Cobbler's Thumb, Brighton

Shipping containers: 8 small business units,


  • 8 small business units, which range from 5 to 28 square metres.
  • 10 weeks to complete.
  • Fully occupied within 2 weeks.
  • The project was handed over on time with zero defects.
  • All key suppliers & sub-contractors were employed locally.
"Brighton Energy Co-op has been based at the Cobbler’s Thumb site for two months. The containers are a cosy, well-equipped home for us; not to mention the huge amount of interest from passers by!".
Will, Director, Brighton Energy Co-op
pop-up buildings interim use

The Cobbler's Thumb Development opened its gates in December 2014. It took just 10 weeks to complete the development of 8 small business units, which range from 5 to 28 square metres. Restricted access on site called for strict phasing and co-ordination of deliveries.

The scheme, which is fully moveable, has a temporary 5 year planning consent.

It has proved very popular locally and was fully occupied within 2 weeks with a lengthy waiting list. The development offers a range of unit sizes, a diverse set of tenants and communal kitchen and toilet facilities and allows businesses the opportunity to access dynamic, flexible and adaptive spaces.

"Cobbler’s Thumb responds to Brighton & Hove's need for more affordable commercial space,” comments Ross Gilbert managing director QED. "This ‘meanwhile use’ or ‘interim' development has provided space for a wide variety of businesses to thrive and many say they benefit from the unique cache their workspaces offer. Had the site remained fallow until a suitable use could be agreed, none of this would have been possible".

Currently Cobbler's Thumb is home to a family-owned start-up fashion brand, a carpenter, a potter, a 3D printer, a local renewable energy co-operative, a music producer and a fitness instructor.

QED are currently working to bring similar schemes forward. If you are interested in pop-up small business spaces in Brighton please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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