Norwich the dead centre for small firms

SEE Norwich and die, but you'd better head to Colchester if you're feeling ill, a survey has revealed.If you're looking for choice, a new study gives a telling insight into the business makeup of English towns, revealing a wide diversity in the small firms most likely, compared with the national average, to found in each.

SEE Norwich and die, but you'd better head to Colchester if you're feeling ill, a survey has revealed.

If you're looking for choice, a new study gives a telling insight into the business makeup of English towns, revealing a wide diversity in the small firms most likely, compared with the national average, to found in each.

According to the research, by Barclays, the greatest concentration of funeral parlours is to be found in Norwich, while Colchester is the place to go for hospitals and hospices.

The survey is based on data gathered form Barclays Local Business customers, which the bank says represents about a fifth of the small business stock in the UK.


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Fun-seekers should head to Great Yarmouth, where there is an even greater focus on amusement arcades than bed and breakfasts, and those interested in recycled metal should find what they are looking for at Chelmsford, where scrap yards dominate.

For sleek looks and attractive homes, try Ipswich, where furniture and interiors shops top the table, followed by hairdressers and beauty salons.

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In Bury St Edmunds, farms outnumber any other type of small business, followed by nursery schools and veterinary practices. But the town has the second lowest concentration of restaurants at half the national average, according to the study results.

And in Southend-on-Sea, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to nursing homes, followed by refuse disposal, estate agents and accountants.

Chelmsford is shown with more pubs per person than anywhere else in the country, with one for every 385 people, while Southend boasts the most second hand car dealers per head of population at one for every 665 inhabitants.

The survey also shows that Blackpool has 14 times more bed and breakfasts than the national average, and that Kensington and Chelsea has more estate agents, at one for every 173 people.

Barclays Local Business regional director for eastern, Tony Reynolds, said their data demonstrated how important small firms are.

“Most of us have had experiences of trying to track down a plumber or electrician and this analysis highlights where different business types dominate,” he said.

“However, what the report really shows is just how important small businesses are to the country as a whole.”

Going to down to the local for a pint, heading away on holiday or buying a newspaper are services we all take for granted but are provided by an army of small business people, he said.

“These small businesses are responsible for in excess of 50% of the UK's GDP and without them the country would just grind to a halt,” he said.

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