Hart council is urging traders to help build a comprehensive picture of the district’s business needs, after it received just 50 responses to a major local business survey.

At the end of March, the district council asked 2,500 businesses to complete a Hart for Business survey, asking traders about the challenges they face, with the results contributing to a new economic development strategy and future business support plans.

Jennifer Atherton, Hart’s economic development officer, said: “We are encouraging businesses to take five to 10 minutes to tell us what they need to thrive in the district. We have received 50 responses so far, and are keen to hear from many more of our 2,500 businesses before the survey closes on Friday June 20.

“It is crucial we listen to what employers are saying and ensure everything is being done to support business as well as understanding the impact on the ground of national issues.”

Hart is hoping for detailed feedback from hundreds of businesses and individuals to build a picture of their needs, and to understand issues and remove hurdles to success.

The survey addresses pivotal issues such as access to finance and business support, skills, infrastructure and planning.

Hart corporate director Daryl Phillips said: “Over the past 18 months, the new Hart for Business service has listened to businesses and provides a business support and advice service, as well as offering free networking events and subsidised training.

“We are encouraging all businesses to complete the survey so that our next phase of support is based on the real needs of the business community.”

Hart chief executive Geoff Bonner added: “Helping businesses thrive within our district is a key priority, and a strong response in this important survey will help us to do so.

“Our business community plays a hugely important role in keeping Hart somewhere we like to live and work and we should be doing all we can to support business and to help it thrive.”

Fleet trader Kevin Whibley, of Captured Moment photography, is one of the few traders who has responded to the survey.

He said: “It is always good to see councils doing their bit to liaise with local business, but I am often very disappointed in the amount of responses these surveys achieve.

“It can be for many reasons, some like to keep their information to themselves, others do not have the time to respond and others report to a head office which never gets involved.

“I hope people do respond and help to make the picture clearer.”

Hart has promoted the survey through newspapers, on the council website, on social media and through its Hart for Business magazine, as well as face-to-face, through networking events.

Traders can complete the survey by visiting