CONNECTING BATH’S BUSINESS LEADERS
southwestbusiness.co.uk December 2013
Bath aims for a bumper Christmas
Rising to a challenge Artisan baker’s first shop
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It’s big business
Agenda Editor: Paul Wiltshire 01225 322301 firstname.lastname@example.org
hristmas is coming. You didn’t need me to remind you of that, of course. There’s the food to arrange, presents to buy, and the delicate subject of whose turn it is to have Auntie May.
Business Reporter: Liza-Jane Gillespie 01225 322214 email@example.com
But as well as all that fun, Christmas is very much big business. And nowhere more than in this city of ours. The business of Christmas is very much the theme of this month’s Agenda magazine.
ADVERTISING Multimedia sales manager: Paul Kimberley 01225 322223 firstname.lastname@example.org
We reflect on a wonderful Christmas lights switch-on night with one of the women of the moment, soon-to-be freewoman of Bath, Mary Berry. And we look at the city’s festive market and the highly successful Bath on Ice attraction. It’s also a time for looking back at some other successes – the defence firm BMT, the thriving Bath Rugby Foundation as it marks its tenth anniversary, and at the expanding Thoughtful Bread Company.
ONLINE For all the latest business news from across Bath, Gloucestershire, Bristol and the region visit www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
Agenda is a Bath News & Media publication. Floor 2, Westpoint, James Street West, Bath, BA1 2DA
There’s also space for a look at next year’s Bath in Fashion festival, and all the business comings and goings of the last few weeks. And with Christmas shopping comes cars, somewhat inevitably. And so it’s apposite that our friends at Withy King have been looking at the subject of parking in their Bigger Picture feature. So all in all, there’s plenty of food for thought, as most of us think about food. From all of us involved with Agenda, have a peaceful and prosperous Christmas.
P Wiltshire Paul WiltshireEditor
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The amount expected to be spent online this Christmas
The day the majority of people are expected to turn to the internet to buy Christmas presents
December 2013 AGENDA 3
In this issue 6
News, view. Business stories from the last month.
Diary dates for December. We flag up business events to attend over the coming weeks.
CONNECTING BATH’S BUSINESS LEADERS
southwestbusiness.co.uk December 2013
10 Bath Rugby Foundation celebrates its 10th anniversary with a themed fundraising ball 16 The Bath Foodbank is asking businesses in the city to consider helping those struggling to make ends meet this Christmas 18
Bath gets into the Christmas spirit
Legal advice from Stone King’s Amy Gordon.
26 Our business reporter gets her skates on to find out more about Bath on Ice
28 Withy King’s Bigger Picture survey highlights the problems of parking in Bath
Bath aims for a bumper Christmas
Rising to a challenge Artisan A i baker’s b k ’ ﬁrst ﬁ shop h
Bigger Picture? see page 28-31
Bath is well and truly open for Christmas business. Find out more on pages 18 and 19
4 AGENDA December 2013
We have recognised that visitors, if we are going to continue to attract them, want to see a fresh and interesting market
NICK BROOK-SYKES, P18-19 www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
32 An artisan bakery is due to open its first shop this month
36 Networking at Get Fit for Business 38 Appointments 42 Bath is an important part of brand identity for the leading shoe designer Chantal Pilon who has opened her first shop here 43 We report on management changes at Bath Ales 44 We turn the spotlight on expanding Bath firm BMT Defence Services, which was recently presented with the Queenâ€™s Award for International Trade
50 Our photographer was at the launch event of Bath in Fashion 53 One young entrepreneur talks about how being part of the Bath Business Club has helped him 54 Mike McElhinney on the retail offer that makes Bath sparkle brighter than anywhere else in the UK this Christmas 56 A right royal row at the University of Bath
December 2013 AGENDA 5
NEWS & VIEWS
News &views ANOTEHR QUEEN’S AWARD FOR WESSEX WATER Wessex Water has been awarded for its commitment to sustainability. The Claverton Down-based firm has been presented with its Queen’s Award for Enterprise and Sustainable Development for a second year. The award was presented by Lady Gass, Lord Lieutenant of Somerset, at the Wessex Water headquarters. Chairman of Wessex Water, Colin Skellett, said
that during the last 15 years the company had remained focused on sustainability. “We are delighted to have been recognised for this and to receive this accolade,” he said. “It is not just about being environmentally friendly, but it is also about offering excellent customer service and value for money, being a good employer with efficient working practices and continuing to attract new investment.”
ROTORK OPENS NEW OFFICE IN CITY Bath’s engineering giant Rotork has secured its roots in Bath by expanding its presence. The company, which employs 400 people in the city, has opened a new office block close to its factory on Brassmill Lane. The new facility has created new office, workshop and production storage facilities and will house Rotork PLC, as well as the southern office for Rotork UK, which was set up in 2012 to bring together all of Rotork’s home market, electric, fluid power and manual valve actuation activities, under a single banner. Rotork UK’s northern office, actuator and gearbox factory is run from premises in Leeds. Chief executive Peter France said because of increases in demand for its products and services, the global firm had outgrown its head office but had been keen to remain in Bath. The new offices will house Rotork’s Systems’ sales department, office and workshop space for Rotork Site Services – the company’s specialist retrofit, maintenance, repair and asset management organisation, as well as 872 square metres of new warehouse space.
FEWER PEOPLE CLAIMING JOBSEEKER’S ALLOWANCE The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the Bath area continues to drop. The number of rsidents claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance dropped 1,117 in October, 259 lower than the same month in 2012 and 18 6 AGENDA December 2013 December 2013 6 AGENDA
lower than in September this year. The Office for National Statistics has reported that the UK has seen the largest annual fall in the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in more than 15 years. www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
NEWS & VIEWS
NO SOLUTION YET TO COACH DROP-OFFS SAGA Transport bosses have admitted the long-running saga surrounding coach drop-offs in the city centre still needs to be resolved. The comments have been made after complaints from Orange Grove traders who claim their businesses are suffering because of the authority’s decision to move coach drop-offs around the corner to Terrace Walk for a trial period. Owner of Bath Aqua Glass, Annette Martin, said footfall in the Orange Grove area had dropped significantly since the trial started last year. She added the situation was likely to become worse with the arrival of the Christmas Market when coaches are only allowed to drop-off at the Riverside coach park on Avon Street. “The things is we lost the coaches over the summer because they now drop off around the corner and now over this Christmas with coaches being sent to the Riverside coach park. I just think they hope we will go
away. They don’t care about the collateral damage.” Divisional director for environmental services at the council, Matthew Smith, said the authority was aware of the concerns from traders. “This matter is, of course, yet to be permanently resolved and something the council’s Cabinet will wish to consider over the coming months. For the present time, we are managing Bog Island as a passenger drop-off and collection point at a cost to the authority.” However, Mr Smith along with Nick Brook-Sykes, chief executive from Bath Tourism Plus, which runs the Christmas Market, said diverting coaches to Avon Street had been a success last year. Mr Brook-Sykes added that during this year’s market Orange Grove would benefit from more chalets, because of improved pavement space around the abbey, and a joint marketing strategy with the Guildhall Christmas Market, which would present a more comprehensive round-up for visitors.
CITY ARCHITECTS TAKE TOP PRIZE An architect practice from Bath has been named best in the country by The Sunday Times.
HOMEWARE CHAIN TO OPEN? An empty shop unit in the city centre could soon be let with the arrival of Anthropologie.
Stride Treglown Tektus, on Oldfield Road, scooped Architect of the Year and Best Mixed Use Development for a scheme at Portishead Marina at The Sunday Times British Homes Awards. The Portishead Marina scheme was for nine four-storey townhouses. The firm beat off competition from better-known practices, such as Rogers Stirk, to take the top prize, much to the surprise of many at the London ceremony. Director Dominic Eaton said: “Even The Sunday Times was surprised at our status as Architect of the Year, describing Stride Treglown as ‘scarcely a famous name’, but I am far more interested in doing a great job for our clients than being a famous name. We are the tenth-largest architects’ practice in the UK and I hope we can maintain or improve that position.”
The former Habitat shop on New Bond Street, which has been closed for two years, is currently being refurbished to make way for the clothing and homeware chain. The company is refusing to officially confirm its impending arrival in Bath but it has submitted planning applications to Bath and North East Somerset Council for alterations to the five-storey shop.
MORE THAN 60 JOBS GO AS AUDIO PUBLISHER FOLDS More than 60 jobs have gone in Bath after the collapse of AudioGo and creditors have been warned they are unlikely to see any money. The audio publisher, with offices on Lower Bristol Road and a mail order store at Windsor Bridge, announced it had gone into administration in October because of financial problems. Initially administrators for the company, BDO, confirmed 57 job losses as it looked for a buyer but a further eight job losses were announced just a week later. AudioGo, which had employed around 100 people in the www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
city, was set up in July 2010, when private investors bought out BBC Audiobooks. BBC Worldwide continues to own a minority stake. The firm had to sell its US arm Blackstone Audio back to Blackstone’s founders, who operate the US Downpour.com download site. Blackstone was bought by AudioGO just ten months ago for an undisclosed sum. Accounts submitted last year to Companies House show AudioGO reported increased profits to £2.4 million. However, the company’s cash situation was sharply reduced, with cash in the bank falling to £346,142, compared with £1.9 million a year earlier. December 2013 AGENDA 7
It’s a gift
Bath businesses will now be able to cash in on the rising popularity of gift vouchers, thanks to new software.
Jonathan McLeod has developed Vouchertech
ew software that enables businesses to offer their own online gift vouchers has been launched by a Bath company. Vouchertech allows hotels, spas, restaurants and other businesses to sell e-vouchers via their own website or Facebook page.
Users integrate the software with one of their existing web pages. The new e-commerce system, which generates tailor-made e-vouchers with a unique customer code, can help businesses boost sales and promote customer loyalty. Vouchertech has been developed by sales and marketing specialist Jonathan McLeod, who has many years’ experience in the luxury hotel sector.
business wanting to create its own e-commerce website and generate much-needed additional revenues.” He said the firm was expecting a busy winter: “We know that the lead-up to Christmas is a key period for voucher sales and the team will do all we can to help install the Vouchertech software to maximise voucher sales at this busy time.” Businesses using the new software system developed by the firm based at Entry Hill include the Abbey Hotel in the centre of Bath, which has developed the popular Allium Brasserie restaurant.
