East Anglia

East Anglia is probably mostly associated for its farming and rural communities, rather than busy commercial centres with plenty of office space for rent. However the East Anglian region has much more commercial property than you might at first imagine. East Anglia relates to a historic area of England and therefore it is not used as an official term by central government or local authorities. Instead, East of England is the term that is used officially. This easternmost region of the UK has several hotspots of commerce worth noting and many of these have new and more traditional office developments to look into.

The Key Cities

Norwich is regarded by many as the most important city in East Anglia. The county city of Norfolk, Norwich boasts excellent transport links by rail to the rest of East Anglia and to London. The city also has an airport which is well used. Further south, in the county of Suffolk, Ipswich is also another important business hub with plenty of commercial premises. Ipswich is relatively small, being only 38th largest urban area in England and Wales, but there are few other competing towns in its immediate locality.

To the west and positioned on the fringes of East Anglia, Cambridge has several business parks with office spaces, mostly located on the outskirts. Well known as a university city, Cambridge has access to some of the best academics in the country and therefore attracts plenty of big businesses. In the south of the region, the county of Essex has two cities that are worth mentioning. Chelmsford is the county's administrative centre and has a wide range of offices. To the east of the county, closer to the coast, is Colchester which also boasts plenty of commercial office space.

Business Centres

In Norwich there is a choice of business parks and centres that would suit a wide variety of businesses. In the central part of the city The Royal Business Centre and the smaller St Francis House are ideally located. Henderson Business Centre is situated to the west of the city, but enjoys good communications, being on the city's ring road. Oak Lodge Business centre is a typical out of town business park, but it is handily placed for both the city's hospital and the campus of the University of East Anglia.

In Ipswich, Hyde Park House offers a range of office suites that are between 500 and 2,000 square metres. Brightspace, which supports businesses and social enterprises, is to the west of the city whilst Basepoint Business Centre lies to in the east, close to the A14 trunk road.

These two cities, which are in the heart of the region have thousands of square metres of office spaces and much of it is in use. Smaller office spaces of about 50 square metres, suited to just a few employees, are easy to find.

In Cambridge, office space tends to be in short supply in the centre of city. Finding one can be tough and the rental prices are high. Specialist business parks in the surrounding area tend to be favoured by businesses looking for anything over 250 square metres of space. Cambridge Science Park has office and laboratory facilities as well as many serviced offices. Both Cambourne Business Park and Cambridge Research Park have small and larger offices and these tend to be favoured by innovative companies and research departments.

In Essex, both Chelmsford and Colchester have plenty of offices for rent in their respective out of town business parks. These can accommodate suites of 3,000 square metres or more, if required. In Chelmsford there are also some centrally located high rise office blocks, but Colchester has fewer large offices in the middle.

The Key Players

In East Anglia, the government's East of England regional plan is still in place, but it is largely the local authorities that still control commercial developments. The region is home to many nationally known employers. These include well known brands such as Aviva in Norwich, RAC and Konica Minolta, to name a few. British Telecom has offices in many locations in the UK, and is a major employer in the Ipswich area.

In terms of flexible office spaces there are a number of operators who have offices to rent in the region. Cluttons have offices all over East Anglia, with plenty of choice in Norwich particularly. Artisan Developments is a developer that invested widely in the region in recent years. In Cambridge, both of the universities' colleges and Crown Estates have been instrumental in the development of the city's suburban business parks.

Economic Development

According to Norfolk County Council, between 2009 and 2014, the growth of office and warehousing development in the region outstripped the rest of the UK. In that time, the available office space grew by almost one fifth and warehouse space was not far behind. The region has a Local Transport Plan which involves all of the area's councils plus those in Hertfordshire and Luton. This plan is supposed to strategically improve East Anglia's economic development by providing better communications to the rest of the country and, as such, is put together with both Network Rail and the Highways Agency.