With its proximity to London, but without the costs incurred from a Capital-base, Essex is seen as one of the most attractive counties to live in as well as to do business.
Expanding transport links, that already include Stansted and Southend airports as well as ports at London Gateway, Tilbury and Harwich, makes Essex a hugely appealing proposition.
London Stansted Airport, situated in Uttlesford, Essex, has ambitious plans for a five-year £600m revamp of the airport which will see a new terminal for arriving passengers and the conversion of the existing terminal into a dedicated departing passengers-only facility.
Based only 30 miles northeast of Central London, Stansted’s ultimate aim is to increase its passenger cap of 35m to 43m – in the process creating 5000 new jobs. New, long-haul, destinations are being added on a regular basis, with Primera Air beginning new direct flights to New York, Boston and Toronto in April 2018 and Emirates launching a Stansted/Dubai service from summer 2018.
Joining the transport mix is Crossrail, which opens in December 2018 when trains begin running between Paddington and Abbey Wood, Liverpool Street and Shenfield and Paddington and Heathrow Terminal 4. The Elizabeth line is expected to be fully operational from December 2019 when it will run all the way to Reading.
Due in part to Crossrail, Brentwood is one of the fastest growing commuter towns and cities by house price growth, according to a report by Price Waterhouse Coopers, which showed an 8.5% growth in 12 months up to April 2017.
Essex’s charm has grown significantly in recent times, with certain hotspots particularly catching the eye, albeit the county as a whole is reaping the benefits.
Perhaps the jewel in Essex’s crown is Chelmsford, placed top among 12 locations in the East to make it into the Sunday Times ‘Best Places to Live’ guide, published in March 2018. It was also included in the top ten places to live in the East of England in 2019.
Assessment was made on the back of a number of factors including jobs, schools and culture, with Chelmsford beating other places in Essex, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk to have made it into the national report.
Chelmsford’s thriving economy harbours over 17,000 businesses and 85,000 jobs, which contributes over £3.5 billion to the national economy.
Its fast connectivity to London – around 35 minutes – and the rest of the county has rightly made Chelmsford an attractive proposition for businesses.
After becoming the UK’s newest city in 2012, Chelmsford continues to develop as the biggest business-base in Essex, with the Bond Street shopping development building its profile still further.
Furthermore, it has been singled out as a prime spot for inward investment having retained and attracted major businesses which have relocated their headquarters in Chelmsford – including US owned cosmetics company, Benefit.
Chelmsford also excels in the educational sector with two schools featuring in the national top 20 best-performing schools in the country in 2017 – Chelmsford County High for Girls and King Edward VI Grammar – as well as Essex’s top state-funded primary also based in the city (Perryfields Junior School).King Edward VI was pipped by Colchester County High School for Girls to number one spot in the top 10 state secondary schools in East Anglia, with Colchester Royal Grammar School placed third in the Sunday Times Schools Guide 2018. Schools in Westcliff-on-Sea and Southend-on-Sea also featured prominently in the list.
From an aesthetic perspective, Essex has a lot to offer residents and tourists alike, including 350 miles of coastline – the longest shoreline of any county in England.
Essex’s history has been shaped by Romans, Saxons, Vikings and Normans – all of whom maintain an imprint on the landscape today.
Chelmsford can lay claim to being the home of radio as the world’s first wireless factory was set up at The Old Silk Mill building by Guglielmo Marconi in 1898.
Meanwhile Colchester, once the capital of Roman Britain, is Britain’s oldest recorded town, stretching back more than 2000 years.
It is this proud history, fused with a bright future, which makes Essex one of the most buoyant places in the UK.
For more information visit the official tourism website for Essex: Visit Essex