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Inside: Kent Construction Expo 2018 - page 45

Construction industry

fundamental to growing the economy

Big Interview with Nick Phillips of Intelligent Energy Saving Company

Property Market update

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Welcome & Contents

Worries about Brexit are becoming a cause for acute anxiety

Welcome to the latest edition of Thinking Business. The theme is construction but I want to talk first about Brexit. We have waited two years for the UK government to set out how they would like to see our relationship with the European Union after 29th March 2019. Have they really taken two years just to end up with a ‘polished turd’, as so eloquently described by Boris Johnson? The Government have certainly stepped things up a gear since the start of 2018. The Prime Minister set out a laudable overall aim in her Mansion House speech. Had this been delivered in 2017, we might not be in such a rush now to come up with a deal that addresses our needs and would have a plan B in the draw, just in case the EU negations don’t go our way. It is such a shame that various factions in Westminster still appear

Contents 4 5 6 7 9 10 11 12-15 16-17

Chamber News Legal Update Members News Focus on Finance Members News Patron Dinner Patron News Members News Big Interview

Our Patrons


Jo James

Chief Executive

to be more interested in scoring points in their never-ending domestic political game, rather than working forensically to get the best possible outcome for the UK economy. There are those that say, looking at the White Paper, why did we leave in the first place? From where I’m sitting, at least it’s a plan and negotiations can start. As a Chamber network we have repeatedly argued that the priority must be to deliver clear and unequivocal answers to the practical, real-world questions that businesses face. It really is time for the politicians to put petty squabbling aside and unite as a team that is working on our behalf. As for construction, you can see in this edition of Thinking Business interviews with all sorts of industry figures from the sector, including on page 16 our big interview with Kent-based Nick Phillips, Sales Manager of Intelligent

19-21 Property Sector Focus 22-32 Cover Feature Construction 33 The Person behind the Business 35 Ask the Expert 36-37 Members News 38 The Economy & Us 39 International Trade


Energy Saving Company (iESCo), who works with a range of organisations to improve their energy efficiency through innovative new technology. We also take a look at the South East’s property market, including housebuilding, on page 19 and our construction overview starting on page 25 includes a look at the forthcoming Kent Construction EXPO, which has developed an enviable reputation as the South East’s most important gathering of construction professionals, contractors, and specialist suppliers. As a unique collaboration between Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Kent County Council and Medway Council, this year’s event is taking place on Thursday 4th October at the Kent Event Centre, Maidstone and I hope to see you there.

40 41 42-43 44-45 47 48-49 50 50

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Editorial and General Enquiries

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, Kent. TN24 0LH Chief Executive: Jo James Tel: 01233 503 838 Fax: 01233 503 687

Published August 2018 © Benham Publishing




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Thinking Business is published for Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and is distributed without charge to Chamber members. All correspondence should be addressed to the Editor at Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in Thinking Business are not necessarily those of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission. © 2018. Please note that submitting an article does not guarantee publication. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of material published in this journal, Benham Publishing and its agents can accept no responsibility for the veracity of claims made by contributions in advertising or editorial content. Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us. Front cover image courtesy of Hazle McCormack Young LLP New Science Building at Fort Pitt Grammar School, Rochester. Architect HMY. Contractor King & Johnston

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Chamber News

Law firm announced as headline sponsor of Kent Invicta Chamber's 'Muesli Mafia' business networking events

Leading Kent law firm Furley Page has been announced as the headline sponsorfor the Ashford Muesli Mafia Breakfast Networking events for the remainder of 2018, in addition to its ongoing sponsorship of the networking sessions in Maidstone.

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce hosts regular Muesli Mafia events, which provide an informal business-to-business networking breakfast, during which local business people can get together to discuss topics of mutual interest. Peter Hawkes, Senior Partner at Furley Page, said: "Furley Page has a long established relationship with Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce through our regular series of employment law seminars. "We welcome the chance to support the Chamber and meet other businesses through our sponsorship of Ashford Muesli Mafia, which provides excellent B2B networking opportunities. In addition to the Ashford events, we are also pleased to sponsor events in Maidstone." Events will be held on the following dates: • 23 August, Maidstone, Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel • 6 September, Ashford, Ashford International Hotel • 22 November, Maidstone, Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel • 13 December, Ashford, Ashford International Hotel 7:30am - 9:30am Members Price: £20.00 + VAT Non-members Price: £25.00 + VAT To find out more and book your place, visit Kent Invicta Chamber website: /muesli-mafia-breakfast-networking-39/


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For the success of our communities and businesses, it’s time to scrap the visa cap Right now, in boardrooms in Britain and around the world, business leaders are weighing up where to invest and grow in the years ahead.

In many cases, these companies are spoilt for choice, with countries large and small vying to attract their business by ensuring the most attractive possible environment for growth. Many firms that would have instinctively chosen the UK in the past are now having second thoughts. Yet it’s not just the twists and turns of Brexit that give them pause. Instead, it’s the business environment, and the policies decided by Westminster rather than Brussels, that are increasingly cited as a key cause for concern. Worryingly, company after company now says that the UK’s increasingly draconian immigration restrictions — and uncertain future visa policies — have led them to the conclusion that Britain is closed for business. The prime minister speaks repeatedly of her vision of a “global Britain”. Yet this laudable aim is being directly undermined by her own government’s stubborn policy of rationing visas for the skilled workers that businesses desperately need in order to grow. In each of the past six months the visa cap put in place seven years ago by Theresa May as home secretary has been reached. The malign effects of the government’s arbitrary visa cap are being felt across the UK, with dynamic companies effectively priced out of hiring the talent they need as quotas bite and the salary thresholds for securing a visa have risen into the stratosphere. This is a problem that hits London, the UK’s magnet for entrepreneurs and global talent, hardest of all. As research by the London Chamber of Commerce shows, 25 per cent of the capital’s workforce is from beyond these shores, compared with 8 per cent elsewhere in the UK.

Those already here contribute £50 billion a year to the city’s economy and £13 billion in tax revenues. Yet the skills gaps facing employers continue to rise, despite huge investments in apprenticeships and training. And whatever politicians may say, this isn’t just a London problem. Take the fast-growing technology company in Cornwall that spends more time in administrative battles with the Home Office than on business growth because it has been repeatedly unable to hire experienced programmers from a niche global market to power its expansion. Or the manufacturers in the North West whose growth plans require skilled engineers with a decade or more of experience, who are as rare as hen’s teeth on the domestic market. The social and economic cost of the Tier 2 visa cap is becoming clearer by the day in communities across the country. It’s time to call out the fact that it is ideology, not common sense, that is stopping hospitals and GP practices from recruiting desperately needed doctors for an NHS under continued strain. It is ideology that stops our universities from recruiting key academic and technical staff, even as the government touts its industrial strategy and plans to boost spending on R&D. It is political stubbornness that is causing home-grown businesses to give up on expansion plans or relocate elsewhere because of the sheer cost and difficulty of recruiting those with the right skills.

Ironically, the very same employers facing the biggest skills challenges are also the ones that are investing hugely in future talent here at home. They realise they need a stronger pipeline of British workers and are committed to making it happen. Yet it can take five, ten, even 15 years to train some of the specialists businesses need. Meanwhile, skilled professionals will be needed from around the world, and fast. It is my fervent hope that Sajid Javid, the new home secretary, listens to his liberal and pro-business instincts and spends his first weeks in office convincing the prime minister and his cabinet colleagues to scrap the cap, as he indicated he would do. As long as the Home Office continues to turn doctors, scientists, engineers, IT experts and exporters away from our shores, the government’s rhetoric about “welcoming the brightest and best” rings hollow. So, too, does any sense of an “outward-looking, global Britain”. Scrapping the costly and damaging visa cap would give businesses around the world a sign that the UK is truly open for business. It would show the trading partners we are courting that we are open to their professionals. And for companies here at home who are struggling to recruit, it would give them newfound confidence to expand at a time when our stuttering economy needs all the confidence it can get. Dr Adam Marshall is director general of the British Chambers of Commerce (

Landowners and infrastructure projects

Legal Update

David Redgate, a partner in Commercial Property at Girlings Solicitors, looks at issues raised by developments like the controversial Richborough Connection, and advises landowners affected by future infrastructure developments of this type on how to get the best deal.

n May 2018, construction began IKent on the Richborough Connection in and the first of sixty pylons was

erected that will eventually form the largest new power line to be built in the UK since the building of the electricity transmission system in 1961. This new power line will run from Canterbury to Richborough connecting ultimately, via undersea cable, to the European power network near Bruges, Belgium.

Power infrastructure improvement projects such as this ultimately require cooperation from local landowners. Utility companies will enter into agreements with individual landowners along the proposed route, most commonly in the form of a wayleave agreement or a deed of easement. These types of agreement differ in duration and the level of compensation but can also have a more significant impact on the value and use of land.

A wayleave agreement gives a utility provider contractual rights to install, use, and maintain structures, underground cables and overhead lines on privately owned land, in return for either a lump sump or, more commonly, annual payments. These agreements are set for a number of years and many have termination provisions. While wayleave agreements appear flexible, utility providers enjoy statutory protections and terminating an agreement triggers a legal process which safeguards the utility provider.

A deed of easement differs in that the right to install, use, and maintain the utility infrastructure is given in perpetuity and runs with the land through a conveyance, binding all future owners of the property. When entering into these agreements, the premium received is usually considerably more than a wayleave agreement, but only the grantee will enjoy the windfall. Subsequent land-owners will receive no compensation but be subject to the burden of sharing their land with a utility company, potentially reducing the value of the land.

Importantly, both types of agreement give a utility provider significant powers over the land and landowner. The utility provider is given power to restrict the proprietor’s use of the land, including placing stringent conditions on building, planting or altering the ground near pylons and under overhead wires. The utility provider also enjoys access rights to repair and maintain the infrastructure with limited notice requirements to the landowners.

The planned expansion and modernisation of the electricity infrastructure network in Kent presents opportunities to some landowners— particularly those in the countryside— to receive significant payments from the utility infrastructure companies.

