Region's dead centre revealed

THERE'S no better place to die than in Norwich, a new survey has found - and it's also a handy place to be if you need a plumber.A new report has declared Norwich as the region's funeral parlour capital.

THERE'S no better place to die than in Norwich, a new survey has found - and it's also a handy place to be if you need a plumber.

A new report has declared Norwich as the region's funeral parlour capital.

However, home buyers in Yarmouth may struggle as the town has been revealed as the nation's driest estate agent desert.

These are just two of the findings of a trade map of small businesses drawn up by banking giant Barclays, revealing the highest and lowest concentrations of different types of companies.

The results, worked out by comparing the population to the number of small businesses of each type, threw-up some startling contrasts in Yarmouth.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the seaside town has the highest number of holiday parks per head of population in the country - more than nine times the average - and also the greatest concentration of restaurants, at more than twice the norm.

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Yet Yarmouth has the fewest estate agents (about a third the national average) and accountants (41pc of the norm) of any town or city in the country.

And as well as the East of England's highest concentration of funeral parlours, Norwich is also the easiest place in the East and third easiest nationally to find a plumber, the survey has revealed, with more than double the national average concentration.

Plumber Patrick Beane, of Patrick Plumbing and Heating, based in the north of the city, said plumbing was a “fantastic” trade to be in - and suggested the age of Norwich's properties could be a reason why so many are based there.

He said: “If there are more plumbers in the city there must be an awful lot of work out there to be done.”

But in Yarmouth, Marco Chebbi, manager of Italian restaurant the Albatross, in Regent Road, said the concentration of restaurants was too high.

He said: “When I first came here five years ago there were so many restaurants I couldn't believe my eyes. There are a lot of tourists in Yarmouth, but some restaurants are closing down. There are too many in the town. Everybody tries to cut their prices to get the people in.”

Terry Allcock, partner at Allcock Family Funeral Services, on City Road, said the abundance of funeral parlours in Norwich did not mean more people were dying in the city, but reflected the rural nature of the surrounding county.

He said: “In most cities you get congregations of funeral parlours within city boundaries. In Norfolk the population is so far and widely spread I would imagine that is one of the major reasons.

“It's no more competitive than any other business.”

Tony Reynolds, Barclays local business regional director for Eastern England, said figures showed the key role played by small businesses.

He said: “Small businesses are responsible for in excess of 50pc of the UK's gross domestic product and without them the country would just grind to a halt.”