Northern England

Northern England has for many years been more associated with being Britain's industrial heartland than a centre for office space. Although major heavy industry is certainly still conducted in the cities of Northern England, its economy has undergone significant changes since about the end of the Second World War. Much of the region's manufacturing base was depleted throughout the 1960s and 1970s and the coal mining industry all but came to an end soon afterwards. These days, the major employers in the north of England are no longer only steel mills and manufacturing plants, but service industries and business-to-business companies.

Although major northern cities, such as Manchester and Leeds have always had clerical office space, much of the central zones of those urban centres have now exclusively been given over to offices and retail space. Over the last twenty years or so, the amount of office space in Northern England has grown. Some of it has been converted from the cities' existing buildings and you can find swanky offices which are in former 19th century warehouses all over the north. Equally, much of the latest office developments are in ultra-modern looking building which are constructed from steel and usually clad in glass. Today, the cities of Northern England retain much of their historical character but have office blocks that would look at home in any modern European city.

Leeds City Region

The local authority in Leeds has decided to market the business opportunities it offers along with other urban centres in that part of Yorkshire. Leeds City Region, therefore, also includes Wakefield, Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees and covers an area that has about 3 million people in it. With this approach, Leeds and the surrounding urban centres have been successful in attracting some major UK companies and well-known brands to the area. For example, Leeds is the national headquarters to firms such as ASDA Walmart, First Direct, Northern Gas Networks and Capita, a FTSE100 listed company. Carlsberg, which is the world's fourth largest brewer, has its British offices in the region and employs in excess of 40,000 people.

Government departments have also spent millions moving to the City Region. Defra has important offices in Leeds as well as London. The Department of Health, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Home Office all have large numbers of Leeds-based civil servants working for them, usually in purpose built office spaces. According to Invest In Leeds, developers are increasingly viewing the region as a focal point for their UK projects, because of the ease of access to a high-level skill base and to good quality graduates.

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There are a number of developers who are currently working on projects in the area. One example is Central Square which has planning consent for an office led development with over 10,000 square metres of space spread over two buildings. Leeds has a large amount of office space with just over 20 million square feet of stock, but more is required year on year.

The Manchester Area

On the other side of the Pennines, Lancashire's available office space is also sizeable. Manchester is by far the largest city in the area, but you will also find plenty of traditional offices and newer out-of-town business parks in the outlaying urban centres. Oldham, Warrington, Stockport, Bolton and Rochdale all offer state of the art offices, both serviced and otherwise. Some of these are for general purpose and suited to all sorts of business applications, whilst others are significantly more specialised.

A good example of a northern business park which offers specialist services is Manchester Science Park which is located on the south side of the city. Here, the accent is on knowledge based business propositions and research and development facilities. Expect biotechnology enterprises and digital media companies in a site like this which also offers PR services and networking events that can be crucial for the success of hi-tech start-ups.

Media City is a huge new development to the west of Manchester, close to the M60. The BBC has relocated nearly all of its TV and radio production to the site which has allowed it to shrink its London operation to a fraction of its former size. Here, you'll also find other operators, such as ITV and Bupa.

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Outside of Manchester, which has excellent train services to London as well as good motorway connections and an international airport, the rental prices tend to be that much more affordable. A prime example is Warrington, a smaller urban centre which is about midway between Manchester and the port city of Liverpool. Here, there are traditional town centre style office blocks as well as good value edge-of-town low rise business parks. Located conveniently between the M62, M6 and M56 motorways, Warrington Business Park is typical. It has office suites set over three storeys only and is designed to attract SMEs who want both flexible leases as well as longer term commitments.

To view office space for rent in the North of England click here.