However landowners affected by this type of development must take care that the right kind of legal agreement is reached and the terms and rights granted do not overly restrict the use of the land or significantly devalue the property. If you would like advice on this or on any other commercial property issue, please contact David for further advice.

“Utility companies will enter into agreements with individual landowners along the proposed route, most commonly in the form of a wayleave agreement or a deed of easement.”

David Redgate


Commercial Property T: 01227 768374

E: Thinking Business


Kent businesses gather for Corporate Garden Party Members News

More than 90 people from businesses across Kent and Medway gathered at the home of Blair and Tikki Gulland in Detling to enjoy a summer evening of networking.

Stagecoach supports Armed Forces Day 2018

Stagecoach helped to support Armed Forces Day 2018. On Saturday 30 June the company offered free travel to armed forces personnel carrying a military ID card and to veterans carrying a veteran’s badge. Armed Forces Day is a chance for the public to show support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving troops to Service families, veterans and cadets. Stagecoach South East Operations Director Joanne Howe said: “By helping in this small way we hope to send a clear message that Stagecoach supports personnel who are currently serving and those who are veterans.”


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In March 2015, Stagecoach Group signed the Ministry of Defence’s Armed Forces Corporate Covenant in support of the Armed Forces Community. As a signatory of the Covenant, the company recognises the value to serving personnel; regular and reservists, veterans and military families contribute to both the country and businesses across the county. Later the same year the company was awarded the silver award through the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS). The scheme encourages employers to support defence and inspire others to do the same.

Guests had the opportunity to tour the blooming herbaceous borders and chat in amongst the beautiful flowers whilst enjoying canapés and drinks provided by Ulric Allsebrook from Frederic Bistro. Blair Gulland, Trustee of Kent Community Foundation, and his wife Tikki welcomed guests to their home and garden surrounded by his flower meadow. Blair introduced Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive of Kent Community Foundation. She explained the key role businesses in Kent and Medway play in supporting their local communities, saying: “Corporate social responsibility is no longer an activity just for large, multinational corporations. Businesses of any size can play their part in effective

local giving and supporting their community.” Emma Liddiard, Managing Director at Global Media, Kent and panel member of the Port of Dover Community Fund, gave a brief overview about how Kent Community Foundation works with the Port of Dover to distribute funding in the Dover area. As a final treat for guests, The Changeling Theatre group took to the stage to reveal a preview of their upcoming touring show, Measure for Measure.

If you are interested in finding out more about corporate giving, please contact Kent Community Foundation by emailing or call 01303 814500.

A proud heritage

Established in 1953, Servo & Electronic Sales Ltd is a family-owned specialist electrical connector distributor based in Lydd, Kent.

the company supports the community by locally hiring apprentices and university students. On hot days you may see their iconic yellow hot air balloon flying around Kent. This has been within the company for many years and has been flown in many countries and seen on TV.

The company started with a shop in London selling excess parts from World War Two before relocating to spacious premises in Lydd. Today Servo manufactures and distributes connectors

for major companies both nationally and internationally for various markets, including Defence, Industrial, Aerospace and Medical industries.

They currently have eighteen employees and

Inheritance tax:

it’s time to give some thought to giving

Focus on Finance

Alison Turner

Tax Director, Southern Region

01622 690666

Last year, the Treasury collected more than £5 billion in inheritance tax (IHT), which as a percentage of the total tax receipts, puts IHT at one of the highest levels it has been since the early 1980s. Giving some thought to tax planning can help relieve the sting from the taxman. Providing much-needed help to younger family members now, may have the side effect of mitigating later IHT liabilities. Rising property prices are bringing middle-class families into the IHT net, particularly here in Kent where the average property price has soared in recent years, to nearly £350,000. If you do not want the Chancellor to be the biggest benefactor from your estate, now is the time to think about some tax planning measures.


In Kent, 24.6% of people mortgage their properties, but 27% of people own their homes outright. This shows us that for a majority of people in Kent, there is a valuable asset to leave behind for loved ones. As homeownership continues to be a struggle for many, making gifts could be the most straight forward way of helping younger family members on to the property ladder, as well as being one of the simplest forms of IHT planning you could undertake.

Making use of IHT exemptions

You can give up to £3,000 a year and also carry over any unused allowance from the previous tax year. This means a couple could reduce their estate by £12,000 in the first tax year and £6,000 in every subsequent tax year. You can also give up to £250 a year to any number of people in a tax year, provided another exemption isn’t also being claimed for gifts to the same person.

Outright gifts to reduce capital value

If you have a larger estate and need to reduce it by more substantial amounts, you can make gifts of cash or assets outright in excess of the above allowances. These are known as potentially exempt transfers, so if you survive for seven years after making the gift, the value falls outside your estate for IHT purposes. If you die within the sevenyear period IHT may be due, but it can reduce according to the time elapsed since the gift was made. The earlier you start planning, the more your family will save.

Getting married

The marriage of younger family members is another opportunity to make use of the lifetime IHT gifting reliefs. Each parent can give up to £5,000 to a party of the marriage. Grandparents can each give £2,500 and anyone else can give £1,000.

Regular gifting from surplus income

It seems an obvious point, but those who need to reduce their estate, should also make sure that they are not unwittingly adding to it. If you have a substantial pension and your retirement income exceeds your lifestyle needs, increased savings may be adding to your heritable estate. As long as you retain sufficient funds to meet your needs, you may be able to make regular payments from

excess income without any IHT consequences. This is a complex relief, but it could be used to help with long-term commitments such as school fees for grandchildren. However, if you do undertake this form of estate planning, you will need clear supporting documentation to prove you had sufficient disposable ‘income’ to give away. Inheritance tax planning is an important but complex area, and planning involving giving away any assets should not be undertaken without assessing your future financial requirements. For bespoke advice on reducing exposure to IHT please speak to your usual Wilkins Kennedy contact in Ashford, Canterbury, Maidstone, Orpington or Sandwich.

“As long as you retain sufficient funds to meet your needs, you may be able to make regular payments from excess income without any IHT consequences.” Thinking Business


New Workplace Wellbeing Award comes to Medway

Medway Council’s Public Health Team, A Better Medway have launched their new Medway Workplace Wellbeing Award.

The award is now open to all businesses in the Medway area. Developed using business feedback and evidenced national best practice the Medway Workplace Wellbeing Award is FREE for all Medway based businesses to join, and provides a recognised framework for local business to focus on the wellbeing of staff. The new award is entirely flexible to the needs and make up of the organisation with businesses encouraged to make pledges that are right for them across the following areas:

• Managing Absence and Turnover • Musculoskeletal and Screening • Mental Wellbeing and Stress • Stop Smoking • Alcohol and Substance Misuse • Healthy Eating and Healthy Weight • Physical Activity and Active Travel • Environment and Sustainability

The Good Work Commission highlighted the business case for employers to invest in good work because it can be demonstrated to improve productivity, employee retention and customer satisfaction . (Work Foundation, July 2011)

Businesses can be awarded to levels of Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum based on the number of pledges made, with recognition given for both new and existing initiatives.

Running a healthy workplace programme is known to improve staff engagement and productivity, increase retention and reduce sickness absence so its always the right time to factor staff wellbeing into your business plan. You are invited to find out more at the official launch event.

Companies that have robust health and wellbeing programmes have been seen to outperform those who do not by 10%

Wednesday 3rd October 2018 8.30am – 10.30am

Innovation Centre, Maidstone Road, Chatham

Book your FREE tickets

BITC/Ipsos Mori 2010

So why not talk to Cripps? 01892 515 121 @crippslaw


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IR35 ConfusionEmployment or Self-Employment?

Members News

HMRC recently lost an appeal by a construction contractor in an IR35 ruling. The ruling in MDMC (Mark Daniels) Ltd v HMRC, whilst in favour of the taxpayer, shows just how confusing IR35 cases are. It highlights that each case MUST be considered inits own right, applying the circumstances of each service contract to HMRC’s guidelines.

IR35 tax avoidance legislation was introduced by the then Labour government in 1999. The purpose of the legislation was to combat tax avoidance from ‘disguised employment’, where workers had an employee-type relationship but were receiving payments via an intermediary, such as their own limited company. When IR35 applies, the intermediary is required to deduct PAYE and National Insurance from the income received, if it has not been mostly drawn as salary.

In MDMC Ltd v HMRC (2018), HMRC lost an appeal at First Tier Tribunal (FTT). HMRC had previously determined that MDMC’s contract providing services on large construction projects, should have been caught by IR35. However, MDMC successfully appealed.

Some of the factors considered in this case were: • Financial risk - there was no financial risk to Mr Daniels, indicating employment • Substitution - no substitution was permitted, indicating employment • Control - Mr Daniels was not controlled by the end user, indicating self-employment

However, most surprisingly, the FTT considered the point that Mr Daniels received no sick pay, holiday pay or employment benefits in their decision, which concluded that these factors contributed to self-employment being more relevant than an employment contract.

Duo sign up to become chamber members

New Chamber member, 2 of Harps, are an internationally acclaimed award-winning harp duo based in Kent. Karina and Adel Wilson play a variety of music, including traditional, classical, Scottish, modern, contemporary andjazz. They are also classically trained vocalists. They both fell in love with the Clarsach (lever harp) when living in the Western Isles and 2 of Harps have performed at many prestigious venues across Kent and in London and were finalists of the ‘Unique Art Awards 2016’ for their music compositions.

Adel began playing the harp at the age of ten, when living on the small island of Scalpay in Scotland. She was greatly inspired by her first teacher Marie Louise Napier who composes much of her own music and has sung with the Scottish Opera. She enjoys her work as a professional harpist and performs at a variety of events, including weddings, corporate dinners, parties and other celebrations across Kent,

This ruling is good news for the contractor however, it demonstrates how complex the rules are. With HMRC looking to extend IR35 changes made last year in the public sector to the private sector, the uncertainty as to what is classed as employment versus self-employment is likely to be greater than ever.

