A SHORTAGE of available medium sized office space is proving a barrier to growth for small companies, according to findings in the latest Oxfordshire Business Barometer report.

More than half (53 per cent) of companies responding to the survey by solicitors Withy King during the last quarter (April-June 2012) said that a shortage of suitable premises was the biggest problem when it came to relocating. This problem was greater than the cost of moving (43 per cent), and economic uncertainty (37 per cent).

Kidlington-based A1 Group, which provides hands-on support services for small businesses ranging from book keeping to marketing and first aid training in the workplace, is scouring the county for suitable new premises into which to expand.

Director Mike Foster said the firm had outgrown the office it shares. He said: “Finding the right premises is proving a bit of a challenge. There seems to be a fair amount of large space available in the local area, but very little quality space for small businesses.

“It would be helpful if landlords or their agents were prepared to partition larger offices to accommodate smaller businesses or negotiate terms which take account of small businesses’ aspirations.”


Mike Cooper, of Withy King, said: “According to our latest barometer, half the respondents said they were planning to recruit in the next three months.

“If this recruitment drive continues, it becomes even more important that we find ways to address the apparent mismatch between the type of properties available and the type of properties tenants want to occupy.”