Tuesday 08 December 2020
The regency town of Cheltenham, based in the heart of the Cotswolds, may be best known as a desirable place to live for its vast array of festivals, as well as the picturesque views from Cleeve Hill, however, have you considered basing your office in Cheltenham?
From financial aspects such as business rates and high property value, to wellbeing aspects for your employees such as improved quality of life and excellent local schooling options, there are a multitude of factors to check off the list when deciding upon where to create a base for your business. And, Cheltenham ticks all the boxes.
The beautiful spa town of Cheltenham has much to offer, from a bustling city-esque town lifestyle, to the newly emerging cyber security industry emerging in the town, Cheltenham has grown dramatically from the small, idyllic spa town in The Cotswolds.
When the time comes to make the decision as to where to either set up an office base for the first time, or relocate your already established premises, Cheltenham offers the perfect combination of functional benefits and wellbeing support for yourself and your team.
As proud residents of the Georgian town, we’ve compiled our Top 5 reasons why you should have an office in Cheltenham.
1. High quality of life for your employees
Number one on the list has to be the quality of life that Cheltenham offers, for both the employee as an individual, and those with extensive families moving to the area. The peaceful, seemingly sleepy town provides stunning, picturesque architecture, heavily influenced by the Georgian era - a regency town of unparalleled beauty. The Times agree, listing Cheltenham as the best place to live in the southwest of england.
It isn’t just pretty to look at however, property offers a good return on investment. Both high and mid salary earners have an opportunity to enter the housing market due to 180 million pounds worth of investment by Cheltenham Council.
When it comes to education, the quality of schools in the town are no secret - most excelling in ratings for both private and state schools, with 35 state primary schools and secondary schools receiving good or better by Ofsted.
So, what does Cheltenham offer socially?
You’re truly spoilt for choice as the town is packed with leisure activities and events to suit all ages and preferences. Cheltenham is the capital of festivals, nicknamed “Festival Town” an honouree badge of cultural innovation and eventing.
From food and drink to literature and horse racing, these 25 festivals compete at an international level, creating a perpetual cultural buzz throughout the year, and placing Cheltenham in the UK spotlight for entertainment. The Sunday Times named it the best place to live in the UK with its continental feel, café culture, indie restaurants and stunning tree-lined parks.
Cheltenham is also considered one of the safest places to live in the UK with an average crime rate that falls much lower than many other parts of the UK.
2. Highly skilled workforce
There is an old expression, “build, and they will come”, and it rings very true when it comes to business and Cheltenham. This prosperous area with plenty of opportunities would have already attracted a certain quality of person and will attract more.
Cheltenham has a population of 117k with 79.8% economically active and 42.4% holding a degree. This places Cheltenham in the higher quartile of quality labour in the UK. The workforce comprises 70,000 workers within cyber tech, digital tech, aerospace engineering, professional services, retail and leisure, health, education and public admin.
Strategically, if your business attracts a higher socio-demographic customer or workforce, then Cheltenham should not disappoint. Cheltenham is a creative hub for cyber and digital sectors; it will be a key growth area in the coming years both within the UK and worldwide.
3. A local economy that will thrive after COVID-19
In 2021 the UK will see an economic downturn of unprecedented levels despite government intervention. Leading economists predict that the UK Government will steer clear of the three amigos of taxation (National Insurance, VAT and Income tax) and push towards inward investment.
So where is Cheltenham on the league table of local economies and how will it survive COVID-19?
Cheltenham’s position is seemingly pretty strong, due to a good base of high-end public sector jobs driven from GCHQ - the central intelligence services for the UK. In addition to this, Cheltenham is the home to world-leading advanced engineering companies, such as Spirax Sarco, providing cutting edge technical products and services.
If you look at the key economic clusters - digital, VR and AI are set to become core aspects of the workforce, and Cheltenham is carving the way in this innovative technology with cyber security firms and digital agencies springing up across Cheltenham and Gloucestershire, with a number already placed within Eagle Tower itself.
