Company bosses in Surrey are calling for more to be done to promote the county as a leading centre for business.
According to the Surrey Mirror, tens of thousands of square metres of office space is currently sitting vacant in the county owing to a lack of tenants.
The news provider reported that there are 13,220 square metres of empty floorspace in Reigate town centre, 14,338 in Redhill and 8,027 in Horley.
And this is having a negative impact on the local economy, it has been suggested.
Andy Nash, manager of the Belfry shopping centre in Redhill, said more needs to be done to promote his town and attract investment from the private sector.
Speaking to the news provider, he said “there are deals to be done” in a tough financial climate, but it is very much a ‘buyers’ market’.
“Redhill has been very reliant on support industries basing themselves here – the financial and insurance departments of companies that have their headquarters in, say, London,” he added.
“But cutbacks have meant offices in places like Redhill suffer, and it’s a vicious circle because as soon as the number of office workers drops, the amount of spending in the town drops and there is a risk it becomes a less attractive place to come.”
Local councillor Sam Walsh blamed some property owners for charging unrealistic rental prices – bearing in mind it is not elite London office space on offer.
“Landlords have their own pressures and some are being less realistic than others,” he noted.
“There are a couple of office buildings I am aware of where the landlords are sticking out for more money.”
But still, Coun Walsh expressed optimism for Surrey business moving forwards.
He noted that the council aims to provide more space for businesses in the coming years, in order that the area is prepared for the economic upturn when it comes.