Good Start To 2014 – More Properties Required

Lawson Commercial report a terrific start to 2014 having let and sold significantly more commercial property in the first 5 months of this year than for the same period in the last 4 or 5 years. Business confidence is certainly strong and shows a huge improvement over the last few years. The result of this has been that many of the buildings which were available, some of which have been on the market for a while, have now found occupiers and we are actually rather short of premises to offer in the marketplace.

The industrial sector has been leading the way and there is now a shortage across all size categories in Uckfield and Crowborough particularly in the medium sized categories of 1,500 – 3,000 sq ft. The office market has also shown significant improvement with many of the small suites finding occupiers as first time businesses have re-entered the marketplace. There are also quite a number of people looking for freehold offices. There is simply nothing much available currently to satisfy that demand. The retail sector, despite the impact of the internet, remains strong with Lawson Commercial having let 5 shops in Uckfield High Street recently with a further one under offer and 4 shops in Heathfield with 2 more under offer.

What we need is more properties to market so if anyone is thinking of moving, or if you are a landlord looking for tenants we would welcome hearing from you. The good news for landlords is that, with this improved demand and a lack of supply we could start to see some genuine improvement in rental values, something that has not been seen for the last 5 years.

Quick Letting at Northern End of Uckfield High Street

Lawson Commercial have let the former Limelight premises at 216 High Street, Uckfield to a new, independent retailer who is going to open a specialist cycle shop. Following the relocation of Ingear from almost opposite to Forest Row there was no independent cycle retailer in the Town so this is a welcome addition to the High Street. What was particularly interesting about this is how quickly the letting occurred as we only received instructions at the start of the year to market the premises. To have found a new tenant and conclude the legal work in under 4 months is actually pretty rapid. Limelight continues to trade but when their lease came to an end at 216 they decided not to renew. Like so many retail businesses today they have discovered that the nature of their business has changed with ever increasing sales via the internet. They therefore decided to concentrate on internet retailing rather than having a High Street shop.

Former Corbin’s Premises in Uckfield Let

After many months of being empty the former Corbin’s deli premises has found a new occupier in the Chestnut Tree Childrens Hospice charity. They have rapidly fitted the shop out and had a grand opening ceremony on Friday 16th May.

There has been a certain amount of criticism locally about another charity shop coming to Uckfield High Street but, at the end of the day, it is not the agent who makes the decision but the actual owner of the property. The reality of this situation is that we actually found someone very quickly for these premises once Corbin’s ceased trading and it was an outside catering company that were going to carry on an independent deli/coffee shop. It spent 3 months in lawyers’ hands and at the point of being asked to sign the lease the prospective tenants changed their minds. We then quickly found another party for these premises who already had premises in Tunbridge Wells, again doing something similar and independent business. However history repeated itself!

Thus the landlords were faced with the decision of do they accept a proposal from an independent  business or accept a charity shop and this time they chose the charity. Comments are also made about the high rents in the High Street but this simply is not the case. The rent on this shop has gone up by £1,000 pa in just over 10 years. Taking inflation into account that shows that the landlords have actually seen a decline in their rental stream and does not bear out the criticism. The shopfit is bright, lively and looks very chic and will surely be a good addition to the High Street. After all charities would not come into the High Street if they did not get a good flow of customers.

Jeremy’s Jottings

Expecting the unexpected.

I am used to expecting the unexpected. Storm damage, burst pipes, personal injury claims. But, once in a while there are relatively large scale events which still make me draw breath. First hand examples include contractors falling from a building, fire, flood and on one occasion closing the South Circular Road when scaffolding collapsed.

On encountering such circumstances my role is to ensure property is fit for re-occupation as soon as possible thereafter. What I have seen and quickly learnt is that businesses directly affected by such events struggle to recover and fail from a significant incident or crisis. A crisis need not be as a result of say the damage it could be an incident such as IT failure.

Whatever the event, successful recovery depends not only on the provision of insurance (if available) but also on a prompt and well-executed response. Time is of the essence and this is where a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) helps to avoid delay, confusion and maximises resources.

BCP’s need not be complicated. As an example if you had to contact say 25 staff how long would this take? Should other matters take priority whilst doing so? The answer is probably yes. A simple practical solution I’ve experienced in a number of organisations is cascading information. Who contacts who is predetermined based upon the business organogram with no one person contacting more than 5 people.

A plan may also deal with areas such as:

Staffing numbers dependent upon the situation including arrangements for remote working or relocating.

Communication with staff, customers, suppliers, stakeholders and the press after the event.

Telephone, email, website, post, electronic files and documents storage / retrieval.

Damage assessment and salvage from the premises, as well as its ongoing security.

Which team members are responsible for actioning the specific aspects of the plan.

Business Continuity Plans can be as large or small as complex or simple as you consider necessary. They do though need to be living documents, if possible rehearsed. A full scale exercise isn’t essential. Just consider something along the lines of what if the internet and email were unavailable for a period of time? How would you / your business fair? I suggest it’s seriously worth thinking about.

I sincerely hope the unexpected doesn’t happen, but if it does, perhaps you will have a plan so that it’s expected.

Jeremy’s jottings do not constitute advice on any specific matter. The information is provided for the purposes of general information and interest. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements. It does not constitute advice and does not provide a substitute for it. No liability can be accepted by Lawson Commercial for any action taken or not taken as a result of the jottings.

Refurbished Industrial Units Available Late 2014

Refurbishment works are well under way at the Knights Business Centre, part of the Squires Farm Industrial Estate. were 8 units are being created, There are 3 adjoining units from 2,783 sq ft to 2,930 sq ft, one large unit of 5,789 sq ft which could have a yard attached if required and 4 units of around 1,450 sq ft each. Works being carried out include new separation walls, extra insulation, overhauled roofs, new electric roller shutter doors, new cloakroom & tea station facilities + redecoration.

The site is located some 2 miles from Uckfield town centre but only 1.2 miles from the A22 Halland junction so easily accessible. The units provide a very valuable resource of extra industrial accommodation for Uckfiled.  and are ideal for a variety of light industrial or storage uses. For further information and to view do give us a call.

Low Cost Offices in Buxted

Refurbishment works continue at The Granary, part of Lower Totease Farm just off Framfield Road in Buxted, To encourage early occupation the rent has been reduced to £6,900 per annum which for a building of just over 1,100 sq ft represents very good value for money. The building will be offered with new electric panel heating, carpets, new decorations and refurbished cloakroom facilities. Why not give us a call for arrange a viewing?