The creation of new opportunities
Did you know that 81% of businesses in Sussex were started by individuals
and employ fewer than ten people? Its a miracle any businesses at all
survive in the Wealden District!
The majority of these were started by individuals like you; already
employed in the business community, or with a business idea they were
convinced would be a success. It's worth taking a look at the problems
other business people faced when moving into the Wealden area. They
did not know of the high rates (taxes) and harsh enforcement actions against
farmers and other skilled crafts persons, which in some case drove them to
the wall. One engineering firm at Mayfield scored when Wealden had
made an error on rateable value and still insisted the firm should pay
up. The Court ordered Wealden to rethink its demand.
Learning about the planning pitfalls on this site can dramatically
improve your chances of survival in the early stages.
Sussex Enterprise and other regional Enterprise
Agencies may be able to help in a number of ways by, for example:
Spend a little time now doing research, planning and seeking advice. This
can save a great deal of time, money and heartache.
Many people work from home nowadays and find it rewarding. If you are
planning to work at home or even if you already do, here are some of the
things that you should consider:
Being self-employed means you need to comply with the Inland Revenue
definitions. For example, do you risk your own money in the business, do
you provide the main items of equipment yourself, can you hire other
people to deliver your service or do you have to do it personally?
If you are a contractor be aware of the IR35 provisions. These are
Inland Revenue rules concerning services delivered through an
intermediary company and apply to all contracts agreed from 6 April 2000
onwards. You may need to speak to an accountant.
Check your insurance or mortgage arrangements, because you are working
There are health and safety implications, for example, the
correct equipment, sufficient space. Normally, you would require
separate toilet washing and food preparation facilities. We know
of several cases where Wealden District Council's enforcement officer,
David Phillips, has used ratepayers money to gain injunctions to remove
toilets/washing facilities, contrary to the Health & Safety
Regulations 1992. In one case at Herstmonceux in Sussex the
occupier was ordered to remove this equipment required by law. On
appeal to the High Court, they refused to allow a letter from the Health
& Safety Executive to be adduced - which proved H&S Regs. take
precedence. However, Dame Butler Schloss made it clear that after
removing the toilet, etc, to comply with the injunction, the owner
should refit the equipment to comply with H&S Regulations. So much
for justice! The situation was eventually restored but at a cost of
£20,000 in costs, plus the inconvenience of a two year wait and the
worry. That's Wealden
Enterprise, the 'voice of business for Sussex', welcomes you to our
website. For all your business needs - we are here to help you! We
are a membership
organisation, but also deliver business link and learn direct services
available to all businesses. Contact them on 0845 036 0144.
Creating new income streams for Farmers
Many rural businesses, especially farmers, are having to widen their sphere
of activity to make even a modest profit. Traditionally, they have been
producers of raw material but increasingly have to diversify to survive.
As a result of competitive pressures, farm incomes have become very
volatile and the average net profit of a British farm in 2001 was only £3,500.
This has forced the farmers to investigate alternative sources of income, to
look upon the farm as a business with assets to be exploited.
Some of the main types of diversification encountered are:-
Conversion of redundant buildings for non-farming uses:-
The conversion of barns for residential or light industrial use.
What are the chances of a fair determination?
The conversion of redundant outbuildings into holiday lettings.
What has been approved in your area?
The conversion of redundant buildings for light industrial use - such
as storage, craft-type industries, workshops and offices - is now a
major activity. Attractions include the rural setting, reasonable rents,
easy parking and the availability of local employees. Wealden are
particularly anti rural industrial developments - unless of course you
are in the club. A backhander might assist - but why should you
Within Sussex there has been a rapid growth in equestrian activities
and many farmers are converting outbuildings to provide stabling on full
livery on a DIY basis. Don't believe it. See the demolition
of the Bushy Wood stables - apparently Wealden hate horses, either that
or they discriminate between operators! It cost Mr &
Mrs Punter almost everything they had and ruined their lives.
Either way can you afford to take the risk.
Use of land for leisure activities:-
There are more than 150 farms in the county which offer a limited
caravanning capability with up to 5 vans per site.
Other farms have much larger caravan sites with full facilities. These
sites are registered with the Caravan Club of Great Britain and can
produce substantial extra revenues.
Another 'nice little earner' is the over-wintering of caravans and
display trailers to get them off the streets. This type of storage
requires little investment and can produce incomes of £150 to £200 per
annum per van.
A number of farmers have set up leisure activities on their land
including clay pigeon-shooting, quad bike racing, assault courses for
corporate use. Such activities may be planning control exempt if
only held for 28 days in the year, such as most boot fairs.
Creating added value to raw products:-
Many farmers have diversified into the processing of their own
products such as cheese making, yoghurt manufacture. Others suffer
discrimination and repeated harassment from Wealden's chief enforcement
officers, such as Hammer
Lane Farm, Horam and Hackhurst
The smaller meat producers are collaborating to set up a meat
marketing co-operative to sell their products through local outlets
including restaurants, pubs, butchers, pie makers etc. Farmers Markets
also form an important direct outlet for producers.
Finding Property in Sussex.
Moving into new offices - or starting to work from home - should be a
motivating experience. Whether you're looking for commercial property for
the first time or seeking a change, consider the main factors in advance, to
reduce the headaches later.
Thinking of Moving alerts you to the implications of
disruption, cost, location and property size.
Finding Premises helps you to distinguish between buying,
leasing, licensing; it provides sources and examples of business
accommodation in Sussex and beyond.
Equipping and Furnishing covers the considerations of fixtures
and fittings (including IT and planning matters), information on health
and safety plus ways of reducing your utility bills.
Working from Home looks at the legal, tax and other
implications of this popular alternative to going to the office
Rural Diversification helps you find property in converted farm
properties (outside the Wealden area).
Finance indicates various ways of meeting the costs and
possible funding sources.
Finding the right sort of office space for your business can be a challenge
- more so in some areas because of rogue planners. Wealden is widely
held to be one such affected area. In addition to the other farming
cases featured on this site, we know of several cases in the Wealden
District where fruit, fish and ostrich business/farm investments went pear
shaped because of Wealden's chief enforcement officer led harrassment!
You may want to think again about moving to Wealden. David Phillips is
reputed to have a "kills" collection - a personal library of
mobile home demolitions, on which evidence this council have apparently
promoted the gentleman. The message is clear! By comparison,
Eastbourne, Seaford, Bexhill, Worthing and other locations in Sussex offer
helpful advice and a friendly service. If these councils make a
mistake, you are more likely to see it resolved fairly and speedily - thus
reducing the damage to your enterprise.