Surrey Economic Prospects Report – January 2018


  • A £150 million scheme to redevelop the area around Guildford station has been approved
  • Woking and Guildford Borough Councils have received nearly £20 million (£9.3 and £10 million
    respectively) funding to unlock housing
  • The University of Surrey is set to open a new £4.2million nano-manufacturing facility

Data and analysis – labour market

Unemployment, measured by the number of Job Seeker Allowance (JSA) claimants, increased in
December by 35 claimants (up to 4,845 (0.7%)) relative to the previous month and has increased by 400
claimants over the last year (from December 2016).

Unemployment has increased from a recent low of 0.5% (3,925 claimants) in December 2015.
Surrey has a low rate of unemployment relative to comparable economic areas including the South East
(1.2%), Cambridgeshire (0.7%), Hampshire (0.9%), Oxfordshire (0.7%), East Sussex (1.8%) and West Sussex (1.0%).

Results for both GCSE and A levels in 2016/17 were published on Thursday 25 January. The South East is
the second highest performing area by attainment below London. In Surrey the average attainment per
pupil is above the national average (for more information see here).

Further information on the Surrey economy is available on the Surrey i website (see here). This includes
datasets and data collections, as well local area profiles, visualisation tools and infographics.

Business intelligence

A £150 million regeneration scheme to redevelop the area around Guildford Station has been approved
by the Planning Inspectorate. The scheme involves transforming Guildford’s station car park into a new
‘Station Quarter’ delivering a new station building, 438 new homes, office space and an enhanced station

Two schemes in Surrey have been awarded a proportion of £866 million in government funding to unlock
housing. £9.3 million was awarded for Sheerwater Regeneration in Woking, expected to unlock 984
houses. In Guildford Borough £10 million was awarded to unlock housing near Ash. The funding will go
towards a new bridge over the rail line south east of Ash station.

The University of Surrey is set to open a new nano-manufacturing hub. The Engineering and Physical
Sciences Research Council has awarded £1.6 million to the Advanced Technology Institute and the 5G
Innovation Centre to establish a hub that will make the manufacturing of smart materials and selfpowered
electronics a reality in the UK. The £4.2 million project, supported by 32 partner organisations,
was co-developed with QinetiQ and the National Physical Laboratory.

TechNation has launched its 2018 survey on the UK’s digital ecosystem and has an ambitious target to
reach over 11,000 responses. To ensure Surrey’s tech sector is well represented please complete the
survey available at

Platform 0 in Redhill has opened. After being announced in April 2016 the long awaited platform was
opened to passengers on 2 January. Accommodating Southern, Thameslink and Great Western Services,
the £50 million platform is expected to increase station capacity and ease commuter congestion.

Nominations are now open for the Toast of Surrey business awards. Entries must be received by 30
March. For more information and to enter see

A mid-market private equity firm has sold Manchester-based Concept Life Sciences, to Egham-based
Spectris, an instrumentation and controls company, for £163 million.

Curchod & Co in Woking and Weybridge, the commercial property, building surveying and management
business, has merged with the Farnham and Camberley offices of rival firm, Wadham & Isherwood.
Surrey County Council is raising awareness of the Your Next Move website, a place for young people to
explore different career options. These options range from further education, apprenticeships and
training to supported internships for young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

The Chief Executive of Reigate-headquartered insurance business esure Group has stepped down. Stuart
Vann joined esure in 2000. In this time esure has grown to 2.4 million in-force policies and more than
£800 million in gross written premiums.

McLaren Automotive, the luxury sportscar manufacturer, has reported a record year of growth, selling a
total of 3,340 cars in 2017. The results follow the 2017 introduction of new models in each of the
established three product families; the 570S Spider was added to the Sports Series, the 720S replaced the
650S in the Super Series while the track-concentrated McLaren Senna joined the Ultimate Series. To
support an increase in customer demand and new model launches, a second shift was introduced in 2016
at the McLaren Production Centre in Woking, where each car is hand-assembled.

Spelthorne Borough Council is set to buy 12 Hammersmith Grove from Aberdeen Asset Management for
£170 million. The 167,000 sq. ft. office is now almost fully let with notable tenants including WeWork
(occupying just over 50,000 sq. ft.), Creative Artists Agency, Perform Media Services and Medidata.
Spelthorne Borough Council’s previous acquisitions include the BP campus in Sunbury-on-Thames for
circa £340 million and 3 Roundwood Avenue at Stockley Park near Heathrow.

