Chelmsford was placed top among 12 locations in the East to make it into the Sunday Times ‘Best Places to Live’ guide, published yesterday (March 18). 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. The guide, in association with Habito, awarded Chelmsford “a gold star for its energy and optimism”.
Chelmsford is proving to be an attractive and strategic location to businesses wishing to locate close to London in a place with vibrant business environment and excellent transport infrastructure. The placing in the guide reinforces the City’s status as a prime business hub location.
"Chelmsford being named as the best place to live in the East of England by The Sunday Times reflects how Chelmsford has really thrived over recent years, delivering significant new growth, which has brought about many exciting changes and opportunities. A strong economy boasts particular strengths in financial and business services, research and development, and advanced manufacturing sectors.”
Location Services Director
Chelmsford as a business hub
According to consumer insight experts, Experian Chelmsford is the biggest business base in Essex. Additionally, Chelmsford is a highly attractive location for commuters. With journey times of approximately 30 minutes to London by road or rail, proximity to three airports (Stansted, City and Southend), nearby ports including Tilbury and the imminent arrival of Crossrail, Chelmsford offers easy access to London without the prohibitive costs of a base in the Capital. Businesses are staying and growing in Chelmsford. The financial sector is well represented in Chelmsford by DST, QBE, Royal & Sun Alliance, MS Amlin, Cofunds & Coutts. Chelmsford has also got a very strong community of science and technology companies such as e2v and BAE Systems.
The scientific, professional and technical are among the more high-value sectors to be thriving in Chelmsford with the expansion of Tees Law and recent arrival of Ellisons Solicitors.
Occupation percentage figures in the grades of Managers, Directors and Senior Officials as well as Professional and Associate Professional/Technical far exceed the corresponding figures in the East and Great Britain as a whole.
Having moved to their Chelmsford office, at the Kingsdale Business Centre last year, INVEST Essex is well placed to give its judgement on the City.
“INVEST Essex has a proven track record going back over 10 years, securing inward investment and supporting business growth in Essex. As an investment promotion agency (IPA) and business support provider it made sense for us to locate our expanded service centrally in the county. We chose the City of Chelmsford for its thriving economy, over 17,000 businesses and 85,000 jobs which contribute over £3.5 billion to the national economy, and fast connectivity to London and the rest of the county.”
Location Services Director
Education and talent pool
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, ranked 11th in the county, also based in the city (Perryfields Junior School).
Anglia Ruskin currently has 6000 students at its Chelmsford campus and was named the UK Entrepreneurial University of the Year in 2014. The university will be opening the county’s first School of Medicine in the 2018.
Chelmsford was granted city status in 2012 and a vast boost in development has followed including the refurbishment of Chelmsford railway station and the Bond Street redevelopment of the first ever John Lewis in Essex and Everyman cinema. The city has also seen the redevelopment of Anglia Ruskin’s old city centre campus which is being turned into 645 homes, shops and offices, plus the new Clock Tower retail park on the former Britvic factory site.
The city was rated 13th out of 325 local authority areas in the Local Futures Place Profile in 2013 in terms of skills, qualifications, knowledge workers, labour market, scale of economically active workforce and workforce growth. It has lived up to the ranking by attracting high-value business and an ever-expanding range of shopping centres and retailers.
Chelmsford City Council is now preparing a bid to be UK City of Culture for 2025.
How INVEST Essex can help companies relocate to Essex
Alongside the city of Chelmsford, the Sunday Times ‘Best Places to Live’ guide also featured Wivenhoe and Saffron Walden in Essex.
INVEST Essex can advise and aid companies interested in locating their businesses to Chelmsford, or other areas of Essex. INVEST Essex work with their partners to provide professional business advice and services for businesses of all sizes and at all stages of their growth journey.
For more information contact one of the team here.