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Surrey Economic Prospects Report February 2018

Surrey Economic Prospects – February 2018

– Work on the Brightwells Regeneration Scheme in Farnham has started

– Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd has signed a £25 million contract in Beijing after joining the Prime Minister on her recent state visit to China

– Plans for a major upgrade to the Wisley interchange between the M25 – A3 have been published

Data and analysis – labour market

Unemployment, measured by the number of Job Seeker Allowance (JSA) claimants, increased in December by 270 claimants – up to 5,115 (0.7%) relative to the previous month. This increase could be explained by seasonal factors. Although the unemployment rate has been steady over recent months, this is the highest number of claimants since October 2014.

Unemployment has increased from a recent low of 0.5% (3,925 claimants) in December 2015.
Surrey has a low rate of unemployment relative to comparable economic areas including the South East (1.2%), Cambridgeshire (0.7%), Hampshire (0.9%), Oxfordshire (0.7%), East Sussex (1.9%) and West Sussex (1.1%).

The unemployment rate varies from 0.5% in Waverley to 0.9% in Spelthorne and Tandridge. Further information on unemployment, including the rates in other Surrey districts and boroughs, by age range and by duration can be found here.

Further information on the Surrey economy is available on the Surrey i website (see here). This includes a wide range of datasets and data collections, as well local area profiles, visualisation tools and infographics.

Business intelligence

Work to prepare the site of the Brightwells Regeneration Scheme in Farnham has started. It follows the completion of an unconditional agreement between Waverley Borough Council and Crest Nicholson. The multi-million pound development will bring a six-screen cinema, restaurants and shops to the town – anchored by Marks and Spencer Simply Food and REEL Cinemas. The scheme includes the provision of 239 new apartments – 72 of which will be affordable housing – surrounding a new town square, improved parking facilities and measures to improve traffic flow in the town centre.

Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has signed a £25 million contract in China after joining the Prime Minister on her recent state visit. Guildford-based SSTL signed the contract with Twenty First Century Aerospace Technology to provide data from a new Earth Observation satellite set to launch in mid-2018.

Toys R Us have gone into administration putting jobs at risk across Surrey. Toys R US has branches in Woking and Staines.

Maplins Electronics have gone into administration putting jobs at risk across Surrey. Maplins Electronics has branches in Woking, Guildford and Staines.

Plans for a major upgrade to the interchange between the M25 and the A3 have been unveiled. Under the plans Wisley interchange will be redesigned to create four dedicated link roads for all drivers making left turns at the junction while drivers turning right will use an enlarged junction roundabout. The A3 will also be widened between Ockham and Painshill in both directions with two lanes remaining over the M25. A six-week consultation on the updated proposals is underway.

British Gas owner Centrica, which has several offices in Surrey, is to cut 4,000 jobs after increasing its annual cost efficiency target to £1.25 billion per year by 2020. It comes after the company reported a fall in profits. In the year to 31 December 2017, Centrica generated revenues of £28 billion, up from £27.1 billion a year earlier. However, EBITDA fell by 9 per cent to £2.14 billion.

Accrue Workplaces has opened its first offices, the Long Barn, in Cobham. The offices are high spec and offer a number of benefits including a gym and breakfast clubs. For more information see

SETsquared has once again been ranked as the World’s Top Business Incubator – Managed by a University by UBI Global. SETsquared has maintained its world-leading position since 2015.

Work has started on a new £10.5 million care hub in Whiteley Village, near Weybridge. Opening in March 2019, the new care hub will provide capacity for 30 people with complex needs associated with old age.

Northwood Regional UK has prelet 13,000 sq. ft. of offices at Genesis One, Woking prior to its sale to Regional REIT. Northwood prelet the space to Nuvias (formerly Wick Hill) on the ground floor on a 12 year lease.

Britain’s busiest footpath railway crossing near Salfords, with more than 760 trains each day, has been closed and replaced by a footbridge. The opening of the £1.5 million footbridge means Dean Farm crossing over the Brighton Main Line is now closed and residents can now cross the railway safely.

After attending a South East England Council’s event about housing and infrastructure, Surrey County Council Cabinet Member for Highways Colin Kemp called for investment in the likes of Crossrail 2, the North Downs Line and the A3 trunk road to support economic and population growth in the region’s powerhouse economies.

Gavin Jones has become part of Windlesham-based Nurture Landscapes group. This brings together two leading privately owned companies that share the same passion for delivering a high quality service and building long term relationships with clients. Nurture Landscapes has expanded considerably since it was founded in 2008. It now has a turnover of £35 million with around 550 staff.

