A guide to serviced offices and office space to rent in Leatherhead as well as general information that may be useful if you are thinking of renting office space in the town.
History & Geography
Leatherhead is nestled in the Mole Valley in the county of Surrey in southern England. The town sits on the River Mole near Chessington, Epsom and Oxshott. Leatherhead was first settled by the Anglo-Saxons probably due to its position on the old Roman road leading from London to Chichester. Also its location on the ford of the River Mole made it strategically and commercially important. Gradually Leatherhead grew in size and became a market town serving the local agricultural community. In the 11th century the town built its parish church and in 1248 Henry III granted the town a weekly market and annual fair. In 1392 a fire devastated much of the town, however it was extensively rebuilt and extended. The town continued to grow and prosper over the centuries and during the Elizabethan era was home to Edmund Tylney, Master of the Revels and an important figure in Elizabeth I’s court. There is a story that Elizabeth I herself spent the night in the town once when the River Mole was flooded and impassable. During the 19th century Leatherhead saw extensive modernization and had two major railway lines linked to it. In the late 19th century the elite St John’s School was built by a group of clergymen and continues to this day as one of Britain’s elite boarding schools. In the 20th century Leatherhead was home to several industries, primary amongst them were Ronson’s Lighters and Goblin Vacuum Cleaners. During WWII the town was the site of several important ammunition dumps. The late 1970s and 80s saw the town modernized even further and the decision made to pedestrianise the high street. In 1986 Leatherhead became Junction 9 on the new M25 motorway system. There are non-aligned entry and exit points on the two sides of the motorway which has caused Leatherhead to become notorious as the scene of many traffic jams and road accidents.
During much of the 20th century Leatherhead’s economy was reliant on light manufacturing businesses such as Ronson’s Lighters and Goblin Vacuums. However as will many other town in the UK, during the 1980s these businesses largely failed or simply moved their facilities overseas. Due to this for a time the local economy was in the doldrums. However of late Leatherhead has reinvented itself as a centre of the service industries. Many research companies have made Leatherhead their headquarters of late, including Cobham Technical Services, Leatherhead Food Research and the Central Electricity Research Laboratory. The town has also recently become something of a hub for the motor sports industry, particularly car racing. Lister Cars, Le Mans race cars, and P1 International, the company of former champion Damon Hill are all based in the area. Several other major companies have also set up in Leatherhead, including ExxonMobil, KBR, Logica, Unilever, Robert Dyas, ERA Technology Ltd. Several major industrial parks have recently sprung up around the town which continue to attract major businesses. The introduction of these parks has helped to revive the town centre which has seen the introduction of new restaurants and cafes, lending it a more sociable atmosphere than prevailed in previous years. Leatherhead’s relative proximity to London and its excellent transport links also work to its advantage.
Culture & Tourism
Leatherhead is by no means a thriving tourist town. However its setting in the beautiful Surrey countryside, and the recent refurbishment of its town centre have lead to more visitors for the town. One event that never fails to attract visitors is the Leatherhead Drama Festival, the largest of its type in the UK. Schools and drama groups from around Surrey and the rest of the country compete for the Sir Michael Caine Drama Awards, New Writing Awards and Richard Houghton Awards. Sir Michael Caine is the patron of the festival and is usually there, film schedule permitting, to present the awards. Leatherhead has also been the recording location for many famous British bands, including The Lotus Eaters, Godley & Creme, The Police, Rick Astley and Siouxsie and the Banshees. The town also has a number of popular pubs, the oldest being the Duke’s Head, which was established in the Elizabethan era.
Leatherhead is served by the Leatherhead Railway Station which serves trains to Waterloo, London Victoria, and Wimbledon, where it connects with the London Underground. Going south the station serves Dorking, Horsham, Guildford, Littlehampton and Chichester. Plans have recently been put in place to build a tunnel linking Leatherhead with Chessington South Railway Station. Mole Valley Premier Taxis is the largest taxi service in the area and there is a taxi rank located outside the station. Reptons Coaches is the largest bus company in the area and provides service to the surrounding region and towns. Leatherhead is located equidistant from London’s two main airports, Heathrow and Gatwick, approximately 40 minutes drive from each.
The vast majority of office space in the Leatherhead area is located outside of town in the many industrial and office parks that have been constructed in the last decade. In the aftermath of the financial crisis demand has started growing again gradually, though currently there are few projects in the development pipeline. Whether this may lead to a rise in rents is unclear, however fairly improbably as supply still remains plentiful in the area surrounding Leatherhead and Surrey in general. The town centre itself has little office space, though there are some sub-Grade A locations.