A great opportunity has just become available to acquire a freehold shop in one of the very best trading locations in Uckfield. Despite the fact that we have two prospective tenants for this property unfortunately the funding Bank wanted their money back and have appointed an LPA Receiver. Thus there is now the chance to buy the freehold of the entire building subject to a 99 year lease on a 3-bedroomed flat on the 1st & 2nd floors above. The flat was sold in 2006 and a ground rent is payable of £100 for the first 33 years which then rises. The ground floor shop does require some work particularly in the rear storage area where there is evidence of water penetration. There is also a quantity of rubbish which has been left by the previous tenant. The property is being sold as seen. The owner of the building is responsible for all external maintenance but is able to claim a proportion of the costs back from the flat occupier via a service charge. So an ideal opportunity either for an investor, where we already have two potential tenants, or for an owner occupier.
Following the acquisition a year or so ago of Pentagon House on the Farningham Road Estate by Windmill Feeds, they have now split the building and the rear section of just under 4,000 sq ft is available to rent. Planning permission was obtained in 2013 for continuing to use the building as B8 storage with an ancillary retail counter equating to a maximum of 10% of the gross floor area. This presents an excellent opportunity for an independent to obtain a trade counter type of warehouse. It is available from at from £6.50 per sq ft depending upon occupier’s requirements. It is one of the few buildings available in Crowborough currently so well worth considering.
Well last Friday was certainly a different day. In the 37 years that our partner Chris Lawson has been in business he has come across a few dubious sites but never previously repossessed a building and found a cannabis farm inside it.
Following continued non-payment of rent the freeholders of a property in Heathfield asked Lawson Commercial to take the necessary steps to legally repossess the building. A County Court bailiff was duly appointed and arrangements made to attend the property with locksmiths etc. When the team arrived on site on Friday it took the locksmiths some time to gain access as not only the exterior doors but also a succession of interior doors had to be drilled. Suspicions were aroused when the team came across a large number of flower pots, hydroponic bulbs and compost. On breaching the next door the team were astonished to find not just a few cannabis plants but 100s and 100s growing with all the standard paraphernalia involved in growing including strong lighting and heating.
The police were immediately called and are now in control of the building as a major crime site.
Many people will know that our partner Chris Lawson has been very vociferous in his opposition to the Councils Regeneration Group proposal to remove car parking spaces in Uckfield High Street. Whilst he appreciates the ideas behind widening the pavements plus putting tress and seating in, this will not help the retail health of the Town. There are plenty of examples around the southern region, probably the most significant being East Grinstead, where this type of so-called improvement has been tried and found to completely destroy the character and health of the town.
Unfortunately councillors seem to grossly underestimate the great advantage to a shopper of being able to park in the High Street, pop in, get a few items and then leave. Even if they don’t actually find a space the possibility acts as a draw. The importance of that facility should not be underestimated and if all the free spaces in the High Street are removed it will deter shoppers. In addition we have first hand knowledge that, with the Stage I works that took 9 weeks to be completed, there were a significant number of retailers who suffered dramatic drops in trade and in some instances they have not seen that trade recover even though the works were finished some weeks ago. The thought of the proposed 32 week disruption of Stage II fills them with horror.
Chris felt so concerned about this issue that he prepared a Report which has been sent to all the town councillors and to the district and county councillors on the Regeneration Group, all of whom are responsible for implementing this policy. Councillor Harker, who is a member of the Uckfield Town Council and is chairman of this Group has promised at a recent Chamber meeting that there will be a review of Stage II.
If you are interested in reading/downloading Chris’s Report click here http://lawsoncommercial.co.uk/files/uck_high_st_report.pdf.
After a couple of abortive transactions we are pleased to say that a sale has now gone through on the office building known as New Olives set back from the High Street behind the Halifax Bank. It used to be part of the headquarters for Swindells the Accountants but became surplus to requirements once they moved to their new headquarters in Bell Lane. It is a 2-storey building, part Victorian and part 1980s extension, of just under 2,000 sq ft with pedestrian access only from the High Street. The property has been acquired by an architect who lives locally and who had traditionally worked in London but has now decided to open his own practice in Uckfield. He will not, at least initially, require all the space for his own occupation together with his artist wife and is intending to create some serviced offices on an easy in, easy out basis. This is something which could be attractive as we do get enquiries from time to time from people seeking space on this basis and there is very little available of that type in the town centre.
Following a successful move to superb new premises at 146 High Street in Uckfield the proprietors of Josefina, the specialist and award winning retailers of hand painted unique furniture, have instructed Lawson Commercial to market their former premises at 184 High Street. This is a delightful small shop ideal for a retailer specialising in small items and it also has the benefit of 3 years to run on the lease. This means that someone can go in, test the market for a few years and then, if they are successful renew the lease if they want or walk away if they prefer.