Demolition begins at Parker Pen factory in Newhaven

It was the end of an era this week as demolition was in full swing at Parker Pen in Newhaven.

According to local history website Our Newhaven, there has been a pen factory on this site since the 1920s, providing residents with jobs for almost 100 years.

End of an era - Parker Pen factory, Newhaven.

End of an era - Parker Pen factory, Newhaven.

But now the iconic factory, which has stood empty since 2010, is making way for homes and a community centre.

Our Newhaven secretary Carol Walton said: “On a personal note, Parker Pen in Newhaven was a great company to work for with many lifelong friendships formed over the years and these will carry on long after the building has disappeared.

“A sad day for Newhaven but many happy memories will remain.”

Work underway at the site in Railway Road includes the removal of asbestos cement sheeting from the existing buildings and structures and stripping the buildings.

Developer Avalon, which is also behind the Asda supermarket and 180 homes scheme for Eastside, will remove the buildings down to floor level.

The next stage will be for an outline planning application to be submitted to Lewes District Council for permission to build houses, flats and a 200 seat community centre, as well as an enlarged recreation ground and new nursery and playgroup.

There are expected to be 105 two, three and four bedroom family homes, as well as 43 one and two bedroom flats and affordable housing.

There would also be strategic flood defences created to protect the north of the site, a 25 per cent extension to the existing recreation ground and a link with Railway Road, decontamination of the site and play areas.

It would provide a missing link between the approved Eastside development and Railway Road.

While so far the plans seem to have been broadly welcomed by the community, some residents have raised concerns about flooding and parking problems in the area.

Development of the site began in the First World War when it was used as a transit camp.

After the war it was developed as a fountain pen factory, with Parker Pen buying the site in 1941. The factory was closed in 2010.

Brighton architects firm Morgan Carn said despite being marketed since 2009 no new uses had been found.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher visited the factory on Monday October 10, 1988.

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