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The Growth of The Satellite Office

Peter Hemple looks at the rise of ‘spoke’ offices

Brighton looks set to emerge as a key beneficiary of the London exodus that has been occurring since the start of the pandemic, as central London businesses continue to reduce their presence in the capital in favour of satellite offices, as part of moves to adopt permanent flexible working arrangements.

Brighton already has a well-established reputation as one of the UK’s most entrepreneurial cities and in recent years it has attracted a range of start-ups, particularly in the gaming and digital/tech sectors, earning it the name ‘Silicon Beach’.

Now, according to a survey by regeneration property company U+I and insight consultant Censuswide of 250 senior decision makers in large central London businesses (defined as those with more than 250 employees), Brighton was rated as the most attractive location in the southeast to set up a satellite or ‘spoke’ style office post-pandemic – beating other prominent cities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Royal Tunbridge Wells and Reading to the top spot.

Brighton could therefore soon see an increase in large businesses moving to the city as they reduce their central London office footprint, providing a significant boost to the local economy. However, Brighton’s potential could be held back by a considerable lack of high-quality office space. As part of the same research, a separate survey of 250 senior decision makers in Brighton-based businesses (with 30 employees or more) found that nearly a third (32%) say that a there is a lack of quality office space in the city to support growth. A fifth (24%) said that the shortage of supply was leading to an increase in office rents.

In its M25 & South East Office Market Report, released in May this year, Knight Frank said of the city: ‘Brighton has been one of the most exciting southeast office markets in recent years because of its local culture, and its combination of big businesses and start-ups. Brighton has become a place where people (typically the Millennial and Gen Z generations) want to work and where businesses want to grow. Couple these factors with a constrained development pipeline and landlords have rejoiced at the demand and supply imbalance, while occupiers wait for the next wave of quality office product.

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