CONNECTING BATH’S BUSINESS LEADERS
southwestbusiness.co.uk January 2014
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2 AGENDA January 2014
A toast to 2014
Agenda Editor: Paul Wiltshire 01225 322301 firstname.lastname@example.org Business Reporter: Liza-Jane Gillespie 01225 322214 email@example.com
or many people, the New Year might be a time for avoiding alcohol. It’s the month when some of us go dry and steer clear of the pub.
But for some of the Bath area’s canniest investors, the pub is the place to be. This month’s Agenda focuses on the huge investment being made in the city’s pubs and bars.
From community co-ops to big business, millions of pounds is being pumped into enhancing the area’s drinking places.
Multimedia sales manager: Jayne Bates 01225 322223 firstname.lastname@example.org
The people behind the facelifts of pubs around the city know all about hard work.
It’s a nice change from stories of doom and gloom about the regularity and inevitability of pub closures.
And that’s one of the messages of one of Bath’s most listened-to experts, Robert Craven. He tells business reporter Liza-Jane Gillespie of the dangers of “quick fix” “snake oil salesmen” who tell entrepreneurs there’s a short cut to success.
ONLINE For all the latest business news from across Bath, Gloucestershire, Bristol and the region visit www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
He’s something of a specialist on image and business relationships, and there’s plenty more advice on that score from people as diverse as PR director Linda Donaldson and wealth management expert Stuart Doughty. There’s also the latest on the Core Strategy which will determine the future of development schemes across Bath and north east Somerset. And there’s a hello to one Angela - new Federation of Small Businesses Bath chair Angela MacAusland - and a sad farewell to another, Small Business Focus chairman Angela Ladd, who has died after a battle with cancer.
Agenda is a Bath News & Media publication. Floor 2, Westpoint, James Street West, Bath, BA1 2DA
Whether you’re on or off the wagon this month, we wish you all a Happy New Year.
P Wiltshire Paul Wiltshire Editor
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Follow us on Twitter (@swbusinessnews) – more than 3,350 others already do. We’ll drop you the top line on one or two of the day’s best regional stories. All of which goes back to our adaptive business website www.southwestbusiness.co.uk and its free daily newsletter.
The number of pubs closing in the UK every week
of people are using pubs less than they did
January 2014 AGENDA 3
In this issue 11
News, views: business stories from the last month
Diary dates for January. We flag up business events to attend over the coming weeks
CONNECTING BATH’S BUSINESS LEADERS
10 Liza-Jane Gillespie talks to Vince Cable
11 Bath is to be at the centre of a new partnership with the Middle East that will open up new opportunities for the city’s technology sector 18 Entrepreneurship guru Robert Craven offers words of advice on the limitations of social media 21 Meet the business leaders helping to nurture the next generation 26 Pensions Minister Steve Webb talks to Agenda
A new incentive scheme has been launched to keep Bath’s university graduates in the city. Find out more on page 50 4 AGENDA January 2014
The new landscape of business battles will take place on two fronts. One, your digital footprint is more important than ever....Two, your ability to exceed customer expectations in the service you deliver will become increasingly more important
ROBERT CRAVEN, P18
27 PR expert Linda Donaldson discusses the worth of having a crisis communications plan in place
30 Tributes have been paid to Angela Ladd, a driving force in the city’s small business community, who has died 33 Stuart Doughty, director of Centurion Wealth Management, says it’s crucial that your team reflects your brand 38 Recent appointments 40 A day-long summit has taken place in Bath to try to solve the city’s gull problem 42 The pubs being given a new lease of life at a time when an estimated 26 across the UK are closing each week 48 In the wake of the devastating typhoon in the Philippines, architect John Rich explains how safer buildings can alleviate the impact of such disasters 50 We report on an initiative aiming to keep more talented students in Bath after they graduate
56 The review of the green belt around Bath has sparked concern and anger
January 2014 AGENDA 5
NEWS & VIEWS
News &views STUDENT ACCOMMODATION SCHEME FOR DERELICT CARE HOME A derelict former care home looks set to be converted into student accommodation. New plans have been revealed for Green Park House to turn it into flats for up to 500 students by the building’s new owners Berkeley Group, which has also bought the neighbouring Ernest Ireland House. The previous owners had secured planning consent for a 190-bed hotel but the scheme was never progressed. Earlier this year the site was put up for sale for £7.5 million. Andrew Saunders-Davies, from the Berkeley group, said the city was in need of more purpose-built student accommodation. “With the council recently legislating to limit the
number of student house-shares in neighbourhoods around the city, the provision of properly managed student accommodation is important in helping free up the city’s housing stock for families and first-time buyers. “The site is situated in an extremely suitable location for student housing. It lies close to key bus routes to both university campuses, and is a short walk from City of Bath College. It is also well located for the city centre and nearby Kingsmead Leisure Complex.” The accommodation will not have any parking, preventing students from having cars. The development will also have 24-hour on-site management.
BATH COMPANY IS A STARTUP WINNER A fledgling Bath business has been recognised nationally for its achievements. PropertECO, which specialises in lowering the carbon footprint of buildings and homes, is listed 35th in the Startups 100 index. The table celebrates the best in new British business and includes the top 100 start-ups launched in the last three years. Started in 2011 by Rebecca Kench and Martin Freeman, pictured, and based at Green Park Station, the company works primarily with the construction industry to provide a variety of services aimed at making buildings more sustainable. It aims to bring down running and maintenance costs, specialising in carbon reduction, radon gas control, basement waterproofing, damp proofing and timber preservation. Commercial director Miss Kench said: “As a company operating in a niche field, I’m delighted we’ve been able to claim a spot on this prestigious list. Featuring on the list should also raise the profile of radon among other business owners, who all have a responsibility to carry out risk assessments.” The firm was named Trades Startup of the Year in the Startups Awards 2012 and Innovative Start-Up Company of the Year at last year's Chronicle Bath Business Awards.
AGENDAJanuary January2014 2014 66 AGENDA
NEWS & VIEWS
PARK & RIDE EXPANSION WELCOMED Plans to expand Newbridge Park and Ride have been approved. The plans – part of the £27 million Bath Transportation Package – proposed an increase in capacity from 450 to 698 spaces, a covered waiting area, public toilets, and cycle storage. Councillor David Dixon (Lib-Dem, Oldfield), deputy leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council, said: “Space at the Newbridge Park and Ride site is extremely limited and people arriving there close to midday are finding few spaces. “This means those cars travelling into a congested city centre are all trying to find a parking space, adding to the traffic. Bath & North East Somerset Council is
responding by expanding the site by over half and improving facilities. “It is vital that as the council progresses plans for new workspace and new jobs at the Bath City of Ideas Enterprise Area, businesses sees the infrastructure they need to access the city being created. Potential investors do not want to see a city they are keen on investing in grinding to halt because of a lack of Park and Ride capacity.” Work is due to start this spring. It will take the total number of spaces from 1,990 to 2,860. The approval has been met positively by the business community. See pages 13 & 36
AMAZON BUYS BACK CATALOGUE OF FAILED CITY AUDIO PUBLISHER Amazon has bought the back catalogue of AudioGO. Administrators for the failed Bath audio publisher, BDO, confirmed that Audible, an Amazon company, had secured access to 5,000 titles from AudioGo. BDO partner Mark Shaw said authors still had to sign off on the deal. AudioGo has made 64 redundancies since going into administration ln the autumn. A spokesman has also said creditors were unlikely to see any money. The firm, which has offices on Lower Bristol Road and a mail order store at Windsor Bridge, had employed around 100 people in the city.
ENGINEERING FIRM QUITTING BATH Up to 50 jobs are being moved from Bath. Engineering firm Steve Vick International, which has been in Bath for more than 20 years, will be moving to Bradford on Avon because it has outgrown its site. All 45 jobs, plus a further five vacancies, will be leaving Pinesway Industrial Estate and transferring to the Treenwood Industrial Estate in Bradford on Avon. Steve Vick International specialises in repair, replacement and decommissioning of underground pipes. Joint managing and financial director, Tony Day, said: “After an extensive unsuccessful search for local alternative premises nothing suitable became available. There is no new industrial space in the city and when Carter Jonas suggested the building in Bradford on Avon it suited us very well.” Although the company’s main focus is on the gas industry, it is also active in the water, nuclear and civil engineering and industrial sectors. Commercial partner and head of the Bath office of Carter Jonas, Philip Marshall, said: ”Bath has never had a strong supply of industrial space. Increasingly we’re finding occupiers will look outside of the city to fulfil their business needs.”
PROFIT AND REVENUE ARE UP AT AUTOMOTIVE FIRM Automotive giant AB Dynamics have revealed profit and revenue are up after an eventful year.
an extension. The new annexe has added 30 per cent to production capacity.
The Bradford on Avon firm has reported a 37 per cent increase in revenue in its end-of-year results. Revenue was for the last financial year was £12.2 million - up from £8.9 million the year before.
Managing director Tim Rogers said the it had been a strong year for the group.
Operating profit at the company, which designs and makes testing and measurement products for international car manufacturers, was also up 22 per cent to £2.2 million. The results follow a year when the firm launched on the London Stock Exchange to raise £2.5 million to pay for www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
“We have been delighted with the levels of interest we have experienced from the market in our first months of trading and would like to thank our shareholders for their support. “With a promising pipeline of orders, the team now expanded to 51 employees and the infrastructure that we have in place, I look forward to the future with great confidence.” January 2014 AGENDA 7
It’s all change at the Bath branch of the FSB and small businesses in the city have a new champion.
here is a new face helping to support small businesses in the city. Self-employed business woman Angela MacAusland has been voted in as the new chair of the Bath branch of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). Mrs MacAusland, who is well known within Bath, not just for her personal assistance company, but also her involvement with the Save The Richmond Arms campaign in Fairfield Park, has replaced former Bath Chronicle editor David Gledhill in the top spot. He has stepped down to focus on other business and charity projects.
The mother-of-two, who had previously served as the Bath branch committee secretary, describes herself as a “born-and-bred true Bathonian” who knows through first-hand experience the issues and concerns facing small businesses in the Bath area.
8 AGENDA January 2014
“I am delighted to take up this role and look forward to taking over the reins from David, who I first met when I joined the committee two years ago.
