A seventh generation developer returns home to Tunbridge Wells

A seventh generation developer returns home to Tunbridge Wells
John Elkington and his son Jack

London-based Penhurst Properties can trace its routes back to 1879, when the first John Elkington began a builder’s merchants in Tonbridge.

Mr Elkington’s great, great, great grandson, who shares his name, started his own business more than 30 years ago in London, but has returned to the area to convert one of the buildings previously occupied by law firm Thomson Snell & Passmore.

“I was born in Tunbridge Wells, so it is very much home to us, but we have primarily been operating in London in the buy-to-let market up until now,” said John Elkington, Chief Executive of Penhurst Properties. “So it really is nice to be involved in a project back here.”

The company, which 12 years ago also developed Riverside House, a business centre in River Lawn Road, Tonbridge – on the site of the original Elkington building firm – said it now plans to convert the £3million Lonsdale Gardens office complex in Tunbridge Wells into a similar development.

“We are planning to turn the main building into 45-50 serviced offices, complete with an upstairs gym, and then around nine to 13 residential flats at a later stage of the development,” Mr Elkington confirmed.

This is the second development being built on the site of the former Thomson Snell and Passmore buildings, with Billings Group already renovating Heathervale House next door, as well as the law firm’s former car park, which they plan to turn into office complex.

“The big selling point is the location, and being right in the heart of Tunbridge Wells,” continued Mr Elkington.

“We should be in a position to be able to begin letting office space around April or May. We think there is a big shortage of office space in the town, so we believe there is going to be a good market for it.”

To assist in the project, he has brought on board the next generation of John Elkingtons.

His son, the seventh generation of the family to take the name John Elkington – although he goes by the name of ‘Jack’ – has been appointed a Director on the project.

“I started doing work experience for the family when I was 15 and 16, but the work has always interested me” said the 25 year old.

“I enjoy the creative aspect of seeing properties complete.

“I have been involved with the London business for some time, mainly in the residential side, but it is great to be a director of the business centre side in Tunbridge Wells as well.”

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