Doing Business in Bromley
Despite being London’s largest borough, Bromley is likely to be one of those places that you’ve probably heard of but know very little about. Dig a little deeper, however, and you may well be pleasantly surprised by what you find. This sprawling suburban borough has a remarkable character to it, and its location is very beneficial for those looking to do business in the area.
Bromley: An overview
Bromley is situated in Greater London, despite many believing that it is actually located in Kent. This erroneous belief is largely because the town was indeed once part of Kent, but the expansion of London back in 1965 took the borough as its own and, for the last 50 plus years, Bromley has been listed as a London borough.
Bromley Town is just under 10 miles from the heart of London and was named as one of the key metropolitan centres highlighted in the London Plan of 2011. The last census showed that the borough’s population stood at 310,000, and the bustling Bromley atmosphere and lively residents make the place feel more like a major city rather than a suburban town.
As a company, we provide IT support for Bromley businesses, and can confirm that town’s economy is buoyant, with much of the population in work and economically active. Of those who are of working age, 156,000 are in employment and the population has a higher than average amount of self-employed people, with 12.6 per cent choosing to work for themselves compared to the national average of 10 per cent.
The local council are always looking for ways to improve what is already a thriving and bustling town centre with management schemes and Business Improvement Districts (BIDS) being put in place frequently. They are also working towards more cohesive governance and council departments are all looking to create better working relations with local businesses in order to bring Bromley’s economy even further forward as we move towards 2020.
Another benefit of the local area is the residential property market. House prices are naturally more favourable than those found closer to the centre of London and in 2014 the average house price (£397,000) in the borough was 76 per cent of the average found within the London region itself. Seventy-two per cent of local residential property is owner-occupied.
Served by two railway stations, Bromley enjoys good access into London, as one would expect from a borough situated so closely to the capital. Bromley South station has a nonstop line into London Victoria that takes a mere 16 minutes, making the connection excellent for both commuters and shoppers alike. Other notable stations linked to Bromley are Blackfriars (24 minutes), London Bridge (36 minutes) and Waterloo (35 minutes).
Business in Bromley
There are a number of different sectors operating in what was once famously an old market town, but retail is still king here. Much of the High Street is pedestrianised and shopping is a feature of the town as it would have been back when market stalls lined the streets. Many of the retail units are occupied by chain stores as one would expect from a UK high street, with names such as GAP, Waterstone’s, Oasis and Russell & Bromley occupying the local shopping mall, Intu Bromley Centre.
That being said, there are around 12,300 different enterprises in the borough, with sectors such as business services, construction, financial intermediation and wholesale distribution all prominent here. To give you an idea of how the business landscape is changing in Bromley, household names such as Bank of America, Direct Line and Capita all have a significant presence in the borough.
Pushing the business boundaries forward
The local council are keen to see business expand in the region and are constantly looking at ways to help startups take hold and encourage existing organisations into the borough. There are numerous business support events held throughout the year, with training workshops and networking meetups at the forefront of the drive to bring more business into Bromley.
Bromley Council also have a number of partner organisations who they operate closely with in order to provide local companies with the business support that they need to thrive in what is becoming an increasingly competitive part of the country. Everything from basic business advice and training, through to public sector tender opportunities and relevant networking events are catered for; all of which make Bromley an extremely attractive prospect for both new and existing businesses alike.