“I have spent the last year as Bath branch secretary, mainly organising events and supporting the excellent work of David and vice chair Carole Bond. I do hope people will take the time to come and meet me at one of our events and look forward to engaging with the wider business community.” Mrs MacAusland has worked for some of Bath’s biggest names in business including Andrew Brownsword and Vickers Shipbuilding. Before launching AM PM PA Limited she also ran her own IT training company in the city. Mrs MacAusland will be supported by new vice chair Graham Harrison, who has replaced Carole Bond. ■
Business Breakfast Bathâ€™s business leaders are being invited to a New Year catch-up with Lloyds TSB.
Council meeting Bath and North East Somerset Council will be holding its first full council meeting of 2014 from 7.30pm in the council
The breakfast is being held at Lansdown Golf Club from 7.45am.
chamber at the Guildhall.
To book a space email email@example.com
To see what councillors will discuss during the meeting visit www.bathnes.gov.uk
Coworking for free
Bathâ€™s coworking hub The Guild at the Guidlhall is opening its doors for free. Anyone wanting to give coworking a go can use the work space for free for one day. Spaces are limited and must be booked in advance. For more information and to book a space visit www.theguildhub.co.uk
How to Sell Across Different Cultures
Business leaders and export managers who want to improve the performance of their team and their international partners are invited to a one-day workshop at the Bath innovation Centre on Broad Quay. The workshop, organised by Business West, will look at leadership in the context of international business and provide business leaders with the tools needed to engage in effective international dealings. Delegates will be required to complete the Belbin teamworking analysis prior to joining the course. This workshop is part of the Boosting Growth through International Sales programme. To book a space go to the website www.eventbrite.com/event/5585861462 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone wanting to get to grips with social media marketing can attend a masterclass being held by Business West at the Green Park Brasserie. Thisis aimed at business owners and managers who may be new to social media marketing or who have put a toe in the water but now want to broaden their knowledge and understanding of what is possible. To book email email@example.com or visit www.eventbrite.com/event/7799505531/?ref=ebapi
A special conference is being held at the University of Bath to identify the support available to manufacturers and how it can be accessed.
The manufacturing industry is proving vital to the UK economic recovery, employing over 123,000 people in the South West region alone. To book a space or to find out more information visit https://supportingmanufacturingbath.eventbrite.co.uk/ ?ref=ebapi or email firstname.lastname@example.org
January 2014 AGENDA 9
Cable’s energy boost He is the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Vince Cable has made himself a household name in the last three years by being one of the most outspoken members of the Coalition Government. Business reporter Liza-Jane Gillespie asked him how he hopes to support continued business growth.
he Business Secretary Vince Cable has been talking about how the Government intends to help small businesses in the city. His comments came during a visit by the Secretary of State to Marshfield, where he was keynote speaker at the Community Energy Conference - a one-day event where members of local community energy projects got together to share ideas and seek advice. Mr Cable told his audience that renewable energies such as wind and solar had a part to play in powering the nation, but added that the technologies needed investment and development. He said it was difficult to persuade the private sector to look at renewable technologies but research by the country’s academic community in the field risked never being developed. He said another concern was that many renewable energy projects had small or no British supply chain. “What I’m hoping is going to come out of the renewable energy revolution that is taking place, that we develop serious manufacturing on the back of it.” Speaking after the event Mr Cable said the country was slowly coming out one of the worst economic crises, and businesses in Bath had weathered a difficult period. “First of all a lot of companies have taken a battering - it 10 AGENDA January 2014
Vince Cable talking in Marshfield
has been a very severe crisis. Smaller companies in particular have been hit by the drying up of bank finance and we are working with the British Business Bank on new types of financing. “We are trying to get the larger companies in the country to observe a better code of conduct for late payment. “Historically we have recognised that some of the smallest companies need business rate relief and I am continuing to press for reform of the business rates system.” ■ www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
Eastern promise B
ath is to be at the centre of a new partnership with the Middle East, which will open up new opportunities for the city’s growing technology sector.
A UK Jordan Tech Hub has been launched to create links between the two countries, helping to drive economic growth through a technology and innovation partnership. Simon Bond, director of the Innovation Centre and chief executive of Silicon South West, attended the launch in Amman, hosted by King Abdullah of Jordan. A trade delegation also included representatives from Bristol, London, Glasgow and Northern Ireland. Mr Bond said the new initiative, which will start properly in March, was building on similar partnerships with Israel and the US. “Jordan has got 70 per cent of internet start-ups in the Arab League,” he said. “The next stage is to turn up the Jordan tech scene and create a corridor between the two countries. I was really privileged to represent the West of England with Bath and I am really looking forward to working in the partnership.” The multi-centre hub will be supported by both public and private sector bodies. The Bath and Bristol region has been chosen as one of the hub’s centres because of its strength and influence in film, animation, microelectronics and advanced engineering. It is also home to Silicon South West, which promotes the region’s electronics design cluster, particularly around start-ups, and is considered the largest cluster of silicon designers outside Silicon Valley. Mr Bond said Jordan was the Middle East version of the www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
Images of Middle Eastern countries in disarray frequently appear on news channels but the region is slowly becoming a force to be reckoned with when it comes to technology, and a new initiative could put Bath at the forefront of the burgeoning area. Silicon Valley and Bath’s thriving hotbed of start-ups, technology and internet firms would only benefit from the initiative. “What this will mean is international tech start-ups coming to Bath working with the Innovation Centre, building business in the UK from Bath. Bath start-ups, clients of the Innovation Centre, will also find themselves operating out of Jordan. The Middle East market, which is strong, is a good opportunity. I am particularly interested in hi-tech but also engineering firms from Bath going to Jordan. There is opportunity for them to develop water, gas and oil functions out there. It’s a market in transition. So there are some great opportunities for new business. “Jordan is a small country but as a hub it has access to some amazing markets in Libya and Iraq.” The UK Jordan Tech Hub will focus its activities in sectors where the UK and Jordan have complementary strengths, including digital, biomed, low carbon, ICT and finance. Its activities will include sector-specific business delegations between the UK and Jordan, conferences, workshops and raising awareness to business opportunities. ■ January 2014 AGENDA 11
It’s a long road ahead It is the one thing that traders, business leaders, council members and residents cannot agree on - how do you solve parking and traffic problems in Bath? Director of Business West, Bath, Ian Bell, explains why there is no simple answer.
ransport is a major concern for businesses of all sizes. It impacts on our customers, staff and suppliers. So problems with our transport infrastructure have a serious effect on the local economy and that’s why it is such good news that work is under way to produce a fresh approach to finding a solution. I know some people will groan when they hear consultants are preparing a new Strategic Transport Plan and say ‘We have got all the strategies we need, what we want is action’. I have some sympathy with that point of view, but on balance it is surely better to carefully work out all the elements that need to be taken into account and then to pull them together into a single document. The alternative would be to take a piecemeal approach, which might, for example, improve traffic flow across one junction but create trouble elsewhere. Many people have already had the opportunity to have their say. In fact the council arranged a major event which flushed out all the major issues. Now the consultants are talking to people again and I was pleased to have the chance to reiterate the position of the business community along with other members of the Initiative.
We need a radical approach to Bath’s traffic and parking problems
used more and more, reducing the number of cars trying to make their way into the centre, alleviating jams and cutting pollution.
There is no mystery to what we would like to see. Number one has to be a sizeable Park and Ride site to the east of Bath. I think it is generally accepted that this is a major lack at the moment and work is going on to identify a site. When that happens, I hope that there will be broad support and that it can come into play as soon as possible.
Of course many people will still want to drive their cars into Bath and they need somewhere to park. This aspect gives business people a real dilemma because we have long suggested that Avon Street Car Park would make a terrific development site for employment space. If that happened we would lose hundreds of car park spaces. In fact almost as many cars use Avon Street as park at Charlotte Street.
We would like to see still more expansion to the existing Park and Rides, a facility which continues to be
What is the solution? It could be more underground car park spaces in the city, such as we have at SouthGate, or
maybe an extra tier could be built at Charlotte Street. One thing is for sure. We can’t afford to develop Avon Street without planning for alternative parking. Further pedestrianisation would make walking in the centre a more pleasurable experience but how would the vehicles move around? What is to be done about heavy vehicles and how should we handle coaches? The questions go on and on. Let’s hope the Transport Strategy comes up with some answers which include a radical approach incorporating some creative, sustainable, long-term solutions. ■ January 2014 AGENDA 13
WHAT COULD YOUR BUSINESS DO WITH MORE HOURS IN THE DAY? Flexible business services to undertake those tasks that seem forever on your to-do list.
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GIVING YOUR BUSINESS MORE HOURS IN THE DAY
BID COLUMN Andrew Cooper with Inspector Steve Mildren and project officer Jodie Smith with the Purple Flag, which recognises Bath’s safe night-time economy
Award-winning service Engagement is the key to benefiting from the BID says Andrew Cooper, chief executive of the Bath BID Company.
s we enter a new year of the BID term, the progress we have made is worth reflecting upon.
In particular three initiatives are working seamlessly to help business in Bath - a centralised trade waste scheme for our city businesses; the BID Nightwatch scheme and acquisition of Purple Flag accreditation in recognition of the safe night-time economy, and the daily BID Ranger rapid response and deep cleaning service.
We now have more than 650 businesses paying the BID levy and while many are engaged and making the BID work hard for them, others have yet to take full advantage of the support and promotional work we are involved in. More voluntary levy payers joined in 2013 than ever before and not only does that suggest the value of being part of the BID is recognised, but it also helps fund more good work and www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
initiatives for the benefit of the city. Last month, we were thrilled to be recognised by the national BID body for our waste initiative. The British BIDs ‘Proud Project Awards’ are given in recognition of quality services and standards within the BID industry and the Bath BID was awarded the Innovation and Service Delivery Award. The award is doubly pleasing for us since we know many BIDs in other cities have tried to implement this model but not gained enough business collaboration to do so. The fact that Bath businesses were forward-thinking enough to embrace the concept is a credit to them all. However, there are more issues ahead. The seagull summit at the end of the year is only the beginning and hopefully some of the solutions discussed will be effective in tackling the problem, one many inner cities suffer from, and granted it is not an easy one to solve, but the dialogue
has begun and the BID will continue to be engaged with the process and update on progress as we move forward. Having just finished the Christmas promotional campaign, we are already in planning for the spring and summer and in particular for Bath in Fashion 2014. This is a BID managed initiative and a well-established event on the fashion calendar. It is anticipated to be bigger and better than previous years, amplifying ‘Fashionable Bath’ to both regional and national media. Last year’s event certainly increased footfall and kept the tills ringing at a quieter time and plans to develop the event should further increase this goal for 2014. We look forward to continuing our support of the business community during the year and hope to see many more businesses engaged and benefiting from our range of initiatives. ■ January 2014 AGENDA 15
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In an age where everyone seems obsessed with Twitter, it could be considered risky to dismiss social media but that doesnâ€™t seem to bother Robert Craven. Liza-Jane Gillespie talks with the guru about the importance of having a conversation. 18 AGENDA AGENDA January January 2014 2014 18
PROFILE Robert Craven favours the direct approach
n his own words Robert Craven ‘fell’ into helping businesses about 30 years ago – but when the likes of Richard Branson hang on his every word, business owners would be foolish not to sit up and listen.
