Huntingdonshire an “ideal location for growth”
A ROBUST Huntingdonshire economy with room for expansion makes the district an “ideal location for growth,” a business leader has said.
Fledgling companies can spread their wings and enjoy cheaper rents in a buoyant marketplace if they move to the area in the years ahead, Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Bridge says.
He believes firms can get all the advantages of being within easy access of Cambridge and London without being trapped by the lack of space and high costs associated with a big city.
Alconbury has been earmarked as a potential growth area as Huntingdonshire targets high-value engineering to secure its future and improves its retail offer.
The town has weathered the storm of the recession and its aftermath well, with the number of JobSeeker Allowance (JSA) claimants falling steadily since January 2010 to 2.1 per cent, but Mr Bridge warned: “We can’t be complacent.
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“We need to have a key strategy to identify the important sectors that we wish to have and develop a way we can communicate with companies to attract them into the area.”
Retail development plans for Chequers Court show the town is already preparing for the future, but Mr Bridge believes technology firms cramped for space in Cambridge might find a new lease of life in Huntingdonshire.
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In total 15 per cent of the district’s jobs are in manufacturing, and private firms will be needed to create jobs at a time of Government cuts.
Official labour market statistics show the number of economically active people in the area is better than the UK and East of England averages and that there are fewer unfilled JobCentre vacancies.
Mr Bridge said: “It’s quite an attractive place for people to invest. It has a diverse number of businesses and that’s also been shown in the way retail has performed strongly.
“However we have to sort infrastructure out in order to make sure we can continue to be able to perform.”