Audley Group, the Egham-headquartered provider of luxury retirement villages, has completed the refinancing of its debt facilities with a five-year term loan of £125 million, jointly funded by HSBC and Bank Leumi (UK).

Pre-tax profits and turnover have increased at Alexander Fraser Holdings Ltd the owner of Foxhills in Ottershaw and Farleigh Golf Club in Warlingham. Alexander Fraser turned over £14.6 million in the year to 31 March 2017, up from £14.2 million a year earlier.

Petards, the software developer of advanced security and surveillance systems based in Guildford, has secured contracts worth £1.5 million with the Ministry of Defence. The new projects involve the supply of radio equipment and engineering support services.

Champneys has seen turnover and pre-tax profits rise. Champneys’ venues include a day spa in Guildford. Revenues climbed to £36.5 million in the year to 30 April 2017, up from £32.5 million a year earlier.

The county council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Colin Kemp, has made the case for the most used roads to get more funding. Currently, funding is based on miles of roads managed by councils and does not factor in how much they are used. The heavier the use, the greater the need for repairs and maintenance. Mr Kemp said this has an “enormous impact” on Surrey, which has some of the busiest roads in the country.

The county council’s highways team has given the latest information on the work taking place on Surrey’s roads. The round-up includes an update on improvements being made at Millbrook in Guildford and a progress report about drainage work on the A23 in Redhill and Horley.

A major redevelopment of the railway through central Croydon which would allow more trains to run on the Brighton Main Line has moved a step closer. The project is the central element of Network Rail’s Brighton Main Line upgrade programme. Funding from the Department for Transport means Network Rail can now work up detailed designs for the track and station work in the Croydon area; produce an outline business case; and carry out a full public consultation.

ISS, the global facility services provider based in Weybridge, has agreed to sell its landscaping business. ISS UK has exchanged contracts on the sale to Tivoli Group, a company backed by Sullivan Street Partners. The divestment of the landscaping business was said to be in line with ISS’ overall strategy and will involve the transfer of about 1,100 operational staff and support functions to Sullivan Street Partners.

National news

According to research by the Local Government Association (LGA), there are more than 450,000 homes with planning permission waiting to be built in England and Wales. Construction data analysts Glenigan undertook the research on behalf of the LGA, taking into consideration financial years 2015/16 and 2016/17. The analysis suggests that the backlog has grown by almost 16 per cent in the past year.

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has said the government is ‘slow in taking decisive action’ to address the UK’s infrastructure needs, as it calls for a parliamentary vote on a third Heathrow runway ‘no later than this summer’. The commission’s first Annual Monitoring Report notes its concerns about the government’s failure to establish a firm timetable or funding plan for both Crossrail 2 and the Northern Powerhouse Programme. The NIC is also perturbed about mobile phone coverage and digital connectivity on the UK’s roads and railways, saying urgent action is required to address this.

Network Rail has published it five-year plan to improve Britain’s railway over the five years to 2024 (Control Period 6). The publication of the Strategic Business Plan (SBP) is a major milestone in the ongoing process to determine Network Rail’s funding requirements for the period 2019-2024. The plan represents Network Rail’s initial, but detailed view, following the publication of Governments’ high level output specifications (HLOS) and statements of funds available. The Office of Rail and Road will now review the plan and make a draft determination of Network Rail’s funding needs in June, and a final determination in the autumn.

BASE Bordon Innovation Centre, a new innovation centre in north-east Hampshire which opened in November 2017 is already more than a quarter full. Geared at start-ups, scales-ups and high-growth businesses, BASE Bordon Innovation Centre is run by Oxford Innovation. Nine businesses and three co-workers have moved into the centre located on EZ3 – The London & South Innovation Valley – Enterprise Zone, at Whitehill & Bordon.

The UK new car market declined in the first month of the year, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. The organisation has said 163,615 cars were sold in January, a 6.3 per cent fall compared with the same month in 2017.

Robust investor demand for regional assets in the final quarter capped a surprisingly strong year for UK commercial property investment in 2017, according to CoStar’s newly released investment report. At £18.9 billion, volumes in Q4 2017 were up 18% compared to Q4 2016 and brought total spending in 2017 up to £62.1 billion, a 27% increase from 2016 and just 8% below the 2015 figure. This robust performance was underpinned by strong occupier market fundamentals. Key themes over the year included a big rise in regional investment, the enduring popularity of the industrial and student accommodation sectors, a rise in domestic investment (including by local authorities), and a widening yield gap between prime and secondary property.

Mark Pearson
Director of Business Growth
Surrey County Council
01483 685230
Twitter @investinsurrey
LinkedIn Group – Invest in Surrey

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