Gatwick Diamond Economic Summit Held

08 July 2019

The 2019 Gatwick Diamond Economic Summit took place on Thursday 20 June in Crawley, attracting  165 business leaders, policymakers, developers, landowners and educationalists.  The event focused on the opportunity presented by the 5 million sq. ft of new commercial employment land identified within the nine Gatwick Diamond councils’ Local Plans.

After many years of limited new commercial space to accommodate enquires from existing and relocating businesses, there was a consensus by those present at the event that the new business parks will stimulate renewed interest in the Gatwick Diamond’s vibrant economy, but that more employment land is needed.

However, Rosemary French OBE, Executive Director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative asked if consideration had been given to where the estimated 29,000 employees needed are going to come from to fill the new jobs created on the proposed business parks.  She said: “With such a tight labour market, our councils and the Coast to Capital LEP must promote, encourage and facilitate a live local, work local policy to reduce the outflow of commuters every day.”

The economic summit also featured speakers from commercial agents, transport operators and West Sussex County Council.  It was chaired by Victoria Kerton, Regional Director at NatWest.

In his keynote video address, Stewart Wingate, CEO of London Gatwick Airport, explained how Vinci, (the new majority owner) would continue to invest in infrastructure and engage with stakeholders ensuring that its passenger growth would benefit the local economy.

Adam Godfrey, Senior Partner at SHW, spoke about the proposals for further business parks in Horley, Billingshurst, Horsham and Burgess Hill.  He said that “whilst it is great to see businesses expanding and new companies relocating to the Gatwick Diamond region, the current allocation is simply not enough to satisfy the demand for warehouse, light industrial and office space.”

Andrew Osborne, Partner at Vail Williams talked about several other mixed-use developments whilst John Atkins, Managing Director of Atkins Property presented the results of a recent Savills report.

Lee Harris, Executive Director Economy, Infrastructure & Environment at West Sussex County Council presented plans for the new Horsham Enterprise Park (also known as the Novartis Enterprise Park) which will provide 250,000 sq. ft of additional commercial space next to the rail station and close to Horsham town centre.

There was also a panel session which covered rail transport infrastructure, the redevelopment of Overline House at Crawley Railway Station and the importance of creating convivial spaces that were supportive of employee wellbeing.

Organised by 3Fox International, the event was sponsored by the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, London Gatwick Airport, Glenbeigh Developments, Horley Business Park, Mayfields Market Towns, the Wilky Group, Tungsten Properties, Vail Williams and NatWest.

View all the presentations at

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