Abandoning a future in accountancy, Mr Craven spent his early 20s running a cafe, restaurant and eventually a recording studio. It was only when he got bored with all of those that he started helping other business owners – by this time he was just 26. Accepting that he was probably out his depth, Mr Craven attended the Warwick School of Business; after getting a degree, pupil became teacher and he started working with wannabe entrepreneurs.
However, in 2000 his career changed direction when he was approached by Virgin to write a series of business guides and it was the success of these books, which included the best-sellers Customer is King and Kick Start Your Business, that led to his public speaking. He is now managing director of the Directors’ Centre in Bath. A recession, the rise of the internet, the growth of social media and the collapse of several high profile corporate giants has led to a rush of so-called experts. Business breakfasts and networking events are now full of speakers claiming to be Twitter experts, LinkedIn experts, online experts, marketing experts. Book shops have entire sections dedicated to how to make a profit, how to grow your business, how to beat the recession, but Mr Craven remains resolute in his conviction that there is no such thing as a quick fix. “I think that the business support industry has changed. Entrepreneurship, self-employment have become sexy and more and more people are in the market place as special advisers. “What has changed is the speed of everything around us. www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
It is like one of music videos when you are walking down a street and everything’s rushing by. There’s a kind of myopic attitude about being in business, in the same way everyone things they are an above average driver, everyone thinks they can be a multi-millionaire but the statistics are against them. “There’s a lot of snake oil salesmen out there, a lot of get rich quick, silver bullet ideas, but we all know, deep down, that quick fix is a nonsense. It’s like dieting, the majority know the only way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more. In business 99 out of 100 people will have to do the hard work and long hours.” According to Mr Craven, business owners usually face three problems; they don’t know where their business is going, they don’t know how to sell their product and they struggle to engage. He also argues that many businesses have stopped focusing on their product and have become too distracted by social media. “We need to get away from our smartphones and go back to old school conversations – we’ve got really lazy. We have a database of 20,000 people and think we can just send them an email but it doesn’t register. What does register is going for a coffee, having lunch – eyeballing people.” He added: “The idea that content is king is social media gobbledegook talk because it’s actually about engagement, it’s about me having something interesting to say and you finding it interesting. It’s about engaging. People confuse social media with selling but it’s not selling, it’s general awareness building. “The way people buy has fundamentally changed. We now get ten times more information about a possible purchase but we buy much more quickly. Your digital footprint is really important – it’s going back to word of mouth.” ■ January 2014 AGENDA 19
Two High Street casualties of recent years - Woolworths and Blockbuster
The shifting landscape Robert Craven explains why too many businesses suffer from five-year-old-itis.
hey keep on running an outdated business model based on five-year-old assumptions about who their customers are, what they want and what they are prepared to pay for what.
“Everyone checks us out on the web and social media before they even think of actually talking to us...”
Many have recently suffered the ultimate indignity from keeping their heads planted in the sand: PC World, Blockbuster, Woolworths, Millets.
“People have always talked... But now they can reach so many people.”
But even if your name is not on the casualty list, then the world looks pretty tough. Here is the transcript of two identical conversations I’ve had , one with a global brand name giant, and then with a Bath-based small business: “We were known to be the best... we were unique...But now the competition has caught up with us.” “The competition is starting to overtake us.” “Retail is no longer where the battle is fought....” 20 AGENDA January 2014
“The power of the independent intermediary, opinion gatherer or testimonial rules the roost.”
“You can now buy an almost identical product but at a fraction of our price.” It is getting tougher out there for most businesses. Customers are smarter and better informed and less loyal than they had been. They no longer need to, and in fact they don’t, believe you. So, what is to be done? Join the queue heading for oblivion by competing on price? As Michael Porter says: “Competing on price is a mug’s game unless you can afford to go cheaper than the competition.”
What the outside world is telling us is: 1) Don’t believe your five-year-old model. 2) Recognise that the internet is not just a phase that only applies to youth brands. 3) Brands that deliver on quality can still do very nicely. Sticking to the old model is what has driven so many businesses into the ground. When 54 per cent of people have more online interaction than offline interaction, then it is time to wake up and smell the coffee. The new landscape of business battles will take place on two fronts. One, your digital footprint is more important than ever: people will evaluate you based on your offering, how you look and how you appear to behave online. Two, your ability to exceed customer expectations in the service that you deliver will become increasingly more important. ■ www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
NEWS Michail Sotirakos and Simon Wilsher
Sometimes business needs more than a good idea or enthusiasm – it needs experience and knowledge.
Unlocking future potential
ucked away at Waterhouse in Monkton Combe, a group of business leaders is helping the next generation to nurture the next big idea.
Executive Simon Wilsher, who has worked with Visa, Marks and Spencer and Virgin, is collaborating with human resource expert Philip Morris, entrepreneur Michail Sotirakos and recruitment guru Simon Middleton. The experts have teamed up to run residential courses, called Watershed, for under-30s who are keen to launch a new business but do not know how to go about it. Up until as recently as 2011, Britain was lagging behind other countries when it came to young entrepreneurs. Just three years ago the under-30s were responsible for one of the lowest levels of business formation in any age group. This is now changing and recent data from Aston Business School shows that new business formation amongst 16- to 29-year-olds has leapt forward to 9.5 per cent compared to 4.9 per cent in 2010. Mr Middleton said: “What young people offer in enthusiasm and innovative thinking can often be www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
undermined by their lack of commercial gravitas, never mind funding.” The aim of Watershed is to work with 80 young people every year. The team will research a budding entrepreneur’s life experience and based on this evaluation process, they will invite the most promising candidates to attend a 12-day residential course. At the end of the residential programme entrepreneurs will be given the opportunity to showcase their business idea to interested investors, and according to Mr Middleton, Watershed will help to integrate their entrepreneurs into a support community after the course has finished. “We are looking for young people who have a dream or a very clear idea of a business opportunity that they have either started or would like to start. Typically, this person can demonstrate a capacity to get cracking to create their product or idea. They are likely to be aged in their 20s, but we are flexible on this.” The new courses are open to established businesses and new ideas. For more information visit www.watershedentrepreneurs.co.uk ■ January 2014 AGENDA 21
Don’t allow cyber-squatters to exploit the brand you’ve worked hard to create
Dodge the cyber-squatters
usinesses fear that a raft of new web addresses will make it easier for cyber-squatters to exploit their valuable brands.
More than 1,000 new suffixes, known as generic top-level domain names (gTLDs), are expected to be introduced this year. It is hoped that a new database mandated by net address regulator ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), known as the Trademark Clearinghouse (TCH), will help address concerns about cyber-squatting and trademark infringement. There are two main benefits of registering your trademark with the TCH. Firstly, you can pre-register your mark during each 30-day sunrise period for each new gTLD. Once this 30-day period is over, however, names will be offered to the general public. Secondly, you will be notified when someone attempts to register one of these domain names using your trademark for a limited period of time. It is not yet known precisely what all of these new gTLDs will be, but 22 AGENDA January 2014
Businesses owners should take action to protect their brand names from cybersquatters, says Stone King IT law expert Brian Miller. extensions such as .charity and .london (already announced) are expected, for example. But note that it takes four to six weeks to verify your mark so it would be prudent to register as soon as possible, should you be interested in doing so. But is it worthwhile? The service allows you to pre-register for any domain, of which there will be many ICANN intends to release new gTLDs in batches of 20 per week – during the sunrise period. So each month you could register your trademark as a domain name in, say, another 20 top level domains. But this would not prevent anyone else from registering confusingly similar domains to yours, or even using your exact trademark, but combined with a generic term, in the same domain name (e.g. WORLDWIDEFUNDBOOKS.charity). A brand owner registered with the TCH will get a notification that a third party is trying to register a trademark
that does not belong to him. That may sound all well and good, but note that the notification is only triggered for exact matches. So, for example, the owner of the mark ‘NSPCC’ will not be notified if someone registers ‘NSPCD.charity’. There is also a time limit. A notification relating to misuse by a third party will only be sent during the 90-day period from the opening of the registration process to the general public. It would therefore seem more worthwhile for a brand owner to invest instead in a private watch service, which will monitor similar, as well as exact matches, and is not time limited. In conclusion, ensure that you register trademarks for each of your brand names which are important to you whether or not also used as a domain name - so that you may take the requisite action if a cyber-squatter seeks to register a new domain name using all or a similar part of your brand name. ■ www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
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Robert Curran, chief marketing officer, Richard Donkin, chief technology officer, and Sebastian Toke-Nichols, chief executive
On cloud nine W
ith the rise of the Cloud, these virtual storage systems are slowly becoming a quagmire of documents that plague offices across the city. However, a fledging IT company based in the Tramshed is hoping its new software Cloudfind will save the day. The business, launched by Sebastian Toke-Nichols, is using the simple idea of tagging documents and files with catchwords to make the search process more straightforward.
Photographs, pdfs, presentations, spreadsheets, Word documents. Most hard drives are chockablock with endless files but a firm in Bath is helping to organise the digital workload. inadequate. It’s like looking for a needle in a field of haystacks.”
The process ignores the complicated algorithms usually adopted by search software, which can produce endless pages of results.
Cloudfind launched in 2011 from the Innovation Centre with just two members of staff. In just two years, following £250,000 of funding from angel investors, the company now employs 15 people.
Mr Toke-Nichols said it was during his time working for other IT and internet specialists Amdocs and Combionic that he decided the issue of storage needed to be addressed.
Last month Cloudfind headed for San Francisco to take part in Dreamforce – the world’s largest technology vendor-led event in search of feedback and further investment to help take the product global.
“It pricked my interest – why was it so difficult to manage and share information. Although computers have come a long way in the last 30 years we still insist on storing information by files and folders.”
It also announced in December that it had secured £460,000 of investment. Mr Toke-Nichols said the company planned to hire an additional 20 staff next year.