Sussex and London. Adel has a passion for composing and song writing, mixing classical and pop to create a crossover style. Karina began playing the harp when she was seven, taking inspiration from contemporary music and creating a repertoire to include jazz, one of her many musical passions. She has worked as a professional wedding harpist from a young age and performs at a variety of events, corporate dinners, parties and

Further information is available using the HMRC employment status tool or call your local MFW office for more help.

Emma Andrews, FCAPartner, MFW Maidstone 01622 683627

celebrations across Kent, Sussex and London. Karina has always had a love for composing music; her skill for creating accompaniments on the harp for the voice is a true talent. This year, Adel and her sister Karina recorded their first original album 'Moving On' after previously releasing four cover albums (Pebbles, Sorelle di Harpa, Crossroads and Christmas With 2 of Harps).

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Kent Business Leaders Dinner

Patron Dinner

Held at The Orangery, Turkey Mill, Maidstone In July, Kent Invicta Chamber Patrons, along with invited guests, attended the latest Kent Business Leaders Dinner staged at the beautiful Orangery at Turkey Mill in Maidstone. Guests were welcomed by Kent Invicta Chamber Chief Executive Jo James. After dinner Phil Eckersley from the Bank of England spoke openly about current economic performance and the effects of

Matt Hayes & Giles Taylor (Lee Evans Partnership)

low productivity as well as the impacts of inflation rate fluctuations on business and the inevitability of interest rate rises. Over 50 guests were hosted by the Chamber and its Patrons. It was an enjoyable evening of good food and good conversation. Details of the next Kent Business Leaders Dinner on November 15th are available from morag@kentinvictachamber. co. uk

Anthony Klokkou (Sleeping Giant Media)

Jo James ( KICC) with speaker Phil Eckersley (Bank of England), Patrons David Armstrong (Towergate Insurance Brokers) and Marcus Whiteley (KIMS Hospital) and guests Sonja Wood (Ecosan), Ian Savage (Chartway Group) and Tom Cole (ITL Ltd)

David Gurton (Caxtons, Chartered Surveyors)


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Georgia Harvey (Midkent College)

Jo James, Chief Executive of KICC, giving her opening address

Guests in front of the Orangery

Jo Worby (Brachers) in conversation with guest Leonora Surtees (Buckmore Park Kart Circuit - right)

Carol Ford (AC Goatham & Son)

Alyson Howard (MHA MacIntyre Hudson)

Marcus Whitely and Mark Griffiths (KIMS Hospital)

Jo James, Chief Executive of KICC with speaker Phil Eckersley, Bank of England

Towergate continues growth with 3 new signings

KICC Patron Partner, Towergate Insurance Brokers, have caught the World Cup bug and gone for three new signings to further strengthen their team.

With a clear focus on growing the business, they have added three forwards, continuing to build on their strong Kent and South East sales team. New Area Sales Director David Sedgeley is joined by Andy Price Haworth and James Quaye and each will be working across Kent, supporting Towergate’s offices in Sevenoaks and Faversham. David Armstrong, Area Managing Director, commented, “It’s just over three years since Towergate undertook an essential financial restructure but it feels like decades ago. The business has come so far since then and everything now is

about local business growth achieved by doing what we do best. Looking after businesses, big and small, across the county. Using our experience, depth of resource and considerable insurer relationships to provide old fashioned good advice, service and of course insurance deals. In David, James and Andy we have added three great players to an already fantastic team of 80 insurance professionals”. Indeed a lot has happened in three years. Now part of the growing Ardonagh Group, the local broking business has seen considerable investment in technology,

Patron News

marketing, training and insurer relationships. The group’s investment in broking capabilities in London have strengthened Lloyds ties and developments, such as their own online risk management offering for Health & Safety, have further enhanced what they can offer. On joining Towergate, new player, David Sedgeley adds, “when you move to a new company you want to know that you have something tangible to sell, a strong story to tell. In Towergate we feel we have found that. The experience in the two offices is incredible and it’s clear that clients are at the heart

of everything they do. In sales you want to know that the company has a passion for growth and again it is clear that David and the team have exactly that. Towergate are now in their second year as Patron Partners with KICC and continue to build relationships and offer support to the county’s business community. Area MD David adds, “risks to business continue to evolve and it’s our role to guide owners through the risk maze. These won’t be our last three signings. We will continue to add good people to the team to enable us to protect as many of Kent’s businesses as we can.”

HMRC require businesses to report on VAT evaders We are seeing an interesting change in how HMRC tackles VAT evasion and it involves getting other businesses to report on those who are not complying with VAT rules. Overseas sellers have historically sold goods on online marketplaces without paying any VAT. The VAT law requires them to register, but few of them did and no sooner had HMRC identified them, they would disappear and return in another guise.

With huge and rapid growth in online marketplaces, HMRC estimated that the VAT loss was as much as £1bn every year. Not accounting for VAT on their sales gave these overseas sellers a sizeable price

advantage over UK businesses who did register for VAT. How could HMRC put a stop to it?

HMRC started by introducing a package of measures including holding the online marketplace jointly liable for the VAT, requiring the marketplaces to carry out due diligence on new sellers and to report to HMRC when they remove a seller who hasn’t met their VAT obligations from their marketplace. This was a massive shift towards forcing online marketplaces to monitor and police their sellers and it led to a ten-fold increase in VAT registration applications from overseas sellers in 2016. Not content with this, in April 2018 HMRC asked online marketplaces to sign up to a public agreement requiring them to provide data about overseas sellers to HMRC which will allow HMRC to identify individual sellers, calculate the value and volume of their UK sales and contact them.

This agreement shows how much public attitude to tax avoidance and evasion has changed in the UK in the last 20 or so years. The public now expects businesses to show much greater corporate social responsibility in their activities and we can monitor and check that businesses are doing what they claim to be doing. For example, larger businesses must publish their tax policy for public scrutiny.

I think we will see more of these kinds of agreement in different areas of business in the future. Certainly, UK businesses who have been cheated out of sales by overseas sellers avoiding UK tax, will welcome these moves as a step towards a level playing field.

Sue Rathmell, VAT Director MHA MacIntyre Hudson 03330 100 220

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Members News

Hospital announced as Kent’s Employer of the Year KIMS Hospital, the largest independent hospital in Kent, has been awarded Employer of the Year 2018 by the Kent Excellence in Business Awards (KEiBA).

Agreement – harmony, accord, consensus Doing business is all about agreement - the price, delivery date, quality, components. Get the agreements right - everybody wins - get them wrong, no one does. Don’t hope for the best and perhaps have to deal with the worst - get expert advice at the right time regarding your contracts, terms and conditions and agency agreements. Whitehead Monckton’s Commercial Team can provide you with expert advice and support so contact us today.

Tel: 01622 698047 E-mail Whitehead Monckton Limited (no. 08366029), registered in England & Wales. Registered office 72 King Street, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1BL. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under no. 608279. TB 8/18


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Left to Right: Claire Traverse, Nicola Provan, Emma Humphreys, Jackie Groom, Mark Griffiths, Ros Daitshell, Amy Harwood, Laurel Neame, Madeleine Greenhalgh.

The hospital won the award following strong competition in the category, with the highest standard of entries ever received in the ten years the KEiBA Awards have been running. Simon James, CEO of KIMS Hospital, said: “Winning this award after just four years of business is no small feat and is a great credit to the brilliant team we have here at KIMS Hospital. “We have all worked hard to make KIMS Hospital a great place to work and to feel inspired to continue to provide safe, outstanding quality care for our patients. “One of many initiatives that supports this is KIMS Voice, our staff forum, where a group of team representatives from across the hospital meet on a monthly basis and help to have their say about how we run our hospital.”

Since KIMS Hospital opened in 2014, the whole hospital teamhas worked tirelessly to create ‘a great place to work’ and staff engagement scored 98% in a recent survey.

Andrew Masters, Category Judge and Partner and Head of Employment, Furley Page Solicitors, said: “We are delighted to have chosen KIMS Hospital as the winners of the Employer of the Year Award. They demonstrated numerous initiatives and policies they have in place to deliver and monitor their workforce’s training and development, health and safety and general wellbeing and how these strategies directly benefit the business. “As we walked around the hospital we could instantly see the value the hospital puts on its people and the pleasure the whole team takes in caring for their patients.”

Peter Ducker FIH, Chief Executive, Robert Richardson FIH, General Manager – The Grand, Planday, Magda Bonar, Sales Manager – The Grand, Robin Todd, Reception Supervisor – The Grand

This year’s event was held at the Park Plaza, Westminster, and The Grand, Folkestone was shortlisted for the Best Student Placement Award for its work with students at The Folkestone Academy where Robert Richardson, Grand General Manager, is the voluntary Careers & Enterprise Advisor. The award was won by PPHE Group with The Ritz, London highly commended. The final award of the night was the Judges’ Special Achievement Award which was jointly awarded to

Double accolade for Folkestone hotel

A Kent hotel had double reason to celebrate at the Institute of Hospitality annual awards for hotel and hospitality professionals and businesses globally.

Robert Richardson FIH and The Grand, Folkestone. Peter Ducker FIH, Chief Executive of the Institute, said: “The Grand Folkstone’s general manager Robert Richardson has demonstrated tireless energy and determination to support colleagues, using creative and inspiring methods to attract and retain an engaged and enthusiastic team, despite not having the funds and support of a big brand behind him.” Robert said: “I am beyond amazed to bring one of the top international industry awards back to Folkestone.

I am so proud of the work that my team and I have done both in The Grand and for our community and am grateful that our efforts have been recognised by the peers of our industry at such a high profile and meaningful event. “Proud, humbled and excited is the best way I can describe how it felt for myself and my team to win the Judges’ Special Achievement Award. This quite amazing accolade, in what is quite an amazing year, really does mean something special.”

