Are pubs for lease in Essex a wise choice?

Pubs for lease in EssexIf you have ambitions to run your own drinking establishment, you would do well to consider pubs for lease in Essex. Not sure about leasing a pub? Have a look at our guide on pubs for lease, tenancy or freehold.

In this special feature, we will examine the various districts of Essex, summarising current market conditions and some lifestyle considerations.

Plus you will also find the latest price listings for pubs for lease in Essex.

That will come right at the end…

First though, we’ll make a broad analysis of the county as a whole.

The current and future state of Essex 

As one of the more economically successful counties in England, it’s likely you’ll be able to find a pub offering good commercial potential. Although you should never be complacent, get your pub marketing ideas flowing sooner rather than later.

Adjacent to London, Essex is a county growing massively in terms of population numbers as well as housing and jobs. Indeed, 73,500 businesses operate in the area and the number of job stands at 766,000.

Economically speaking, Essex is stronger than many of its neighbouring counties. Its proximity to London, means that it has a large number of people who commute to the capital for work. No doubt this is a major contributor to the areas economic strength.

There are some challenges, though. Affordable housing is difficult to find and some districts are experiencing economic and social problems.

However, major regeneration projects are planned in many of these areas according to the Essex County Council Regeneration Plan.

According to the Integrated County Strategy, the following list of improvements are planned:

  • Business opportunities related to the London 2012 Olympics
  • Completion of Crossrail project to improve business location and travel options
  • Major port expansion at London Gateway & Harwich International Port
  • Major regeneration of current towns
  • Major remodelling of Thurrock Lakeside Basin
  • Business growth stimulated by airport operations at Stansted and Southend
  • Growth of tourism and leisure sectors

More information about current and future plans for economic development in Essex can be found in this South East Economic Growth Report.

There are 12 districts within Essex County. The following section summarises the current economic picture of each of the districts.

Essex: a district-by-district guide

1. Harlow

In the past, Harlow was a centre for manufacturing, and has had the reputation for being a little ‘rough.’ But this is starting to change…

Today, two new industries are helping to redevelop this area: pharmaceuticals and Information Communications Technology.

A great deal of time and money has also been invested in the shopping, sporting and leisure facilities to improve and update them. Major investments in new transportation is also underway and the council is working hard to rebuild community spirit and education.

Harlow’s latest Corporate Plan offers in-depth information for the current economic health of the area.

2. Epping Forest

With direct transportation on the underground to central London and stunning natural beauty, the Epping Forest district draws tourists and locals alike.

Quaint villages mixed with modern conveniences is an apt description of the area.

The Epping Forest has historical significance as once being the royal hunting grounds of King Henry VIII. There are also many other interesting historical draws to this area.

The average GVA (Gross Value Added – a measure of productivity for the area) in Epping Forest is mildly higher than in other districts, but the cost of living can also be a little steep.

The general market indicators are positive for prospective publicans. Unemployment is down, it’s a mostly affluent area (apart from small pockets of relative deprivation) and the population is growing.

You can access a ‘Corporate Plan’ PDF for the latest information on Epping Forest’s economic and social health on this link.

3. Brentwood

This district has three different shopping areas that would be ideal areas for leasing pubs.

The Station Area is in Warley Hill and has one of the largest shopping centres as well as being ideally located to the Liverpool Street line.

Shenfield also has a large shopping centre and the local train station will be critical in the Crossrail project that is currently being built. This project will connect Shenfield with central London.

Ingatestone is the largest commercial area outside of Brentwood that offers an array of shops, restaurants, and offices mainly located on the High road.

Productivity measures and median salary are much higher than the average across Essex County.

To read more of the upbeat news coming from the district, check out the Brentwood Economic Futures summary 2015-2030.

4. Basildon

If you are looking for high foot traffic when contemplating pubs for lease in Essex, then Basildon is worth consideration.

This district has the largest economy in Essex and the second largest economy along the River Thames after Canary Wharf. With 77,000 employees in the area, starting a new pub in this area will likely have a higher volume of customers than other quieter areas of Essex.

Living costs are much lower than in London, and the average weekly salary and GVA are high.

Manufacturing and engineering are two of the main industries in this area.

Discover more about Basildon as a suitable business location or read their 2014 Economic Development report.

5. Castle Point

The Borough of Castle Point is a picturesque district which runs along the coastline in south east Essex and along the northern side of the Thames estuary.

For business purposes, it historically hasn’t been the best place to start a new business with low GVA and low mean weekly salaries, but the new Thames Gateway South Essex regeneration project is focused squarely on this area.