He added: “Conventional methods for searching and organising information are becoming increasingly www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
“This additional funding demonstrates the huge interest and potential in this area, and a vote of confidence in Cloudfind from experienced technology investors.” ■ January 2014 AGENDA 25
Before the Coalition he was an unknown MP but Pensions Minister Steve Webb has become the face and voice of one of the biggest pension shake-ups in a generation. Business reporter Liza-Jane Gillespie talks exclusively to the Lib Dem.
Leading the revolution
In 2010 a shock statistic was brandished about, claiming half of workers were failing to save enough to see them through retirement.
change things.” Auto-enrolment was launched in autumn 2012. The largest firms went first, enrolling workers who had not already joined company pension schemes. There are very few stipulations - workers must be aged 22 years or over and earning over £9,440 a year. Once enrolled, they can opt out, but nine out of ten have so far stayed in.
Pensions Minister Steve Webb, MP for Thornbury and Yate in neighbouring South Gloucestershire, said the problem was getting to the point where Government had to step in, but he admits persuading the country’s workforce to part with their hard-earned cash and convincing the business community to take on more paperwork is not easy.
“It has gone better than expected,” continued Mr Webb. “One of the biggest challenges with the big firms was they already have pension schemes so we have been dealing with a workforce that is low paid but has already opted out - that wasn’t an easy sell. “It’s being done very gradually with minimal contributions starting at one per cent .”
“We started from the point that one worker in three had a pension and that percentage had been falling year on year. If we didn’t do something, large numbers of people who retired would not have a nest egg - all they would have is a national pension.
Contributions will increase to five per cent, including at least two per cent from the employer, by October 2017. And in the spring, companies of between 50 and 249 workers will need to start providing a pension scheme and will have just a year to do so.
“We decided to reverse the burden of action and the company now has a duty to chose a pension scheme, to put workers in it, put some money in it, get some tax relief - we knew this would dramatically
“By starting with the big firms we have been able to iron out some of the wrinkles. We’ve delayed the start for small firms post-2015 to give them more time to prepare,” said Mr Webb. ■
here was once a time when a worker would retire and expect to spend the next ten years playing bowls or gardening, but as people’s standards of living have gone up, so have their expectations for life after work.
26 AGENDA January 2014
Facing the media: Kerry Michael and his sister Michelle, owners of the Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare, after the pavilion was destroyed by fire in 2008
Preparing for a crisis Can I plan to avert a crisis? It is unlikely, but with a crisis communications plan in place, you can certainly minimise the fallout says Linda Donaldson, director of Geometry PR.
o one likes to think about having to manage a crisis, but whether you are running a small or large business, a charity, a school or an association, you should always have a crisis management plan in place.
A plan will help you and your team maintain the operational function of your organisation, as well as manage the crisis in a sensible, focused and structured manner. And while no plan can anticipate every crisis, common features exist in the processes and procedures to follow. Before writing a plan, consider the type of incidents that your business might be exposed to and the probability of them occurring. For example, how would you communicate a product recall, an employee misdemeanour, an accident on your premises, a significant business change, such as redundancies or office relocation, to www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
your stakeholders? Unlike most communication plans, the objective in a crisis is mainly to broadcast a clear, strategic message, rather than start a dialogue. A communications procedure should identify one lead spokesperson and a deputy who can step in should the main person be unavailable. Spokespeople should be knowledgeable about the business and are usually fairly senior in the organisation, as well as confident talking to the media. Invest in some training if you don’t have someone that fits the bill. Draw up a list of key stakeholders who you would want to talk to, preferably before the media. These could be your employees, clients, fellow board members, trustees, donors, suppliers, industry bodies. Consider the messages and reassurances those people will want to hear from you. While it is not
always possible to write press statements in advance of a crisis, you can prepare some background about the company, its history and values so that you can quickly turn around media requests for information. Create a concise media handling procedure that shows in the event of a crisis the internal communications process that results. It should contain information about who is contacted first, second and so on; what can be said by whom and when, as well as contain the press and social media protocol. Test, finalise and circulate the plan – brief the whole team and emphasise the dos and don’ts. Finally, in the event of a crisis, take every opportunity to communicate to your stakeholders, both directly and indirectly, avoid a “no comment” scenario and don’t be afraid to speak to the press. By preparing ahead you will find you can control and carefully manage the situation. ■ January 2014 AGENDA 27
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“The Way your Divorce could Save your Business” Rob was a successful entrepreneur who had built up a business in Bath during the marriage. He came to see me as his marriage of 10 years to Sarah had come to an end. I learnt that Sarah knew little about the business and was concerned that she would lose out. Rob felt that the business was “his” rather than an asset to be shared.
A nasty divorce can mean trouble for business The impact of a marriage breakdown and divorce does ripple out well beyond the family home. A business caught in the cross ﬁre of a divorce will suffer. Inattention from a stressed-out, depressed or preoccupied owner can lose customers and business opportunities. Divorce costs can escalate as competing lawyers and forensic accountants pick over the assets of the business. A business interest is an asset to be divided between both spouses. It can often be the most valuable asset in the marriage and the biggest bone of contention in a divorce. Valuing it is complex, costly and time-consuming. How and who values it can be a major ﬂash-point of conﬂict. Aside from its ﬁnancial value, the emotional attachments can inﬂame the one who created it as he or she faces the prospect of sharing it with the other who has had no involvement in it.
The process you choose for your divorce can determine its outcome
What Sarah really wanted was the security of keeping the family home, not an interest in the business. Rob wanted to keep control of his business in Bath and the future beneﬁts it might bring. They both wanted to avoid the acrimony and trauma of a traditional adversarial divorce court process. They feared that might destroy the business and the wealth they were trying to divide. Rob and Sarah selected us and another Bath Collaborative family lawyer to work with them and together we committed to resolve matters between us without involving the court.
We are committed to resolve the matter...without involving the court. A collaboratively trained ﬁnancial advisor was introduced to look from a neutral perspective at the assets of the marriage including the business and the family home, and help Rob and Sarah understand the division options open to them. A family consultant worked with them to address their emotions towards each other, develop communication and
a level of trust between them. Through a series of meetings attended by Rob and I, Sarah and her lawyer, we found a solution from the options available that met their interests and needs without either feeling disadvantaged.
The collaborative divorce process proved to • Preserve the wealth held by Rob & Sarah and not destroy it. • Ensure the right professional dealt with the right problem for Rob & Sarah. • Encourage Rob & Sarah to think creatively and craft solutions that worked for them and their family. • Enable them to decide and keep control of what happened & how fast it happened. Every divorcing couple is different, and a collaborative divorce process is not for everyone. But Rob & Sarah found that a collaborative divorce can enable solutions to be found and destruction to be limited to those things that were important to them and their family.
For a free copy of “A Client’s Guide to Collaborative Divorce” contact Richard Sharp at email@example.com
Sharp Family Law: Producing Resolution not Prolonging Conﬂict 5, Gay Street, BATH, BA1 2PH, UK email: firstname.lastname@example.org m: 07798 606740 t: 01225 448955 website: www.sharpfamilylaw.com
Tributes to Angela Ladd
ath has paid tribute to a woman described as the driving force behind the city’s small business community. Angela Ladd, 65, died in Dorothy House Hospice last month following a long battle with cancer. The mother-of-two was well known within Bath as the champion of small businesses, having served as chairman of both the Federation of Small Businesses and Small Business Focus. In 2010 Mrs Ladd led an en masse resignation of the committee leading Bath’s Federation of Small Businesses and set up the independent breakaway group Small Business Focus. Speaking to The Bath Chronicle, her daughter Samantha, 28, said her mother, who ran her own German translation business for more than 20 years from Writhlington, had got busier the older she got. “Supporting other businesses was her hobby. She was a very giving person and gave a lot of time to local businesses,” she said. “Our mum was very well known in Bath. She was one of those people who couldn’t go out shopping without bumping into someone she knew.” She added: “She was a very loving and caring mum. She was very good at offering guidance and support professional or personal. She was one of my best friends in addition to being my mum.” Mrs Ladd was first diagnosed with cancer two-and-a-half years ago but become ill again earlier this year. Miss Ladd and her brother Ben, 30, thanked the medical staff who had cared for her. “She had fantastic care at the RUH - we were really impressed with the palliative care. The hospice were also fantastic. Neither of us knew about the place but mum did as she had raised money for it in the past.” Secretary of Bath’s Small Business Focus, businessman Alex Schlesinger, had known Mrs Ladd for seven years and visited her at Dorothy House before she died. Mr Schlesinger said that despite becoming ill, Mrs Ladd had remained committed to Bath businesses and had chaired the annual general meeting of Bath’s Small Business Focus just two weeks before she died. “She just did so much around the city - representing people and encouraging business. “She was a tremendous person to know. She was great fun and had a great sense of humour.” Bath MP Don Foster, said he was saddened by the news. “She was a driving force in the support for small 30 AGENDA January 2014
Angela Ladd was well known as a champion of small businesses in Bath
businesses in our area and will be sadly missed.” And the director of Business West Bath, Ian Bell, and his wife Sandy, said Mrs Ladd had left a legacy. “It is really hard to come to terms with the fact we have lost Angela. She was always a significant presence in the discussions about the economic life of Bath and a determined spokesman for small businesses,” he said. “We are the poorer for her passing but her legacy will live on - that we should do all we can to help foster an entrepreneurial spirit in Bath and support independent businesses in whatever sector they are engaged.” Mrs Ladd’s husband Chris died five years ago. The family requested donations were made to Dorothy House in memory of Mrs Ladd. ■ www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
ocal business people and community groups have attended a new initiative with A-level students. The new networking forum has been launched by The New Sixth in Odd Down and was organised by the school’s Business Team.
Executive marketing manager for St Mark’s, St Gregory’s and The New Sixth, Paula Hawkins, said the purpose of the event was to add more to students’ school life.
Jeff Gardner from Morrisons
“The idea behind our Business Breakfasts is for students and business people to engage in a series of events together that can hopefully add value to their education and working lives. Local businesses and groups expressed a real desire to share experiences and expertise and work together for the benefit of our students and the community. “We want to support our local businesses and also offer a service to them. The Business Breakfast was an opportunity for members of the Bath business community to come along, share ideas, talk with like-minded people and raise the profile of their business or organisation.” The guest speaker for the first event was Jeff Gardner, general store manager at Morrisons, Bath.