Bedfont Scientific Ltd named Technology Business of the Year

Now in its 10th year, the awards ceremony recognises the achievements of businesses in Kent, with the ceremony being the biggest to date after a record-breaking 320-plus entries. Pete Kenyon, Partner at Cripps and Judge for the Technology Business of the Year category, said: “Bedfont impressed the judges on a number of levels. They have taken their knowledge of breath analysis and adapted their products to meet new needs in other medical fields as well as innovating

Family business Bedfont Scientific Ltd, a breath analysis medical device manufacturer, was recognised as Technology Business of the Year at the Kent Excellence in Business Awards 2018.

their products throughout the years to meet new demands and markets and to remain current with the everchanging technology landscape. “It is great to see a business in Kent so successfully penetrating global markets and I have no doubt their success story will have many new chapters to follow.” Jason Smith, Managing Director at Bedfont, said: “Winning Technology Business of the Year is truly a proud moment for the Bedfont Family.

“This year, we’ll have been in business for 42 years, and we’ve come such a long way and worked so hard to get breath analysis recognised. “According to the UK Business Survey, there are 10,930 businesses in Kent within the professional, scientific and technical sector so to be recognised as still among those at the forefront of medical technology and innovation is phenomenal.”

England Rugby star to headline Kent B2B Medway

Members News

Courses on offer

for use of washing equipment

Purple Rhino’s SoftWash Systems Ltd was formed in December 2016 by Darran Smith, who is a lifelong entrepreneur.

The company, which is based in Ashford, offers specialised SoftWashing equipment, training and chemicals to many exterior building cleaning companies throughout the UK. The training courses they offer are usually held at conference centres and they recently held one at Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce in Ashford. The names of the Courses are Discover SoftWash, Sales Bootcamp and The Tide Rises. Their SoftWashing equipment is designed to replace the use of pressure washers, which are often noisy, harsh and use too much water. SoftWashing a building uses less than a quarter the amount used by a pressure washer. The main advantage of having a building cleaned with SoftWashing Equipment is the clean will last four to six times longer than pressure washing. The training on offer is ideal for anyone who wants to start an exterior cleaning business.

For further information please take a look at our website

Medway-native and England World Cup winner, Rachael Burford, will share stories from an illustrious sporting career at Kent B2B Medway in September.

Since first picking up a ball at the age of six, Rachael has gone on to play on the winning teams at the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2014 and the Women’s Six Nations in 2017.

Delegates can enjoy hearing her highlights from playing rugby locally to enjoying international success. Kent B2B Medway returns to The Historic Dockyard Chatham on Thursday 20 September 2018.

The Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce event takes place in one of the maritime site’s iconic covered ship building slipways, No. 3 Slip: The Big Space. Once again, Medway’s biggest B2B event, will bring businesses together from across Kent and Medway.

Jo James, Chief Executive of Kent Invicta Chamber, said: “We are really looking forward to welcoming Rachael to speak at Kent B2B Medway. It is fantastic to hear how this Medway local has gone on to enjoy remarkable success, while still giving back to her local area. “With the great line up and impressive venue, we think this year’s show will have the wow factor. It’s also a great opportunity to network, catch up on what’s new in the county, share updates and learn new skills.” Born in Chatham to a family of rugby enthusiasts, Rachael’s roots are very much in Medway. She is as active locally as she is internationally, working closely with Kent rugby clubs to develop the next generation. Rachael has also set

up the Burford Academy, which helps young girls gain confidence on and off the rugby pitch in Kent and the surrounding counties. Digital heavyweights, Sleeping Giant Media will be returning to Kent B2B Medway to host social media and digital marketing workshops. CEO Luke Quilter and Creative Lead Danny Windsor will be sharing their insight into how businesses can market themselves online and why it is important to be honest on social media. Medway Council, the headline sponsor for the event, is celebrating its 20th birthday this year. To celebrate this anniversary a large focus of Kent B2B Medway will be dedicated to business success in the area over the past two decades.

The event is free to attend, delegates can book their place at Thinking Business


Members News

Biddenden Vineyards Awarded Family Business of the Year

Biddenden Vineyards, Kent’s original commercial vineyard, was awarded ‘Family Business of the Year’ at this year’s Kent Excellence in Business Awards (KEiBA). The vineyard is owned and managed independently by the second and third generation of the Barnes family and will next year be celebrating its 50th anniversary. KEiBA is an annual awards run by KM Media Group & Kent County Council to recognise and reward excellence in Kent’s businesses. The winners were announced at the KEiBA awards on Thursday 21st June, held at the Kent Event Centre, and Julian, Sally, Tom, Sam and Will Barnes all attended to receive the award. Julian Barnes, Managing Director, said “We feel honoured to have been the first business to receive this award in Kent. It is an exciting time at Biddenden and family is key to the continued growth of the business. As anyone with a family business will know, a lot of hours, hard work and determination is involved and to be recognised for this by KEiBA is extremely rewarding.”

A full list of winners can be found at

UK CEO David McGuire and his team have been building a portfolio of care services in the UK since 2009, working to transform lives of vulnerable children and adults through adoption and fostering services and residential care for young people, adults with learning disabilities and the elderly. More recently, Diagrama launched a training provision United Safe Care – with fully regulated first aid and Home


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Council highly commended in national housing award Ashford Borough Council’s work in the housing sector continues to earn national recognition, with the authority highly commended in the Housing Heroes Awards.

The council was one of six finalists in the category of Development or Maintenance Team of the Year for organisations with under 15,000 properties, in the annual awards jointly organised by Inside Housing and the Chartered Institute of Housing. Its five-strong project delivery team has been supported by officers from across the housing, finance and property departments and projects delivered over the past twelve months include Farrow Court. Built, owned and run by the council, the 104-home dementia-friendly centre is a recognition of the need to make special provision for the needs of an ageing population; by 2026 it’s anticipated that around 40% of the residents of the Ashford borough will be aged over 50. Also delivered was Noakes Meadow, the first wheelchairuser-friendly bungalow constructed by Ashford Borough Council and contractors DCB Kent.

Occupational therapists have commented that it should be the blueprint for the type of bespoke wheelchair-friendly accommodation that ought to be built across the UK. Ashford Borough Council also made the finals of two other national awards this summer, prompting Cllr Gerald White, the authority’s portfolio holder

for housing, to praise the housing team. He said: “Only the very best make it through to the finals of these prestigious schemes and this success reflects the council’s vision to deliver quality housing and homes for all at a time when local government finances are under pressure as never before.”

Medway charity sets sights on bid for new secure school

Medway charity and new Chamber member Diagrama Foundation is setting its sights on moving into the secure sector with a bid for a major new pilot project.

Office-approved personal safety courses to upskill and empower vulnerable people as well as serve the needs of the business community. The charity emerged some 30 years ago when a young Francisco (Paco) Legaz opened up his own home to keep several young offenders he had been supporting, off the streets of Madrid and out of trouble. He helped them access care and education, affording each

one with second chance in life. With a passion to bring about positive changes, Paco established ‘Fundación Diagrama’ and within a few years the ambitious Chairman opened the charity’s first secure ‘reeducational centre’ for young offenders in Murcia. Diagrama now runs the majority of youth custody services in Spain, achieving a low reoffending rate (22% v 68% in the UK). The charity, with operations in

five countries, has earned consultative status to the UN with its unique model based on social education, a nurturing approach and setting firm boundaries. It is now working on its most ambitious project yet – to revolutionise the youth custodial estate in the UK, starting with a bid to run a new secure school heavily mooted to open in the South East within five years. Applications for bidding are due to open in the autumn.

Kent business pledges to help the homeless Local medical device manufacturer Bedfont has chosen Porchlight to be their Charity of the Year.

On Friday 22nd June, the company held a small launch to kick off the fundraising year and reached £75 in one hour alone, making a promising start to their target of £3,000 for the year.

The event consisted of a small company picnic with the chance to buy cupcakes and pay to enter miniature competitions, plus a visit from Kate Boulding, Corporate Partnerships Manager at Porchlight, and Alan, someone who had personally been

helped by the Charity. Porchlight, based in Ashford, help people from all walks of life with all types of problems and abilities / disabilities by offering shelter, counselling, advice, skills and more, including a focus on mental health. With a particular focus on helping the homeless, the charity aims to help people solve their issues and overcome their obstacles so that they may live to their full potential. Jason Smith, Managing Director at Bedfont, said: ”We have some great fundraising events planned throughout the year and I’m pleased that all proceeds will go to Porchlight to help the homeless around Kent. It was truly an eye-opener to hear Alan’s story and I’m glad that our fundraising efforts will be helping more people get back on their feet.”

Here for you

Birthday celebrations

boosted by awards Ashford’s leading independent garage is firing on all cylinders after award successes.

D&D Autos, based in Moat Way, Orbital Park, Ashford, was named Best Large Garage of the Year at the Automechanika Birmingham Garage of the Year awards ceremony. And in a separate success, the family business’s senior diagnostic technician Matthew Pestridge, the son of garage owner Derek Pestridge, has been named as one of the top five technicians in the country following a series of gruelling practical tests. Matthew and Derek attended the Automechanika Birmingham awards ceremony to collect the Best Large Garage trophy, presented by TV presenter Fuzz Townshend. D&D Autos operations manager Lorraine Fuller said: “We entered the competition last year and made it to the top ten and we were very pleased to come away with the trophy this year. It reflects the hard work of each and every member of the team and the customer service that underpins what we do.” Matthew narrowly missed out on being named Top

Members News

Technician 2018 after a nationwide competition that saw five finalists undergo a series of fault-finding challenges. Almost 1,000 technicians took the initial online test before being whittled down to a top five, whose skills were assessed by a team of industry experts. Lorraine said: “We are all delighted at how well Matthew has done. We were impressed when he made it through to the top five, but to finish as runner-up is remarkable.” One person who was quick to add his congratulations was Dr Paul White, who has been a D&D Autos customer ever since the business was set up by founder Derek Pestridge in Victoria Road, Ashford, in 1983. He popped in to share a 35th birthday cup cake with Lorraine and Derek. The former GP, who now lives in Rye, has taken all his vehicles to D&D Autos and said: “When you need your car looked after it’s important to find a garage you can trust – and once you’ve found it, you should stick to it. I’m delighted to wish D&D a very happy 35th birthday and to congratulate Matthew on his success.”

Heart of Kent Hospice is an independent charity based in Aylesford.