He said: “We couldn’t find affordable, easy-to-use gift voucher software, so we decided to build our own.”
Hotel owner Ian Taylor said: “Having the Vouchertech software has saved our receptionists and sales team a great deal of time while voucher sales are proving to be a very successful online income generator.”
Mr McLeod trained at The Savoy in London and has worked in sales and management roles in some of the world’s most exclusive hotels, including the Imperial in Tokyo.
Mr McLeod’s business partner and co-founder is Victoria Creegan, who has worked for the now-defunct Peasedown St John-based von Essen hotel group, running marketing campaigns for 13 hotels.
He said: “Vouchertech is very simple to use and install, and allows you to manage your own gift promotions and payments directly. It’s a cost-effective solution for any
Vouchertech is offering a three-month free trial to businesses looking to offer their own online gift vouchers.
8 AGENDA December 2013
Details can be found at www.vouchertech.co.uk ■ www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
Diarydates DIARY DATES
The West of England LEP is holding its next joint Transport Executive Committee between 10am and 12.30pm at The Campus, Weston-super-Mare. For more information visit www.westofenglandlep.co.uk
Withy King is hosting another of its Earlybirds networking breakfasts exclusively for women. Guests speakers will include Jilly Edwards and Caroline Duckworth, from Quartet Community Foundation. The breakfast is at Midland Bridge House in Midland Bridge Road from 8am. To book call 01225 730 245.
DECEMBER Techie breakie
Bath Spark are hosting a breakfast to discuss educational technology from the use of apps on tablet devices in mainstream education, to the launch of FutureLearn, an Open University led platform to support the delivery of MOOCs by Higher Education Institutions.
Business West is giving Bath business people the chance to see the newly refurbished Dower House Restaurant and Montagu Bar at The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa.
The breakfast will be held at Bath Coworking Hub The Guild in the Guildhall from 8.15am. To book a space and for more information visit www.theguildhub.co.uk
The evening, which starts at 6pm and will be hosted by general manager Sharon Love, will allow people to explore the hotel as well as meet other business people.
To book a place and for more information call 01275 370 849 or email email@example.com
Bath graduates will debate low carbon engineering business opportunities at a special breakfast held at the University of Bath Innovation Centre (UBIC) from 7.45am to 10am.
The event will explore Engineering Innovation for a low carbon economy with an expert panel, which will include staff from Aeorotails and Green Running, two businesses founded by graduates of the University of Bath.
Cabinet members at Bath and North East Somerset Council will hold their final meeting of 2013 at the Guildhall from 6.30pm. The agenda will be displayed in the week before the meeting. Visit www.bathnes.gov.uk www.southwestbusiness.co.uk/diarydates www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
Bath Business Womenâ€™s Association is inviting the cityâ€™s female business leaders to some Christmas-themed networking at Combe Grove Manor Hotel. To book a place at the networking lunch email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07730 132 330.
Business West is hosting a Christmas dinner at Leigh Court in Abbots Leigh for business owners across the region to meet and network, as well as enjoy some festive entertainment. For more information or to book call 01275 370 849 or email email@example.com December 2013 AGENDA 9 December 2013 AGENDA 9
Guests have a ball to raise money for rugby charity
ath Rugby Foundation recently celebrated its 10th anniversary with a birthday party themed fundraising ball at Bath’s Assembly Rooms, raising more than £10,500.
Guests enjoying the night included Sir James Dyson, chairman of Bath Rugby Bruce Craig, chief executive of Bath and North East Somerset Council Dr Jo Farrar, council leader Councillor Paul Crossley and many of the local business community, including Thrings, Barclays, Deloitte, The Consortium and Withy King. Bath Rugby players including Stuart Hooper, George Ford, Gavin Henson, Carl Ferns and Jonathan Joseph, also showed their support for the Foundation’s ten-year milestone.
Graham Street and David and Catherine Chasemore
While the night was a celebration, there was also the serious business of raising money to ensure Bath Rugby Foundation, which is an independent charity funded entirely by fundraising, sponsorship and donations, is able to continue its work for another decade.
“It was also about celebrating all our sponsors, partners, volunteers and fundraisers who have helped make our work possible.
Auction lots included a signed England Six Nations Rugby Shirt, F1 Winner’s jeroboam of champagne, a cocktails masterclass for ten at The Porter, a private shopping experience with Amanda Wakely and even the Bath Rugby flag from the top of Farleigh House, signed by the squad.
make in their lives through the power of sport.
“It was a wonderful evening and we are incredibly grateful to everyone for coming along and for being so generous on the night. With their continued support we will be able to carry on working with children in the community for another ten years to come.”
Bath Rugby Foundation head of fundraising, Halena Coury, said: “Our 10th-anniversary ball was all about celebration. It was about celebrating Bath Rugby Foundation’s work with children and young people in the local community over the past ten years. It was about celebrating the real differences we have been able to
Bath Rugby Foundation has worked with more than 125,000 children in the local community over the last ten years. Its aims have remained the same – to enhance the lives of young people through sport and to motivate, raise self-esteem, increase confidence and improve life skills by imparting the values found in rugby – camaraderie, loyalty, discipline and respect. ■
Ian Webb and Glenn Leech
Jimmy Deane and Linda Donaldson
10 AGENDA December 2013
Luke and Jo Brady and Nick Blofeld
The Bath Rugby Foundation team
Lee Mears and Tarquin McDonald
Stuart Hooper, Jonathan Joseph, George Ford, Carl Fearn and Gavin Henson
Gary and Vanessa Gold
Ben Jones, Lizzie Heffer and James Edmonds www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
Sue Steenberg, Cathryn Petchey, Julia Betteridge, Sarah Hall and Steph Newman
December 2013 AGENDA 11
12 AGENDA December 2013
Report is a good sign Ian Bell, director of Business West Bath, talks about the potential economic gains that Bath could get from the research and development carried out at the city’s two universities.
here is some terrific news for Bath in a recent report, which has called for an Invention Revolution, turning intellectual concepts into job-creating businesses and giving universities an even greater role in delivering economic growth, supported by a billion-pound funding pot. This ambitious conclusion was reached by Sir Andrew Witty, chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline, a leading science and innovation company, who was commissioned by the Government to examine how universities can do more to drive economic growth. His belief that universities have a major part to play in the creation of future prosperity chimes perfectly with the long-held views of our members in the chamber and Initiative. We have regularly sung the praises of our two fine universities, highlighted their successes and even made the case for cutting students some slack when their rest and relaxation becomes a touch over enthusiastic. Both our universities are perfectly placed to fulfil Sir Andrew’s wishes. They are very active in the local business community and their differing specialities means we have expertise on hand in a wide range of subjects. The University of Bath is already part of the SETsquared consortium which has been judged as being the fourth best in the world, helping to assist in the formation of scores of hi-tech startup businesses. The brain power of our young people and their expert teachers is making this area a world leader in a range of technologies, but those people need help to make the step from turning ideas into solid business propositions, including much-needed space to start www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
Ian Bell says Bath’s two universities are perfectly placed to play an even greater role in delivering economic growth
up and grow those companies.
we already lead the world.
I know the council are very conscious of that requirement and are looking at the best use of city centre sites. This report should give them even greater encouragement that employment space should be the number one priority.
He wants them to be supported by local and national resources, such as the Technology Strategy Board and UK Trade and Industry, to create the maximum economic benefit and support export led growth.
In his report, Sir Andrew recognises we lead the world when it comes to cutting-edge technologies and inventions, but he suggests that all too often, we fail to turn great ideas into successful companies that create jobs.
This is all good stuff, but the big question is will the Government actually put the report into practice or will it end up gathering dust alongside other similar pieces of work which no longer see the light of day?
He believes our universities already provide the country with a major competitive advantage, but thinks that more could be done to make even more use of their skills.
The Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts, thanked Sir Andrew for his review, but ominously said: “We will now consider the recommendations and respond more fully in time.”
Among his ideas are to provide a billion pounds, either new money or diverted from existing funding pots, to support what are called ‘Arrow Projects’ which focus on the sort of university-based technologies where
We’ll be keeping a close eye on developments and hopefully will see a positive response which will ensure even more ideas are converted from a clever idea into a successful business proposition. ■ December 2013 AGENDA 13
with Matthew Lee Managing Partner at Bishop Fleming
PLEASE MR CHANCELLOR—DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! As Britain’s fastest growing Top-40 accountancy firm, our dearest hope is that the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on 5th December will be the shortest on record!
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The best thing that George Osborne could do is absolutely nothing. He would help every business by freezing any legislative changes for five years, giving everyone a chance to catch up with the dizzying array of changes over recent years. If, as is more likely, the Chancellor must announce more changes on 5th December, we have a wish-list.
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Top of that list is a plea for the Chancellor to implement the recommendations of his own Office for Tax Simplification (OTS). It really is time to get on with all the obvious ways of simplifying our grotesquely complicated tax system.
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If the Chancellor must announce more changes, we suggest that those changes are:
x Scrap the auto-enrolment pension project. It won’t
work and it won’t deliver worthwhile pensions: far simpler and cheaper is to increase National Insurance contributions by 3% - ring-fenced to boost state pension payments. Listen to the business community, rather than the Treasury, and grasp the nettle of reforming Business Rates – an iniquitous imposition on UK businesses. Recognise that NIC contributions provide an easy way to do good things: exempting employers from NIC payments for workers aged more than 65 and for apprentices and trainees will boost employment. Scrap the family allowance changes that have pulled thousands of people into the net of tax returns and created a poverty trap for some people where the effective tax rates are over 70%, and achieve long term savings by scrapping for children born after 2015. Scrap Gordon Brown’s complex tax credits that are causing chaos. It costs a packet to administer and most people have no idea how it works. Learn from what you’ve already done: another Stamp Duty holiday on property sales will deliver a big boost to the crucial housing market.