With good transport links to central London and beautiful, open green spaces, Castle Point may well become a more desirable place to start a business in the near future.

Further information to help you consider whether to lease or buy a pub in this Essex district:

6. Rochford

Rochford is shaping up to be a promising area for running a pub. Not only is it home to the London Southend airport, but has several direct routes to London via road networks and railways.

Rochford has grown dramatically over the years becoming a “bedroom community” for many who commute into London to work.

The district has over 3320 businesses of its own and most of the businesses in this area are small or medium sized. 

There is a relative shortage of employment opportunities within Rochford, but that’s normal for a district with a large commuter base.

Read Rochford’s latest Growth Strategy here.

7. Maldon

Home to the oldest battlefield in England, Maldon is only 40 miles from London and filled with maritime history and several other fun and entertaining leisure activities.

It has an extremely high proportion of agricultural jobs, which might make Maldon a good location for buying or leasing a country pub.

When it comes to running a business here, the news is mostly good.

Average weekly salaries are higher than the national average and the GVA (gross value added per head) is average, but the percentage of business start-ups is much lower than the national average.

You can discover more about the Maldon district here.

Or, check out page 31 of the Essex Local Economic Assessment.

8. City of Chelmsford

Chelmsford is not only England’s Diamond Jubilee City, but is the only city in the UK designated as a safe place to live and work by the World Health Organisation International Safe Community.

There’s a lot to like about this district which lies at the heart of Essex. Chelmsford has a high proportion of parks and open spaces, plus good access to London.

A well balanced economy, where unemployment is low and earnings are above the national average, makes Chelmsford an enticing prospect for running a pub.

Chelmsford is the newest city in England and is a welcoming hub for investment and innovation.

Be further enticed by this report which details Chelmsford’s economic performance and cultural delights.

Further information about Chelmsford’s business prospects can be found here.

9. Uttlesford 

Home of the London Stanstead Airport, Uttlesford was once voted the best place to live in England due to housing costs, quality of schools and low crime.

Saffron Walden and Great Dunmow are the two largest commercial hubs. Saffron Walden has buildings that date back to the medieval period and is a charming market town.

Great Dunmow originally was started as a Roman settlement and thrived during the 16th century.

Uttlesford has a high average earning of residents and a high employment rate with great connectivity to other parts of the UK and Europe through road networks, railway links, airports and the port itself.

Uttlesford’s most recent economic report can be accessed on this link.

10. Braintree

Home of the Cressing Temple, a structure built by the Knights Templar in 1200 AD, Braintree has some fascinating history. Yet, it also contains some wonderful, new shopping areas such as Freeport Braintree.

Like most districts in Essex, it is well connected to London. It’s also situated between the significant growth areas of Colchester and Chelmsford.

Weekly salaries and productivity are about average for Essex, but the 2 year business survival rate is very high. The combination of rural charm and economic promise make this an area well worth considering when looking for pubs for lease in Essex.

Take a look at Braintree’s development strategy.

11. Colchester 

Colchester is considered one of Britain’s fastest growing towns. No doubt, this has been encouraged by its good links to London. Through the Essex regeneration programme, it has been targeted as an area for high population growth and continued economic development. 

Included in this expansion are the areas of: North Colchester, St. Botolph’s, The Garrison, the Hythe and the Knowledge Gateway at the University of Essex. Approximately £3 billion has been raised for this project.

By 2023, it is estimated that 18,800 new homes will have been created and 14,000 new jobs. This creates an ideal environment for a new business if you are looking for pubs for lease in Essex. 

Colchester’s quarterly report gives more detailed information about current trends.

Find more business information, peruse Colchester District Council’s website.

12. Tendring

Known as the Essex Sunshine Coast, Tendring attracts many tourists to its stunning beaches and seaside villages. However, Tendring was one of hardest-hit by the 2008 recession.

Historically, it’s had a much lower median weekly salary than any of the other districts in Essex. Indeed, Jaywick is one of the most deprived areas of the country and Clacton remains in the bottom 10%.

Yet, there are some areas which are relatively prosperous.

As with any district, it’s really important to know the market conditions within particular towns and cities and their suburbs.

Find out more about Tendring here.

Pubs for lease in Essex: a buyer’s guide

**Coming soon: we’ll publish a list of price ranges for leasing or renting a pub in Essex.**

For now, here are some popular links for pubs for lease in Essex with some of the major pub companies:

Before you go, if you’re new to the industry you might want to have a look at running a pub for the first time, decide if you have what it takes? enjoy.


Map courtesy of Essex County Council.