We are here to support everyone living with a terminal illness in our community and their loved ones; to enable them to achieve the best quality of life. In 2017-18 we supported more than 1,400 people in our community; people who could be your suppliers, your colleagues and even your customers. We are committed to building strong relationships with our local business community and we would welcome conversations to discuss how your company can support us - which will be rewarding, engaging and a fun experience. Through our partnership approach we endeavour to engage with your employees, through a combination of events, challenges and presentations. Rob Young, Managing Director of supporter Infinity Group, said: “The Infinity Group chose Heart of Kent Hospice as our charity for 2018. Having seen the hospice

and speaking to the patients and their families, we know our fundraising efforts would help to make a real difference to people’s lives. We look forward to raising as much money as possible for them during the partnership this year,” One of the many exciting ways in which your company can support us, is to enter a team of four into our annual golf day on the 7th September at Chart Hills Golf Club. This event is a great way to entertain your important clients or thank your colleagues for all their hand work. For more information on this event visit charity-golf-day-2018 Find out how your company can help support more people in our community, and how we can help you deliver on some of your own organisational priorities. Contact Claire Whybrew, Corporate Partnership Manager on for more information. Thinking Business


Big Interview

A simple idea that is transforming power management

The rapid growth in renewable energy is widely seen as good news for the planet but it may not be such good news for your plant. “The powerPerfector is effectively a giant universal adaptor for your whole energy supply, delivering a precise voltage and cleaning up unwanted power quality issues.� 16

Thinking Business

That is the warning from Nick Phillips, Sales Manager of Intelligent Energy Saving Company (iESCo), who works with a range of organisations nationwide to improve their energy efficiency.

The problem, says Nick, is that renewable technologies introduce a wide range of power voltages to the Grid and the resulting inconsistencies caused by spikes and sudden reductions in supply create wastage and pose problems to businesses connected to the National Grid.

Nick, who is based in Canterbury, said: “Two thirds of all new global power generation in 2016 was produced by renewable sources, which is a great indicator that renewables are fast becoming the cheapest form of energy in many parts of the world. “This is a great achievement and a real reason to feel positive about how the world is adapting to the requirement of a low carbon economy. However, the rapid uptake in renewables has caused a headache for the National Grid, who must now balance multiple forms of generation in real time. It is a problem around the world as well.”

Another problem, he says, is a historic one; many people are still unaware that the UK voltage of 240V is too high for most equipment – they just switch on the power and think no more about it – but over-voltage leads to energy wastage and reduced equipment lifespan and it is the UK consumer who pays for those losses. “As an example, there is no greater torque from a motor when running it at 240V. It remains operational but the higher voltage will lead to a saturated magnetic core, leading to heat loss and wasted energy. LED drivers are particularly sensitive to over-voltage which reduces their life considerably.

“It has been difficult for the Grid to turn down the voltage due to the way our Grid was designed. Voltage levels are a bit like water pressure from your garden hose; the pressure drops over distance, so if you turn down the voltage at the point of generation, the voltage at the farthest point of the network may fall below the minimum permissible voltage level of 207V. “The voltage remains high to keep the network operational so there is a gap between the

Big Interview optimum voltage for equipment and the voltage that is provided. Now add into that the inconsistent supply from renewable energies and you have a problem.”

What was needed to tackle both problems was a device that can equalise voltage, which is why iESCo developed powerPerfector technologies, which act as an adaptor to level out power output and reduce wastage.

iESCo’s powerPerfector iQ, which is based on technology created in Japan in the 1990s, bridges the gap between the raw power from the networks and the ideal level for a building’s equipment, allowing for a much smoother regulation.

Nick said that a one-off installation generates an average 8% reduction in energy bills and allows considerable extensions to the lifespan of electrical equipment.

He said: “The powerPerfector is effectively a giant universal adaptor for your whole energy supply, delivering a precise voltage and cleaning up unwanted power quality issues.”

Many Kent organisations already have powerPerfector units installed, including Dover Castle, Canterbury City Council, Kent City Council and Canterbury College.

The technology has also been widely rolled out to supermarket chains, hotel chains and half of all UK Local Authorities.

Nick, who has worked with green technology for nine years, said: “The powerPerfector iQ is an evolution in voltage management. It is the fastest and most accurate form of voltage control available with response times of under 0.5 seconds and the ability to boost voltages by up to 15.%.

“The technology is something that has never been available to buildings anywhere in the world before.

“iESCo can provide a stable voltage output on all three phases within 0.1V of the desired level. This ability greatly boosts the opportunity for energy savings and provides much needed protection from the growing voltage volatility caused by the boom in renewables.

”The technology is so effective that the National Grid have been investigating its potential for assisting with wider grid stability.

“The powerPerfector iQ recently passed an RFQ from the National Grid who were looking for equipment that could help them to balance network power. The astonishing thing about our inclusion in such schemes is that we are the only people who can turn power up and down without actually turning anything on or off. “iESCo have effectively invented a volume control for your building’s power supply.” The company is also talking to UK Power Networks, which owns and maintains more than 180,000 kilometres of electricity circuits and nearly 120,000 transformers, which they use to distribute electricity to customers across an area of almost 29,000 square kilometres. Nick sees major international applications, too, and the company is talking to companies in countries including India, Malaysia and South Africa where the key problem is providing a reliable power supply. He said: “It is not just the UK and other 240V grid systems that have the opportunity for savings via the powerPerfector iQ; the opportunity for us is very much global. “The rise of renewables is causing Grid operators headaches all around the world. The live balancing of multiple power sources leads to the widespread increase in voltage levels. “Switching between these sources causes frequent transient spikes which cause nuisance tripping at best and equipment damage at worst. “The demand for this sort of technology is growing. It is a simple concept delivered by complex technology. “There is also great potential internationally for our technology. For example, we were recently invited by the Carbon Trust to present our technology to a delegation of Manufacturers in New Dehli. There was great interest because motors are constantly being refurbished due to damaging transient power spikes from the Grid. “A huge amount of R+D has gone into making this product possible so we are extremely pleased that the iQ is delivering such great results.”

“Our 100th installation was at the Poppy Fields Pub in Maidstone. We continue to use this technology as a standard fitting into all our new builds.”

Andy Kershaw Head of Group Facilities & Taverns Projects Marstons Inns

“In addition to the energy savings, we have noticed a marked improvement in the longevity of our lighting. The powerPerfector project at our Eastbourne site was selected for a global EHS excellence award within the company. Nick and the IESCO team have been knowledgeable and professional throughout. We are now looking into further projects with IESCO.”

Gary Reynolds Senior Facilities Engineer Technical Operations Europe TEVA Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd.

“Whitbread have installed powerPerfector technology into 125 buildings over the last 18 months. We are happy with the results and continue to work closely with the IESCO team.”

Matt Dolan Energy Manager Premier Inn & Restaurants UK Whitbread

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Kent offers attractive proposition for investors

When looking to attract top businesses, it is vital to understand what makes them tick when it comes to premises, location and quality.

Companies want state-of-the-art workspaces that provide access to the latest technologies, excellent transport links and opportunities to collaborate with like-minded businesses. These requirements are not just for their current workforce, but a key attractor for the best talent now and in the future. Kent has all of this, in abundance.

Kent and Medway’s business parks, development land, offices and industrial spaces, offer businesses, both from Kent and around the UK, some of the best commercial properties in the country at the fraction of the price. These commercial spaces are up to 60% cheaper than London and 15% lower than the rest of the

South East, making it a really attractive proposition for investors. Take the state-of-the art Connect 38 in Ashford, the first building to be launched on the Ashford Commercial Quarter and the largest office block to be constructed in Kent for twenty years. Responding to the needs of the market, the development is in close proximity to Ashford International station meaning that you have unrivalled access to both London and mainland Europe, as well attracting some of the most skilled workers in the county and beyond. It is set to become a focal point for the town and an attractive proposition for ambitious businesses to collaborate and grow.

Kent makes business sense

Property Sector Focus

Image courtesy of Quinn Estates

And it is not just large businesses and developments that have seen an increase in investment in Kent. We have seen a real increase in start-ups, particularly in the technology and creative space looking to Kent as an obvious place to set up operations. Why would you go to places like Silicon Roundabout in London when Kent offers much of the same opportunities and facilities at a more affordable price point? Improved internet connectivity, more flexible working practices and the outstanding quality of life in Kent means that areas like Margate, Canterbury, Folkestone and Medway are becoming hives of innovation and creativity,

with businesses feeding off each other, whilst still a stone’s throw from the capital. A positive workplace culture and work-life balance are key to the next generation of workers, meaning that Kent’s offering is going to continue to be in demand well into the future. Locate in Kent’s ground-breaking and European first, GIS property search tool, can help you find the best location for your business needs. Offering prospective tenants and buyers in-depth data about the area, its workforce and available commercial property means that prospective investment in an area is an informed choice.

Find the right commercial property for your business Locate in Kent’s property search tool takes business relocation and site selection to a new level. In addition to displaying vacant land and property, the tool provides information about the area’s demographics, workforce skills, salary levels, infrastructure, local suppliers, competitors, educational offerings and more, helping you make a well-informed decision about where to base your business.

To use our property portal visit:

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Property Sector Focus

The statistics reveal that work started on 10,720 new homes across the LEP area, with 12,330 completions recorded, continuing the upward trend seen across the region in recent years. Broken down by county, the figures show: • East Sussex - 1,090 completions and the same number of starts • Essex - 5,190 completions and 4,690 starts • Kent and Medway - 6,080 completions and 4,990 starts Christian Brodie, Chair of SELEP, said the figures reflected the hard work and innovation of all those involved in house building across the region. He said: “The LEP has worked alongside a number of partners to help create an environment in which developers can get on with the important business of getting spades in the ground and delivering the new homes that are essential to the region’s growth and economic prospects.

Telephone: 01474 537733


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Accelerating delivery of new homes built across the South East

Newly-published government figures show that more than 12,000 new homes were completed in the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) area in the 12 months to March, with work starting on almost 11,000 homes – more than in any other region outside of London.

