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Office space 'crisis' helped by Auction House conversion

by William Mata

Office space 'crisis' helped by Auction House conversion

Offices could now be built on the former Tunbridge Wells Auction House in Linden Park Road.

Under plans, the building would be redeveloped and would change use after the Auction House closed earlier this year in its original function.

A planning application has been lodged with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and is now being processed.

Development consultants Kember Loudon Williams submitted the application

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Their application letter read: “Regrettably, it is proving increasingly difficult to let and maintain the current auction house.

“This is due to a combination of the general downturn in retail/sales activity and the ever-increasing presence and competition from web-based auction sites.

“The latter in particular has had a serious impact on the application site and resulted in a high turnover of tenants, many of whom have defaulted on their lease agreements.”

Business

But the loss of the auction house might be to the gain of the business community.

Tunbridge Wells has suffered with a widely-reported loss of office space in recent years with 22 per cent being lost in the past five years.

This is because of relaxed permitted development rights allowing landlords relative ease to change offices into more profitably property.

This is something the borough council is hoping to put an end to by bringing in safeguarding legislation.

Under plans, the auction house’s bricked exterior would be replaced by glass windows.

Kember Loudon Williams said the new offices will be ‘flexible’ and ‘would support a combination of start-up businesses and individuals’.

The statement continued: “It is hoped the combination of commercial / business use will foster growth and help to offset some of the employment and office space lost through the permitted development rights.

“This is most notable at Union House, to the north west of the application site.”