Market Insight

Repurpose, reuse and reinvest: Chertsey’s time to shine

The historical town of Chertsey is an undeniably pretty location in the Borough of Runnymede, Surrey, located close to the M25 southwest of London.
March 21, 2024
Photo of a bridge in Chertsey over a river with old-style street lights on.
With good connectivity to the City and situated in close proximity to Heathrow airport, it has always had a good nucleus of office occupiers, lured by its attractive location next to the River Thames.

In the 1990s, part of Chertsey town was ‘revitalised’ with modern offices and apartments. But over the last ten years, Chertsey has slowly lost its nucleus of office occupiers to other nearby towns which have either benefitted from town centre regeneration programmes or the delivery of high quality, refurbished office stock.

However, Chertsey’s fortunes could be about to turn, as Surrey-based office agency Partner, Charlie Nicholson, explores.

Replete with historical and listed buildings including the Benedictine monastery Chertsey Abbey on the banks of the River Thames, and the open meadows of local nature reserves like Chertsey Meads, it goes without saying that Chertsey is a picture-postcard place to live.

Not only that, but residential values here have also been relatively stable, in spite of the economic challenges of the last 12 months, with average house prices at £428,590 in 2023.

No wonder then, that with the arrival of permitted development rights, and faced with being priced out of office redevelopment, many property investors have converted their vacant office assets in and around the station area, for residential use.

The same trend has been true across the Borough, with Egham also experiencing a rise in the repurposing of office stock in favour of residential use.

Repurpose, reuse, revive

The repurposing of much of the town’s office stock has had the dual benefit of meeting the housing requirements of the adopted 2030 Local Plan to accommodate the Borough’s growing population, whilst retaining asset value for the investors.

Today, Laser House on Guildford Street which is currently under offer, is being marketed for sale at £1.3m and is ripe for the same treatment. It has prior approval for eight residential units with a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments and includes two retail investment properties.

Meanwhile, a current office HQ at Abbey Groves which is for sale on Windsor Street, also has the opportunity to be reinvented for medical, R&D or residential use as well as its existing use. Demand for this building has been strong, owing to prior approval having been granted for its redevelopment into 16 residential units.

And there are more opportunities to convert offices for residential use in and around Abbots Way, Station Road and Pyrcroft Road in the town. But alongside the provision of more residential housing supply, we need to see more investment in Chertsey’s leisure and retail offer.

Future investment in retail pivotal to success

According to the  2030 Local Plan, new town centre development and regeneration will be promoted in Chertsey over the Plan period to “offer an enhanced range of retail and leisure opportunities for residents, workers and visitors to the Borough having been the focus for regeneration.”

This, together with improvements to the public realm of Guildford Street (North) and grants of up to £20,000 for Chertsey businesses wanting to smarten up their shop fronts, will have a positive aesthetic impact on the town.

The grant scheme is focussed on small businesses and those with heritage shop fronts within the Chertsey Conservation Area and can pay for everything from new shop fronts to repairs, restoration work and new signage, intended to be more in keeping with the heritage of the area.

The Council has chosen to focus these grants on Chertsey’s main shopping area as a mark of its intent for the future improvement of the town, following successful regeneration schemes in Addlestone and Egham town centres.

This will be welcome and will help to support local residents, as well as potentially attracting more office occupiers back to the town, who will benefit from the range of independent retailers and cafés which flourish well here alongside the more homogenous, larger retail brands.

Photo of the front of Chertsey Museum

“We will do all we can to make the trading environment attractive and successful for them by providing significant financial assistance to freshen up their frontages where they want it. In doing so, we will encourage more shoppers through their doors by creating an environment people enjoy spending time, by restoring and enhancing the local character of the town centre area.”

Cllr Tom Gracey, Leader of Runnymede Borough Council.
Headshot photo of Tom Gracey

Office market still has potential 

Despite the conversion to residential of much of its office space, there is still an active swathe of office demand here with major occupiers including Samsung, Toshiba, Compass Group, F5, Kone Lifts and DHL.

Whilst it is challenging to hold onto a nucleus of occupiers when you have towns such as Staines, Woking and Weybridge within a short drive, it is not impossible for us to see an office market revival in Chertsey, particularly amongst the SME market and provided there is further investment to reinvent assets here.

One of the attractions of the Chertsey office market is that the rental tone within the town is comparatively discounted, with rents some 20–30% lower than equivalent accommodation in adjoining town locations and business parks.

We are expecting this office space to attract occupiers back to the town, where rents for Grade A and Grade B sit at £25,00 – £28.00 psf, currently.

We are already seeing positive movement at out-of-town locations including Hillswood Business Park which has recently announced the letting of the entire 1000 building to Air Products who are relocating from Hersham.  Air Products are reportedly paying £37.50 psf for this carbon neutral, high quality refurbished building by Legal and General.

Industrial demand remains steady

The Chertsey industrial market is active and, if developers or owner occupiers can get their hands on industrial land for development, you would do well here.

Demand continues to outstrip available supply, with most units let immediately upon becoming available.

This is what we have witnessed at Chertsey Industrial Park on Fordwater Trading Estate, which, boasting an EPC rating of A, has just three out of eight industrial units remaining to let. We also recently completed a 10,000 sq ft letting nearby to Brooklands Automotive and expected rents are now in excess of £20.00 psf.

Chertsey has a range of second-hand industrial stock, and we have just concluded lettings on two small second hand industrial units in Chertsey of 1,800 and 2,600 sq ft achieving in excess of £16.00 psf.

However, it would be good to see investment in the refurbishment of some existing industrial units in the area, improving quality and sustainability credentials to meet occupier demands.

It would seem that the theme for Chertsey this year is one of reuse and reinvestment – whether repurposing stock for alternative uses to meet local demand or reinvesting in the town centre or its industrial stock.

If achieved to the right extent, this focus on revitalising property assets and the wider town centre, will help give Chertsey its time to shine.

Images © Runnymede Borough Council.


If you are interested in investing in commercial property or development land in Chertsey, or would like to source new office, retail or industrial premises here, our Surrey-based agents can help. Get in touch for more information.

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