“We are the only LEP in the country with Housing Business Ready status, and we have helped introduce Planning Protocols across the area which see local authorities and developers working together in the pre-application and application stages to overcome the complexities of the planning system which can hold back developments.”

Christian said that SELEP had supported existing developer groups and pioneered the introduction of new ones for each of its three counties, whose Chairs, facilitated by SELEP, now meet each other regularly to exchange ideas and information and share best practice. He added: “We are also at the forefront of the Government’s Garden Communities programme, with five sites in our area including Otterpool Park, Dunton Garden Suburb and Gilston Garden Town, and work well under way at Ebbsfleet in Kent.

Head Office: James Pilcher House, 49/50 Windmill Street, Gravesend, Kent DA12 1BG

“In North Essex, for the first time three local authorities have come together to write a common section for their local plans that could see 43,000 homes built in three individual communities. “These projects are about placemaking, creating employment, skills and a quality of environment to serve a growing population.

“Under the Garden Communities programme, we have the largest number of planned homes officially recognised by Government and a proven ambition to plan holistically and support new communities with the necessary infrastructure.” The LEP is also working on iConstruct, a business-led project expected to launch in January and which will aim to drive change in the construction industry to bring innovative new approaches to the sector, tackle the skills shortage it is experiencing, promote the benefits of new offsite methods of construction and encourage smaller builders to grow their businesses.

Nick Fenton, Chair of the SELEP Housing and Development Group and Chair of Kent Developers Group, said: “Construction projects across the South East are proceeding at a pace which has undoubtedly been assisted by the sharing of experiences and knowledge from across the LEP region.

“With challenging Government housing targets to meet, strategic thinking and a collaborative approach is essential. The cross-LEP working groups, the protocols agreed by developers and local authorities, and the support to meet the challenge to accelerate housing delivery are all fundamental to the progress being made in getting completed new homes to market here in Essex, East Sussex and Kent. “We are pleased to see these efforts reflected in the latest figures and look forward to continuing to nourish these important public-private forums, which are so vital to the local success of the sector.”

Commercial sales & lettings Commercial management Investment consultancy Valuations & professional services Building consultancy Residential & student lettings & management Residential block management Commercial property insurance and finance

Property Sector Focus The self-storage and trade counter market has also returned - the former finally putting behind it the recession-driven reluctance to move beyond the M25.

Property market update produces a mixed bag

Mark Coxon, head of commercial agency and one of the authors of the 2017 Kent Property Market Report, shares an update

Industrial sector

Land values, industrial rents and investment yields have seen the greatest increase in the past 18¬24 months, which when compared with prerecession 2008 are now higher or have hardened. The amount of money invested into the sector by overseas investors and UK pension funds is at a hiatus. Yields on multi-let industrial estates are now reaching 4%, the lowest they have been. Single let sheds are seeing yields in the order of 5%, the disparity due to the risk in taking on one single asset. What is true in Kent and throughout the South East, is the lack of stock to invest in. Investors have nowhere to put their money if they do sell, and add to that a lack of development over the past 10 years the result is little availability.

Industrial land values

The lack of land to actually build on in Kent has not stopped land values rising to a level not seen before. In Dartford, for example, land values are now at £1.5m per acre; further east Rochester is now £650,000 per acre. Sittingbourne has lagged behind, trading at £450,000 per acre, a 10% increase over the past six-months, but is seen as good value. Nearer the M25, Sevenoaks is at £1.5m per acre. East Kent has seen little increase due to relative lack of occupational demand. Existing stock in the county has eroded with increased pre-let activity. The London Medway Park in Rochester has let more than 600,000 sq. ft. over the past two years. In Belvedere, speculative construction is currently evident with over 200,000 sq. ft. within 3 buildings having recently been built.

The buoyant residential sector is crossing over and affecting the industrial market on deals from house builders acquiring sheds and land to store product for their modular home concepts. Berkeley Homes has purchased 10 acres in Northfleet to construct a modular build facility, and elsewhere in the county other similar developments are planned.

Office sector

The majority of office sector activity countywide is below 5,000 sq. ft. but Kings Hill and Crossways Business Park are seeing some demand for the larger floor plates. Gillingham Business Park has, for the first time in its history, been near to 100% let.

Business parks

Whilst Sevenoaks and Bromley are leading rental levels at £30 per sq. ft., centres such as Chatham Maritime are yet to see any significant lettings this year. The east of the county, in particular Ashford, has had a few successes with Ashford pre-letting an entire floor of the Quinn development-Connect 38 the first new town based office development in Kent for approximately 20 years. And the new owners of Discovery Park are in the process of applying for planning permission to extend the park. Some local towns are still struggling with substandard stock, although due to Permitted Development rights, much of this has been lost to residential.

Office investment

Due to lack of stock, there is little to report on the investment market. What has been on the market has required a strong occupational story to catch an investor's eye. Sadly Kent office investment does not always attract the major funds. The former Chambros House is under offer to the NHS with secure income off 7.5%; two offices at Eureka Business Park - 200 and

210 - are available at 8.6%; this follows the sale of Units 110 and 120 Trinity House to the London Borough of Bromley in April last year at 6.16%.


The high street always loses to out of town retail centres, but continues steadily, though fortunes are very much town specific. The latter are all performing well with very few voids. Most noticeable lettings include the St James Retail and Leisure Development in Dover where the Food Warehouse, part of the Iceland Group, have acquired. Most towns will be affected by an increase in stock with the recent host of Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs) and administrations, although these retailers have always picked good locations on the high street so re-letting may not be as much of a problem. There are few investment transactions, but high street retail is still reaching around 4% for good covenants and long leases.

Other sectors

Sectors including out of town retail, hotel, and the food and non-food sectors are all desperate for well-located sites. And local authorities are looking for sites to accommodate their D1 school requirements. Motor dealership sites are also difficult to come by, although Jardine's has just acquired 3.5 acre site for a new facility, fronting the A26 at Tonbridge. Funds and private equity companies still pile into emerging sectors, including accommodation for students. Canterbury Student Manor has been purchased by Deutsche Finance Ltd. And the Care Home sector has had success with Legal & General acquiring at Ledham Farm in Leeds Village. Caxtons hopes for a good and stable market for another 12-18 months, before one or two drawbridges are lifted following the UK's exit from Europe. But who knows what the Brexit effect will have!

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Cover Feature





current projects

foundation of Drees & Sommer

380.1 million euros group sales 2017


2,840 employees

offices worldwide


million euros operating result 2017


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Put less into your office t u o e r o m t Ge

If you work in commercial property management or construction, you will be well aware of the rapid developments in smart technology, building control and energy saving.

At GCL Building Technologies we use smart building technologies to reduce your ongoing maintenance costs and carbon footprint, with minimal capital investment. And at the same time, our ultra-fast, seamless network infrastructure can make your office more efficient and productive. l Structured IT Cabling l Building Management Systems l Cat5, Cat6, Cat7, Voice and Fibre Optic installation l Energy reduction & management, LED retro-fitting l Smart building technology l Security, fire safety, access control, HVAC installation l Electrical contracting

Whether you are working on a new building, or refurbishing populated offices, our experts will deliver outstanding cabling and electrical installations.


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energy savings l wifi networking structured cabling l electrical contracting Call us now on 020 3906 6070 or 01892 576 950, email us at, or visit to find out how smart building infrastructure can help you reduce your costs, and improve productivity.

construction Expert insurance solutions built for construction professionals

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Focused, practical construction advice

MPW is a Chartered Insurance Broker offering exclusive packages to developers, housebuilders, contractors and civil engineers. We can help you with:

Our top ranked team of specialist construction lawyers provide advice and support throughout your project, from procurement to completion. We deal with project documentation, provide project support to keep projects on track, and enable proactive and innovative resolution of any disputes.

Bespoke policy wordings

Performance bonds

Single projects

Building warranties

Substantial premium discounts available

Professional indemnity & collateral warranties

T 01322 623700 @pragmaticlawyer

For your free insurance audit contact our construction team directly at:

01622 683913

MPW Insurance Brokers Limited is part of Clear Insurance Management Ltd and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Here for you since 1570

The Great Hall, Kent College, Canterbury

HazleMcCormackYoung LLP/Chartered Architects/Canterbury/Dover/Tunbridge Wells/ Architecture/Interiors/Project Management/Masterplanning/Sustainability/Education/Healthcare/Workplace/ Stephen Coomber/ James Robson/ James Galpin/ David Hall/ Or visit

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Providing efficient & cost-effective solutions since 1964


EXPO to turn the


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focus on high performance in the construction industry As a unique collaboration between Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Kent County Council and Medway Council, this major annual event delivers a multi-track conference programme alongside the South East’s largest exhibition of construction suppliers, providing a unique opportunity for the industry to come together for an unmissable day of learning, networking and doing business. This year’s event is taking place on Thursday 4th October at the Kent Event Centre, Maidstone and the day kicks off with an inspirational keynote from Steve Backley, British Javelin Champion and three-time Olympic Medallist. Steve was one of Britain’s most consistent and popular athletes for more than a decade and established himself as one of the all-time greats of his sport, having been ranked in the world’s Top Ten in the javelin every year between 1989 and 2002. A constant member of the British athletics team, standing on podiums and setting world records, Steve is the only British track and field competitor to win medals at three different Olympic Games: Barcelona, Atlanta and Sydney. With a passion for performance still at the forefront of his mind, Steve now shares his time between helping business teams to develop a winning mindset (through his specialist training company BackleyBlack) and running a highly successful property investment company (Perform in Property), both in partnership with his fellow Olympian Roger Black.

Over the past ten years, Kent Construction EXPO has developed an enviable reputation as the South East’s most important gathering of construction professionals, contractors, and specialist suppliers. Book your free place now for access to this inspirational keynote and updates on all the latest opportunities in the construction industry, with free sessions covering BIM & Digital Construction, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Drones & Robotics, Smart Cities, Project Management, Procurement, Sustainability, Health & Safety, Skills Development, Diversity & Inclusion and Key Infrastructure Projects across the South East.