Compared to many of its counterparts, Cheltenham from the outside appears to be a town. However, if we look at the heart of Cheltenham’s industry, it beats like a digital industrial freight train. A powerhouse that is in the right place at the right time.
The Institute of Fiscal studies outlines one of the critical components for success after COVID-19;
“The recovery from here hinges on households. Impaired business balance sheets and changes to trade patterns will likely weigh on investment and exports initially. By contrast, households on average saved a record 28.1% of their incomes during Q2 (compared with 6.1% between December 2016 and 2019). The question now is primarily about household confidence and whether it can drive a pick-up in spending. While possible, we are not optimistic”.
Cheltenham has an excellent base of progressive companies and workforce alongside a Council that has recently launched the Cheltenham Economic Recovery Task Force.
The Task Force will be highly responsive to funding opportunities across the economic recovery agenda. It will act as a key vehicle for lobbying partners, stakeholders and government.
The main objective of the task force is to drive flexibility in the delivery of economic recovery, making it easy and attractive for people and companies to do business in Cheltenham.
This Task Force will be responsible for interventions covering local, county and national level issues. The Task Force will ensure there is a strong voice at government level to lobby Cheltenham’s needs.
Cheltenham has a key advantage; an aggressive and strategic thinking council. It already has the right ingredients, economically, for the government to invest; therefore, this town should, theoretically, ride the waves of any pending economic storm.
4. The UK’s answer to Silicon Valley
Cheltenham offers something very unique compared to the rest of the country. Moving to Cheltenham is the equivalent to making your move in the 1980’s into Silicon Valley, the cusp of a technological boom. In less than ten years, Cheltenham will become the number one hotspot for both cyber and digital technology in the UK. Why?
Cheltenham Council will invest £37.5M into the Golden Valley, positioning it as a viable international rival to Silicon Valley. The Golden Valley is 45 hectares that will be a combination of business units and housing developments next to GCHQ.
The vision is to create the number one destination for both cyber and digital business in the UK. It has already attracted IBM, Microsoft and Apple, and this is only the beginning. This strategic investment is probably one of the most aggressive and visionary moves for a council outside of London.
The Cheltenham economy is estimated to double in this sector from 2.5 billion to 5 billion over the next five years. In addition to this, £400M is earmarked for six partners to develop their businesses within Golden Valley.
Alongside this Cheltenham will receive £180M to invest in housing developments; this combination of new technologies, combined with construction, allows Cheltenham to see a balanced growth of blue and white-collar wealth.
These elements are a perfect mix for recovery, and a rarity for many cities let alone towns.
5. Well connected, great transport links
With two motorway junctions, an airport and a mainline station with direct trains to London, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Cardiff and beyond, few other towns or cities can match Cheltenham for connectivity.
At least £1.6million has been set aside for active transport links by Gloucestershire County Council as part of the West Cheltenham Transport Improvement Scheme.
The second part of the scheme includes extra lanes and a new cycling and walking route connecting Cheltenham Spa Railway Station to Arle Court Roundabout.
In all the scheme, funded by the Government via the local enterprise partnership GFirst LEP, stands at £23.6million after the award of almost £8.5million earlier this year.
This investment will help accelerate economic growth and boost jobs, particularly Cheltenham’s future recovery from the current COVID-19 pandemic.
It is within a 75-minute drive of 19 universities and is nestled in the centre of innovation and talent hotspots Oxford, Warwick, Bristol, Cardiff, Bath and Birmingham.
Being located at the heart of the UK, Cheltenham is a gateway connecting the South East, the Midlands and the North, to Wales and the South West.
And there you have it, we certainly could have listed at least 10 more reasons as to why an office in Cheltenham isn’t just an intelligent business decision, it’s also a smart move for your family and general happiness and wellbeing. Your children will flourish, your business will prosper and you’ll be able to enjoy great culture and experiences whilst doing it.
If you’re considering relocating to Cheltenham, simply drop us a line to find out what Eagle Tower can offer, and how we can support you.