In truth, the best thing he could do is absolutely nothing! For further information Bishop Fleming contact us on 01225 486300.
www.bishopfleming.co.uk 14 AGENDA December 2013
Creating a buzz in Bath Andrew Cooper, manager of the Bath Business Improvement District, announces the roll out of a creative media campaign that businesses can take full advantage of this festive season.
ath is a city that offers its visitors a bit of everything. Stunning views of the countryside, impressive architecture, history and an extensive collection of both high-street and boutique shops. Christmas is inevitably a time of year in which the number of visitors rapidly increases, and it is during this period that businesses can seize the moment and get a real return on investment. But how do you ensure your business is coming out tops? How can you encourage the general public to part with their hard-earned cash? In this economic climate, businesses need to be ready to invest extra time and energy into delivering the best experience for their customers. Here at the Bath BID we are www.southwestbusiness.co.uk www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
passionate about putting our city and what it has to offer in the spotlight. Consequently, we are running a serious of regional radio campaigns to encourage people to come to Bath during the festive period, as well as advertising Bath in consumer magazines. However, this year we have also added an inspiring social media campaign. Entitled ‘The Christmas Consultancy’ the campaign aims to help shoppers in need of inspiration gain some ideas by encouraging them to submit their Christmas dilemmas via the @bathbid twitter account and facebook page using the hashtag #AskBath. Local businesses can join us in response and help find some inspired gift ideas, as well as suggestions for perfect places to eat and drink. All of which helps to promote the benefits of staying local for their
Christmas shopping this year. #AskBath will promote retailers, tourist attractions and eateries as well as extended facilities, such as the longer-opening Park and Ride hours. These businesses and services are in turn encouraged to get involved with creating a social media buzz by tweeting and posting their own successes and triumphs this Christmas. It’s a win-win. In this age of always online connectivity, if businesses stay on top of their game by getting involved, the return could be significant. Christmas brings its challenges as busy people rush to get everything ready for the big day. Using our social media campaign we can all help to make the customers’ experience as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. ■ December 2013AGENDA AGENDA15 15 December 2013
As the festive period approaches, a charity in the city is hoping firms might think about helping those struggling to make ends meet. David Purdon, from Bath Foodbank, receives the keys to the van from Moe Griffiths, from Wessex Water, watched by some of the volunteers
Banking on your support
hristmas might be on its way but for hundreds living in the city, colder temperatures are only going to exacerbate their need. More than 300 people a month are turning to the city’s foodbank to put a meal on the table and volunteers say winter and the impending festive period are likely to see demand increase further.
In September Bath Foodbank fed 316 people, including 103 children. Since its launch two years ago it has fed more than 5,000 people including 1,500 children. In total, more than 61 tonnes of food has been donated to the organisation, run by the Genesis Trust and part of the national Trussell Trust Network, providing three days’ emergency food for those in crisis in the Bath area. Last year Trussell Trust Foodbanks fed 346,992 people – more than double the number of people who turned to the charity the year before. Chairman of Bath Foodbank, David Purdon, said: “We are expecting demand to increase as we head towards Christmas.” The foodbank can only be accessed if care professionals, such as doctors, health visitors, social workers, CAB and the police, identify people in need and issue them with a foodbank voucher that can then be redeemed at one of the two distribution points in Bath, Manvers Street Café in the centre of Bath and Rose Cottage in Twerton. 16 AGENDA December 2013
The voucher can be redeemed for three days’ food. Mr Purdon said: “We get our food from a number of sources. We run collections at supermarkets once a month. We hand out shopping lists to customers going in and ask them to buy an item from it – some people have been known to buy a whole trolley. We are very much supported by the churches in Bath and the schools.” As part of its Christmas Appeal Bath Foodbank is turning to the business community, asking offices to hold their own food collection for the charity. To help raise its profile the organisation has also recently appointed its first patron – chairman of the B&NES Council Councillor Neil Butters. Wessex Water has helped the charity by donating a van to the Bath Foodbank. The company, based at Claverton Down, has donated the Transit van so volunteers can move donations of food to and from their warehouse in Bathampton, instead of using their own vehicles. Moe Griffiths, from Wessex Water’s payments team, said: “More people than ever are struggling to buy enough food for their family due to the rising cost of living, high levels of unemployment and changes to benefits. We are pleased we have been able to help.” The van will cost £3,000 a year to run so the foodbank is looking for businesses to sponsor the vehicle. ■ www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
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Let the tills ring out Lights, chalets, fake snow and a sprinkle of celebrity have put Bath in the Christmas spirit and businesses across the city are hoping it will be a winning combination.
18 18 AGENDA AGENDA December December 2013 2013
Crowds gather to see the Christmas lights switched on by Mary Berry, main picture and right, showing her surprise as the Mayor of Bath Councillor Malcolm Lees tells her that she is to be given the freedom of the city
he Queen of Cakes, Mary Berry, returned to her home city last to help herald the launch of this year’s festive shopping period. Hundreds of fans turned out to watch the star of the BBC show The Great British Bake Off turn on this year’s lights. Mayor of Bath Councillor Malcolm Lees told Mrs Berry in front of the audience that she was to be given the freedom of the city. She said: “I’m immensely honoured, overcome. Am I allowed to drive my sheep down the main high street and can I have free parking?” Speaking after the switch-on, Mrs Berry said being asked to be a freeman of the city, only the second woman to be honoured, had been a surprise but something she was very proud to receive. “It was an immediate ‘yes’ to switch on the lights and to become a freeman of the city. I was born here, I went to school here, I was married here so I think I qualify. I love Bath and my heart is always in Bath.” Mrs Berry hoped to be back in the city soon to do her Christmas shopping. The Christmas lights switch-on last month also included performances by the Vocal Works Gospel Choir and Bath-based band Too Much Lipstick.
six-foot trees and market stalls. There are 155 chalets across the city centre offering an array of crafts and gift ideas until December 15. Organisers say one third of the chalets are acting as pop-up stalls occupied by new businesses, 70 per cent of the businesses are from Bath and the South West, and 98 per cent of the chalets are selling products from the UK. Chief executive of Bath Tourism Plus, Nick Brook-Sykes, said they were keen for the market to sell the best Bath and the region had to offer.
Manager of the Bath Business Improvement District, Andrew Cooper, said the night had been a success and signalled the start to Bath’s busiest time.
“We have been particularly diligent this year because we have shaken things up and moved stallholders around. We have recognised that visitors, if we are going to continue to attract them, want to see a fresh and interesting market. Bath has got to be something special and different to warrant people coming here.”
“Bath has a such a magical feel to it when you are shopping – it’s not just a box on the side of a motorway.”
Visitors to last year’s Christmas Market spent £18 million in Bath, of which just £7 million was on the market.
Snow has also been guaranteed to fall this year in Bath, thanks to the city’s Christmas Market, organised by Bath Tourism Plus. Bath Street, which was a new addition to the market last year, has returned and has been transformed into a winter wonderland complete with falling snow,
Mr Brook-Sykes added: “We know how important the market is to Bath and its traders so that is why we are trying to spread those visitors around the city, with more stalls in Bath Street and north of the Abbey, so everyone benefits.” ■
December 2013 AGENDA 19
Mary Berry meets the band Too Much Lipstick
Reception at Roman Baths
s part of the Christmas lights switch-on, Bath News and Media hosted a special reception at the Roman Baths. At the event, guest of honour, Mary Berry, gave a short speech sharing her memories of her childhood in the city. She also posed for photographs with councillors, and members of the Bath business community. Manager of the Bath Business Improvement District, Andrew Cooper, said: “It has been fantastic. There were so many people in Milsom Street and the atmosphere was great. “Mary was like a rock star. She had time for everyone and she was obviously very passionate about the city.”
Bath Chronicle editor Lynne Fernquest with Mary Berry and Jayne Bates, regional advertisement manager for Bath News and Media
20 AGENDA December 2013
Mary Berry is presented with a Sally Lunn’s gift box at the reception at the Roman Baths after the Christmas lights switch-on www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
Members of Bathâ€™s Natural Theatre Company put in an appearance at the reception
Roger Berry with Matt Banahan
Sharon Clements, Kate Harbour and Tracy King
Matt Pegler, Alison Treble, Louise Kelly and Gemma Harwood
Agendaâ€™s Liza-Jane Gillespie interviews Mary Berry
December 2013 AGENDA 21
An overhaul of employment law will make it easier for smaller businesses to consult directly with staff about important changes, says Stone King’s Amy Gordon.
ules governing the transfer and outsourcing of staff are complex. When a business changes hands – or a service is outsourced or brought ‘in-house’ – employers have to consult with recognised trade unions or elected employee representatives (if there is no trade union). That’s all well and good if you run a large organisation but this can be a real headache for many smaller firms and organisations looking to transfer their business or outsource services. Currently, regardless of the size of your business, if you don’t have a trade union representative, you have to ask your staff to elect employee representatives for you to consult with. This can lead to ludicrous situations for many small ventures. If, for example, you employ just two people, one would need to be an elected representative who would have to report back to the other employee. Of course, it would be much easier to talk to your staff directly, rather than going through the bureaucratic process of electing an employee representative. But a shake-up of employment law is set to change all that and make the consultation process much easier for employers and staff alike. When a business changes hands or where a service is outsourced or brought in-house, its employees are protected under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE). TUPE protections ensure that employees don’t unfairly lose out when a transfer takes place (e.g. by protecting employees against unfair dismissal and ensuring that in most circumstances, they will keep the same terms and conditions after the transfer), and set out the rules that the 22 AGENDA December 2013
A change to TUPE means a cut in red tape so the consultation process will make life easier for both employers and staff
old and new businesses have to follow. Government changes to TUPE will allow micro businesses with ten employees or less to consult staff directly when there is no recognised trade union or other representative. This will be good news for many of our clients, which include smaller charities and businesses. In future they will be able to talk to their staff face-to-face about proposed changes and hopefully resolve any concerns that the employees may have. Ministers also plan to amend the rules so that where the place of work
changes after a transfer, any redundancies due to that change will not be automatically unfair. So if you have to move office but the staff don’t want to go, you will not face unfair dismissal claims simply because of a change in workplace location. Provided the change of location is an economic, technical or organisational reason, then you will just need to make sure that a fair redundancy process is followed. The Government intend to publish guidance on TUPE so that businesses understand how to conduct a transfer fairly and in the most effective way. ■ www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
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Overcome your fears Giving a presentation does not come naturally to everyone but with a bit of forward planning and practice, you can really perfect your skills and deliver an engaging speech says Linda Donaldson, of Geometry PR.
here is an assumption that if you work in public relations you must be outgoing, confident and great at presenting. Not so.