Full details and free registration at:

Construction sector fights back after tough winter

Preparations for the EXPO take place at a challenging time for the industry. Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that there was a slight rally in economic activity in May, with construction starting to recover from the harsh winter. According to the ONS, Britain’s factories and builders suffered a sharp contraction in the early stages of the year as bad weather kept them off sites. Construction growth decreased by 1.7% in the quarter, as some projects were suspended due to snow and ice in March. Overall, the figures showed that the UK manufacturing sector contracted by 1.2% in the three months to May, attributed to ‘weak exports’, and industrial production output (which includes energy and mining) dropped by 0.6% in the quarter. But the services sector grew by 0.4% during the quarter

and enjoyed a strong May thanks to the better weather. Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The latest GDP data confirms that there was a modest rally in economic activity over recent months but coming after the marked slowdown in the first quarter there is further confirmation that UK growth remains underwhelming. “The uptick in growth also masks a number of key concerns. The persistent imbalances in the UK economy remain, so while there was solid growth in the services sector, industrial production and construction sectors are adding little to overall growth. “While we still expect UK growth to have picked up in the second quarter as a whole, there remains little sign of a prolonged upswing in the UK’s growth trajectory. The current political and Brexit related uncertainty, as well as the failure to deal with longstanding issues such as weak productivity, are likely to weigh on economic activity over the near term.” To support construction, a new partnership between the Government and the industry has been announced by Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark. The Government is bringing together the construction, manufacturing, energy and digital sectors to deliver approaches that improve productivity in construction and accelerate a shift to buildings that are healthier, more affordable use less energy. Greg Clark said: “The construction industry is fundamental to growing our economy as we build to invest in our future. Major infrastructure

projects like HS2 and the commitment to deliver 1.5 million homes by 2022 mean that we need a construction sector that can drive innovation, delivering homes and infrastructure quicker. “As buildings account for around 30% of total emissions, we also want to ensure that we are at the global forefront in designing and building smart, energy efficient and affordable homes and buildings through the Clean Growth Grand Challenge, saving families money on their bills.” The Sector Deal is supported by the biggest government investment in construction for at least a decade and will drive economic growth and create well-paid highly-skilled jobs in every part of the UK. Andrew Wolstenholme, Co-Chair of the Construction Leadership Council, said: “Securing this deal sends out a statement about the vital contribution our sector makes to the country. Our industry builds the schools to educate the young, the hospitals to care for the sick, the police stations to keep us safe, the roads and railways that get us to work, the power stations that keep us warm and the homes we return to each day. We are an industry that must be at the forefront of the UK’s drive for future growth and prosperity – and I’m confident that this deal will help to achieve that. International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said: “British firms are at the forefront of innovation in the construction and infrastructure sector and the Government’s new Sector Deal will ensure that even more of our businesses have the confidence to do business in overseas countries.

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“With the global infrastructure market estimated to be worth $57 trillion by 2030, the opportunities are clearly there for our companies.” The Construction Sector Deal will deliver: • £420 million investment in smart construction through the use of digital building design, new manufacturing technologies and offsite manufacturing helping cut the time taken to deliver new build by 50% • cheaper energy bills for families and businesses – supporting Industrial Strategy mission to halve the energy use of new builds by 2030 • 25,000 construction apprenticeship starts and 1,000 Construction T Level placements by 2020 to help give young people the skills that industry needs – with £34m to scale up innovative training models across the country • improved global access to a $2.5 trillion export market – targeting the growing international infrastructure market that is set to grow by 70% in the years ahead.

West Kent College student charges ahead

Another of the challenges for the industry is how to attract more women to work in construction – a challenge that West Kent College is meeting head on. When discussing the issue of gender diversity in construction, it’s easy to focus on the depressing statistic that women only account for 11% of the construction workforce and forget how far the industry has come. In 2006, 6% of women in the construction industry held senior management positions. Today, this has risen to 16.7%, with 7% of that figure earning £75,000 per year. Progressive organisations, such as Tideway, the company building London’s super sewer, are making great strides in achieving gender parity, whilst acknowledging there is still a long way to go in tackling the issue. Their 400-strong team is 36% female and they were named in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2018. However, sexist attitudes unfortunately still prevail, and this puts many women off seeking employment in the sector. Amongst those determined to knock down the barriers and prejudices still lingering in the industry is Nadja Vleugel, 22, a student completing her Level 2 Diploma in Electrical Installation at West Kent College. Currently undertaking an electrical apprenticeship with Tonbridgebased Gilbert & Stamper, she is


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proof that women are every bit as competent, and often more so, than their male counterparts in the industry. Nadja said of her route to studying Electrical Installation: “My partner and I had often joked about how much a plumber earns, and I came to an open day at West Kent College with the intention of finding out more about trades as a whole. When I chatted to the lecturers here, I was advised to go down the Electrical Installation route, given my educational background.” Nadja’s was a fairly unusual educational background. Raised in the Netherlands, she later moved with her family to the United States, where she achieved her high school diploma. She then returned to The Netherlands to undertake her VWO exams (the Dutch equivalent of A-Levels). Nadja said: “I moved to the UK with the intention of studying midwifery after a gap year. This gap year never happened because Mike Lawrie, the College’s centre coordinator for Electrical Installation, sparked serious amounts of enthusiasm immediately. I also found myself weighing up the debt from a university degree, coupled withthe inherent stress and long hours associated with midwifery, which all served to cement my decision. “I’ve loved the course, particularly the theory and science element, and the tutors have been great.” When asked if she has encountered challenges in such a maledominated industry, she says, “I anticipated sexism in the industry, but it hasn’t been a huge issue. If it happens in the workplace, I don’t accept it. I think that when you’re on-site, it’s about how you carry yourself – with knowledge and confidence you quickly earn the respect of fellow employees and your gender becomes irrelevant. It’s about your ability to do the job and fostering colleagues’ trust in you.” Mike Lawrie, now her assessor at the College, is glowing in his praise of Nadja. He said: “Where she excels is her complete focus on her practical work. She carried out the practical installation component of her Unit 204 examination without error and the Inspection and

Nadja Vleugel

Testing component flawlessly, earning her a very well-deserved ‘Distinction’ grade.” As for the future, Nadja said: “I’m keen to get my qualifications and continue working for Gilbert & Stamper for some time, since they are a great, long-established company. I hope to eventually specialise in renewable energies and one day run my own company.” She is keen to dispel any fears in young women who may be considering the industry: “I’d like to emphasise to any girls out there that you don’t have to be a super-technical person to be able to learn a trade and an electrical installation qualification opens up such a variety of areas to specialise in.” For more information about West Kent College’s courses in Construction Crafts, Building Services and the Built Environment, visit: courses/construction-craft-andservices

Providing construction insurance

Maidstone-based MPW Insurance have continually served the construction industry for more than 30 years. Founded in 1986 as a specialist independent construction insurance brokerage, they have developed close and long-term relationships with major UK construction insurers and their senior underwriters and as a result, have developed enhanced insurance policy wordings and risk management solutions for the exclusive use of their clients. MPW work closely with trade associations, members include housebuilders, electrical contractors, roofing contractors and specialist underpinning and basement contractors offering them tailored insurance programmes and widest covers. It is vitally important the correct cover is in place and this can only be achieved by gaining a full understanding of the precise activities undertaken by the client, resulting in an insurance programme tailored to their needs and arranged at the best possible terms.

Their knowledge of the construction industry has assisted in developing a wide range of clients throughout the UK. Working closely with principals, developers, building contractors and professional service providers, their bespoke insurance packages include employer’s liability public liability, contractors all risks, performance bonds, special indemnities and building warranties for commercial and residential properties.

In addition to annually renewable policies, they regularly arrange single project insurance programmes on behalf of property owners, developers and contractors. Their experienced team of construction brokers have a close understanding of matters such as contract conditions, site procedures, construction methodology, health and safety issues and more.

NEC4, Collaboration and BIM

Chris Whittington Collaboration is currently prevalent in construction industry conversations following events including Grenfell and the demise of Carillion. The UK BIM Alliance has published a report on the legal and contractual barriers around BIM, identifying challenges influenced by many factors. These include an evolving documentation framework and varying standards of information definition and provision. Most contracts now make reference to BIM within their documentation and NEC4 arguably goes the furthest. NEC3 was known for its use of plain English and the phrase, ‘mutual trust and cooperation’. The courts took the phrase’s whereabouts in the contract to give it a broad meaning. The phrase is now NEC4s opening clause and there is debate over whether the move reduces its importance. Additionally, NEC4 now has an option dedicated to BIM and refers to BIM as ‘Information Modelling’. The aforementioned report reflects support for NEC’s use of the BIM terminology, but notes that standard contracts require reference to the 2013 CIC BIM Protocol. Given the changes since 2013, careful attention is needed to ensure the contract and associated documents work together. Moving forward, understanding rights and obligations is crucial. Contractual clarity is also important in relation to information access,

any wording on which documents take precedence and the impact of amendments on other aspects of the contract. Additionally, insurance must be correct, and there is merit in exploring Integrated Project Insurance if suitable. Contracts should increasingly be utilised as a daily management tool but collaborative working must be balanced against ensuring you do not leave yourself open to a claim. It, therefore, appears that contracts are moving in the right direction. Some, including NEC4, even significantly incorporate the language of collaboration into the contract itself. A pro-actively managed contract may be one way to achieve risk-control and collaboration. However, the contracts do seem to be playing catch-up in an evolving world and are just one aspect of a required change in culture. Chris Whittington is Construction Team Consultant for Thomson Snell & Passmore based at the firm's Thames Gateway office T: 01322 623700

‘Smash and Grab’ Adjudications – where are we now?

