Reigate & Banstead Borough Council to enter into joint venture

Proposals to form a joint venture to bring forward plans to develop a business park on the outskirts of Horley were agreed by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council’s Executive at their meeting on 15 October 2015.

Located north of the M23, close to Gatwick and road and rail networks, the development of about 70 hectares would be delivered over a 10 year period.

Cllr Mrs Natalie Bramhall, Executive Member for Property and Regeneration, said: “We have a significant opportunity for the council to secure the delivery of what could potentially be a leading business park in the South East and a strategically important employment site nationally.

“If given the go ahead, it would create thousands of new jobs and attract significant inward investment, which will massively boost the borough’s local economy, particularly in and around Horley.

“We have already undertaken a variety of studies that indicate that the venture is viable and its success does not depend upon any expansion of Gatwick.”

The Council’s Five Year Plan (2015-2020) and its Core Strategy both recognise that promoting the borough as a good place to do business is important in attracting increased inward investment and delivering economic benefits and jobs for residents.

However, recent experience has shown that existing and new businesses looking to invest in the borough have been unable to find office accommodation that meets their needs and are locating elsewhere.

In addition, a lack of employment land for new development and inward investment has been identified as one of the issues inhibiting economic growth of the Gatwick Diamond sub-region, the heart of which covers the southern part of the borough.

This has highlighted a need for new larger-scale strategic employment provision in the borough. Forming a joint venture will enable the council to work with other landowners to bring forward this opportunity in a proactive and managed way.

The council recognises the importance of communicating with stakeholders and landowners and this will take place over the coming weeks and months as plans evolve. The joint venture would then hold a pre-application consultation on plans for the development, followed by submission of an outline planning application.

The Executive considered another report at the same meeting which gives in principle agreement to make use of the council’s compulsory purchase order (CPO) powers to bring forward the scheme should it become necessary. Use of CPO powers would be a last resort if negotiations with third parties prove unsuccessful. Further reports would be required before the CPO process could begin.