When I started in the industry the thought of standing up and presenting to a room full of people was daunting. I was so nervous I would shake and spend most of the time hiding behind a script or reading directly from an overhead. It must have been dull to watch. But nowadays I really enjoy delivering a presentation – whether I am pitching for business, providing advice or hosting an event. So where did this change come from? Experience, practice and the help of some professional training. About ten years ago, I took a course in media training to gain more of an insight into working with broadcast media. The training involved giving a presentation to camera and having it played back. It was eye-opening for me – I spoke exceptionally fast, which, with my Scottish accent, made me almost incomprehensible, I did not project my voice, swayed around a lot, avoided looking at the audience and overall looked really uncomfortable. After a day of hints and tips and lots more presenting to camera, I came away feeling like I was getting somewhere. However, practice really does make perfect and one day’s training is not enough to turn you into a reasonable presenter. Here are a few tips of mine that will hopefully help you. Take every opportunity you are given to stand up and present no matter how terrified you are; whether that is at a business breakfast, in front of your colleagues or at a family gathering, it is important to get www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
A natural public speaker: Ben Rockett addressing a recent business event
comfortable standing up in front of a room full of people. Try to avoid reading from a script – it is not engaging and means you rarely look your audience in the eye, which is important if you are to get a feel for interest in what you are saying. Rehearse your presentation so that you don’t need a Powerpoint or better
still any notes – it helps build your confidence as it confirms you do, in fact, know your subject. It also means you can afford to ad lib a bit. Do take care cracking jokes unless you are really good at delivery. Finally, try to relax and smile, and you will find that your audience generally will do too. ■ December 2013 AGENDA 25
The Ice Factor Last year he got more than 20,000 people to get on their skates and Bathâ€™s very own Iceman has high hopes for this yearâ€™s ice rink. Business reporter Liza-Jane Gillespie met up with Simon Smith, above, from Bath on Ice 26 AGENDA AGENDA December December 2013 2013 26
Skaters having fun at Bath on Ice
he connection between tennis and ice skating is hard to find, but both sports play a big part in the life of one of Bath’s youngest entrepreneurs.
Simon Smith is hard at work. For the next few weeks the 26-year-old will be spending every waking hour surrounded by ice. December 25 is the only day Bath on Ice will be closed. The ice rink at Excel Tennis in Royal Victoria Park is now in its second year and was the brainchild of Mr Smith who took over as manager at the family-run business several years ago.
We hope this year we have created a much more festive feel – a magical Christmas wonderland to come and explore
it all back in just six weeks. Last year was touch and go. The weather was awful to begin with but by January we had some real dry cold weather and it saved the day.
“We wanted to add another part onto the business about two years ago and I thought about the idea of staging an ice rink and luckily the council loved it.
“To be able to come back for a second year is great but this year has to do even better if there is to be a third year.”
“It was quite a long process and it was about a two-year journey.
Last month nine kilometres of piping, several generators and dozens of pairs of skates arrived at Royal Victoria Park ready for Bath on Ice.
“Last year we had a huge number of problems – it was a very stressful time. But this year is already going much better. “People think this only takes up a few months of the year but we started planning in May – it’s all year round.” Mr Smith, who was a pupil at King Edward’s School and later studied Ancient History at the University of Manchester, said last year had been a steep learning curve. “Normally these rinks are run by huge companies but this is just me. Last year was fantastic we had no major issues. Our focus last year was on the operational side of things like health and safety – getting people on and off the ice safely. This year we wanted it to be a continuation and make more of the site. “The investment for the rink is huge and you have to make www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
The ice rink, which measures 525sq m, has been installed by Belgian firm Satellite Ice, which is responsible for more than 30 ice rinks across the UK. Last year 23,000 people took to the ice and Mr Smith hopes this year even more people will visit the attraction. This year as well as using a bigger rink, Bath on Ice is offering visitors more with food and drink chalets selling a Christmas menu, cupcakes, mulled wine and champagne bar. “We are excited to be back and it seems Bath is excited to have the rink back. Bookings are already up on last year. “We hope this year we have created a more festive feel – a Christmas wonderland to come and explore. We want the rink to become part of Bath’s Christmas for it to become an institution that everyone looks forward to.” ■ December 2013 AGENDA 27
WITHY KING SPONSORED FEATURE
Welcome to The Bigger Picture is a quarterly survey aimed at business decision-makers and run by Bath’s largest law ﬁrm ﬁrm Withy King in association with Bath News & Media; the results are used to help publicise the issues raised by local businesses and lobby for change. This is the second in our series of surveys – this time on parking. The results are reported over the next four pages in Agenda, as well as online at
www.bathchronicle.co.uk and www.withyking.co.uk/ thebiggerpicture “Our second survey on parking clearly hit a nerve, attracting 162 responses from Bath businesses, many of whom raised concerns about the current provisions. Despite the criticisms, the survey was a positive one in that most business owners took the time to explain their views, provide further insights and recommend potential solutions which we look forward to sharing with B&NES Council and other parties,” said Graham Street, Managing Partner at Withy King. The third Bigger Picture survey will be emailed to Bath businesses in late January. If you did not receive the last one and would like to take part, please email your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Graham Street, Managing Partner, Withy King
Parking plays key role in FSB campaign The Bath branch of the Federation of Small Business (FSB) is calling on policy makers to consult with small business owners on parking and transport before making any signiﬁcant changes, as part of their national campaign, ‘Keep Trade Local’.
“We recognise there is a ﬁne line to tread between preserving the heritage of our beautiful city and meeting the needs of local residents and traders. However, we do believe there should be more consultation with Bath businesses and the FSB, for one, would welcome the opportunity to be part of that process.”
The FSB believes their members, who include owners of small independent shops and service-led businesses, are among those hardest hit by the high cost of parking and public transport. “We want to encourage people who live in and around Bath to make use of all the wonderful shops, restaurants, leisure facilities and services which their city has to offer,” said Angela MacAusland, FSB Bath Branch Chair and Managing Director of AM PM PA Ltd. “However, we know that many prefer to shop out-of-town or spend time in other cities, where parking is easier and more affordable. “We would like to see residents given incentives to use public transport, such as subsidised travel. We would also like to see free parking offered for the ﬁrst 20 minutes across all on-street, pay and display parking. Park and Ride services also need to be improved to better accommodate the needs of shoppers, tourists and commuters. Angela MacAusland, FSB Bath Branch Chair
28 AGENDA March 2013
01225 730100 www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
WITHY KING SPONSORED FEATURE
trafﬁc-free areas of the city centre would bring huge beneﬁts, both for visitors and business. I recognise that there are concerns about this, but experience from elsewhere shows that trafﬁc free areas create a much more pleasant environment and business gains as a result. We want people to stay longer in the city, so car parking measures that facilitate this would be most welcome.”
Bath Tourism Plus Chief Executive is a keen supporter and regular user of Bath’s City Car Club Scheme.
Dealing with the impact of parking on tourism and trade Over half the business owners (54 per cent) who responded to the Bigger Picture survey, said they would support moves to keep cars out of the city centre to help create a world-class, more visitor-friendly pedestrian environment in keeping with Bath’s World Heritage status. Yet nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of businesses said Bath’s current parking provisions had a negative impact on their business, with ‘mobility issues’ affecting 37 per cent of them. Outside of work, 76 per cent said Bath parking deterred them from coming into the city centre during the day, for example to shop. This ﬁgure dropped during the evenings to 56 per cent. Almost three-quarters (72 per cent) believed parking provisions also deterred shoppers and out-of-town visitors with 70 per cent rating Bath’s parking as ‘worse’ or ‘much worse’ than other UK cities outside of London. One-quarter thought it was about the same. Nick Brooks-Sykes, Chief Executive, Bath Tourism Plus, said: “These results conﬁrm what many of us already know – that something needs to be done to address the issues of cars, parking and pedestrians in Bath. “I therefore welcome the fact that the Council has just started work on a Transport Strategy for the city. Whilst there are clearly some issues to be addressed, we have some great building blocks already – the Park & Ride Facility is excellent (but could run for later in the evenings); the central location of the train and bus stations is a real asset; the use of bicycles is growing (and could be further encouraged); and the City Car Club scheme is brilliant for people who only need to use a car occasionally. “From a visitor perspective, I believe that extending the
Fergus Hobbs, Chair, Bath Retail Landlords Forum, said: “For the centre of Bath to thrive, it needs to be dominated by the pedestrian – it must be a walkable city. At the same time, it must be easily accessible. The Council is looking to close some car parks for re-development – for example on Avon Street and Manvers Street. We need to come up with an adequate supply of car parks encircling the city centre together with an adequate provision of Park & Rides further out – the absence of an Eastern Park & Ride is a particularly glaring gap. Unfortunately it has taken years, and will take still more, until these are provided. In the meantime we should be getting on with trying out smaller-scale improvements to our city-centre streets to make them more pedestrian-friendly.”
Potential to boost take-up of Park and Rides Just eight per cent of business people surveyed use a Park and Ride. Almost one-third (32 per cent) park at work, 23 per cent pay and display and 21 per cent park on the roadside free of charge. However, more than three-quarters (77 per cent) said they would use Park and Ride services more if they were regular and extended until later in the evenings. Most respondents (91 per cent) believed free Park and Ride services during the busiest periods, such as the Christmas market, would alleviate trafﬁc congestion in the city centre. There were also calls for a Park and Ride on the eastern side of Bath, increased provision and lower costs. Andrew Cooper, Manager of the Bath BID Company, said: “The Bath BID has been a strong advocate of extending the Bath Park & Ride Service to seven days per week both to support retailers and Bath businesses as well as to facilitate local shopping. We encouraged the late running service hours to be extended to 10pm over the busy Christmas period in response to calls from retailers that their shop staff needed more time between closing up and the last bus leaving to the Park & Ride. “As it has evolved we have worked with First Bus to get discounted passes in place for workers in the city centre. Overall more promotions and incentives are required to encourage season ticket uptake and I do believe that a Park & Ride on the Eastern side of the City would be welcomed.”
