Building Over Carden Park c. 1967

Carden Park before construction of the new factory c. 1966 (with the CVA/Kearney and Trecker 1958 No 6 factory in the background)
From the private collection of Peter Groves
Construction starts on Carden Park c. 1967 (in front of the 1958 CVA/Kearney and Trecker No 6 factory)
From the private collection of Gil Percy
The new Kearney and Trecker factory (designated No 8 factory)
From the private collection of Peter Groves

In 1966 Brighton Machine Tool Manufacturer CVA/Kearney & Trecker wanted to expand their facilities at Hollingbury Industrial Estate, however, Carden Park occupied the land on which they wished to build.  Discussions were held with Brighton Council in the summer of 1966.  Although the proposal was supported by many of the Planning Committee, the Parks Committee were strongly opposed to the release of the 5-acre park.  Brighton Council asked the government to intervene, and although wishing to help, were not able to ascertain procedures had to be followed to comply with the law.

Trump card

The Company soon played its trump card by producing a letter from East Kilbride Development Corporation.  The letter offered the Brighton company cheap industrial development and housing land in Scotland.  Brighton Council had many reasons for concern, apart from the £1 million the company put into the local economy and 1700 jobs.  Also, the existing factory buildings were leased from Brighton Council at a rent of £42,000 per year, plus £24,000 per year rates.  The Council had borrowed the money to build the factories and was repaying this at 2.5% above the base rate.  If the Company moved to East Kilbride would anyone else want the huge factories?  This was the persuading factor, the Parks Committee relented and the proposal was approved.  The building of No 8 Assembly and Warehouse factory was underway.

Before, during and after

These photos show the site before, during and after construction; the new factory opened in 1969.  The Company also had further plans to build offices right out to the road, with a prestigious glass walk-way over Carden Avenue. However, this was not to be as the UK Machine Tool Industry went into decline in the 1970s due to competition from the Far East.  By the mid-1980s the industrial estate shifted away from manufacturing and towards retail.  Firstly the huge Asda store to the north, and then the equally large MFI furniture store in front of the 1969 assembly factory were built.  By the early 1990s, the Company consolidated to the 1958 premises and the assembly factory was modified for the Evening Argus, who built a new print room within the factory.  Currently, the factory is empty and hidden behind the Next, Argos and M&S buildings which face Carden Avenue.  Of course, Carden Park still exists, but much reduced in size, from its pre-1966 area!

Comments about this page

  • I am not certain if this is about the same building, but the former Argus office and print area mentioned above has been demolished and is now under re-construction for a Jaguar Land Rover distributor.

    By Dr Geoffrey Mead (20/02/2020)
  • No Geoffrey, the demolished CVA/K&T No 2 Factory adjacent to Crowhurst Road (built c. 1950) became the Argus offices about 1990, but not the Print Room. The Argus acquired the 1967 No 8 Factory at the same time and installed huge printing press in that factory which was behind the No 2 Factory. If its any help to you have a look at the 1948 map here:

    The No 2 Factory (built c. 1950’s) now demolished for the Jaguar showroom, was on the spot marked AVAILABLE, the 1967 factory was built adjacent to the south, on the area shown as PROPOSED PLAYING FIELDS.

    If you look now on Google Maps, the 1967 factory is still there (although roof much altered to allow for the height of the huge Argus press) wedged between Bestway to the East and Argos/Next to the West. I hope this helps!

    By Peter Groves (20/02/2020)

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