Self storage is very popular in the United States and in the last few years, the industry has grown in the UK too. The South of England, and in particular Devon and Cornwall, has seen an increase in the number of self storage facilities and there are geographic and demographic reasons why self storage is popular in these counties.
Self storage facilities are simply warehouses or depots where members of the public hire secure storage units for personal or commercial use. It is a low cost flexible storage solution and customers can control how much they store, for how long and can access their unit whenever they need to.
The growth of the storage industry in major cities such as London would not be surprising because of the large population there. The South West of England has a much lower population density however with vast rural areas and only a few cities, the largest being Plymouth and Exeter. In the major urban areas like Exeter and Plymouth, many people use self storage to free up space in their homes. This is true for other areas of the country too but the average take home pay in the South West is lower than many parts of the UK. Low cost housing is limited so some people find it cheaper to hire storage and free up space that way than move to a bigger home. This partly explains the popularity of self storage in Exeter and storage in Plymouth.
Areas like Cornwall and St Austell attract a large number of second home owner because of the slower pace of life and beautiful countryside. Second homes are often unused during the winter months and their owners use self storage in St Austell to store seasonal goods like summer furniture or expensive hobby equipment.
There is a niche market for caravan storage, boat storage and motorhome storage. All types of vehicles including jet skis, motorbikes and classic cars can be stored too. Devon and Cornwall is famous for its scenic coasts and maritime history and the tourist industry is a big employer in the region. This means there is a need for secure vehicle storage and equipment storage for shows and exhibitions during the summer months.
Rural areas have a lot of small businesses and self employed people. These kinds of businesses are run from small premises or homes and do not have a great deal of space. Farmers, builders, gardeners and the like benefit from commercial storage by storing tools, equipment, stock and archives at secure sites close to where they work. Low cost self storage in North Devon outweighs the increased expenditure required for larger premises.
The picturesque surroundings of the South-West means it is popular with people retiring from other areas of the country. Downsizing from a large family home is common among the retired as it frees up money for their retirement. But a smaller home means there is less storage space. There can be an emotional tie to possession you have owned for a long time and people are reluctant to throw things away or sell them. But they also do not want to clutter up their homes. Self storage is the solution for people in this situation.
Self storage has grown in popularity across the UK and is considered by some to be recession proof as people look to downsize or close business premises. However, as illustrated, there are some unique reasons that explain the concentration of self storage facilities in Devon and Cornwall.
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