WITHY KING SPONSORED FEATURE
View point We asked Bath’s business leaders what changes they would make to parking provisions and public transport if they were in charge of the city’s policies. Here are a few of their views:
I don’t agree with the recently installed parking charges at Victoria Park. There is also an urgent need to sort out the Southgate junction, remove bus gates to ease ﬂow around the city centre and crack down on delivery lorries parking wherever they like.
Carey Gilliland, Partner, Madison Oakley
I would accept that Bath’s economic future should not rely on tourism alone and I would allow people who work in the city to park in the city. Speciﬁcally I would return to free parking in Victoria Park and introduce ﬂexible, reduced rate season ticket options for public car parks in the city.
I would allow residents to purchase Bus Gate permits (up to £30 per year) to free up congestion around the outskirts of the city. I would not implement the Dorchester Street closure. I recently spoke to a customer who lives in Marshﬁeld but says she only comes to Bath a couple of times a year as parking is so expensive. She prefers to shop in Bristol. From our point of view, hearing this is really frustrating and makes an excellent case for lowering the price of parking. I also think that the evening charges must hit the restaurants and is an unnecessary and penalising situation which must set Bath out as an unwelcoming place for visitors. Guy Douglas, Owner, The Silver Shop of Bath, Union Passage
Anthony Fell, Associate Director and Architect, Watson Bertram & Fell
We need more bus timetables: the number 4 route has virtually none. Better still are the ‘intelligent’ bus stops like they have in Bristol. There’s no point in waiting for a bus if you don’t know whether it’s coming. I would also make longterm parking cheaper in Charlotte Street but dearer elsewhere. For parking under two hours, I would make it free or levy a small, token charge. This would encourage a greater turn around of cars. I would ban all cars in Royal Victoria Park except for disabled drivers. Kirsten Elliott, joint owner, Akeman Press and Historic Home Research
If we choose to run a business or live in a World Heritage city, I think we have to be prepared to compromise on solutions to modern day problems, such as parking and trafﬁc congestion. It is interesting to look at the way these problems are tackled in different cities. Much of central Oxford, for example, has been pedestrianised and there has been signiﬁcant investment in Park and Ride services. Withy King has ofﬁces in Bath and Oxford so I’ve experienced two different approaches to the same challenges. I don’t think there’s a perfect ‘one size, ﬁts all’ solution but rather the need for a clearly deﬁned vision and a sensible strategy which aims to safeguard our heritage while addressing the needs of today’s businesses and residents. Angus Williams, Partner, Withy King
In just nine days it raised ÂŁ55,000 from 34 investors but after a 12-month wait, The Thoughtful Bread Company is finally opening its first shop and bakery school in the city. Business reporter Liza-Jane Gillespie caught up with co-founder Duncan Glendinning.
The bread maker 32 32 AGENDA AGENDA December December 2013 2013
e is better known for making bread, but a Bath baker is embracing a bit of DIY to help launch a new city-centre shop. This time last year Duncan Glendinning, co-founder of The Thoughtful Bread Company, managed to secure £55,000 of investment, mostly from complete strangers, through Crowdfunding – a new concept where individuals or businesses can pitch new projects online, to raise money. The money was to be used to move the bakery from Green Park Station into new premises, where it would sell and bake bread, as well as launch a bakery school.
The money was raised in just nine days and the project, which would include working with Julian House and the Bath Soup Kitchen, attracted investment from as far away as Holland, Denmark and even the United States. However, a 12-month delay in finding and securing suitable premises in Bath has meant Mr Glendinning is now working against the clock to get his new premises on Barton Street open in time for Christmas trading. “We are a year behind schedule. The Christmas trading period is vital – it will be a springboard for us. If we went through another Christmas without premises like this we wouldn’t be opening in the New Year – it’s been a hard year.” The new shop will sell The Thoughtful Bread Company’s range of breads, as well as sandwiches.There will also be a breadmaking counter in the front of the shop where customers will be able to watch the bread being made. “Rather than just offering people white or brown bread we will be serving the right fillings on the right breads. It’s like going to a restaurant and someone suggesting the right wine for the food.”
Duncan pictured last year when The Thoughtful Bread Company was trying to raise money from community investors to open a new shop
Mr Glendinning said customers will also be able to buy the ingredients needed to make their own bread at home. “We want to offer people the opportunity to take the ingredients to make their own. It isn’t just about people coming in buying bread. It’s about stopping them buying the commercial pap and if selling ingredients enables people to make their own then great.” As well as hosting bread-making classes, The Thoughtful Bread Company will also use the new premises to host courses for clients at Julian House. The enterprise has also received the support of several companies, such as Kenwood and Robert Welch, who have donated equipment to help launch a special bursary for people who are struggling and would use bread making skills to provide for their families. At the moment The Thoughtful Bread Company makes all of its bread at a bakery in Farrington Gurney but Mr Glendinning says the long-term plan is to transform the basement of the new shop into a bakery. “We want to bring the shop, the bakery and the school under one roof. We anticipate there will be challenges to do this.” The Thoughtful Bread Company will be opening on Barton Street on Friday, December 6. ■ www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
Duncan is named Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the Chronicle Business Awards and receives his award from Andrew Sandiford, of Bishop Fleming
December 2013 AGENDA 33
Building the right team Delivering a good business service is about setting the right direction, culture and having the right people on board, says Stuart Doughty of Centurion Wealth Management.
ou can write as many mission statements as you want, but what you want are people on a mission.
This is a great quote from British Cycling Performance director, Sir Dave Brailsford CBE, and one that really strikes a chord with me, particularly when assessing the right people to employ within our business culture.
You could be forgiven for presuming that a good wealth management consultant requires simply a good head for figures â€“ after all we spend a great deal of our time crunching numbers, assessing risk and calculating yields in the management of investment portfolios. However, the reality is that first and foremost you need good people skills. While you could say that is true for any business providing a professional service, but for our business it is absolutely crucial since we tend to work with very vulnerable people, vulnerable in that they are often elderly, concerned about their long-term care and leaving provision for their grandchildren, or they are young and disabled people; in particular we deal with those who are brain injured from car accidents or clinical neglect. It is a job that requires empathy and understanding, an ability to listen and really care about the long-term requirement of that individual, not simply about safe-handling of their financial portfolio. To achieve and perform well, everyone needs the right people with the right cultural fit around them. Listening to Paralympian Stephanie Millward at the Bath Sports Awards receiving her Sports Personality of the Year Award was inspirational. Whilst she alluded to swimming as being a very individual sport, she 34 AGENDA December 2013
Stephanie Millward at the Bath Sports Awards ceremony
highlighted the importance of the network around her; her husband, family and trainers all understanding her goals and helping her to achieve her very best. Building the right team requires like-minded people but also for organisations to clearly define what is expected in terms of performance, behaviour and delivery. Regularly tracking progress of the desired behaviours and assessing how to deliver improvement is equally as important as maintaining
an ongoing dialogue to engage your team and reward appropriately. But how do you find the right people in the first place? While there is no hard and fast solution, we have found competency interviews and assessments, rather than shorter interviews, do help. Gut instinct still plays a part in ensuring the cultural fit is right, but by being more transparent and vocal about expectations and behaviours from the outset will help attract the right people in the first place. â– www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
Pritchards E S T A B L I S H E D
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Edward Street (Off Great Pulteney Street)
A beautifully presented 5/6 bed Grade II Listed Georgian Townhouse. Sought after location. Meticulously updated in recent years. Int area: 3350 sq ft/327.94 sq m.
A spacious & particularly well presented second ﬂoor apartment enjoying wonderful views. Int area 1052 sq ft/97.7 sq m.
Fabulous kitchen/breakfast rm, 3/bath/shower rms with re-ﬁtted suites, immaculate décor throughout, 2 converted vaults. Pretty walled garden. (Garage avail to rent or buy by sep neg).
Communal & priv. hallways, sitting rm/dining rm, 2 dbl bedrms, 2 bathrms (1 es), 3rd dbl bedrm (via communal landing) with en suite cloakrm, kitchen. Storage & parking permit avail.
Price: £1.55 million
Guide Price: £575,000
Norton St Philip, Nr Bath
An outstanding det. period coach hs. Most enviable pos’n enjoying pretty views. Garage with planning permission to create further accom above.
An exquisite Grade II listed semi detached period cottage, enhanced with the most beautiful enchanting gardens.
Kitchen/diner, 2 receptions, 3 bedrms-master en suite, shower rm & utility. Mature gdns. Off road parking for 2. (958 sq ft/89 sq m).
Kitchen, living room & dining room, 2 bedrooms, family bathroom, attic room. Stone built outbuilding. Int area: 964 sq ft/89.6 sq m approx.
11 Quiet Street, Bath BA1 2LB
Tel: 01225 466 225
Mark Baines, of Marcom, Lynne Fernquest, editor of The Bath Chronicle, Rosie Lythgoe Cheetham, of StagWeb and Alex Pyatt, of Thrings Solicitors
Making the right connections
he importance of social media was the focus for The Bath Chronicle’s latest Get Fit for Business. The networking breakfast, held at the American Museum in conjunction with Business West, allowed members of the city’s business community to discuss the merits and pitfalls of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.
approach to social media, which included ignoring it, treating it as a sales channel, focusing on quantity, rather than quality, and having unrealistic expectations.
Greg Cooper,from Front of Mind Coaching, explained the top ten mistakes commonly made by businesses in their
The next Bath Chronicle Get Fit for Business will be held in the New Year. ■
Vivien Simpson, of Morgan Brinkhurst Consultancy, and Linda Donaldson, of Geometry PR
Debbie Newman, of Armstrrong Beech Marketing, and Hayley Chiba, of Better Numbers Ltd
36 AGENDA December 2013
“It carries a lot of expectation. People think that you will get into social media – have a LinkedIn page and a Facebook page and business will just start rolling in. Social media is part of the whole marketing mix.”
Stephanie Hunt, of Spirit Photographic, Peter Finnigan, of Sanlam Private Investments, and Agenda reporter Liza-Jane Gillespie
Delegates at the Get Fit for Business breakfast learn about the merits and pitfalls of social media
Nicola Owen, of Mogers, and Chris Kane, of Withy King at the networking breakfast at the American Museum www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
Jason Rogers, of Pinnacle Chauffeur Transport, and Andrew Vince, of Moore Stephens
December 2013 AGENDA 37
Appointments NEW CHAIR
SENIOR NAVY MAN JOINS BMT Leading international design, engineering and risk management consultancy, BMT Defence Services (BMT), has announced the appointment of Toby Middleton, left as amphibious business development lead.
the Royal Marines.
