Date: 20th September 2016
A boom in office-based business has seen the highest take-up of offices in the Enterprise M3 area since the recession lead to a lack of high-quality premises in some areas. At the same time there is a serious shortage of light industrial units available for small and medium-sized enterprises.
This was the key message of the Enterprise M3 infrastructure event that took place on Monday the 19th of September in Guildford.
A key element of the event at the Guildford Harbour Hotel was the launch of a new study, the Enterprise M3 Commercial Property Market Study. The study revealed that take-up of office space in 2015 was the highest it has been since before the downturn. More than 5,500 new businesses, including 22,000 jobs, have been created in the area between 2010 and 2014. This was one of the fastest growth rates of any LEP in the country and was driven by strong growth in those high-skill, office-based sectors, such as professional services, which are well-established in Enterprise M3. If the area is to continue to grow at this rate more high-quality office space must be made available. The Enterprise M3 area has also seen a persistent shortage of available industrial space. This includes light industrial space but particularly warehousing in edge-of-town locations, which could attract new investment to the LEP area.
Regeneris has carried out the study, and recommended that the Enterprise M3 LEP intervene to address market failure and bring more business space forward. A series of recommendations include working with neighboring LEPs and local authorities to identify new sites and help bring them to the market. This work is already underway through the development of the area’s Enterprise Zone which will pave the way for millions of pounds of inward investment and create thousands of new jobs. Other recommendations include supporting reforms to the Permitted Development Rights policy to ensue more flexibility and control for local areas and providing shared workspace for digital start-up companies.
Geoff French, chair of Enterprise M3 LEP, said: “The growth of the Enterprise M3 LEP areas has been among the fastest of any of the LEPs around the country. “Areas including Woking, Guildford and the Upper M3 area of Chertsey, Weybridge and Staines are all flourishing but a lack of suitable employment space will hamper this growth unless we can actively do something about it. We are already working with partners on improving our commercial property offer and have presented our case to government in our latest Growth Deal for funding to support initiatives across the area. “Many brownfield sites are not delivered by the market as they are too risky or may offer lower returns. Enterprise M3 LEP is in an ideal position to unlock sites that would be not be viable without our support.“ “The study provided by Regeneris is an excellent piece of work and makes recommendations that really point the way to providing more office space and light industrial units.”
Receive our latest thinking on economic and social impacts on people, places and economies.GET IN TOUCH