Executive headteacher Raymond Friel added: “It is vital for our students, especially our sixth-formers, to develop a very good understanding of the business environment and the skills and qualities needed to succeed.” The next event will be held at The New Sixth on Friday, February 7. The guest speaker will be Sam Holliday, from the Federation of Small Businesses. For further information, or to book a place telephone Paula Hawkins or Emily Oliver on 01225 326605 by. Places are free, but limited. ■
Suzanne Wiltshire and Hannah Lippiatt www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
Sarah Lavender from Bath Building Society
Tristan Carter and Philip Addis
January 2014 AGENDA 31
PROPERTY MANAGEMENT DOWN TO A
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32 AGENDA January 2014
Do you judge someone within 10 seconds of meeting them?
First impressions count Does your team accurately reflect your brand and is it important? If you want to build credibility and trust then it is crucial, says Stuart Doughty, director of Centurion Wealth Management.
his month is a time when we traditionally hit the sales on the high street, searching for bargains and replenishing our wardrobes. But do we compromise our brand values for the sake of a bargain. Well does that really matter? Who is really looking that closely at you anyway? Well in my experience, in business, like it or not, people will have a tendency to make a judgement about you based on your appearance. A survey in support Walking Tall (Lesley Everett), found 80 per cent of business professionals form impressions on how well a colleague may perform his or her job by their clothing and personal grooming, making judgements within ten seconds of meeting. This is supported by a survey of CEOs and Personnel Directors of Fortune www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
1000 Companies, where good communication skills and personal presentation were rated higher than an MBA qualification. It is important in all sectors, particularly those who are service-driven to have a confidence and executive presence. In essence, your people are your brand. In my opinion, every business should have their own Personal Image action plans that reflect their brand values. Start with yourself, then build your core brand values, subsequently determining your brand packaging and creating a marketing strategy to support and deliver. In the same way that it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it that captures an audience, how your team are dressed reflects your company and its brand. While we spend hours agonising over
proposals, presentations, our company websites and marketing collateral to ensure that everything we communicate is consistently ‘on brand’, we often spend less effort and forget to translate these values into the way that our members of staff verbally and non- verbally communicate. Like good qualifications and experience, personal branding provides individuals with the tools to be the best they can be, while underpinning the corporate values of the company that employs them. This does not mean that we want our employees to be mini-clones but we do want to be assured that whenever our clients or contacts meet a new Centurion Wealth Management team member, they always get a consistent and good first impression of our business. ■ January 2014 AGENDA 33
Global marketplace Investment director Richard Sharman, from Investec Wealth and Investment Limited, takes a look at how the world’s markets are holding up as we begin another year.
he last few months have been a profitable period for equity investors, with early summer concerns about the tapering of Quantitative Easing in the US giving way to renewed optimism. Euro Zone The German election was the main event of the last quarter and the outcome was reassuringly unsurprising. After a period of introspection, the European Central Bank surprised everyone with a 25 basis point cut in interest rates to ¼ per cent at its November meeting. This was in response to weak inflation numbers, which raised fears of a deflationary shift. The crisis is not fully resolved and further debt restructuring appears inevitable for both Greece and Cyprus; Portugal’s position remains precarious. However, the ECB’s Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) weapon stands ready, and more importantly, perhaps, real economic data continues to show signs of recovery, however sluggish. It is notable that the current accounts of the peripheral countries are swinging into surplus, although this is as much a function of collapsing local demand as export growth. Still, productivity improvements (driven by
internal devaluation as opposed to the unavailable soft option of external devaluation via the exchange rate) bode well for the future.
to a marked cooling of activity, and indicators such as property prices, electricity consumption and rail traffic are all pointing up again.
What we really need to see is more demand from the surplus nations, notably Germany. The introduction of the minimum wage might help there, as might the need for more infrastructure spending. The revelation of weak infrastructure investment was a feature of the election campaign.
The outcome of the third plenum was interpreted positively, with the headline-grabbing relaxation of the one-child policy a feature.
Emerging Markets Emerging economies continue to grow, although like teenagers, they are prone to growing pains. In China, particularly, the transition from investment-led to consumption-led expansion is proving troublesome, but still delivered real growth of 7.8 per cent in Q3. That creates similar volume growth to 10 per cent three years ago. Consumption has been contributing more to growth than investment, so the rebalancing is well under way. The new Chinese leadership, which has the luxury of a ten-year runway ahead of it, has already shown a commitment to quality and probity, and it continues to make its presence felt in financial markets. Having tightened the reins early in the summer, they eased off in response
There were other supply-side reforms involving local administration and land rights, and also moves to improve the long-term returns within State-Owned Enterprises. UK The UK economy has shown encouraging signs over the summer and autumn. Activity indicators such as the Purchasing Managers’ series point to recovery, and, according to estate agents, average house prices are now beginning to rise outside London. The Help to Buy scheme has been instrumental in this recovery, and housebuilders have rushed to buy plots in anticipation of further progress. Sterling’s 20 per cent post-crisis devaluation has not boosted exports, hardly surprising given the situation in Europe, our main trading partner. But we have to wonder about the sustainability of yet another housing-led recovery. Napoleon Bonaparte once derided Britain as a ‘nation of shopkeepers’ - make that estate agents. The UK is now home to 562,000 estate agents, and one has to ask how much value is being added by clipping a couple of per cent off every housing transaction. Still we have to take growth where we can get it, and with Mr Carney committed to keeping rates low, even if markets are unsure of the outcome, there is no reason to expect this aspect of recovery to peter out soon. Dealing with the still huge debt pile remains a challenge.
34 AGENDA January 2014
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On board for change Councillor Ben Stevens, cabinet member for sustainable communities from Bath and North East Somerset Council, explains the importance of Park and Ride.
he expansion of our third Park and Ride site now appears to be a step closer, with planning permission to increase the Newbridge facility from 450 to 698 spaces granted in November. This is excellent news. Work is due to start to take place in early spring 2014. Once complete, the project will represent the third expansion of Park and Ride sites in the area, taking the total number of spaces from 1,990 to 2,860. The service has improved by leap and bounds over the past 12 months. In addition to capacity increases, the contract in place with First Bus contains a range of improvements to the overall service. For example, services from Lansdown around the busiest times of day now depart every 12 minutes, and all sites operate on a Sunday until 6pm. The diesel/electric hybrid engines 36 AGENDA January 2014
buses also reflect our aspiration for a lower carbon society. Why does the council see this as important to creating the conditions for economic growth in the city? In short, we need a transport system that will provide the staff, clients and customers of local businesses with the means to travel quickly and conveniently into the city centre. Existing companies and potential investors do not want to see a city they are keen on investing in grinding to halt because of a lack of Park and Ride capacity. We want people to use sustainable modes of transport as a first option, not a last resort. Taking the current situation in Newbridge as an example; space at Newbridge is extremely limited and people arriving there close to midday are finding few spaces. This means those cars travelling into a congested Bath city centre are all
trying to find a parking space, adding to the traffic. Where expansion has already taken place at Lansdown and Odd Down, results are encouraging, with usage up and positive feedback from customers. This will be combined with Variable Messaging Signs on the A4 and A39 giving clear information about the availability of Park and Ride and car park spaces so drivers can make informed choices. Our next task is to consult upon the forthcoming Transport Strategy that will support the infrastructure needed for the new workspace, new jobs and new homes we are planning over the next 15 years and will consider further options for Park and Ride capacity increases. Not convinced this is needed? On the first Friday of the Bath Christmas Market all of our Park and Ride sites and car parks were full. â– www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
Making the best even better Mike McElhinney, partner at Carter Jonas, discusses how Bath can continue to raise the bar.
ith the frenetic shopping activity of the festive period behind them, the Bath retail community is now well set for the challenges and opportunities that 2014, the Chinese Year of the Horse, will bring.
The spirit of the horse in Chinese people’s ethos is recognised as ‘one making unremitting efforts to improve, liking entertainment and large crowds’ – very appropriate for the Bath retail centre for 2014. Although in excellent shape for the year ahead, the city must strive to get even better – the public realm in Milsom Street, New Bond Street, Broad Street and Stall Street needs to improve, perhaps with daytime pedestrianisation to create a more attractive shopping and dining environment Ramblas-style, Barcelona’s tree-lined shopping street that stretches for nearly three-quarters of a mile. The Kingsmead Square ‘al fresco’ dining proposals should be extended to those streets also – particularly Milsom Street, which without traffic, would take on a completely different daytime character – as the area did for the day of the Christmas lights switch-on. With so many longer term visitors from the UK and far afield now staying in Bath, a more cosmopolitan, Continental, but uniform approach to opening hours for city centre shops should be adopted – extending trading hours to the early evening all week, which may even reduce the ‘rush hour’ congestion that occurs on the roads daily from 5pm to 6.30pm. Looking into 2014, the current ‘stable’ of retailers and caterers in the city centre will be joined by Anthropologie and Seasalt in New Bond Street and Keihl’s in Milsom Street, exciting new additions to Bath’s retail attractiveness. www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
Mike McElhinney suggests daytime pedestrianisation of Milsom Street to create a more attractive shopping and dining environment, Ramblas-style
Primark also look set to arrive, attracting new shoppers to the city, as will Next who will be back in a big new store in SouthGate by the spring.
a presence in the retail centre, which as a shopping destination is increasingly being seen as the real ‘thoroughbred’ in its class UK-wide.
A positive start to 2014 and there are a large number of well-known high quality retail brands keen to establish
An enviable reputation but one that can only be maintained with constant improvement at every level. ■ January 2014 AGENDA 37
Appointments NEW FACE AT WITHY KING
A solicitor with a special interest in elderly people and incapacity issues has joined Bath law firm Withy King.
Simon Gibbs has joined the executive team at Curo as executive director, finance and resource.
Edward Vidnes, right, has joined the firm’s expanding private client practice as a senior associate from rival company, Burningham and Brown, where he worked for more than ten years. Mr Vidnes specialises in wills, estate planning and lasting powers of attorney, as well as elderly and incapacity issues, such as deputyships and personal injury trusts. “One of the things I enjoy most about working in law is being able to help people through what are often difficult periods in their lives,” he said.
Mr Gibbs brings with him a wealth of commercial experience, most recently as international managing director at T3 Media Inc. He has previously held director positions at BBC Worldwide and Gieves Group. He is a chartered accountant and earlier in his career spent five years working as an investment banker. He said: “I’m delighted to be joining Curo at such an exciting time for the organisation and for the housing sector as a whole.”
RUSS JOINS THE POUND A new director has been appointed at The Pound.
“I enjoy getting to know my clients, demystifying the law and its processes, and providing practical, helpful advice and support when they need it most.”