Dr Markas Gilmartin, left, a partner at Bath-based Epoch Wealth Management, has been appointed chairman of an influential finance industry think-tank.
Educated to Masters level at King’s College London, Mr Middleton has extensive experience in the defence sector, having risen to the rank of Colonel while serving in
He has since served as Deputy Commander for the Maritime Reserves and Director of Training at the Royal Marines Commando Training Centre.
share expert industry knowledge.
The Leading Edge Adviser Forum (LEAF) is a non-profit consultancy group which was set up to give independent financial advisers (IFAs) the chance to
Mr Middleton will work alongside BMT’s experts to promote innovative amphibious designs across the world, and to further establish BMT as a market leader with the ability to explore the boundaries of naval design.
Members of the newly relaunched forum meet regularly to discuss a wide range of industry issues.
PROPERTY EXPERTS JOIN TEAM
Dr Gilmartin said: “I am delighted to have been invited to chair this important industry forum which aims to trigger critical debate among IFAs and provide an opportunity to share information and wisdom.”
Law firm Withy King has created a dedicated new-build and plot sales team and appointed two new property experts.
Residential property solicitor Beth Heley joins Withy King’s expanding property team from Goughs in Beth Heley Corsham and she will be supported by another new recruit, Kylie Dover, who is well known on the Bath and Wiltshire property scene. One of Ms Heley’s key roles will be to provide conveyancing services and other specialist support to buyers of new build properties as part of a dedicated team. They will work alongside the firm’s established property developer team which specialises in site acquisition, strategic land and site assembly.
of retailers expect their online sales to grow by 20% or more this year
38 38 AGENDA AGENDA December December 2013 2013
The next LEAF meeting will be held in Bath on December 4 when the group will discuss financial planning as a profession.
WISE MOVE Allan Rosengren, founder and chief executive of Falcon Group, and joint managing director of the Lighthouse Group, has joined the board of Money Wise Independent Financial Advisers as non-executive chairman. Mr Rosengren said he joined the firm because he was impressed with the company’s plans for growth. “The business is well positioned to help clients capitalise on the improving economic conditions and is fully aligned with the demands of a fee-based financial advisory environment. “I am very pleased to be joining the Board of Money Wise at this exciting time and look forward to helping my colleagues shape and further develop the business and its services over the coming months and years.”
of consumers expect to spend the same amount as they did last year Source: Peerius www.southwestbusiness.co.uk www.southwestbusiness.co.uk/appointments
The Juice... T H E L AT E S T F R O M B AT H ’ S M O S T I N N O VAT I V E A N D D Y N A M I C R E C R U I T M E N T C O N S U LTA N C Y !
JUICE CHRISTMAS TWITTER COMPETITION Do you follow us on twitter? If not, follow us today @JuiceRecruit to be in with a chance of winning our gorgeous Sweet Christmas Tree. All you need to do is follow our Twitter page @JuiceRecruit - Good Luck!
JUICE MEETS MARY Emma Summers, MD of Juice, was delighted to meet Mary Berry at a drinks reception at the Pump Rooms to mark the switch on of Bath’s Christmas lights. Bath-born Mary has inspired bakers everywhere with more than 9 million people tuning in to see Mary Berry reveal the winner of this year’s Great British Bake Off competition.
WONDERFUL RECOMMENDATION Rosanna in our Bath office received a glowing recommendation from a client/candidate! "I've worked with Rosanna as a recruitment partner both when recruiting and when looking for a new opportunity. On both occasions I have found her to be highly effective, with great market knowledge, a thorough understanding of a candidates motivating factors and organisational culture... In short she is focused and successful in finding the 'right' person for a role and I can highly recommend her as someone who takes the pain out of recruiting!" Well done Rosanna!
BATH TEMP OF THE MONTH BATH IN FASHION LAUNCH Emma from Juice attended the launch of Bath In Fashion 2014 at Hall & Woodhouse earlier this month. Pictured with Simon Pullen, General Manager (South Gate Bath) and BID Company Chairman (Bath), Bath In Fashion celebrates the contemporary creativity of the city, showcasing collections for Summer 2014 as well as attracting celebrities from the world of fashion.
All at Juice would like to say a massive well done to Alexandra for doing such a fantastic job for us. Alexandra undertook a temporary booking for us at short notice and our client was over the moon with her performance and her flexible, hardworking approach - well done Alexandra!
WHAT A GREAT LUNCH AND A GREAT LAUNCH!!! Guests joined Juice earlier this month at the wonderful new Porter in Bath to celebrate the launch of the Juice/Withy King Salary Survey 2013/2014. With a delicious lunch, guests heard about the hiring climate and survey results from Emma Summers, MD of Juice whilst Richard White, Employment Partner of Withy King provided a fantastic overview of impending legislation for 2014. The event was full of facts, fun and laughter and all at Juice would like to say a big thank you to all our wonderful clients for making the event so great!
12 Miles’s Buildings, George Street, Bath BA1 2QS
Bath 01225 447870 Bristol 0117 920 9393 Cheltenham 01242 210410
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Economic headlines Investment manager Owen Jennings, from Investec Wealth and Investment Limited, discusses the impact of Angela Merkel’s election win and Labour’s war on energy prices on the world’s markets.
he financial headlines in October were dominated by the US government shutdown and its debt-ceiling problems. As expected, the US did not default on its debt, although the problems have only been put on hold for a couple of months. On January 15, 2014 the continuing resolution that is funding the US government runs out. On February 7th the suspension of the debt ceiling expires. Here comes an opportunity for US politicians to fudge the outcome again, but markets will hope for a more lasting resolution this time. Europe On the political front Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU romped home in Germany’s elections, a rare feat for an incumbent these days, but failed to secure an overall majority. That is very much business as usual in Germany, as no leader has secured an overall majority since 1957. After several weeks of horse-trading to form a coalition, we still await the final outcome, so German policy remains on hold.
UK The Labour Party’s threat to freeze retail energy prices post-election (May 7, 2015) led to sharp share price falls for Centrica and SSE, and the whole topic of energy prices has since become the political football of the moment. Such interventionist redistributive policies sit badly with investors, and now that Labour has shown its colours, we can look forward to 18 months of cross-bench bickering. The better news for the Conservatives is evidence of recovery in the economy, but Labour still leads in
the polls, and constituency boundaries mean the Conservatives will need a much larger share of the vote than Labour to stand any chance of claiming a majority of seats. The resurgence of IPO (initial public offering) activity is a welcome sign of confidence displayed by both companies and investors. The privatisation of Royal Mail recalled the halcyon days of the 1980s, and the shares finished October trading 70 per cent above their placing price of 330p. Sadly, share allocations were minimal. Meanwhile, November began with strong demand for Merlin, the operator of Madame Tussaud’s and Legoland, while in the US the social networking company Twitter rose 73 per cent on its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The year continues to progress positively for investors. In the medium term ,we are happy that a ‘risk on’ stance is appropriate. Our positive view is underpinned by the belief that developed economies are slowly gaining traction, and corporate balance sheets remain strong enough to fund growth and returns to investors. ■
40 AGENDA December 2013
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GIVING YOUR BUSINESS MORE HOURS IN THE DAY
Bath is an important part of brand identity for shoe designer Chantal Pilon.
Canadian shoe designer Chantal Pilon has chosen Bath for her flagship store
Designer’s sole shop
f all the cities in all the world, a Canadian shoe designer has chosen Bath as the home for her flagship store. She has worked for the likes of Clarks and Kenneth Cole in New York, but now Chantal Pilon is going it alone and has set up shop in Milsom Place. Flats, heels, metallic, leopard print, boots, shoes... whatever footwear you’re after, Chanii B has become the place to go. The shop opened in Milsom Place last year as a temporary pop-up but Ms Pilon has now signed a permanent lease in the shopping precinct as she looks to grow her shoe empire. “I am a third generation footwear retailer. I grew up with the whole industry,” she said. The mother-of-two trained at Cordwainers College in London, where Jimmy Choo and Emma Hope also studied, but after spending more than ten years designing shoes for other people, she took the brave step of launching her own brand. “A lot of people said to me, why don’t you come up with 42 AGENDA December 2013
your own brand that is fun and comfy? And I thought to myself, why am I doing this for someone else when I could be doing it for myself?” Chanii B was launched three years ago but the shop in Bath is the only store in the world where Ms Pilon’s entire range is available. It is also the only outlet shoe lovers will get to meet the designer who still enjoys meeting customers and is happy to sign shoes as she sells them. “I thought Bath was the right platform for the brand. I wanted it to be very exclusive – in London it would have got lost. Bath is so unique and so is my brand – it wouldn’t have fitted in any other city. “This is my flagship shop, I want people to know when they come here it’s something special – this is where you find the whole story of me.” There are already plans to open stores in America, Australia and Europe, but unlike other shoe brands, Ms Pilon is determined to remain at the centre of Chanii B and keep designing her own shoes. “What I do is very unique for the industry and I want to keep doing it,” she said. ■ www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
There’s been a recent change of management at Bath Ales, but the successful brewery and pub chain has no plans to ruin a winning formula.
Ale and hearty
he man behind Bath Ales’ transition to proprietors of gastro pubs has been promoted to head up the enterprise. Former retail director Robin Couling, pictured, has become managing director, replacing Roger Jones, who has become executive chairman.
Mr Couling, who has a background in restaurants and hotels, was brought into Bath Ales more than five years ago to help with the transition into the restaurant market and the launch of Graze. He said: “We’ve always had pubs from our early days of Bath Ales; at the time is was acceptable to be wet-led, beer-based, rather than food-based – but over ten to 15 years, the market has changed. The vast majority of pubs have to have a food offering to survive. My remit originally was to take on the pub estate and take it down the food avenue and make it less reliant on wet trade and
spread the risk.”