East Surrey College (ESC) in Redhill has topped the 2017 league tables and announced a new university
partnership. This year’s NICDEX gave 202 colleges a score of up to 40, with 10 marks available in four
categories: learner satisfaction, employer satisfaction, 16-to-18 positive progression and adults into
employment. Overall East Surrey College ranked 9th putting it in the top 5% of colleges across the UK.
Notably ESC ranked 3rd for employer satisfaction (top 2%) and 9th for adults into employment (top 5%).
East Surrey College has also announced a new Creative Business Partnership Agreement with the
University for the Creative Arts (UCA). The close working relationship between the organisations will
support the development of students in to creative careers, allowing them to show both their creativity
and innovation.

The two remaining floors of Prospero House in Redhill are under offer with The Shawbrook Bank.
Relocating from Dorking the bank and financial services provider would occupy circa 26,000 sq. ft.
Plans for a residential development of up to 50 homes on land in Tongham have been recommended for
approval. Gleeson Developments is seeking permission to develop a site off Grange Road on land within
the countryside beyond the green belt. 18 of the 50 homes would be affordable.

Regus who occupy and manage 3 floors of the flagship Kingsgate office in Redhill have recently
remodelled the upper floors to accommodate more businesses in their premium office space and offer
co-working and meeting rooms. The Kingsgate Launch Event will star the 2017 Apprentice Winner James
White. In the evening guests will also be able to enjoy magic, jazz, competitions, canapes and
champagne, whilst networking with local businesses. For more information see here.

Following the launch of a report by the Centre for London and the Southern Policy Centre about the
capital and the South East working more closely together to address the challenges of economic and
population growth, Surrey County Council deputy leader John Furey said the move could offer “huge
opportunities”. The report, entitled Next-door Neighbours – Collaborative Working Across The London
Boundary – sets out a number of ways in which London and the wider South East depend on each other.
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) and Viasat, a global satellite communications company, have marked the start of operations of the new Viasat antenna system installed at SSTL’s Guildford headquarters with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The new antenna system forms part of the Viasat Real-Time Earth (RTE) network, a hybrid ground and space network, which has been designed to provide low-latency satellite data to users on-demand without the need to invest in a dedicated antenna system. The Guildford site joins other sites in the United States, Argentina, Australia and Sweden as part of Viasat’s roll out of the RTE network.

In other news, SSTL has confirmed the successful launch of CARBONITE-2, an Earth Observation
technology demonstration mission owned and operated by SSTL, and of the Telesat LEO Phase 1
communications satellite, an important milestone in Telesat’s plans to deploy a global low earth orbit
constellation that will revolutionise broadband communications services around the world.
Office properties in Cheshunt, Woking and Edinburgh have been acquired by Regional REIT with the
support of a £19 million funding facility. In Woking Regional REIT purchased eight units within the 99,613
sq. ft. Genesis Business Park.

A ‘once-in-a-generation’ upgrade to the southern end of the Brighton Main Line has been unveiled by
Network Rail and Govia Thameslink Railway. The work, which is scheduled to take place in October 2018
and February 2019, is a key part of a £300 million government-funded programme to tackle delay
hotspots and boost the reliability of the railway in the South East.

Surrey County Council’s highways team has provided the latest in a series of regular updates on the work
taking place on Surrey’s roads. It featured news about the progress being made with schemes to reduce
congestion in Epsom and at the Runnymede roundabout.

Guildford-based the Gym Group has said it has created an “excellent platform” for growth in 2018 after
membership numbers increased by more than 35 per cent in 2017. The chain said for the year to 31
December 2017 revenues increased by 24.3 per cent compared to 2016 while total year end membership
numbers were 607,000, up from 448,000.

Palace Capital, the listed property investment company, has sold an industrial building in West Molesey
for £595,000 to a private investor. The property at 138 Molesey Avenue comprises 5,536 sq. ft. It is let
until June 2021 at a rental of £40,000 per annum exclusive.

Surrey residents can have their say on several ideas to improve travel around Guildford. The “Unlocking
Guildford” proposals include:
-Improvements to two junctions on the A331 Blackwater Valley Relief Road to ease congestion;
 -Upgrades to Guildford’s traffic management system to allow faster responses to congestion and
traffic incidents;.
 -Measures to reduce the risk of flooding in Guildford town centre, and;
 -Bus network improvements including better passenger information and measures to reduce delays.

