By Daniel Hunter

The British pub is the business most valued by local communities, new research from Santander Business Banking reveals.

The study, which asked people about the businesses in their area, found that for nearly half (47%) of people, the pub is their most valued local amenity. It was closely followed by the traditional newsagent (45%), and the local grocery store (36%).

The research also reveals that the local business landscape is evolving to meet the changing requirements of communities. Traditional amenities, such as bakers, butchers and grocers, are increasingly being joined by new ones: two-thirds of people (66%) now live within walking distance of a coffee shop; 61% are near a gym; while over half (56%) say they have a nail bar on their doorstep.

Despite concerns over the health of independent local businesses in the UK, the findings reveal that consumers say they are spending an average of £882 per week in local stores and businesses, a figure that would add up to £217.7 billion a year— nearly double that of the UK internet economy.

And there is significant appetite for more local amenities, with two in three people (67%) identifying at least one additional business they would like to see open near their home.

Other amenities in strong demand are bookshops (15%) and bakeries (13%), and more than one-in-ten people would like to have convenient access to a local garden centre.

Traditional businesses continue to attract high numbers of people, with nearly half of those polled visiting their local grocery store (46%) or newsagent (42%) at least once a week; however, a new breed of store is topping the list of the most desired. Around one in six (16%) people identified the pound store as the business they would most like to have in their area.

“In the current economic climate, confidence among local businesses owners is still quite low. However, this research highlights how local businesses remain a relevant and integral part of any community," Robin Foale, Managing Director of Santander Business Banking, said.

“People clearly value their local amenities, spending an average of £88 per week within a 15 minute walk of their house. There are still a huge number of opportunities for business owners and we are committed to supporting them as they look to develop and expand their companies.”

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