Of the brewery’s ten sites, three are part of its Graze brand. In the last 12 months the company’s business has grown by 25 per cent – growth driven by its retail success, as well as strong beer sales. Mr Couling said: “Bath Ales is now in a very strong position, both as a highly reputable brewer and excellent pub operator, thanks in no small part to the fantastic dedication of our team and the high quality of our offering. In my new role as managing director, I will be looking to continue the path Roger has set. “Following commitment to a huge amount of development and improvement across the business, particularly in our retail division, I have a great platform from which to drive further growth.” ■
December 2013 AGENDA 43
All ship shape
Foreign contracts are keeping it in business but BMT Defence Services hopes its can maintain its Bath roots. Business reporter Liza-Jane Gillespie talks to managing director Muir Macdonald about the companyâ€™s extraordinary year. 44 AGENDA December 2013 44 AGENDA December 2013
Muir Macdonald with the Queen’s Award for International Trade, pictured with staff members Dan Spinney, Professor Chris Hedge, Kate Walsh, Chris Trout, Rob Armstrong, Rob Steel and Will Rowles
jobs at its yards in Scotland and England, and end shipbuilding altogether at Portsmouth. Mr Macdonald said: “We are sad about the loss of the jobs and sorry for the individuals and the industry.
In August the Lower Bristol Road firm was confirmed as the design contractor for the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation’s (NDLO) logistics and support vessel.
“It is a concern but it is one of the reasons we have looked to other customers internationally. Our first and favourite customer remains the Royal Navy but to have a successful future we have to look at other contacts internationally.”
013 has been a good year for BMT Defence Services. The company, which specialises in the design and technical support for submarines, warships and auxiliary vessels, has secured a big contract with the Norwegian Navy, expanded its workforce by 15 per cent and has received a Queen’s Award for International Trade.
The company will be supported by sister companies Reliability Consultants in Fareham, and BMT Isis, also on Lower Bristol Road, for the project, thought to be worth £140 million. As a consequence of the deal, the firm, which has been in Bath since the mid-1980s, has had to take on new office space in Monmouth Street at Plymouth House, an office block previously used by B&NES Council. The new offices will house the Norwegian Logistics and Support Vessel project team. The project has also allowed the hiring of 40 new members of staff, including 15 graduates. Managing director, Muir Macdonald, said: “Every year is a significant year for BMT but this year has been especially so.” Last month Lady Gass, Lord Lieutenant of Somerset visited the company to present staff with its Queen’s Award for International Trade. Mr Macdonald said the company’s focus on overseas business was necessary for its survival. In November BAE Systems announced it was to cut 1,775 www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
“The fact of the matter is the Royal Navy has been shrinking and so the ship-building industry has to shrink.
Mr Macdonald explained the company’s investment in graduates and the research and development side of the business was about securing BMT’s long-term future. “It’s important to invest in the young people that will be taking our jobs in 25 years. We have been working on a Masters in Electrical Engineering with Manchester University – we are planning for the future in every aspect. “Being in defence is an acquired taste – we are quite a modest back-room company, but in the last year we have become much more visible. We want to send a message that we are here.” Despite BMT Defence Service’s 30-year presence in the city Mr Macdonald admitted a lack of suitable premises meant the company might have to look beyond Bath. “We are looking to find longer-term permanent accommodation unfortunately we are growing out of this building. We are looking to see what Bath has to offer but we are also looking at Bristol and Keynsham. “There is a vision for the innovation hub and we would look to be part of that vision but if our needs are more urgent we will go where the business takes us.” ■ December 2013 AGENDA 45
Tweet and greet Getting your business involved in social media can be daunting. Bath Spa graduates Dulcie Carey and Lotte Skinner, pictured, who have launched a new firm Absolutely Social, give some basic tips to Bath businesses wanting to tap into lively local Twitter conversations.
n a time when there is constant advertising noise, it is more important than ever for businesses to connect and engage with their community. Twitter can play a huge role in helping Bath businesses to do this, due to the sheer number of local residents that use the platform.
It’s large enough that you can make a significant difference to the connectivity of your business, but small enough that your voice doesn’t get lost in the ‘twitmosphere’. If you want your company to thrive in Bath, you need to be on Twitter, so sign up if you haven’t already. And to help you get started, we’ve prepared these top tips: Get @WeLoveBath, @BathChron and @NOWBath on your side These are very powerful Twitter accounts in Bath. Most local news will be tweeted to and retweeted by them. Make sure you are following them, ‘@’ them in your tweet when you have special offers or news and interact with the other people tweeting their account. Interact with the other people tweeting them. Meet and connect It may seem like common sense, but this is easily forgotten. When you meet someone from Bath who is on Twitter, connect with them. If you get chatting about your business, tell them you’re on Twitter, and follow each other. It’s nice to follow up a couple of days later with a ‘nice to meet you’ tweet. Follow the chain Knowing who to follow within your industry is key on Twitter wherever you are based. Find other local 46 AGENDA December 2013
@BathChron is arguably the most powerful Twitter account in the city
businesses on Twitter that are similar to yours, see who is tweeting them and then who is tweeting those people and so forth. This connected chain of Twitter users are the most active, and will be horn blowers for the rest of your clientele. Run competitions and giveaways It’s no lie that everyone loves free stuff. Give your Twitter followers exclusive offers in exchange for their tweets and retweets. This will in turn bring you new followers. How about tweeting a picture of somewhere in
Bath with something like: ‘We’ll give a prize to the first person to tell us where this is.’ Support the city Try to mix your tweets up a bit; don’t always stick to business talk. Tweet about things you see in the city and you guessed it – include @WeLoveBath @BathChron and @NOWBath in your tweet. Support and compliment other local businesses in the city, even if they are unrelated to your own. Everyone responds to kindness. ■ www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
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Fuelling the debate
With energy costs rocketing, John Rich, partner and co-founder of Stubbs Rich architects, explains how your home and office energy bills can be cut by taking a few sensible steps.
y energy supplier has just advised the price of our electricity will increase by nine per cent and gas by a staggering 12 per cent. A rant is entirely in order. Putting to one side the strong suspicion that the big six energy companies are making too much money, how does the price hike affect us in Bath? As an architect, for decades I have been trying to encourage clients to pay a little extra for a low energy building because it is good for the environment. But energy prices have traditionally been so low, and constituted such a small part of the running cost of a building, the ‘return on investment’ on energy saving measures has not been worthwhile. Those opting for a low energy building have tended to be clients who have strong environmental, rather than financial, drivers. Perhaps the tipping point is now 48 AGENDA December 2013
measures make most sense.
A plethora of ‘specialist’ companies offer a range of environmental goodies that they claim will cut energy bills. The Government has also weighed into the arena with confusing feed-in tariffs that are tilting the market.
The consultancy evaluated emission reduction opportunities and their associated costs and investment requirements.
As you might imagine, research has found that many of these technologies do not deliver the promised savings. Studies have revealed that ‘green bling’ is often too expensive for any cost saving to be achieved, and, more importantly, the users (that’s us!) find these features to be too complicated to achieve the claimed efficiency. We can see the evidence for overstated claims whenever we drive: can anyone achieve the advertised mpg in their fuel-efficient car? Coasting down the A46 is about the only time I can manage it. McKinsey, an influential management consultancy, has looked into the question of which energy saving
The simple conclusion of the research was that it is more sensible to reduce consumption than to produce more energy through micro-generation such as small wind turbines. With this clarity of thought, McKinsey recommends we reduce our energy consumption by improved insulation and LED lighting, among other measures. Both are cheap, simple and effective. So add to your home or office’s insulation; switch to LED lamps; and simply turn stuff off. You will have a good return on investment – cutting energy bills while doing the environment some good. With hindsight, these steps are quite sensible. Thanks to McKinsey for pointing them out. ■ www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
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Floral prints, monochrome, maxi, mini, flare, boot-cut, clutch or satchel. Bath is preparing to strike a pose ahead of next year’s Bath in Fashion.
Fashionistas at festival launch
t is still months away but the 2014 Bath in Fashion has been launched. The week-long celebration of all things fashion will be held next May but businesses are already being encouraged to get thinking about how they will be part of the event. Now in its fifth year, Bath in Fashion is a unique event designed to put the focus on the city’s retail sector, as well as highlighting its growing links with the international catwalk scene.
London Fashion Week duo Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kitchoff will be heading for Bath next May for an exclusive interview with Bath girl American Vogue’s fashion critic Sarah Mower. Managing director of Topshop Mary Homer will also be a headline speaker, along with Paolo Gabrielli, who designs for Clarks shoes. A new addition to next year’s fashion week will be a special pavilion where Bath businesses will be able to hold workshops and talks on their products and services. Favourites such as Vintage Sunday at Green Park Station 50 AGENDA December 2013
Corrinda Wakefield-Wylde, Jo Baddergoode and Nicholas Wylde
and late-night shopping will also be returning. Last year’s Bath in Fashion secured £1.8 million worth of PR coverage for the city and organisers are hoping to achieve the same again. Chairman of the event and director of Milsom Place, Sarah Mansfield, said the purpose of Bath in Fashion was to present the city as stylish and elegant: “The festival portrays fashionable Bath with fashion businesses in the city, bringing together top contemporary designers, commentators, photographers and illustrators to our World Heritage City. Always stimulating, innovative and diverse Bath in Fashion is inspiring and fun.” Bath in Fashion 2014 will run from May 3 to 10. Tickets will go on sale from early March. For further information or to register interest visit www.bathinfashion.co.uk ■ www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
Linda Bevan and Jodie Read
Stacey Harper and Sarah Mansfield
Deb Coleman and Debbie Dix
Rachel Wardley and Alice Ellis www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
Jo Perry and Zac Fennell
December 2013 AGENDA 51
A renewed love of photographs is helping a new online business. Sue Haskins has launched an online framing business
The generation frame
nce upon a time you would buy a film, take the photographs, take the film to a chemist and spend three days waiting anxiously to see whether or not the pictures were in focus.
With the dawn of a digital era, people’s bookshelves are no longer crammed with photo albums, photographs are vary rarely developed but remain left on hard drives or memory sticks. However, a new, but not-so-original ritual is starting to gain momentum among teenagers in the city, who are now exchanging photographs to celebrate landmarks in their lives.
