Bracknell is a top town for economic growth and wellbeingBy Jennie Slevin
November 22, 2012
Bracknell has been named as one of the top towns in the country for economic growth and wellbeing.
Despite delays to the town centre regeneration it was only beaten by Oxford in the report, entitled Good Growth for Cities, which ranked it joint second with Reading.
The league table of 36 of the UK’s largest cities, published by consultants PwC and think-tank Demos, puts Bracknell ahead of London, Brighton and Edinburgh.
The towns and cities are ranked according to 10 categories the public and businesses considered to be the key to economic success and wellbeing.
These were secure jobs, good health, sufficient monthly income, good balance between work and family, affordable homes, equal spread of incomes, being able to provide for children, good transport service, looking after the environment and the variety of jobs available.
Helen Barnett, Bracknell Regeneration Partnership marketing manager, believes Bracknell’s success is because of large companies wanting to move to the area.
She said: “We’re close to Reading and London and we’re right in the middle of the Thames Valley.
“We also have a very good labour force and low levels of unemployment in Bracknell.
“Some of the biggest companies in the country have moved their headquarters here, we’ve got Dell, Waitrose, HP and so many others that are basing themselves here.”
But she added there’s more to the area’s economic growth than attracting businesses.
She said: “We have very good schools, Bracknell Forest Council
very strong and we still have Bracknell Forest Partnership which lots of towns got rid of when the Government stopped funding them.
“The partnership means the whole town works together.
“We also work with the college to make sure the right courses are being taught, so that when students leave there’s work in the area for them.”
Councillor Marc Brunel-Walker, executive member for economic development and regeneration, added there’s so much to keep Bracknell’s economy growing.
He said: “You look at the leisure facilities we have and there’s just so much that draws families to the town.
“We’ve got the Look Out Discovery Centre, Coral Reef, these are things that people outside Bracknell come and enjoy.
“This is why Bracknell is such a great town to invest in and I think the report just reinforces what we’ve been working towards.”
The categories were measured separately in each town or city and then combined to get an overall index score signalling the economic growth in that area.
The UK average index score was 0, with Oxford topping the league table scoring 0.87.
Bracknell and Reading were grouped together as an economic area and came second with a score of 0.80. Aberdeen was third with 0.46.