Why Eastleigh?

Why choose Eastleigh for Business

Page last updated at 03 February 2017 at 15:08

Why Eastleigh?         Eastleigh Town Centre

Eastleigh Borough has a prosperous economy with a vibrant business and commercial sector. Home to Southampton International Airport, Eastleigh benefits from other major transport links including the M27, M3, Port of Southampton and a rail link direct to London Waterloo.

Five miles north of Southampton on the west bank of the River Itchen.  Eastleigh is called Estelei in the Domesday Book, and located in Mansbridge Hundred, its Saxon name was Eastlea in the survey attached to the charter by which King Athelstan granted land at North Stoneham to the then King Alfred in AD 932.  The words lea, ley and leigh derive from the Old English leah meaning "a clearing in a wood" or "a glade".

The London and South Western Railway Company came to this area in the 1840s and built Bishopstoke Junction, now Eastleigh Station.  This was followed in the 1880s by the removal from Nine Elms of the L.S.W.R. carriage and wagon works.  From this time the town really began to grow, and in 1895 the Urban District Council was formed.

The name Eastleigh was chosen for the town by the authoress Charlotte Yonge, when the Parish was created in 1868. "East" suggesting a rising sun, a rising faith and a rising town.

Based on the gross value added (GVA) measure the local borough of Eastleigh can be broadly described as a prosperous area. In 2011 the economy was worth £2.96 billion 

Eastleigh is a popular location for businesses of all shapes and sizes, not least because of the area’s excellent transport links. Around 60,000 people are employed in more than 5,000 businesses in the borough. B&Q and Draper Tools have their head offices in the borough, with other major employers including Southampton International Airport, AGEAS Insurance,
GE Aviation and Norwich Union Healthcare. Low unemployment (1.4%), excellent schools and an active workforce mean that Eastleigh has a prosperous economy.

Eastleigh’s economy is changing. Once centred on the railway, the focus for new growth and development is on high technology and knowledge based businesses. Eastleigh Riverside will provide an excellent opportunity to help achieve this with one of the largest employment development sites in South East England, stretching from the east of the town centre to north of the airport. This 130 hectare site, together with the planned regeneration of the town centre, will allow Eastleigh’s economy to thrive.

As well as the big players the economy has a growing and developing small business sector, and overall, there are some 60,000 jobs in sectors including business and financial services, retail and construction.

We are already home to the head offices of some big national and international companies.  As well as being a regional base for others – these include.

  • B&Q   
  • Flybe
  • Prysmian Group UK
  • AGEAS insurance
  • GE Aviation
  • Coopervision
  • Wickes

Along with the above companies we are also home to some big out of town developments, including Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s and a host of other national names you’d expect in a vibrant town.  In 2014, the country’s biggest, purpose built NEXT home and garden store moved was completed.

The Borough of Eastleigh has a wealth of activities, events and recreational opportunities on its doorstep.

In Eastleigh the £25 million leisure complex at the Swan Centre provides a multi-screen cinema and bowling centre. It highlights the Council’s aspirations for regeneration of Eastleigh Town Centre. Sporting opportunities include golf, horse riding, walking, cycling, swimming, watersports and tennis. Eastleigh Borough is home to Hampshire County Cricket and The Royal Yachting Association headquarters. The Hamble River is renowned internationally as a mecca for yachting and sailing, and you can enjoy windsurfing, canoeing and fishing locally.


The Council’s Countryside Service manages 320 hectares of countryside to ensure the conservation of its rich wildlife and historical interest and encourage recreational and educational use by all. You can enjoy numerous country walks plus trails within four very different country parks, to suit all ages and abilities. A variety of attractions across the borough put on a host of seasonal events and activities throughout the year which can be great fun for families, adults and children! (see the link at the bottom of the page for more information).

The borough is also well provided with parks and green spaces providing opportunities for active play or a quiet stroll. 

A growing number of good quality restaurants, pubs and tea rooms can also be found in the area. Each year local produce, food and drink are celebrated at the Hamble Valley Food and Drink Festival.

For shopping, Hedge End is home to the largest combined Sainsburys/Marks & Spencer’s in Europe, and Eastleigh itself boasts the Swan Centre indoor shopping complex. The towns and cities of Winchester, Southampton, Bournemouth and Portsmouth are within easy access, as is the New Forest, Isle of Wight and London. With Southampton International Airport within Eastleigh, a wide range of UK and European destinations are also easily reached.

Schools are managed by Hampshire County Council.  You can view all the schools with links to their websites and OFSTED information by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page. 

There are 5175 businesses in the Eastleigh Borough! This is further strengthened by the presence of major employers such as Ageas UK, B&Q and GE Aerospace.  Eastleigh also has a growing and developing small business sector and overall there are some 59,000 jobs in sectors including business and financial services, retail and construction throughout the borough.  Our online Business Directory (see the link at the bottom of this page) gives details of many of the boroughs business by type of business.

Town Centre and Retail
Eastleigh Town Centre has over 55,000sq m of retail and restaurant space. It is experiencing an exciting programme of regeneration and renewal and is continuing to adapt to changing trends by improving and enhancing the retail offer including the new Market Place.

There are opportunities to expand your business by joining this thriving market town centre, with a range of premises and opportunities available both on the high street and in the Swan Centre. 

Realising Eastleigh's Potential - Futureproofing Eastleigh's Town Centre
We have had a report written on Realising Eastleigh's Potential Futureproofing Eastleigh Town Centre.  Read the Final report here

Eastleigh Town Centre also has a thriving market on a Thursday and Saturday.  If you would like more information about having a stall please contact the Market Manager on 023 8068 8384 or email market@eastleigh.gov.uk

Busking - there are five official busking locations in Eastleigh Town Centre as well as the iconic bandstand. If you'd like the opportunity of busking or performing in Eastleigh please contact Soco Music Project via performers@socomusicproject.org.uk. for more information visit Soco Performers  

If you would like more information on the Borough of Eastleigh and/or the town centre just email the Economic Development team or call us on 023 8068 8045. 

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