“This is a generation that is bombarded with photos all the time but people still want pictures up in their homes.” The new website not only stocks a range of frames in various sizes but also offers a gift service where customers can upload their chosen photograph and select a frame. She added: “I have sent so many photos in frames over the years to grandparents, godparents and friends but I have always been surprised at how difficult it is to find the right frame.
Sue Haskins, from Weston, has recently launched her new online framing business, loveframed.com, which hopes to encourage the trend and inspire others to follow suit.
“You get your picture, you find a frame that you like - but it doesn’t fit the photo. Then you have to make sure you have ink in your printer and the right photographic paper. Then you have to go to the Post Office, find a suitable box to post it in - it’s a very labour intensive project and becomes a major hassle.”
“My children have Facebook pictures but now they are at an age and having 16th or 17th birthdays and they have been given photos in frames of all their friends.
As part of the gift package offered by loveframed.com the frames are boxed and can then be sent direct to the recipient. ■
52 AGENDA December 2013
BATH BUSINESS CLUB
Jayson Godridge, right, with other Bath Business Club members Roger Grafton and Bruce Roxburgh
Relationships that work
Finding friends in Bath’s business community has been the key to success for one young entrepreneur.
“I felt very alone and I can very clearly remember sitting in my first premises six months after going it alone, with no orders coming in and feeling very scared.”
networking, but now I’m not sure what I’d have done without them. I now realise that time was a real turning point and I made the right decision because the guidance and genuine support was there. Through this advice, I know I made the right decision – to continue growing the business.”
hen Jayson Godridge, 30, set up his digital printing company four years ago, the reality of running his own business hit home very quickly.
“I was 26 when I started my own business in 2009 and had no friends who had done the same.
However, just four years later and Freestyle Designs, which now employs four members of staff, has had its best year yet, moving to new and bigger premises on Windsor Bridge. It is also on target to reach a turnover of £500,000 next year. Besides all the obvious marketing and advertising strategies, Mr Godridge claims the secret to his company’s success was meeting other business owners in the city. “Being part of the Bath Business Club has taught me that relationships are the most valuable thing in business. “Shortly after joining the club, business started to really pick up and I was then approached by another printing firm, offering a buyout deal. “It looked attractive on paper, but I wasn’t too sure. So I turned to members of the business club, for business accountancy and legal advice, but also experience on how to weigh up whether I should take up the offer.
Mr Godridge admits he could have got the business advice from anywhere but being part of an established networking group, where he was building professional relationships, meant he could trust the advice and support he was given. The Bath Business Club is an independent group, which meets on a weekly basis. To ensure the group works together as a team and there is no internal competition, the club is only open to one member from each particular profession. Mr Godridge said it is thanks to the club his firm continues to do well.
“Having this option – to be able to turn to people who you can trust and are willing to advise you, without the clock ticking – was invaluable.
“I don’t want to build it too quickly – I started during a recession and have seen the benefit in focusing on steady, manageable growth through constant reinvestment. We’re now a really established business with a good spread of Bath-based clients, many of whom have come via the business club and our reputation: that’s how I’d like to keep it growing.”
“I hadn’t appreciated these benefits from business
For more information visit www.bathbc.com ■
December 2013 AGENDA 53
Shoppers queue for the opening of TK Maxx, one of the many new shops to open in Bath this year
Shoppers spoilt for choice Property guru, Mike McElhinney, partner at Carter Jonas, explains how shoppers coming to Bath this Christmas are in for some big surprises.
o the casual observer, Bath might appear to be a real ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ tale of two extremes – the giant glitzy multiples (Brobdingnaq) populating the southern end of the city, while the little independents (Lilliputian) inhabit the north. Closer examination of the huge changes in this growing and fastevolving centre has seen through 2013 shows this is not really the case and retail-focused businesses of every size are thriving, some arriving in the city for the first time, others upgrading their retail presence to better serve their customers. Big new names in the top end of town include TK Maxx, Jo Malone, Whistles, Jack Wolfskin, India Jane and Fired Earth, as well as the revamped Waitrose/John Lewis, while the southern end boasts USC, 54 AGENDA December 2013
Vans, Aveda and Cotswold Outdoor. New independents have arrived in the top end of town in unprecedented numbers this year, including Cotswold Country, Savanna, Love, Robert Welch, Magpie & Bear, Little Lab, Fig & Pinker, Ganesha, Music Dynamics, Sugar Loaf, Charlie Crown, Pink Planet and British Emporium. But the southern end too is attracting smaller businesses – Tinc, Joy, 71 Queens, Independent Spirit, Fone Solutions and Brow Place. Christmas shoppers will find a vast array of new and interesting things to buy to fill their stockings but what will they find to eat or drink? Well, here too both ends of the city have new exciting places to try, big and small… Prezzo, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Gong Fu & Bubbly in SouthGate, with Bill’s, Miller &
Carter, Roman Kitchen, Madrid Tapas and Picnic Coffee at the top end. The Stable is also a newcomer at this end of town. The pizza and cider restaurant does really interesting ‘British’ pizzas with its Christmas offering believed to be ‘Turkey Gobbler’. In all, on their travels around the Bath centre, shoppers can experience almost 40 completely new destinations and will find many ‘old friends’ revamped in bright new premises: Eric Snook Toys, Justice Jewellers, Mimi Nor, Golden Cot, Bath Aqua Glass, Joules, French Grey Interiors, Jack Wills and Prey – enhancing the retail offer to make Bath sparkle brighter than anywhere else in the UK this Christmas. And there are even more new exciting names lining up to arrive in early 2014. ■ www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
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Wage row deemed unprincely
nions have said they are disappointed with the University of Bath’s new chancellor Prince Edward for saying he could not get involved with pay disputes because he is a member of the Royal
Representatives from the university’s branch of UCU, Unison and Unite wrote to the Prince to welcome him into the new role and tell him of their concerns about what they see as the widening pay gap between those at the top and bottom of the organisation’s pay structure. They told him that the previous chancellor Lord Tugendhat had been open to discussion on the matter and had spoken out about the issue in his farewell lecture. However, the response they received from the Prince’s private secretary said it was not appropriate for him to have a view on the subject. It said: “As I think you are aware, this is not an area where the chancellor has any role, and it is certainly not a matter where a member of the Royal Family is able to have a view. “I have therefore passed your letter to the vice chancellor for any action she may think necessary.” The three unions have said they believed Lord Tugendhat was sympathetic to their plight to raise wages for the lowest-paid workers at a time when seniors members of staff, including the vice-chancellor Dame Professor Glynis Breakwell, were on such generous salary and pension packages. In their letter to the Prince they highlighted his farewell lecture, where he said of business leaders, that “when their pay and pay increases so far outrun those of the people who work for them and the population at large, they lose morale, their words will be discounted”. A statement from the unions said the Prince’s role as chancellor meant he was chair of the university court and the court was in place to provide a “public forum” for any university matters. They said: “Our members were surprised and disappointed to hear from the new chancellor that he is unable to have a view on the matters we raised with him, which are certainly important matters concerning the university. “This is Living Wage Week, a week when many employers will be celebrating their commitment to paying their workers a living wage of £7.65 an hour that meets the cost of living. 56 AGENDA December 2013
Prince Edward is the new chancellor of the University of Bath
“The University of Bath employs more people on the minimum wage (£6.35 an hour) than any other university in the country, yet the cost of living in Bath is higher than many other places. “And Bath has, at £367,000 a year, one of the most expensive vice-chancellors in the country.” They added: “We think that these are important matters concerning the university, and the new chancellor should, like the previous chancellor, tell us what he thinks about them.” A spokesman from the university said he did not believe it was the chancellor’s role to get involved with matters of this kind. He said: “As chancellor His Royal Highness is the ceremonial head of the university and one of its most prominent ambassadors. “He plays an important role in the life of the institution and will certainly take an interest in all aspects of university life. “However, the chancellor does not become involved in day-to-day executive management which is the responsibility of the vice-chancellor.” ■ www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
Read all about it! T
he community at Odd Down has bid a fond farewell to newsagents Clinton and Gill Turner. The husband-and-wife team opened their shop on Upper Bloomfield Road, Adam’s Apple, in 1990.
Newsagents Clinton and Gill Turner have retired after 23 years.
Over the last 23 years the couple have become a familiar part of Odd Down life. Mr Turner said: “We have many customers that have become friends. People here have been good to us. It’s only fair we recognise the friendship and loyalty they’ve Mr Turner, 69, said: “When this shop came up on the given us.” market we went for it but we didn’t really understand Mr and Mrs Turner have now sold the business and what we were taking on. We’d gone from no mortgage to borrowing £82,000 from the bank. But are moving back to Bristol so they can enjoy retirement with their family. The shop will undergo a we’ve been fortunate and were able to pay it all refurbishment and re-open as Best One Express. ■ back within ten years.” They previously ran a shop in Bristol but jumped at the chance of owning their own business when the Bath store was put up for sale.
December 2013 AGENDA 57
SMALL BUSINESS FOCUS
Broadening our focus Angela Ladd, chairman of Small Business Focus, talks about the purpose and value of the group and its membership.
How the redevelopment of Grand Parade and Undercroft might look – but the Small Business Focus points out that there is no money in the budget for the scheme
n enthusiastic number of members attended the Annual General Meeting of Small Business Focus at Le Petit Flamma on November 12. We are proud of their support and pleased to say that our committee has now expanded further.
The members of Small Business Focus set new focus points for the company with new areas of activity. But we shall still be offering support for startups and businesses, lobbying against council plans which are detrimental to the independent 58 AGENDA December 2013
businesses and retailers in Bath and North East Somerset, and seeking to grow our membership, which, incidentally has made us the largest active business support group for all independents in B&NES. As we get closer to election time, our councillors will be scrabbling to finish as many projects as possible. Some will be introduced in a rush, with all the inherent failings, while some will be dropped like hot potatoes. We have already noticed at the budget meeting that no money has been allocated within the next
three-year plan for the Colonnades, Undercroft and Guildhall Market plan. No money = no build. Not forgetting, of course, that the tender for a new Guildhall market operator was supposed to go out in September, but has now been postponed until March 2014. Don’t forget – we work voluntarily on behalf of the small independent businesses in B&NES, whether for the traders on Orchard Grove, Moorland Road, Combe Down or in Radstock and Westfield. ■ www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
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