New statistics from the Land Registry shows Slough has the highest proportion of properties owned by offshore companies, outside of the capital. One in 238 properties, both residential and commercial, is owned by a company that is registered abroad. If individual, foreign ownership was included, the figure would be a lot higher. There are 675 foreign registered businesses in the SL postcode alone.
The town is home to 4,600 businesses and contributes £8bn to the economy, which is double the national average. It is a base for some of the world’s largest brands, including Amazon, Unilever, Reckett Benckiser, Blackberry and automotive companies such as Honda, Mercedes, Fiat, Citroen and Maserati. After London, along with Manchester, Slough is the most popular destination for offshore buyers, this is partly due to the presence of the Slough Trading Estate, run by SERGO. Sectors represented on the estate include biotechnology, automotive, IT, food processing, pharmaceuticals and telecoms companies. Mars, O2, Ferrari and UK Mail are all based on the estate. Many of these businesses have made it their UK or European headquarters, with 2.6 million people living within an hour of Slough, businesses have access to a talented workforce. The presence of local and corporate headquarters, mean that there are highly paid employment opportunities. Decades of financial growth have made the town an economic hub and it has one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the UK.
A major redevelopment of the town centre has started, the £400m, Heart of Slough Project. The main infrastructure is already in place and £45m of public investment has already been committed or spent. The project aims to complete in 2018. It will be a completely new commercial district and aims to become synonymous with creative media information and communication industries, in the same way Cambridge has become synonymous with technology. There will be 1,600 new homes, 70,000 sqm of office space, next to the new Crossrail Station, which will connect to London by 2018, a new bus station, 120 bed hotel, retail and leisure opportunities. Over the next 25 years the regeneration spend is expected to exceed £1 Billion and more than 39 sites across the borough will experience transformation.
The impact of Crossrail means it is expected Slough will become a property hotspot. From a residential property perspective, it is anticipated property values will increase by 48% by 2021, making buying any property now, a worthwhile investment.
By 2020, the Western Rail Access to Heathrow, will mean the airport is accessible in 6 minutes. Currently, it is only 17 minutes to central London by train and there are excellent transport links to the rest of the UK. Public and private investment now means that 94% of the town benefits from fibre optic broadband meaning business will continue to thrive and grow in Slough, for the foreseeable future.