Russ Tunney, right, who has experience as a writer and director at Chester Gateway Theatre, the Theatre Royal Bath and Salisbury Playhouse, has taken up the position at the Corsham-based theatre.
EXPANSION AT EPOCH
Chair of trustees for The Pound Arts Trust, David Jones, said: “His skills and experience will guide us to greater success in providing Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire with a programme of cultural events that inspire and engage communities.”
Epoch Wealth Management's expansion continues. The Bath-based firm has appointed financial adviser Andrew Scourfield, right, to its growing team. Mr Scourfield joins Epoch from All Things Financial and has experience as a financial planner advising both individuals and small and medium-sized businesses. Prior to this he was a senior financial consultant with Nationwide Building Society. Partner at Epoch Wealth Management, Dr Markas Gilmartin, said: “Andrew has many years’ experience providing sound investment advice to both individuals and businesses, often finding an overlap between the two. “He joins us at an exciting time for Epoch as we expand the team to support our growing private and commercial client base which includes many charities.”
of people have celebrated a friend or family member’s birthday in a pub
38 38 AGENDA AGENDA January January 2014 2014
NEWLY CREATED ROLE Chase de Vere has appointed Darren Pearce into the newly created role of head of high net worth relationships. Mr Pearce has been an independent financial adviser at Chase de Vere for 11 years and works regularly alongside some of the pre-eminent firms of tax professionals and lawyers. Chief executive Stephen Kavanagh, said: “We share many clients with other leading professional services firms and work alongside these firms for the benefit of those mutual clients. We believe that by co-ordinating these activities on a national basis we can provide a better service to our professional partners and to our clients. “Darren is the ideal candidate to lead these initiatives.”
of people have met their current partner in a pub Source: CAMRA
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 !
BATH LIFE CHRISTMAS DRINKS AT THE ROYAL CRESCENT Sam, Hannah, Rosanna and Emma joined Bath businesses for a wonderful drinks evening at the beautifully refurbished Royal Crescent Hotel. Mingling with many familiar faces, all at Juice had a wonderful evening!
JUICE CHELTENHAM Juice Cheltenham hosted a great evening for all our wonderful clients in December to thank them for all their support in 2013! It was a great night and we would like to say thank you to everyone who joined us!
A GREAT EVENING AT ONLY CONNECT! Team Bristol had a glamourous evening at Only Connect in Bristol. Held at the Living Room, Juice Bristol mingled with many local businesses over glasses of Prosecco and Krispy Kreme doughnuts!
GROWTH IN JOB VACANCIES HITS 15 YEAR HIGH
THE UK’S BEST & WORST JOBS OF 2013 All at Juice were interested to see the results of a study conducted at the end of 2013 which analysed over 2,000 job titles. The Worst Jobs of 2013 were Miners and Couriers with high-pressure deadlines and the lowest income growth potential. Taking the crown of best jobs in the market are Translators, Web Developers and Surgeons boasting the highest levels of job security and highest average salaries. Pilots & Oil Riggers have the most stressful jobs in the UK with Journalists ranked as the 4th most stressful career choice – a fascinating survey!
The growth in job vacancies hit the fastest rate in 15 years in November, according to the latest survey from the Jobs Outlook Report. Its job vacancies index, which uses data from 400 recruitment firms, rose to the highest level since July 1998. The strongest demand was for engineers, followed by nursing staff and other medical and care workers. The report also showed that growth in salaries for permanent staff was the highest in six years.
12 Miles’s Buildings, George Street, Bath BA1 2QS
Bath 01225 447870 Bristol 0117 920 9393 Cheltenham 01242 210410 www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
Swindon 01793 238323 January 2014 AGENDA 39
They are as synonymous with Bath as the Romans and abbey but a one-day conference hopes to rid the city of gulls. Laura Tremelling reports.
Gull problem ‘can be solved’
esidents, business owners and councillors got together for a day-long summit to discuss ideas for tackling Bath’s urban gull problem. There is mounting concern about the gulls, and many people have said more should be done to prevent the build-up of waste and amount strewn across roads in the city. The Gull Summit was held at the Guildhall in November, and arose from a suggestion from city historian Kirsten Elliott. The event saw presentations from Bath and North East Somerset Council officers on what steps had been taken so far to address the problem, as well as from other authorities talking about their experiences.
bird-free gel. However, not every building belongs to the council, so we need every property owner to get involved.” Shadow cabinet member for neighbourhoods councillor Geoff Ward (Cons, Bathavon North) spoke to highlight the rubbish situation. He said: “This is not a new thing, it is the same old problem. I believe that the amount of rubbish on the streets is a public health problem and that it encourages other wildlife. “As well as attracting gulls, it is a danger to people walking along the streets who trip over it.”
Cabinet member for neighbourhoods councillor David Dixon (Lib Dem, Oldfield) said: “We do need everyone to play their part. We will work with businesses to look at more solutions around trade waste and to encourage them to present their waste correctly and we welcome the Business Improvement District's high level of involvement with this.
He said: “This is a larger issue than just one place, we need cooperation with other authorities. But this is not a problem that we can’t solve.
“We are continuing to work with local residents to make the use of the gull-proof bags a habit, rather than something that they have to do as an extra. We have recently reviewed the imperative need to step up egg replacement and we have seen successes in our trial of
“Of late we have seen a rise in gulls in Bath; this is because we provide them with this lovely environment, with no predators, hardly any disturbances and a nice warm city. This enables them to start their breeding season early.” ■
During the event ornithologist Peter Rock spoke about his work tagging gulls. He said that currently there were around 1,100 gulls in the city, set to reach ,700 by 2020.
MEASURES ALREADY TAKEN BY B&NES COUNCIL Better communication: The website has been improved with guidelines on what to do, as well as posters telling people not to feed the animals. Bird-free gel: A gel that fools gulls into thinking buildings are on fire was used on buildings in the city centre. 40 AGENDA January 2014
Better waste enforcement: Advice on how to put rubbish out, with penalty notices for those who do not comply. Better rubbish sacks: reusable anti-gull rubbish sacks have been sent to city households. The sacks are harder for gulls to tear, so prevent rubbish being strewn about. www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
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4 bedrooms, study, bathroom, kitchen/dining room, 2 receptions. Gardens. Parking. Total approx. floor area: 1607 sq ft / 149.2 sq m.
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An attractive & generously proportioned 4 bed family home plus self cont studio apt.(2647 sq ft/245.9 sq m). Off street parking. Garden.
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Sitting room, family room kitch/breakfast rm, dining rm/ground floor bedrm en suite, 4 further bedrms & bathrm. Gdns & ample parking. (1862 sq ft/173 sq m).
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Tel: 01225 466 225
January 2014 AGENDA 41
THE BIG FEATURE
Bucking the trend
With 26 pubs closing every week it is perhaps surprising that last year more than ÂŁ9 million was spent on venues in the city. Business reporter Liza-Jane Gillespie looks at the different pubs that have been given a new lease of life. 42 AGENDA AGENDA January January 2014 2014 42
Lucas Van Rensburg outside the Bath Brew House www.southwestbusiness.co.uk www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
THE BIG FEATURE
rom The Porter to The Huntsman, several well-known Bath pubs have attracted thousands, if not millions of pounds worth of investment, reinvigorating them for a new audience.
In November, family firm Fuller, Smith and Turner announced it would be spending £7.5 million on The Crystal Palace, The Huntsman and The Boater. The company, which runs almost 400 pubs across the south of the coun try, said the pubs would keep their unique character. This approach of developing an identity for a pub, rather than just creating a clone bar in different cities around the country, seems to be a popular way of reversing the fortunes of some venues. In September the Bath Brew House, on James Street West, was opened. The former Metropolitan was completely transformed and is hardly recognisable with its in-house brewery, open-plan kitchen and large dining area. General manager Lucas Van Rensburg said the £800,000 investment by City Pubs was a risk but being part of a small company allowed the Bath Brew House to respond to customer demand. “The pub was so shockingly awful before, people are surprised when they come in and that is working to our advantage. “Nothing is dictated to us by head office - we are a free public house so if customers request a particular cider we can get it in. The menu changes on a daily basis too. We are the new kid on the block at the moment. We will ride the wave over the festive period but the real test will be in the new year.” City Pubs also own The Cork on James St West. This month it will be getting a £150,000 makeover, but according to manager Jim Charlton it will maintain its winning charm. “The Cork identity will not be lost. Everyone loves The Cork and this is just giving it a fresh look. It will be very cool and cutting edge, unlike anything else in Bath.” Another big transformation last year was The Porter on George Street, which was bought by city businessman Giles Thomas, who already owned the Halcyon Hotel and Circo bar. Mr Thomas invested £500,000 into the pub creating a four-storey venue complete with Clayton’s Kitchen
Kim Rennie, general manager of The Crystal Palace pub, where there has been recent investment
restaurant on the ground floor, run by double Michelin-starred chef Rob Clayton, a bar area on the first floor, private dining and conference rooms on the top floor, as well as an underground bar with live music. But there have been mixed fortunes for pubs in Bath over the last few months. While some premises have been bucking the national trend, others have been forced to close. The White Horse on Shophouse Road, Twerton, which has previously won awards from the Campaign for Real Ale, was saved by Gary Ashton and manager Dave Carter. Mr Carter, who has worked as a chef for 27 years and has previously been at The Dolphin Inn on Locksbrook Road, described it as a “cracking pub” that had a lot of local support. Similar good fortune fell on the Richmond Arms in Fairfield Park and the Packhorse in Southstoke, which have both been added to the List of Assets for Community Value by Bath and North East Somerset Council in an attempt to stop them being sold for housing. Regulars at the two pubs have launched community groups to raise funding so they can be bought and run by locals, which was what happened when The Bell on Walcot Street was put up for sale at the end of 2012. However, The Park Tavern, on Park Lane, and Rising Sun in Fairfield Park, have not been so fortunate and have closed. ■
‘LAST ORDERS FOR 26 PUBS IN THE UK EVERY WEEK’ There are more than 50,000 pubs in the UK but with an estimated 26 closing a week, campaigners are keen to protect the British institution. Last year the pub industry won one of its biggest battles when the Chancellor scrapped the planned 3p rise in beer duty and cut 1p off the price of a pint. George Osborne also announced the alcohol duty escalator which adds inflation plus two per cent to the price would be abolished for beer completely. The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) said the move would help the flagging industry. Spokesman Neil www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
Walker said that between September 2012 and March 2013 there were 1,381 pub closures but 711 openings. In the South West during the same period there were 148 closures and 86 openings. “There are still a lot of pubs closing. We have figures that show 26 pubs a week are closing across the UK,” he said. “Cutting the beer tax duty is having a positive effect with pubs. We are expecting a new figure really soon which takes into account what happened with the Budget and we are hoping things are improving.” January 2014 AGENDA 43
THE BIG FEATURE
2013 was an eventful year for businessman Robbie Tack â€“ one minute he was a co-director of Banglo, the next he watched it go up in flames. However, the year ended on a positive note with the launch of a new dining venue.
