Southampton city centre

Strengthening the core

This report looks at the economic performance of Southampton city centre in recent years, investigates the causes of it, and sets out what this means for the future direction of policy.

Report published on 1 September 2021 by Valentine Quinio and Paul Swinney

On one hand, Southampton city centre sits in line with some of Britain’s strongest city centres, largely owing to its pool of highly-qualified workers within commutable distance, which is an important factor in the location decision of high-skilled businesses.

On the other hand, the city sits apart from many others in the Greater South East due to the smaller than average role it plays as a worker hub and its relatively low supply of office space. This has implications for the number and range of higher-paid jobs that are available to local residents and for Southampton city centre’s broader economic performance as a whole.

To evaluate the city centre’s economic performance, this report looks at:

  • How Southampton city centre has changed in recent years
  • The role of the city centre pre-pandemic
  • What the city centre offers as a location for businesses
  • How the city centre’s economic performance translates into amenity offer

Strengthening the city centre’s core

This research concludes that Southampton city centre has the underlying fundamentals to become a strong-performing city centre in the next decade.

A core priority for future policy interventions should be to make the city centre a more attractive place to do business, with a specific focus on increasing the supply of new office space.

This report was supported by GO! Southampton.

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