This “strap line” is just not communicated nor emphasized enough! This is partly due to the lack of a single unified voice for this highly important economic area.
The Thames Valley, a sub region of the South East UK, is located circa 30/40 miles West of London. It has been described as the UK’s “Silicon Valley” due to its industry profile of Tech & Science businesses.
To extend the “Silicon Valley” analogy the Centre of the Thames Valley is Reading which might be the Palo Alto where London represents San Francisco! The distances are very similar.
The Thames Valley area is designated an area of “outstanding natural beauty” so de facto it is not a bad place to live and work.
It has a strong University base including Oxford, Reading and Guildford Universities as well as a number of well-established Science Parks supporting the knowledge economy.
Its transport infrastructure includes the M4 Motorway (London to Bristol/Wales), the Western main rail line out of London Paddington, directly connecting the important towns of Slough, Maidenhead and Reading (28 mins). The new Elizabeth Line (Cross Rail) will improve connectivity even more, with London’s West End (Bond Street) within 32 mins and London’s City (Liverpool Street) 38 mins from Reading. Add to this the addition of the Global hub airport, that is Heathrow, and the transportation strengths of The Thames Valley locations are clear.
The talent pool reflects the business and educational base. There is a higher density of Digital occupations (Reading environs particularly strong – Microsoft, Oracle are example occupiers) per population, here than anywhere else, in the UK. Pharmaceutical jobs and industries are also strongly represented (Oxford/South Oxfordshire & Maidenhead especially strong – GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Biogen example occupiers).
The new Elizabeth Line will increase the Labour Pool (population within 1 hour travel time) by between 30/50%, depending on Thames Valley location, due to faster travel times from London stations across the Capital.
The final positive piece of the locational profile is that Total Office Costs in the Thames Valley are 40/50% lower than London.
Even before the impact of Covid 19, London property and commuting costs had become increasingly unsustainable and a barrier for staff.
The commuting experience on crowded Public transport has gone from bad to worse, in eyes of staff, due to the new awareness and needs of social distancing.
So post Covid 19, Tech & Science businesses seeking to re structure their businesses operational profile will find locating their business or decentralizing, all or part of their London office, into the Thames Valley compelling?