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New lease of life at former Parker Pen factory

Stonewater has celebrated the opening of Safford Park, its latest development of 145 energy-efficient new homes in East Sussex.
(L-R) Jonathan Layzell, Cllr Julie Carr, Maria Caulfield MP, Cllr Kim Bishop, Marie Riordan, Harvinder Dhami

Safford Park in Newhaven provides much needed new homes on the site of the former Parker Pen factory, and commemorates the history of the site with several public art features and sculptures.

Maria Caulfield, MP for Lewes, cut the ribbon to officially open the affordable homes site, which provides a mixture of flats and houses for affordable rent, shared ownership, and Rent to Buy.

Representatives from partners involved in the project, including Stonewater, construction firm Hill Partnerships, Newhaven Town Council, project management consultancy Thornton-Firkin LLP, and Morgan Carn architects, took a tour of the site including a look around customer Hazel Turner’s new home, followed by refreshments and vintage funfair stalls for customers and guests to enjoy.

Other event attendees included Elite Fabrication & Welding Ltd and Gary Smith who worked together to create unique ‘pen nib’ totems to mark the history of the former pen manufacturing site.

The development on Railway Road also features decorative metallic coloured bollards, designed by Newhaven-based Smith Metal Fabrications Ltd, and an information board detailing the history of the site, along with a play area for children, an adult outdoor gym, and a community garden which will be looked after by local residents with the assistance of Newhaven Town Council.

Completed in March this year, and using £4.4m funding from Homes England, the Newhaven development has been built with energy-efficiency and the reduction of residents’ bills in mind, featuring a range of measures including high levels of insulation and electric car charging points. Two local apprentices have also been given opportunities through the construction of the new homes.

In line with its sustainability and ecology priorities, Stonewater will also be maintaining areas of the local nature reserve, where more than 1,000 saplings have already been planted, and some of the houses on the development feature bee bricks to provide nesting sites for solitary bees.

Jonathan Layzell, Stonewater’s Chief Growth & Development Officer, said: “Not only does this interesting site provide a significant number of much needed new homes for local people in the area, it is also special for us in that we celebrated building Stonewater’s 5,000th new home since we formed in 2015, bringing us to a total of almost 1,500 homes in East Sussex.

“To see everyone coming together to celebrate the completion and success of the scheme on the former Parker Pen site made for a really special day, and we’d especially like to thank MP Maria Caulfield for cutting the ribbon and Hazel Turner for opening their lovely home to visitors on the day.”

Maria Caulfield, MP for Lewes added: “I am delighted to have been asked to attend the official opening of Stonewater’s Safford Park development which will provide the local community of Lewes with 145 urgently required affordable homes. The scheme has offered a new lease of life for the former Parker Pen factory site while honouring the contribution that it made to the area’s economy in the past.

“The provision of high-quality affordable homes is now more important than ever as many people face challenging times due to the cost-of-living crisis, while the energysaving features built into the homes will also benefit residents financially for generations to come.”

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