Is It Time to Move to Rutland?

Our below article was published in the Rutland Times on 29th December 2013

Is it Time to Move to Rutland? Rutland- England’s smallest county; packed full of quiet, quaint charm. You would be forgiven for thinking that this peaceful slice of countryside, snuggled in the heart of the UK, is stuck in a perpetual state of sleepiness. You would be forgiven, but you would be wrong. In fact, Rutland is wide awake and rapidly on the move.

For decades, Rutland relied on its staples of farming and tourism to keep it economically afloat. Recent years have, sadly, seen a national decline in both of these sectors, forcing the rural corners of the country to look elsewhere to earn a crust. Many rural areas have been completely devastated by the credit crunch, but Rutland has undergone somewhat of transformation. Beneath Rutland’s bucolic beauty, lays a hub of activity, where new businesses are budding. Our teeny, tiny county has transcended into a tough, Titan of trade.

Anyway, enough of the alliteration; let me present the facts to you. Back in 2005, a plot of land near Lands’ End Distribution Centre was being prepared for a complete makeover. This site would see the rise of ‘Oakham Office Park’- 25,000 square feet of offices, spread between 9 buildings. Now fully occupied, this site has attracted a mix of computer technology companies, software providers, training and recruitment consultants and design and product developers. Phase two of this project, which is now a part of the Hawksmead Estate, is now underway and promises to offer buildings from 1,750 square foot in size. Nearly 200 jobs have been created thanks to this development, with more to follow. The estate is also building a range of affordable housing solutions for Rutland’s expanding population. On top of this, last year ‘Oakham Enterprise Centre’ also opened on the old Ashwell Prison site. This development is now called home by 35 businesses that operate in the light, industrial sector.

It is not only  large businesses who can thrive in this evolving county; in 2011 The Rural Business Community in Seaton opened its doors, offering affordable, flexible and professional office solutions for 1-4 person companies. This beautiful barn conversion is ideal for the smaller business, as the office and meetings rooms on offer are fully serviced and ready equipped. This centre offers super-fast broadband and free, ample parking to all users. Virtual solutions are also available, presenting the perfect answer for local people who are just starting out.

Thanks to these new sites, a great deal of Rutland’s existing businesses have been given the opportunity to expand and take on a greater work force. New companies have also been able to ‘set up shop’, creating numerous new jobs that offer the average wage of £22,672 per annum (£1,292 above the national average).  It is not a surprise that new prospects and better wages have drawn a great deal of young families into the area.

Rutland’s new found ‘blooming’ economy is winning people over, but it is not the only reason that people are flocking to the county. This year Oakham, Rutland’s largest town, came fifth in the ‘Family Friendly Hotspots Report’[1], firmly fixing its place amongst the best places to bring up a family in the UK. And it is no secret just how it achieved this; with some of the best schools in the country (notably Oakham School, Uppingham School and Stamford School) on Rutland’s doorstep, miniscule crime rates of 0.08% per capita and the average house price of £149,154 in Oakham, Rutland is a clear winner for families and professionals alike. Even some of the retail giants believe that this trend is set to continue , with Sainsbury’s and Aldi both planning on building superstores in the next few years to cater to Rutland’s growing population of families.

With an economy that is going from strength to strength, more and more employment opportunities, above average salaries, affordable housing, excellent schools and low crime, it would seem that Rutland really does have it all. However, for me, the proverbial ‘cherry on top’ is the stunning setting that Rutland is fortunate enough to be placed in. Rutland’s countryside is akin to a John Constable painting; with lush fields, abundant trees and unspoilt landscapes. Even the built up market towns exude a rare, rustic charm; littered with historical architecture, picturesque, quirky features and unique shops specialising in local produce.  This may seem like an over romanticised depiction, but believe me, it really as good as it sounds!

Rutland’s county motto ‘Multum in Parvo’, (‘much in little’) may have been designated in 1950, but it holds even more resonance today than ever before. England’s smallest county is fast becoming the ideal place to not only live, but to work. Business opportunities are springing up on a daily basis and the evolving, younger, community have the potential to possess endless skill sets. All of this coupled with the high calibre of education and idyllic landscapes; make this the ‘dream’ location. I asked the question at the outset of ‘is it time to move to Rutland?’ I think that a more apt statement would actually be ‘it is time to move to Rutland!’

If you are looking to relocate your business to Rutland, or start up a new company in our wonderful county, The Rural Business Community can help. We have a range of private offices, meeting rooms and virtual office solutions that are geared towards supporting small and start up firms. Nestled in the heart of rural Rutland, our fully serviced centre offers the professional edge that you need to begin your journey in  Rutland’s expanding economy.

 



[1] Survey conducted by Family investments, 2013