Why firms are making it their business to stay local

With rail fares rising and rush hour train carriages as congested as ever, life can be tough for today’s commuters.

So it comes as little surprise that a growing number of businesses are eschewing London and going local when it comes to choosing where they base their premises.

Keith Blake and manager Maureen Hymus at Baystrait House.

Keith Blake and manager Maureen Hymus at Baystrait House.

Baystrait House in Biggleswade is one office development which is benefiting from the trend.

Located close to Biggleswade train station, eight of the building’s 11 office suites are currently occupied by Chronicle Country businesses.

Keith Blake, who owns Baystrait House in partnership with Biggleswade-based Greg Smith, believes that firms have a lot to gain from choosing premises in the area.

He said: “These days a train season ticket will cost more than £5,000 a year including the underground, which is a lot of money for anyone.

“The cost of leasing office space can also be triple or quadruple what you will pay somewhere like Biggleswade.”

The town’s proximity to London and the A1 also make it attractive to businesses that may be looking to cut their costs.

Keith, who has owned Bay strait House for six years, added: “The town is peaceful and is well-located for travel to London for business owners who may want to base themselves locally but who still want to travel to London once or twice a week.

“King’s Cross station is 40 minutes away at the most on the train, while the A1 is easily accessible too.”

Jason Higgins is managing director of IT firm Harmony, which designs 3D apps for smartphones and tablets and is also based in Station Road.

He said: “We have been based in the area for more than a decade now and we have never had problems attracting talented staff.

“To be honest these days a lot of people simply can’t afford to commute to London every day and would prefer to work locally.”

Bill Jordan, one of the trustees of Jordans Mill, based close to Biggleswade, added: “Our family businesses have been based in and around the area for a couple of centuries because Biggleswade offers all the ingredients to grow successfully. The town offers premises that are cost effective, it has good road and rail links and an airport nearby, and there are plenty of talented people locally.”