Some disappointing news was confirmed to me last week – that Vega Controls are leaving Burgess Hill in the near future and moving to a new UK base in Maresfield. As mentioned in a previous edition, the reason for their departure is the fact that they are unable to find a suitable place to purchase in the Burgess Hill area.
Vega, a large German company with headquarters in the Black Forest in the town of Schiltach in SW Germany, has a turnover of around 400 million euros, has operations in 80 countries and employs 1400 people worldwide, 660 of them in Schiltach. In Burgess Hill they employ around 42 staff, and these employees, like the management of the company, would prefer to remain in Burgess Hill as many of them live in the town or nearby. At the Schiltach headquarters they develop solutions to demanding measuring tasks in a variety of industrial fields, developing innovative measurement technology that is easy to install and operate and offers maximum safety and reliability.
Company Secretary Kevin Griffiths told me that despite three years of looking for new premises, and despite having the cash to buy property, none was available for their needs on the business parks of Burgess Hill or in the near vicinity. Any premises they found which might have been suitable was not available to purchase, including one of the former Icon buildings.
Vega has been a loyal and active member of the BHBPA, and obviously we shall be very sorry to see them leave the area. They moved onto the Victoria Business Park in 1989, and have been members of the BHBPA for around eight years. In that time they have regularly participated in BHBPA activites and events, such as the Quiz Night, the Warrior Run and the Exhibition.
It appears to be another sign of short sighted planning policies, which leave successful, expanding local companies unable to find anywhere suitable for their changing needs here in Burgess Hill and so having to consider moving out of the area. There are at least five other companies who find themselves in a similar situation. This poses a potential long term to the town and the local area, for we do not want companies to leave, with the consequent loss of employment opportunities. Whilst we appreciate the new developments of commercial space to the west of the town, it has to be said that many members of the BHBPA are interested in buying a property, for obvious reasons, rather than simply renting and seeing no return on investment. Surely some land has to be freed up for successful companies to be able to purchase. Following a recent Steering Group meeting at the BHBPA, we shall be contacting the District Council, one of the largest landowners on the business parks, to let them know of the concerns expressed by businesses locally.