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Guildford Is Top When It Comes To Greatest Potential For Economic Expansion

Published on: 16 Dec, 2014
Updated on: 16 Dec, 2014

Guildford has risen to first position in this year’s UK Vitality Index, published by commercial estate agents Lambert Smith Hampton.

Guildford High Street.

Guildford High Street.

The annual report assess the economic prospects of towns and cities outside of London, highlighting those areas that offer the greatest potential for economic expansion over the coming 12 months. The results provide an economic health check of an area, ranking each location on six separate categories: most productive, fastest growing, most entrepreneurial, best educated, greenest and most affluent.

Ranked as number one, Guildford replaces Cambridge as the area with the strongest and most robust local economy, offering businesses and investors opportunity for development, expansion and growth.

Guildford’s performance in the report was attributed to its high level of affluence, low levels of unemployment and high status educational offering, with the University of Surrey now ranked sixth in the UK according to the Guardian’s university league table.

Special mention was also made to the proposed investment and redevelopment plans for the town centre, which aim to increase and enhance Guildford’s retail, residential and office space, offering further opportunities for investment and growth.

Kevin Lorimer, the chairman of Experience Guildford, the town’s business improvement district said: “This is a tremendous achievement for the town and a reflection of the hard work and dedication of our businesses, education facilities and organisations.

“The South East is a hotbed of opportunity and prospect and we are delighted to see Guildford highlighted as a beacon for economic strength and growth. In the past few years we have attracted leading brands and businesses to our town centre and this report further strengthens our position as a solid location for future investment.”

Guildford Borough Councillor Gordon Jackson, lead councillor for economic development, added: “Being number one for economic vitality is fantastic news for our local businesses and our wider community. It recognises the importance of Guildford economically, as a key growth town making a positive long-term impact on the regional economy.

“Working closely with partners, we aim to improve business investment and opportunities so vital to the prosperity of everyone in our borough. Our strategy for the future is for smart economic growth, which means driving growth through improved productivity, research, innovation and creativity. This sustainable growth must also maintain the quality of life and environment in Guildford.”

Keith Robson, director of enterprise and growth at the University of Surrey and chairman of Guildford Business Forum, said: “Guildford has long been home to highly entrepreneurial companies spanning an amazing variety of sectors including video gaming, satellite engineering and medical as well as retail, hospitality and leisure.

“We now have the world’s first dedicated centre for the development of 5G future mobile communications and internet technology. In the past everyone talked about the “Cambridge phenomenon”, so hopefully it is now Guildford’s turn!”

Full details of the 2015 UK Vitality Index can be found at

For more information on Experience Guildford visit or to review the current portfolio of available commercial properties in Guildford visit

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Responses to Guildford Is Top When It Comes To Greatest Potential For Economic Expansion

  1. Nigel Trellis Reply

    December 16, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    The “Greatest Potential For Economic Expansion” for investors to make money but with the greatest potential for highway gridlock and encroachment into the countryside for people who live here!

    There is no mention of highway and other infrastructures fast approaching breaking point. Talk of the “greenest” category and the aim to “maintain the quality of life and environment” is laughable.

  2. Jim Allen Reply

    December 16, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    One must of course remember that since the 1800s Guildford has been described the same as in the above report, so no surprises there then.

    But one must also be cautious as One Rolls Royce or Morgan car makes them ‘special’ – 100,000 of either makes them common as muck.

    We must make sure in all this eagerness to progress and crow about it we don’t spoil the golden egg by over cooking it and turning it into a concrete waste land identical to everywhere else in the country.

    We are special here, of that there is no doubt. Let’s try to remember that, as we move forward…

    • John Robinson Reply

      December 18, 2014 at 8:24 am

      Yes, Guildford is certainly ‘special’, but not in a good way.

      I live here due to my employment, but have previously resided in other places, not all in the South East. To be honest, most people in other areas cannot even picture Guildford as a place to visit, as it isn’t on their radar.

      I see Guildford as just an ordinary town with a nice High Street, but other places I have lived in had similar types of features – town clock, cobbled High Street (ok, setts), river walks, etc.

      One thing Guildford does have though, that those other localities didn’t, is hideous traffic congestion and an inability to plan and adapt to this type of issue, as everyone seems to want to maintain its ‘old character’. Believe me, it’s overrated….

  3. Gordon Bridger Reply

    December 18, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    The Lambert Smith Hampton report you refer to also records Guildford as the most affluent community in Britain, the second most highly educated (Edinburgh first) and eighth most productive and eighth most entrepreneurial. Alas in greenness we do nor register – maybe the surveyors tripped up on our High street setts.

    However, Messrs Trellis and Allen are right that we now face serious traffic problems (and high costs of housing) which seriously impede further economic growth.

    Indeed, national companies now state that because of these constraints they have taken us off their investment list.

    There is a mitigating factor and that is that our economic growth now depends on professional, knowledge-based services, which do not have to be in the town centre and can be based all over the borough and possibly concentrated in a cluster around the Surrey Research Park and University of Surrey (which does of course have traffic problems but not as bad as the centre).

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