Jamie and Robbie Tack at GPT Smokehouse
44 AGENDA January 2014
THE BIG FEATURE
All fired up for new dining venue L
ast May Bath businessman Robbie Tack saw his beloved restaurant Banglo burn to the ground. But now Robbie Tack has teamed up with his brother Jamie to reopen the Green Park Tavern next door to Banglo.
The GPT Smokehouse, as it is known, is a restaurant and bar serving dishes made from home-smoked meats using the venue’s new all-American imported Smoker. Mr Tack believes the GPT Smokehouse will inject some life into the Lower Oldfield area. “We want to provide a hub, a meeting place where residents and local business people can come and enjoy good times and good food in a welcoming atmosphere. The GPT Smokehouse will help resurrect this corner of Bath, which is in need of a little TLC. “It has been a challenging year for us, there is no denying that, but we still believe that there is a lot we can offer to Bath. We have been overwhelmed by the support we’ve had locally and have put our energy into the GPT. We have plans for Banglo, but are having to go through the
New pair reign over King’s Arms
motions following the fire. “The GPT Smokehouse brings together all the things we love under one roof and will provide something for everyone.”
The burnt-out shell of Banglo
The venue will be open all day, serving coffee and cake in the mornings, lunches and evening menus, as well as cocktails and providing evening entertainment, including live music and quizzes. Award-winning chef Jack Scarterfield, who was part of the Banglo team, has returned to Bath to join Jamie in the kitchen. Jamie said: “I have devised a menu that will take a no-fuss, wholesome approach to good food. A smokehouse does not just have to be for meat lovers, we believe offering great vegetarian options is a must.” ■ The King’s Arms on Monmouth Place has reopened under new ownership after Enterprise pubs closed it six months ago. The lease has been sold to Tom Carnaghan and Ben Nathan, both 32, who spent two months refurbishing the pub, which also sells food. Their long-term plans for the four-storey premises include reopening the bed and breakfast and launching live music nights. Mr Carnaghan, pictured, said they were keen to change the image of the pub: “We have ripped the old bar out and gone for a vintage industrial look .” The King’s Arms is keen to support local businesses with furniture sourced from The Owl and the Ivy on Walcot Street. It is serving beer from Abbey Ales and Bath Ales.
January 2014 AGENDA 45
Distant connections S o you’ve just had a holiday for the festive period and you’ve set up an auto-responder, the typical ‘out of office’ response, and tried your damnedest to switch off from work while you relaxed with your friends and family.
It probably doesn’t feel like it but we all spend almost 10 per cent of our working lives on holiday. It is good to switch off but what if there was a way to make work happen while you’re relaxing? What if there was a way to effectively communicate with your contacts, to engage with them, to keep them interested and to continue to impart your wisdom... all while you were tucking into a turkey dinner or sitting in a ski resort; all without an internet connection, all without thinking about it? Well - woohoo - there is. We’ve already talked about it. That’s right; it all starts with that dreaded out of office auto-responder. Next time you’re taking a break, put some time 46 AGENDA January 2014
Jim Morrison, founder of twiDAQ and owner of Deep Blue Sky Digital, explains how to make your out-of-office work while you’re taking a break.
aside beforehand to craft something a little different in place of your standard auto-responder. Treat it like any marketing project. Think about it from your contacts’ perspective, think about keeping them engaged, entertaining them and interacting with them. Having just been on holiday I can promise you that it works. I’m still experimenting with the medium but while on my most recent sojourn I swapped out the usual uber-professional uber-dry ‘I’ll be back on the nth and really won’t be checking my email” with a familiar, jovial and personal missive about where I was going and why. Included in the response was a clear, simple way to connect with me even while away via one of the many
social media channels we all engage with. I encouraged the reader to sign up to my new blog, Rumsfeld’s Law, and it was wonderful to get home to find that so many people had done so in my absence. I also included links to my LinkedIn profile, my lead business Deep Blue Sky and, of course, to my Twitter stream. I’ve had a remarkable response from regular contacts about the auto-responder; either through seeing the sign-ups and connections happening or through direct feedback from clients and colleagues - it’s been a successful experiment. Next time you go away make sure you join the movement for better out of office replies and reap the rewards of ‘working’ while you’re resting. ■ www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
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The typhoon that hit the Philippines left a trail of death and destruction
Foundations for change As thousands in the Philippines continue to rebuild their lives and homes following Typhoon Haiyan, John Rich, partner and co-founder of Stubbs Rich architects, explains how safer buildings can alleviate the impact of natural and man-made disasters.
t is two months since the central Philippines was hit by the devastating Typhoon Haiyan. The rebuild will take years, especially in the hardest hit town of Tacloban where even large structures were flattened in a matter of minutes.
We can be thankful that such an extreme natural disaster would be unlikely to hit the UK, but ‘acts of God’ and accidents do happen. So how would buildings in Bath cope if a disaster were to hit? Our weather forecasters would hopefully give us an early warning so that we could batten down the hatches. We could also be assured that the authorities would have emergency plans in place and implement them, as Railtrack did in readiness for the aftermath of St Jude’s storm on 28th 48 AGENDA January 2014
October. They had lumberjacks in place ready to clear the tracks - that's good planning. Our buildings would have a good chance of survival. Over the process of many centuries, regulations have been implemented to boost their resilience to disaster. In 1200, the first laws were introduced to regulate construction standards, starting with the prohibition of the use of thatch. The Great Fire of London in 1666 led to the London Building Acts of 1667. Another much more recent fire, on the Isle of Man in 1973, caused 50 fatalities. It resulted in a substantial increase in our awareness of the fire risk from using plastics in our buildings, and a further tightening of legislation. By understanding the last 350 years of UK building regulations and
applying that learning to the design of today’s buildings, architects and builders are making sure that the buildings we live and work in are resilient to disaster. Grand Designs might be good entertainment, and the Olympic Park certainly provided eye candy. However, most of us, most of the time, want an attractive, low energy building that has the durability to cope with what nature or man throws at it. It would be of enduring benefit to the people of the Philippines if this catastrophe were taken as the catalyst to put in place regulations requiring new buildings to be robust enough to resist extreme weather. To support an international campaign to rebuild Tacloban, visit www.architectureforhumanity.org ■ www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
CHARLCOMBE HOMES Bath’s Premier ‘Boutique’ Private House Builder At Charlcombe Homes we are passionate about building superb, innovative houses of the highest quality that both we, and our customers, can be proud of. In 2012 this led to our winning the B&NES Council Building Quality Award for New Housing. We are always on the lookout for new development opportunities and have an enviable track record of unlocking planning consents in sensitive locations, such as the World Heritage Site of Bath, through attention to detail and appropriate architectural design.
We pride ourselves on our integrity and here are some of the comments made about us by landowners that we have dealt with: ‘I found them to be straightforward, direct and honest – the most desired and consequently relatively rare qualities necessary when large sums of money are at stake. I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending them to any landowner contemplating the possible development of their land.’ Robin Gedye, Landowner Crownhill Site. ‘We found them very open and straightforward to deal with. The arrangement that we came to with them was balanced and fair and we are very happy with the result.’ Vida Humphries, Landowner, Lansdown Ridge
We also offer a unique ‘Bespoke Building’ service that gives purchasers an opportunity to be involved with tailoring the design and speciﬁcation of their new home to suit their particular requirements, depending on the stage of the process. For more information about this service and our projects please visit our website at www.charlcombehomes.co.uk. If you would like to discuss a possible development opportunity, large or small, please contact Managing Director Alastair Gibson on 01225 448092 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 2014 AGENDA 49
THE BIG FEATURE
Becky Gallagher, student development manager at the University of Bath Students’ Union, with local Santander manager Chris Clements
Investment banking A elite?
ccountancy firms, law firms, public relation experts, IT companies. Bath is brimming with employment opportunities for the right candidates but why does the city fail to keep its academic
For a long time there has been the suggestion that once students graduate from the University of Bath or Bath Spa, they leave the city and only return later in life to either raise a family or retire.
