As brownfield sites go, this former brickworks premises in the midst of the Sussex countryside certainly raised a number of challenges. An existing business that was looking to relocate, an emerging plan allocation that was seeking to identify the site for a waste use, and an initial reaction from the local planning authority that suggested residential development was unlikely to be viewed favourably. Throw in a range of technical and contamination obstacles, and a wary local residents group, and the prospects of successfully redeveloping the site looked difficult.
In spite of this, EASL was convinced that the site was worth pursuing – that its natural beauty, with its man-made lake, protected woodland and redundant buildings was the right combination to re-introduce the site to the community, which in many respects had been cut off and isolated during its former employment use. Working together with the local community, parish council, local planning authority and EASL’s own team of advisors, EASL was able to secure planning permission for a development that includes residential properties and a cluster of small business units. Once built out, the site will make a positive contribution to Old Hamsey, and turn a largely forgotten site into an active, vibrant, residential and employment enclave, where the wider community can enjoy improved access to the surrounding woodland and lake.