further information contact Vail Williams.

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