Biggest towns/cities: Luton, Watford, Stevenage, Harlow, Bishop's Stortford, Chelmsford, Braintree, Southend, Brentwood, Maidstone, Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Crawley, Guildford, Aldershot, Reading, Bracknell, Wycombe, Slough
What the experts say: London’s commuter belt is full of diverse and dynamic communities. The strength of footfall within these places varies depending on the concentration of retail and leisure on the high street versus out-of-town schemes. Over the past five years the divergence between out-of-town schemes in terms of winners and losers has become more marked, as has local authorities’ efforts to reinvigorate high streets as their retail offer diminishes.
“Running a great venue in these areas means embedding the business within the local community and operating throughout the day. With a smaller population during the daytime due to the number of commuters, you have to work harder to achieve loyalty from the locals who are there. Likewise providing a good value, relevant offer in the evening when the bright lights of London beckon is important. Our experience has taught us that when consumer spending contracts and people are slightly more nervous about the future, they tend to stay local on a Friday or Saturday night out.
“With large-scale housing developments and further infrastructure investments such as Crossrail and Ebbsfleet Garden City coming down the track, London’s commuter catchment is set to expand even further in the coming years. In turn, that means new communities that will need pubs, bars and cafés to develop around, which are perfect opportunities for seasoned and new operators.” - Nick Collins, chief executive Loungers
On the market elsewhere
The Foresters, Yoxall, Staffordshire
Landlord: Private landlord
Turnover: £500,000 (inc VAT).
Agent: Guy Simmonds
Totally refurbished, this highly profitable inn has an open-plan trading area (circa 60+ covers plus standing), a well presented central bar and a fully equipped commercial catering kitchen. The owner’s accommodation has private access and two double bedrooms. To the front of the property are two small areas of grass and the patron’s lined car park with space for 40+ cars.
The Duke of Marlborough
Woodleys, Woodstock, Oxfordshire
Landlord: Star Pubs & Bars
Wet:dry: 40 wet, 40 food, 20 accommodation
Agent: Davey Co, Nottingham 0333 200 8788
This substantial 4* inn and restaurant with AA silver rating offers 13 double/twin en-suite letting bedrooms in a courtyard style development, 80+ cover dining, a lounge bar and presents outstanding potential, particularly for the development of a weddings and events trade.
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