Former brickworks headquarters becomes thriving business estate

JPCT 12-10-12 S12420252X  Graylands industrial estate, Rusper - photo by steve cobb
JPCT 12-10-12 S12420252X Graylands industrial estate, Rusper - photo by steve cobb

Two years since acquiring the property, the owners of a business estate north of Horsham have announced full occupation of the site.

Ashley Nicholson, partner at Verve Properties, said: “It’s slightly urban, a bit of London out in a countryside setting.”

He added: “We have a solid irreverence about what we do.

“We have a relationship with our tenants, and we are always highly available.”

Companies on-site include Unibind, a company that employs around 50 people, a global leader in the production of binding equipment, books, and presentation products.

Home Instead Senior Care, which has run for a year as a home care agency for elderly patients, Jojo’s Cafe, and charities as well as small start-ups and local inventors are others based at Graylands.

Mr Nicholson said that in addition to the beautiful setting, their flexible leases, and price of business space is very attractive for small businesses.

Creating a sense of community is vital in places like this, he said, so that the firms that surround each other can be of benefit to each other, both formally, and casually, engendering a positive atmosphere.

Some have come from working at home, others from smaller business centres.

He explained: “We do like to encourage a community so they get the advantage of being a big business.

“We try to give as landlord the facilities that a benevolent employer might provide that you do not have as a small company.”

There are barbecue facilities, showers for those cycling to work, and there are communal spaces for people wanting to share a coffee or cigarette during a break.

One of their buildings hires out its rooms to start-up businesses, catering for businesses just getting on the ladder. Verve were founded in 1999 and now have ten sites, most of them within a few hours of London.

Everything was green-looking at Graylands and most of the buildings were structurally sound, but just unloved Mr Nicholson said.

He added: “It’s not been difficult. People have been very happy here. They are a good bunch. It’s a nice place to work.”

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