Benefits – Money
How the South Down Project could bring over a £billion of inward investment to our region
The site of the Shoreham Cement Works and its quarry are almost universally acknowledged as being an eye-sore, and in desperate need of revitalisation.
The site has a been a growing problem ever since the Cement Works was closed down by its then owners, Blue Circle Cement, and the old works buildings are now slowly decaying into ugly concrete scars in the surrounding Downland. On the other part of the site, to the west of the A283, the other concrete buildings are also decaying into a jumble of graffiti covered, broken windowed, ugly boxes, surrounded by a breaker’s yard of old disused buses and caravans.
And the whole of this 100 acre dilapidated site is in an area that is crying out for new homes, new jobs, and inward investment to assist the regional economy.
Fortunately, if delivered correctly, the South Down Project could play a key part in the future economic growth of the Coastal West Sussex sub-region. It is simply one of the most exciting regeneration opportunities in the south-east, with the opportunity to bring new homes, jobs, infrastructure and massive inward investment.
The project is likely to be the largest brownfield regeneration scheme for the south coast, and its long-term positive economic, social and cultural impact will benefit generations to come, providing much needed jobs, skills and training opportunities, new business and leisure accommodation and a vibrant cultural offer, as well as thousands of new homes.
The site of the South Down Project lies within the Coastal West Sussex area – still an underperforming part of the Coast to Capital economy. However, it may have the opportunity to build on the success of Brighton and Hove, in particular, if it can provide the housing, transport infrastructure and employment space required by residents and businesses alike.
The South Down Project could bring in £1.3billion of inward investment to the area, create over 1,500 construction jobs during its build, and an additional 4,400 new, permanent, employment opportunities for local people. In total it will provide around £90million annually to the local economy and an economic impact of close to £1billion over ten years.
It could also deliver 2,200 brand new homes to a region desperately trying to find space for people to live that doesn’t have a negative impact on its surrounding space – which this development wouldn’t.
Spreading the Benefits of Growth
The growth in employment and more productive economic activity in urban centres seem to be clear patterns, not just locally. The concentration of people and businesses attracts and retains talent. However, it can also lead to capacity constraints within small geographical areas and unaffordable housing costs for young and potentially mobile workers.
Projected population increases will require a considerable uplift in the rate of house building, compared with historic trends, but there will also be a need for sufficient employment space in the right locations, including the South Down Project, to ensure that Coastal West Sussex develops a vibrant economy with good quality jobs.
The resulting population growth has considerable infrastructure cost implications and there appears to be a clear gap in funding, which may be difficult to address through traditional means. The effective integration of housing, transport and employment are key to supporting economic development.
To our knowledge, none of the other suggested plans for the Shoreham Cement Works give the same huge inward investment and regeneration gain to the local communities and region. And the South Down Project is the only scheme that we are aware of that brings such large rewards in terms of new jobs and homes.
A part of the regeneration will be new jobs
A key benefit of the South Down Project will be the potential number of new jobs. With the project likely to be the largest brownfield regeneration scheme for the south coast, its impact could create new jobs in a region in which the pressure to create new, sustainable, jobs for our businesses and families is continuous.
It has been estimated that the South Down Project could create 1,500 construction jobs whilst the project is being built, and on its completion, create some 4,400 new, permanent, employment opportunities for local people.
The growth in employment and more productive economic activity in urban centres seem to be clear patterns, not just locally. Projected population increases will require a considerable uplift in the rate of house building, compared with historic trends, but there will also be a need for sufficient employment space in the right locations, including the South Down Project, to ensure that Coastal West Sussex develops a vibrant economy with good quality jobs.
Can the vision for new jobs become a reality?
The South Down Project is already working with the leading professionals in our region to determine exactly how the project will benefit the local, and regional, businesses and workforce.
We’ve already done a lot of work in this area, but there’s still a lot to do, and we want the choices offered by the site to reflect the needs and opinions of the local communities and stakeholders, so if you have ideas about what new jobs might mean to you and your family, business or organisation, do tell us, and we’ll pass your ideas on to our professionals.
A part of the regeneration will be new homes
Because the region is under continuous pressure to find space for new homes, and because the Local Authorities of Adur & Worthing, Horsham, West Sussex and Brighton, are all being asked by the Government to find the space for new homes, it would appear to be completely logical that a disused and deserted chalk pit be converted into a thriving, modern, sustainable, community of some 2,200 new homes.
The logic is incontrovertible: take a 100 acre site that is currently an eye-sore, and poses a nuisance and a potential danger, and develop it into a beautiful place to live, work and visit.
Can the vision for new homes become a reality?
The South Down Project estimates that it can deliver 2,200 brand new, hi-tech, Smart, homes, in the form of Self-build homes and Custom Build apartments.
We’ve already worked a lot on the potential new homes, and the architectural aspirations in general, of the South Down Project, and we’re also talking to the Local Authorities and the key stakeholders about exactly what they’d like to see.
But we want what happens in the chalk pit to reflect the needs and opinions of the local communities, so if you have ideas about what these new homes should be like, do tell us, and we’ll pass your ideas on to the architectural team.
What SHOULD be done with the site?
With the South Downs National Park now in the process of deciding exactly what should happen at the Cement Works site, the choices that confront the Park Authorities are the same as those that confront the local communities, local Authorities, local businesses, families, Politicians and all the other stakeholders:
- Do we leave the site as it is?
- Do we try and implement some low-grade development?
- Do we take full advantage of the opportunity?
Want to know more about the regeneration potential?
Local policy makers have published a series of background reports to inform economic development priorities in Greater Brighton and West Sussex. These are:
- GBEB Background Paper 1: Economy – Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners – May 2015
- GBEB Background Paper 2: Housing Market – Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners – May 2015
- GBEB Background Paper 3: Transport System – Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners – May 2015
- The West Sussex Infrastructure Study (draft) – AECOM – August 2015
- Coast to Capital Infrastructure Study (draft) – Arup – August 2015