A ground-breaking office development to be created by Adur District Council will see 250 jobs retained in the area – and lead to the creation of 200 further posts in the next three years. The big boost for the local economy was revealed as the new tenants of the block in Shoreham were interviewed for the second edition of the Building AW magazine. In a bid to boost the local economy and generate a return to the taxpayer, the local authority is creating a new £10 million development on the former Civic Centre car park in Ham Road.
Artist’s impression of the proposed new private office development in Ham Road, Shoreham
In what is a rare move, the council will then lease the four-storey building to growing communications company Focus Group, who will relocate from their current base in Southwick. With contractors about to start work, the founders of the business revealed their plans in an interview for the second edition of Adur & Worthing Councils’ online magazine, which is designed to keep residents and business up-to-date with the ongoing change in the area.
As Ralph Gilbert, of Focus Group, explained:
“We currently have just over 200 staff in Sussex and our strategy is to look to expand by buying up other companies across the UK.”
“As we grow, the operational teams will be based at our head office in Shoreham, so this will be our home.”
“We anticipate that by the time we move in to the new site we will have well over 300 staff. Once we are in I think realistically we will create another 200 jobs in the first 18 months.”
“That’s obviously great news for us, local workers and the local economy.”
Photo: Chris Goodman and Ralph Gilbert, of Focus Group
The development will bring back into use the car park site which has been largely vacant since the Civic Centre closed in 2013. Council contractors are expected to start next month with work complete by 2019. Gilbert added:
“The whole team at the council have been brilliant. They realise the importance of keeping local companies in the area, in terms of jobs and the impact that has on the local economy.”
“If we would have moved out of the area then it would have really set us back too. We would have lost between 25 and 30 percent of our staff as they simply would not have been able to get there. Our staff are the most important part of our business, which is why the proposal was so critical for us.”
“I’m amazed that the council is doing this for us. I don’t think it will sink in until I can see those diggers! It can’t come soon enough for us all.”
Photo: The staff at Focus Group, currently based in Southwick, are moving to a new office block built by Adur DC
Building AW is a bright, informal 26-page online publication which will keep residents and businesses across both areas up-to-date with all the latest development in their communities.
Features in the February edition include Worthing Borough Council’s £3.5 million purchase of Union Place; the ongoing redevelopment of Shoreham Harbour which will bring more than 1,100 homes to the riverfront; and the unveiling of a grand vision to create ‘continental-style’ boulevards in Worthing town centre. The online publication also includes regular updates on some of the major projects across Adur and Worthing which are moving forward at speed. In their introductions to the edition, leaders said 2018 would see both areas make great strides in terms of redevelopment and growth.
Councillor Brian Boggis, Adur District Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said:
“We in Adur have an exiting 2018 ahead of us. It started early when we formally adopted the Adur Local Plan which presents us with a firm blueprint for the future of the whole area.”
“It recognises that we are a growing community and ensures that due consideration is given to quality residential development and the provision of the necessary infrastructure, such as education, health provision and employment, to avoid us just becoming a dormitory for the larger nearby conurbations.”
Councillor Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said:
“The year has started with a bang.”
“The council has taken the lead and site hoardings are up around Teville Gate. This spring will see us bring down the buildings we have control over as we nudge this overdue site forward for development, working with Mosaique to hold them to their promises to bring a planning application forward soon.”
“But not content with that, we have taken the initiative and have bought the vacant old police station site, we now have control of the key Union Place sites and will seek effective development partners in the coming months to deliver on this prime site.”
“Add to this our vision in the Seafront Investment Plan to improve our magnificent seafront, the partnership with West Sussex County Council to improve the town centre public realm and there is a lot to look forward to.”
“It will be a busy year but I think we’ve got off to a good start so far.”