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The sheer scale of the city, its strengths in manufacturing, the unique coastal position and the strength of its entrepreneurial small businesses should all combine to bring major success to Plymouth, the firm said.

A "can-do" attitude in the private sector will be helped by an engaged local authority and outside investment, it added.

Glenn Kelly and Ashleigh Phillips set up the Plymouth office of Bruton Knowles in December.

Mr Kelly said: "Regardless of how you analyse the market place, Plymouth is in a position where things should take off in a big way."

"The decline in manufacturing that has been seen throughout Britain has not happened on the same scale here and the healthcare and marine sectors have remained strong.

"Add to that the number of expanding small and medium-sized businesses that have started up in the past few years and are expanding and thriving and you have a very strong picture of a city on the brink of success."

A strong private sector can only help complement the established public sector and university-generated employment, he added.

"Bruton Knowles has been operating in the region for more than 100 years but this is the first time there has been the confidence to open an office in Plymouth.

"A strong economy brings jobs and prosperity for all and that is always underpinned by a strong property market."

Mr Phillips said: "We are building the team in Plymouth and also bringing in specialist expertise from our offices in Bristol and Gloucester.

"Many of those specialists are saying to us that Plymouth has more potential than they imagined.

"We are proud of our city and are keen to promote, build and add value wherever we can. "

Mr Kelly pointed to the natural advantages Plymouth has – with one of the largest harbours in Europe, its historic links to the USA and its unique position on the South Coast – as being pivotal. But he said new initiatives, such as the Local Enterprise Partnership's and forward-thinking and ambitious plans for regeneration, were also fuelling optimism, and entrepreneurial spirit within the city.

He said: "Of course there are pockets of problems in Plymouth, as there are in any city.

"We have also just been through a difficult recession and Plymouth has suffered as badly as every other city in the country.

"But the signs are positive and Plymouth will bounce back.

"The infrastructure is in place and there are opportunities for those investing in the city to see sustainable returns.

"Success is contagious and that is why we are expanding our office here so we are ready to help the city during the expected upturn".

Bruton Knowles has 13 offices throughout the UK and the Plymouth office opened in Lockyer Street, with plans to expand as the city economy develops.

Follow @BrutonKnowles @BKPlymouth

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