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South Lakeland businesses are positive about the future

19 March 2019

The majority of business owners in South Lakeland are positive about the future, according to the results of a wide-ranging survey (PDF/145KB/3 pages).

Nearly three quarters of respondents to the South Lakeland Business Premises Survey said they felt confident about the next 12 months.

The survey - carried out by Invest in South Lakeland, our Economic Development team - found that 20 per cent of respondents were "very confident" about the next 12 months and 54 per cent were "fairly confident."

Seventeen per cent of respondents expect their staffing levels to increase.

A total of 179 responding businesses (18 per cent of the total) expect their premises/business needs to change over the next three years. Two in five (41 per cent of those anticipating change) would consider expanding their existing site and 30 per cent would look at moving to a larger site, while 12 per cent may acquire additional premises to satisfy their need to change.

The overall majority, over two thirds, expect the number of people employed at their premises to stay the same over the next year. One in six businesses expect their employee numbers to slightly increase, while there are 12 businesses that expect their numbers to increase significantly (more than 25 per cent).

Other findings include:

  • 30.2 per cent of responding business want to move to a larger site and 41.3 per cent want to expand their existing site
  • Of the 1,000 responding businesses (a 22 per cent response rate), 18 per cent indicated that they would expect their premises needs to change in the next three years. The majority expect to increase in size by means of expanding their existing premises or moving to a larger site
  • The majority of those possibly looking for new premises would do so in Kendal, either in a town centre or edge of town (e.g. industrial estate) location, followed by Milnthorpe and Ulverston. Other locations mentioned included Junction 36
  • The most likely types of premises these businesses would be looking for are offices and retail units. Two fifths of respondents would prefer a premises under 2,500ft², while just under a third would prefer something slightly larger (2,501 – 9,999ft²)

The survey is carried out each year to help provide an up-to-date assessment of the supply and demand of business premises in South Lakeland.

Councillor Graham Vincent, portfolio holder for the economy and assets, said: “Our businesses are performing well, as shown by South Lakeland’s total Gross Value Added (GVA) - the measure of the value of goods and services - rising to £2.413 billion in 2017, and the results of this survey will inform how we support them and better understand and react to future opportunities and challenges, as well as better plan for how much land needs to be allocated for employment uses through the Local Plan.

“These findings again show that South Lakeland is a thriving place for business – driving our aim of working together to make our district the best place to live, work and explore. Our ongoing work with partners on the Lancaster & South Cumbria Economic Region, with more joined-up working on economic development initiatives, will further boost this success by encouraging public and private sector investment and creating many more opportunities.”

A total of 238 comments were received as part of the survey around the themes of parking, business rates, transport/infrastructure, how we can best help businesses, internet/broadband speed, the need for more affordable housing and promoting the area.

Invest in South Lakeland will offer advice and support where appropriate or signpost respondents to the relevant body.

More information on the South Lakeland Business Premises Survey

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