Bexhill new housing development - Ambers Rise near Ravenside

There are a lot of different views about the new Marks & Spencers currently being built at Ravenside Retail Park and how it may affect the local small businesses on the high street in Bexhill.  

I personally do not believe Marks & Spencers (M&S) will affect the trade on the high street as I’m not aware of any small business that sells ready-made meals and expensive food on the high street.  The only trader who will need to be vigilant on the high street is M&Co as Marks & Spencers sell similar types of clothes, but people will still have to drive to Ravenside.  The cost of fuel and the age demographics on the Bexhill high street should leave M&Co in a good position.  I did receive a tweet (follow me @JwLay) from a gentleman stating that M&S also sell soft furnishings and gifts which many of the shops on the high street sell.  Maybe so, but Tesco also sell similar products to a degree so it a difficult argument. 

Regardless I do not believe the Bexhill high street should be concerned about M&S.  A key driver for M&S moving to Bexhill is because of the new Ambers Rise development by Barratt Homes.  I am actually pro-new build, even though additional housing could drive down the value of existing properties in the area.  My view is that I fundamentally believe that people need to have the opportunity to own their home.

After reviewing the indicative plan published by Barrett Homes for the Ambers Rise development it appears that 65 new homes will be built in Bexhill.  You can see the development very clearly on the north side if you ride the train from St. Leonard's to Bexhill.  


There are a variety of houses in this development from affordable housing to large 4 bed detached family homes but the location is very close to Ravenside Retail Park.  Residents will be able to walk to either Ravenside or the high street, although Ravenside might be marginally closer.  

This development is being fueled in part by the current government scheme “Help to Buy” and looks fairly attractive. This is one of ways the Chancellor plans to turn the economy around. Barrett’s website states:

Help to Buy is the brand new Government-backed scheme, launched in the recent budget. Those looking to buy a new home (whether first time buyers or existing home owners) only need a 4% deposit to buy a new Barratt home, up to £600,000 in value, and qualify for some of the best mortgage rates available.

These incentives are driving home builders to take more risks in hopes that people will be able to purchase new homes; although, the concern still remains that stunted wages and high inflation continue to plague economic growth.  So would the housing market be active otherwise without government stimulation? Probably not.

As for the impact of Marks & Spencers to the high street shops, it can be seen as a win-win as some of the new residents of Ambers Rise will come to the town centre. Shopkeepers will have the opportunity to grow their business too.   I hope that Bexhill continues to progress through developments and regeneration projects but our high street businesses will need to focus on customer service and retention.  Its not just about price and big discounts but the personal service that shopkeepers provide to customers.



Posted 286 weeks ago

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