There is no statistical data to support the theory but business and education leaders are convinced that graduates do not see, or are not encouraged to see, the career opportunities the city can offer. However, last year the University of Bath teamed up with Santander to take advantage of the bank’s Internship Programme where it pays £1,500 to a company to hire a student or graduate for three months. At the end of the internship either the student goes back to their studies or the company takes the person on permanently. And so far the scheme is going well. Last year eight 50 AGENDA January 2014
They spend three years living in the city whilst studying at university but what happens to the thousands of graduates every summer? The University of Bath has teamed up with Santander to help entice the students to stick around in Bath. students and graduates took part and three are now in permanent employment in the city. Student development manager at the University of Bath Students’ Union, Becky Gallagher, said the new scheme gave students experience but also offered companies an unusual recruitment opportunity. “There is this generation gap in Bath. People seem to come back to Bath in their 40s. There are no hard and fast statistics, it is all hearsay, but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence. The issue is the students don’t perceive there are jobs in Bath. They take advantage of the retail opportunities while they study but that’s where it ends. We www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
THE BIG FEATURE
Case study: Lucy Macmillan More needs to be done to persuade graduates of Bath’s career options, says Lucy Macmillan, 22. Originally from Belfast, she graduated from the University of Bath last year with a degree in French and Spanish with European Studies. Miss Macmillan, who is working for 3Vision television run by Bath graduate Toby Russell, said: “I decided to stay in Bath because of the high quality of life I enjoy here and its proximity to bigger cities like Bristol and London. Living in London at this stage in my career would be very expensive and as my job involves occasional travel there for meetings, I feel that I am getting the best of both worlds. “The scenic walk to work in morning to our offices need to get a dialogue between our students and the business community. “It’s about making SMEs aware that they can make use of the university - there is an opportunity available to them.” Mrs Gallagher said that as well as creating employment opportunities, the new funding source might enable smaller companies to take on an intern during summer breaks. “There are lots of different steps businesses can take to get involved. There may be some SMEs that can’t afford to pay a student but this scheme helps towards that and allows them to run a placement scheme. There has been a big change in the sorts of opportunities for students. There are two things at play - there aren’t so many jobs and companies don’t have to advertise any more. “This scheme is a great opportunity for a business who can try before they buy.” One of the businesses that has already got involved is online sex toys firm Lovehoney, which has hired the two www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
behind the Circus sure beats a stressful commute on the tube. I love that Bath is a city in the middle of the countryside.” “Bath has some amazing companies and start-ups, which have been set up by many former University of Bath students. I had never heard of these companies until the Santander scheme was advertised. “Many students leave Bath because their career prospects for their particular degree are better elsewhere or they want to experience working in a bigger city. I think more could be done to make Bath more appealing to graduates who would like to stay but feel life after university might not be as exciting without their friends here.” interns it took on last year. Co-owner and University of Bath graduate Richard Longhurst said the internship programme was allowing students to experience a variety of different businesses, rather than just large multi-nationals. “We are very, very keen to encourage bright young students to get jobs locally and in particular with Lovehoney. We can offer a huge range of experience which from an early stage involves really important work. “We’ve tried over the last four years to forge links with the University of Bath but some people have had issues with the nature of our business. This scheme has changed that. “We were worried that Santander would be worried about being associated with us but they have been very forward-thinking.” This year the university has 20 places to fill. Any businesses who would like more information or would like to get involved should contact Becky Gallagher on 01225 383809 or via email@example.com ■ January 2014 AGENDA 51
THE BIG FEATURE
Merlin O’Doherty, right, with Stephanie Marlow and Richard Longhurst, from Lovehoney
Cultural shift needed to stop the exodus of students
erlin O’Doherty, originally from London, graduated last summer with a degree in International Management with German. The 22-year-old has been working as business development assistant at Lovehoney for the past six months, believes there needs to be a cultural shift to stop the exodus of graduates. He said students were spoon-fed the theory that to be successful you must move to London: “The university has a critical role to play in making students aware of all options available and in particular I feel they shouldn’t neglect what is right on their doorstep. “When the university promotes something to their students, it legitimises it as an option and as something they should be aiming for. He added: “I think the Santander scheme is great, and it is definitely needed - without it the University of Bath would not have even promoted the internships offered by exciting local companies. “It would be great if local companies could have their 52 AGENDA January 2014
internships and job opportunities promoted without the weight of a big a cooperation behind them, but it seems like they wouldn’t get much of a look-in.” Stephanie Marlow, 23 and from Southampton, is working as public relations assistant and writer at Lovehoney after graduating with a degree in German and Italian with European studies. “I don’t know where I’d be if Lovehoney hadn’t offered the opportunity of an internship, it’s really not easy to find a job where you can use your degree skills every day and I feel really lucky to have ended up in such an amazing company. There’s never a boring day at Lovehoney. “After finishing university most of my friends either went back home to live with their parents and job-search or headed straight to London. It is quite expensive to live in Bath and I suppose people see London as having more opportunity. “Of all my friends not going straight to a post-grad degree, only three stayed in Bath, and two of us managed that through a Santander internship.” ■ www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
Mark Wood, chief executive of Future
Future-proofing the business
ne of Bath’s biggest employers has described the city as its “talent centre” as it turned in a 170 per cent rise in pre-tax profits and celebrated a major business milestone.
Magazine and website publisher Future says a job-cutting programme that led to 26 redundancies over the last year is now over. And it backed council plans to make Bath a centre of creative and digital excellence. The firm’s normalised financial results for the year to September show Future is now for the first time getting more than half of its advertising revenue from the web. The firm, which attracted more than 57 million monthly global unique users to its websites, which include techradar.com, gamesradar. com, bikeradar.com and music radar.com, has increased digital revenues from 48 per cent to 59 per cent. Pre-tax profit was £1.9 million, against a normalised loss of £2.7 million last time. The firm also sold more than 19 million magazines last year – 37 every minute, with its best-known brands including T3, Cycling Plus, Total Film, Mollie Makes and Xbox: The Official Magazine. www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
Despite a year of redundancy, magazine closures and uncertainty the future is looking good according to one Bath publisher. Its normalised results – which exclude costs and revenues attached to businesses that have been sold or closed – show revenues up three per cent. Future has also been through a cost-cutting programme, which has affected jobs in Bath, where it employs around 610 people. It has cut around 50 posts, but managed to redeploy around half of the affected staff. Chief executive Mark Wood said the firm was now looking at ways to expand its workforce, and added: “Bath is very much our main hub. It is our development and talent centre.” Mr Wood said Bath and North East Somerset Council was making the right strides towards encouraging the creative industries in the city. “We are very supportive of anything that creates more of a media and technical hub.” ■ January 2014 AGENDA 53
Duncan Nicholas, Chris Lyons and Steve Lafferty
Briefing for business owners
ishop Fleming Chartered Accountants recently teamed up with Business West to host an event for local business owners. In a series of short presentations at Bishop Fleming’s offices in Bath, the Directors’ Briefing explained the range of Government-subsidised business support services and products that are available. The topics covered include growing sales overseas, employing grads for growth, and tax breaks for growth. ■
Andy Reeve and Jo Helps
Keith Lewcock and Paul Jelley
Steve Bray and Jonathan McColgan
54 AGENDA January 2014
Chris Kille www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
Green and pleasant land?
The Core Strategy is going to change the landscape of Bath and north east Somerset forever. Siobhan Stayt looks at the different issues concerning the district about the planning blueprint. 5656AGENDA 2014 AGENDAJanuary January 2014
Green belt campaigner David Batho www.southwestbusiness.co.uk www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
etailed proposals to change the green belt boundary around Bath so that new houses can be built have been unveiled. B&NES Council has published more information about exactly where it wants to see future development, highlighting plots of land in Weston, Odd Down and Keynsham. The new boundaries have prompted anger among local people, with more than 1,300 signing a petition urging the council to re-think the plans. A six-week consultation took place before Christmas, giving residents the opportunity to ask questions about the issue and give feedback to officers. Gareth Herincx, from the South of Bath Alliance – which is concerned about the earmarking of land between South Stoke and Odd Down – said: “These proposals to rip up Bath’s green belt and designated Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to build hundreds of houses are deeply distressing to those of us that cherish our city. “Not only do these plans threaten Bath’s setting and its coveted and valuable status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, they also effectively join the historic, quintessentially English village of South Stoke to Bath and set a dangerous precedent - all green belt is now under threat in Bath.” The core strategy is the planning blueprint which outlines where new houses will be built in the area over the next 15 years. The draft plan is still being considered by independent planning inspector Simon Emerson, and his final recommendations will then go back to the local authority, which will have the final say on whether to adopt the plan. Councillor David Dixon, right, the council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods, posted a message on his Facebook page, saying: “A lot of thought has gone into the impact of these sites allocated for development.
Green Belt reviews will never be easy... However, there are plenty of families that need homes in and around Bath.”
“Green belt reviews will never be easy and decisions not taken lightly. However, there are plenty of families that need homes in and around Bath.”
The local authority estimates that it needs 5,437 market-value and 3,290 affordable homes to be built by 2029 so it can meet the demand from a growing population.
However, these figures do not add up for developers, who say they need to make more money on the “full-price” houses so they can deliver those that are more affordable. This means B&NES has now earmarked sites for 9,646 market-value properties, taking the overall total up to 12,956 – around 4,200 more than the council admits it needs. That 4,200 homes total equates to a town the size as Wells. Former Claverton Parish Council chairman David Batho said the ratios from developers meant B&NES was now having to propose building 900 homes in the green belt at spots such as South Stoke and Weston. He said: “It is clear that B&NES’ housing needs can be met without building a single house in the green belt. There is every reason to challenge developer affordableto-market housing ratios and come up with innovative schemes which focus on delivering attractive affordable houses while generating acceptable returns for the developers. There is no need to destroy the green belt.” This view is backed by the vice-chairman of South Stoke Parish Council Robert Hellard and the chief executive of Bath Preservation Trust Caroline Kay. ■
‘Dilemma is one facing councils up and down the country’ B&NES Council has said the dilemma it is facing is one troubling local authorities up and down the country.
this was a key issue raised by the inspector in January 2012 that the council has had to address.”
A spokesman admitted that if it only had to build the number of homes the area actually needed, then there would be no need to develop on the green belt, but at the moment, there was no alternative.
The Home Builders Federation is arguing that the council’s prediction of 8,729 homes needing to be built was “way below” its estimates. A Federation spokesman said B&NES had the responsibility of making sure enough homes were available in the future and making difficult decisions about where they should be built.
He said: “The council is required by the Government to meet our needs for both market and affordable housing. We must add our backlog of previous years of under-provision of homes. f the council only had to identify sites to market needs, the existing supply of brownfield sites would be sufficient. “But because affordable housing is delivered as part of a market housing scheme (typically around 30 to 40 per cent in our area), and because there is a significant need for affordable housing in the area, we have had to increase the number of sites to meet affordable needs – www.southwestbusiness.co.uk
He said: “The council needs to prove it has robustly calculated its housing needs. It will then need to prioritise where it wants the homes to be built. The new planning system hands power to the council. But with that power comes a responsibility to adequately ensure enough housing is provided for its community. “There is an acute need of all types of housing in the area but the high cost of housing in the area suggests there will be a particular issue with affordable homes.” January 2014 AGENDA 57
Hicks Gate investment opportunity
eople are being offered the opportunity to invest in a proposed house-building scheme near Keynsham. Parallel Capital, the property arm of Bath financial services firm Fidelius, has launched the Hicks Gate Land Fund, a plan to develop farmland.
“That is something we are keen to make very clear,” he said. “This is only an investment for sophisticated investors. This is not something we want someone to put their life savings into.
It estimates that around 1,500 properties could be built there over the coming years.
“This is for the person who perhaps has a £1 million pension pot and may like to invest £50,000. We only want to work with people who are very comfortable.”
Parallel is aiming to raise £2.9 million through investors and is predicting a high return for those who put in money at this early stage. Bosses say someone who put the minimum of £25,000 into the scheme could expect to get back £60,000 or more.
Mr Lambert said that the biggest risk was that the land would not get residential planning permission, but all the signs pointed to both Bath and North East Somerset Council and Bristol City Council wanting to see more homes built in that area.
But Parallel's head of investment property Tim Lambert, pictured, acknowledged that it was a high-risk venture which should only be taken up by those who could afford it.
If and when this happens, the site would be sold to a developer, such as Crest Nicholson, which is already involved with neighbouring plots of land. ■
58 AGENDA January 2014
January 2014 AGENDA 59
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