To comment go to the Surrey County Council website for full details and dates of public exhibitions. The
closing date is 4 March 2018.

Farnham Castle Intercultural Training has announced new training – Global Mobility-The Expatriate
Lifecycle…. from Recruitment and Selection to Repatriation. The training is part of Farnham Castle’s
Intercultural Training Workshop Series 2018.

The training will be held on 22 February, 10.00-16.00 at Farnham Castle near Farnham. For more
information on this and other training see here.

National news

It has been revealed that the Business Growth Fund (BGF) invested more than £300 million in almost 50
companies last year. In total, the BGF completed 48 new investments and provided £310 million in
funding to UK smaller and mid-sized companies in 2017. In October 2017, BGF made its 200th new
company investment, and exceeded £1.3 billion of invested long-term capital.

Heathrow Airport Limited has launched a ten-week consultation on its expansion plans seeking feedback
on three shortlisted options for the new north-west runway, potential locations to expand terminal
infrastructure and the proposed repositioning of a section of the M25. The consultation will be
composed of two parts – the first relates to the physical changes to the ground needed to build a new
north-west runway and operate an expanded airport. Feedback is being sought on potential
infrastructure options including:
- Three shortlisted options for the new north-west runway with length varying from between 3,200
and 3,500 metres;
 -Potential locations to expand terminal infrastructure: east of Terminal 2, west of Terminal 5 or a
new satellite terminal by the new runway;
- Proposed alignment of the M25: repositioning it approximately 150 metres to the west, and
lowering it by 7 metres in a tunnel and raising the runway height so it passes over the M25;
- Options for changes to local roads and possible changes to two junctions leading to the M25.

The airport is also asking for the public to review its plans to manage the effects of expansion on local
communities and the environment. The second part of the consultation relates to potential principles, or
‘rules’, that could apply when designing the new airspace required for an expanded airport. Airspace
across the country is being modernised as it has changed little since the 1960s. At this early stage, future
flight path options are not being consulted on.

Inbound tourism to the UK hit a record high last year with growth set to continue in 2018, according to
forecasts by VisitBritain. Overseas visits to the UK are forecast to break through the 40 million mark for
the first time in 2018, reaching 41.7 million, up 4.4% on 2017 which is expected to see 39.9 million visits.
Spending by overseas visitors to the UK is also forecast to reach £26.9 billion in 2018, up 6.8% on 2017,
with figures expected to have reached £25.1 billion for the year.

The Mayor of London has green-lit Croydon Partnership’s plans to revamp the Whitgift shopping centre,
which will see more than 500,000 square metres of new shops and restaurants established. The joint
venture between Westfield and Hammerson is expected to create 7,000 jobs, 1,000 new homes and
provide the community with new leisure facilities and “rejuvenated” public spaces. Plans also feature
space for future student accommodation or a hotel.

A new national housing agency – which is designed to help build an average of 300,000 homes a year by
the mid-2020s – has launched. Homes England is the successor to the Homes and Communities Agency
and is being driven by housing secretary Sajid Javid. It will help to secure new land, support smaller and
more innovative housebuilders into the market, and resource brownfield sites from across the country.

In the new 25 Year Environment Plan, the Prime Minister has pledged to eliminate all avoidable plastic
waste within 25 years. This will be achieved through several initiatives, including extending the 5p carrier
bag charge to all retailers in England, working with supermarkets to encourage them to introduce plastic-free aisles and looking at how the tax system or charges could further reduce the amount of waste.

Permitted development rights rules are “detrimental” to local communities and should be scrapped, the Local Government Association (LGA) has said. The LGA has conducted research suggesting that close to one in 10 new homes over the last two years was converted from an existing office, with no investment in affordable housing or infrastructure supporting these conversions. Permitted development rights have led “to the potential loss of more than 7,500 desperately-needed affordable homes”, the LGA suggests, pointing to figures showing that since 2015 there have been 30,575 housing units converted from offices to flats in England without having to go through the planning system. While this figure equates to eight per cent of new homes nationally, in some parts of the country it is responsible for around two thirds of all new housing.

Mark Pearson
Director of Business Growth
Surrey County Council
01483 685230
Twitter @investinsurrey
LinkedIn Group – Invest in Surrey