Shropshire has enjoyed a surge in demand from businesses wanting to relocate to the county, figures show.

The county saw a 118 per cent increase in demand for business space at the start of the pandemic – the largest rise for any county in the country.

The figures were welcomed today by the chief executive of the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, who said they revealed the county was increasingly regarded as a national hotspot for business investment.

Rachel Laver said they also showed that work by the LEP and its local authority partners to build the infrastructure, skills and opportunities to drive economic growth and attract inward investment across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin was delivering real success.

The figures, compiled by commercial property specialists EG Property Link, reveal:

A 118 per cent increase in inquiries for commercial property in Shropshire between January and July 2020
A 75 per cent rise in office inquiries in June 2020 compared to January the same year
Continued high demand into the second half of 2020
Rachel said Shropshire and the wider Marches region in general was now seen as a highly-attractive place for doing business.

“One of the consequences of the pandemic has been a shift in focus in the way businesses operate, with much more flexible and remote working, and the adoption of hybrid working patterns now that we are starting to emerge from it.

“The Marches can deliver a fantastic range of office space, the infrastructure needed to support home-working and an increasingly skilled workforce – alongside the added bonus of a superb quality of life in beautiful surroundings. This is proving hugely attractive to businesses looking to relocate.

“We believe that this is a trend which is set to continue, as companies and their workforce put an increased premium on work-life balance and quality of life, away from the concentrated areas of population which have traditionally been more attractive.

“Our local authorities in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire have done some fabulous work alongside us to help drive home the message that the Marches is a really fantastic place to do business and these figures show that we are starting to see the benefits.

“Our focus is on attracting companies which can deliver new, high-value jobs in innovative and sustainable fields, so creating an economic base which can take us into the future, is environmentally responsible and helps retain more of our home-grown talent in the region.”

The EG Property Link report adds: “Of all the counties searched for by occupiers on EG Propertylink, Shropshire saw the biggest increase in enquiries for commercial property between January and June 2020, at 118%, with high demand continuing in July.

“The increase in demand for offices in Shropshire is a sign that businesses are at least considering different office locations.”