Local economy reaps benefits of close community

Lisa Lodge.
Lisa Lodge.

Lisa Lodge, head of Vincents Solicitors in Garstang, talks about how business is thriving in the picturesque market town

Business is thriving in Garstang, both for us and for the many small firms, independent shops and agricultural businesses that give the town its unique character.

I’m a relatively new addition to Vincents’ Garstang office, which was founded in the town in 2000, but already I have see how the local economy benefits enormously from its close and supportive local community.

Shop local isn’t just an initiative in Garstang, it’s a way of life. The high street is bustling every day of the week, and it doesn’t just apply to retail outlets.

Many people prefer to use a locally-based lawyer, accountant, tax advisor, mortgage lender, and have real face-to-face conversations, developing those traditional long term relationships that have been lost in so many areas of life.

This is great news for the town as it ensures a great range of job opportunities are available, providing employment for local people and drawing outsiders in, and contributes to a sustainable economy that reinvests in itself time and again.

We’ve benefited from this twice over, seeing a surge in both commercial work and residential conveyancing over the last six to 12 months.

There has been a lot of commercial property activity, particularly on the high street where we’ve helped businesses secure leases on new premises to support expansion and new ventures.

We’re paying back that support back with a series of free seminars aimed at helping business owners and members of the community plan for their future.

I’m also planning to launch a new business networking group later in the year to help build on those relationships even further.

We’re also increasing the size of our residential conveyancing team to take on the extra workload from new house sales. As we know, there was a significant decline in the residential market during the recession, and it took a long time to recover.

The demand we’re now seeing is down to a number of factors, not least the increased confidence of homeowners who have held off making the move until conditions improve, the availability of better mortgage facilities and more activity at the bottom of the ladder with the government’s Help to Buy schemes supporting first time buyers.

The local market is seeing a mix of locals moving up the property ladder and new families moving to the area to make the most of all it has to offer.