Regional Spotlight: Cambridge

06 August 2004
Regional Spotlight: Cambridge

The university town of Cambridge is famous for its colleges and its punting students, but it's also no slouch when it comes to hospitality businesses.

Alan Crowest, managing director of Diss-based property agents Britannia Business Sales, says Cambridge is "very sought-after" among operators. As such, the licensed property market in the town, and the county as a whole, has been buoyant for the past 12-18 months, with demand outstripping supply in all price ranges. Businesses with accommodation are particularly popular.

A major plus is that the town has good transport links. Cambridge is on the A14 corridor, Stansted Airport is near by and there are good train links to the capital and local centres such as Peterborough, which is "thriving". On the negative side, getting planning permission can be difficult, which has historically been a problem for large operators looking to secure a foothold in the town.

On the pub side "there is a total mix", with lots of lovely traditional properties, although there aren't many freehold freehouses in the centre. A good option is the number of "high-density, back-street boozers that do food".

Leasehold pub businesses go for anything from £50,000 to upwards of £200,000 for a good one - if you can find one, that is. "The problem is that very few are changing hands, as trade is good," says Crowest. "And you're unlikely to get anything freehold for under £250,000."

There are also plenty of good licensed dining establishments in town, but again the supply is limited.

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