It is hoped that the project, which has been in the pipeline over the past few years, will start in 2021.

The estate, which was originally built in the early 1980s, needs redeveloping and refurbishing. This is due to the age of the site; the need to meet the latest regulations; and the council's desire to provide quality accommodation.


As things stand, the site only offers basic communal facilities; many of the units need rewiring; more than half of the units do not meet the latest energy performance standards; and the majority of units need significant refurbishment.


"The Chichester District is home to a diverse and interesting range of businesses and we are pleased that this project will provide modern industrial premises in this convenient location," says Cllr Martyn Bell, Cabinet Member for Growth, Place and Regeneration at Chichester District Council. "By making these changes it means that we can bring the whole site back into use and deliver the quality accommodation that businesses have told us they want to see.


"Over the past few years, we have been speaking to our tenants at St James Industrial Estate about the need to redevelop and refurbish the estate, and recent lettings have been agreed with the knowledge that this project was likely to begin in the near future.


"Supporting local businesses is critical for us, and our Estates team have been working with tenants to understand their short and long term requirements in order to help identify suitable relocation options and to discuss the opportunities around returning to the site.


"We are speaking to the businesses regularly to keep them updated on all of the work we are doing behind the scenes to assist them. Our Economic Development Team has also been on hand for all of the tenants, and one of the Economic Development Officers has been calling in to the businesses to offer individual help and support.


"We also informed tenants some time ago that consultants and experts would be carrying out investigations to advise the council on the best way to refurbish and redevelop the site. I'm pleased to say that we are now at a point where we are ready to invest in the site, which will ensure that it is fit for purpose moving forward and which will also bring significant long term benefits to the local economy.


"Around half of the units are currently unoccupied because of the improvements required. However, through the feedback we have received from businesses, we know that the area needs modern and quality business accommodation.


"In order to move ahead with the redevelopment and refurbishment of the estate, we will need the site to be vacated by the end of the year. We investigated whether part of the site could continue to function while the works started, but unfortunately this was not an option. Our officers will continue to work closely with the individual businesses on the site to assist them."


The council is currently looking at design options for St James. What is known is that the site will remain in industrial use and will continue to offer small units. It is hoped that work will start on the site in 2021 and will be open for business in 2022.


Date of release: 27 February 2020

Reference: 3952