David Brown Smash and grab adjudications happen when the paying party fails to give either a payment notice or a pay less notice. If neither of these notices are given then the full amount applied for by the payee can be adjudicated even if it is not owed in a true valuation. Following the decision in ISG Construction Limited v Seevic College the importance of these adjudications increased because the Judge in that case found out where there had been a “smash and grab” adjudication, no crossadjudication on the true value of the interim payment was possible. So, payers had to wait until the final account before reclaiming any overpayment made at the final interim application. Fraser J said that the phrase ‘smash and grab’ was best avoided as the

parties are entitled to enforce the timing requirements under the Construction Act. However, Coulson J in Grove Developments Limited v S&T (UK) Limited has decided that the true value of interim payment applications can be adjudicated. An employer can start a second or counter-adjudication to dispute the true value of the works the contractor can claim for in an interim application for payment. The ISG case was not followed. The judgment contained six reasons for the decision and it is an important court decision on payment. Coulson J made clear that there is a need to make payment of the sum stated as due before adjudicating over the true value. However, the Judge also pointed out that in most cases starting a second adjudication on the true value would be inefficient and costly and the employer would still have to pay the sum stated as due in the interim application. If the employer can then resolve the over-valuation in the next interim payment, no second adjudication would be necessary. Opinion is divided as to whether the ‘smash and grab’ is now dead in the water because of the ability to counter-adjudicate over the true value, or whether because of the principle ‘pay now argue later’, said by Coulson J to still apply, payees still have some incentive to adjudicate where their interim payment applications have not been adequately responded to by way of a pay less or payment notice. Some adjudicators may now be encouraged to award the sums applied for knowing that payers will not be left out of pocket without remedy for long periods. If the result of this case is that it is more likely that only proper sums representing the true value of the works, rather than over stated amounts, will flow to the payee, then the payment and adjudication regime will have been strengthened. However, there is bound to be more adjudications and court cases dealing with new arguments raised by employers and contractors alike, to include how quickly the employer can start his own adjudication, if the paying party can only raise the question of the true value after it has paid, where does this leave the principle that a party can bring an adjudication at any time and without limitation? David Brown is a partner with Gullands Solicitors and can be contacted at T: 01622 689700


The David Munn

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Construction Academy

The Academy was set up to help small businesses in the sector become more successful. This is achieved by sharing the skills, knowledge and experience obtained through working in the industry for over 30 years.

Like most small businesses, the focus of activity is usually placed on the “what we do” to deliver the product or service. This is entirely natural. The job is what they do, what they know, and they just get on with it.

However, this is termed as working “in” the business as opposed to working “on” the business. The reality for most small businesses today is that they struggle. Indeed, many fail, because they lack the skills required to run and manage their business in an efficient and effective way.

This is where the Academy can help. During September, we are running a series of workshops, designed to equip small business

owners with the tools necessary to run and manage their business in a sustainable way.

These workshops cover all the basic elements of running a small business and will include topics such as:

• Procurement/pre qualifications

• Tendering

• Project Management

These topics may appear daunting however, the courses have been designed in a clear, easy to understand way, to ensure that by the end of the workshop, you have learned the key elements to put into practice in your business.

Please register online to participate in our workshops. If you require further details, please contact us.

We look forward to seeing you!

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Defying the Skills Shortage School’s out for summer!

Whether students are about to start their GCSEs or about to leave school and decide on their next steps, what lies beyond the summer holidays can be a little daunting. If, like many young people, higher education just doesn’t seem right, some might start looking for a job. But how do you find the right job without any previous experience? We believe a construction apprenticeship is the answer. Now in its second year of its new apprenticeship scheme, Walker Construction offers an award-winning programme with personalized support throughout student’s studies. On-site experience with a sitemanager mentor, coupled with studying at a nationally respected construction college and additional vocational training to enhance learning, makes the Walker Construction Apprenticeship Scheme unique. Among other benefits, Walker Construction offers an aboveaverage apprenticeship salary, a free and confidential counselling service, and team-building days to allow bonding with fellow apprenticeships and mentors before commencing study.

As a small but growing business with a family ethos, we are dedicated to providing personalized support to meet the goals and aspirations of all of our employees. Luke Chapman, winner of the National Federation of Builders Awards’ Apprentice of the Year, described his experience with the company in an interview for the NFB: “Walker Construction has been a very good company to work for. I’ve formed lots of good friendships on site and with the other apprentices. I feel that there is so much opportunity for me to progress here and learn new things. I also enjoy the team building days that Walker Construction put on for us; we recently took a trip to Go Ape which was awesome!” Despite its reputation as a ‘dead-end’ job, construction is a rapidly expanding industry with a multitude of diverse and interesting career paths to follow. In response to this rapid expansion and the resultant shortage of skilled workers,

Walker Construction is focused on training and inspiring bright new talent in the industry. Graduating from an apprenticeship with practical experience, vocational qualifications, and an NVQ, the possibilities for a Walker Construction Apprentice are limitless. Leading by example is our Director of Southern Construction, Martin Watts, who started his career with Walker Construction as an apprentice back in 1982. “I think the key to it is to get involved. Don’t stand back, get yourself stuck in, be reliable - that’s key for me. And primarily just want it. Want to be there and want to learn. Want that next step. Always be looking for an opportunity to move forward, don’t sit back and be complacent.


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There’s no reason why anyone can’t do it, at the end of the day. If you put the time and effort in, Walker Construction will reward you, support you, and get you the training you need.” – Advice for our current apprentices, from Martin Watts (Director of Southern Construction) It’s time for us to showcase the true potential of our industry. An industry that is clearly prepared for a dramatically different chapter. On one hand we have a generation determined to make a positive impact on their society, and an industry anxious for positive change. It’s the perfect match – we just need to make sure today’s teenagers know it!

Please call 01303 850186 or email for more information.

“Walker Construction has been a very good company to work for. I’ve formed lots of good friendships on site and with the other apprentices.”


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A fresh approach in Construction Management Red Key Concepts is a privately owned dynamic, professional Construction Management and Development company based in Kent but covering the whole South East of England. We pride ourselves on our 14 years of specialising in the project management techniques to oversee the planning, design and construction of projects from conception to delivery. We aim to take away the stresses and strains that come with construction projects by proactively managing the construction budget to deliver the project on time and to an exceptionally high standard.

The cost-effective and adaptive solutions we can offer for your projects and programmes continues to ensure that we provide you with the best service possible. We tailor the specific delivery system, project approach and pricing structure to fit each and every client and project needs, for successful project solutions and outcomes. Our in house buying team ensures packages and materials are

sourced and secured at the best possible price without compromising quality. Our open book policy ensures transparency between client, QS and contractor throughout the entire project which allows for changes and upgrades to be made without the client incurring unnecessary and often inflated costs. We are delighted to see our workload increase year on year. We, as the Directors are confident that this trend will continue on the back of our existing and secured workload which provides an enviable platform to allow for a sustained and manageable growth across both residential and commercial sectors. We believe that the success of a project is not based on a purely contractual relationship but is as much about dealing with personnel management maximising the performance of our supply chain. This ultimately benefits the project in terms of costs, efficiency and deliverability. Chris Gremo Director Charley Gremo-Gilham Director

For further information please feel free to call us on: 01227 639 030 or email: For regular updates on our ongoing projects and exciting job opportunities please visit:

Apprenticeships and Training delivered by Confused about Apprenticeships? We can help! Apprenticeships enable you to develop your workforce with the skills your company needs. Contact us for help with training your team of construction specialists.


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Do something differently or do some different things

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Our company has a world-class employee engagement score of 80%. We are a Sunday Times ‘Best Company to Work For’. We pride ourselves on our fair and inclusive employment practices. So why is it that just one in five of our employees are female, we have few women in leadership positions, and our 2016 stats show a significant gender pay gap? This was a question that I thought long and hard about when I was asked to lead Willmott Dixon’s gender diversity work at the beginning of 2016.

For a variety of reasons, construction has long been an industry that few girls and young women aspire to join. This means that we are fishing for new recruits from a disproportionately small pool of women in the first place. We are working with a number of organisations to address misconceptions and attract the next generation of young women – and men – into this fantastic and rewarding industry.

But there’s more to improving gender diversity than recruitment. As an industry we need to get better at retaining, developing and promoting the women we already employ.

Over the last couple of years, we have been looking at our business through a “gender lens”. We’ve carried out a huge company-wide engagement exercise, to try and understand the impact (good and bad) of our current workplace culture and practices. We’ve been raising awareness among our managers of the role that unconscious bias plays in everyone’s decision-making.

We’ve challenged the way we’ve always done things. And we’re making changes.

This is not box-ticking. And we’re not about to implement positive discrimination (something both men and women in our company feel very uncomfortable about – if you get a promotion, you need to know that you have earned it!). How have our people responded? Well, interestingly, the old-school die-hards are nowhere near as numerous as the industry stereotype might suggest. We are finding that male and female employees alike are benefitting from, and appreciating, more modern, flexible working practices. Many are actively involved in helping to improve gender diversity: construction people are practical people who like nothing better than a problem to solve! So we are now seeing a range of initiatives springing up in our local offices, which are designed to attract more women in the industry – such targeting careers events in girls’ schools and focussing work experience activities on young women. Our people are motivated because they understand the ‘why’.

Our industry faces a significant skills shortage – particularly in traditional construction roles. It makes sense to fish from as wide a pool of talent as possible. And working practices which recognise that people have lives outside of work are giving us the edge when it comes to recruiting good people.

With these opportunities come new roles – some we haven’t ever thought of – and a growing need for innovation. There is overwhelming evidence from across the globe that diverse teams are more agile, make better decisions and are better able to embrace change.

Our industry is changing. We are seeing exciting opportunities to develop and grow, through technologies like BIM, virtual reality and off-site manufacturing.

But our work on gender has started the conversation. It’s making us consciously competent. And it’s helping everyone to realise the benefits that difference can bring.

But it’s about more than just plugging the gaps. Our continued success is dependent on us embracing the diverse talents of people with a range of different life-experiences.

We know that we are only beginning our journey. Diversity is about much more than gender. It extends from protected characteristics (race, sexual orientation and disability, for example) all the way through to different thinking preferences.

Julia Barrett is Director of Re-Thinking, Willmott Dixon Sustainability Team.

A chemical engineer by background, she took the Green Leadership trophy at the 2017 Women in Construction awards. She is Chair of the Willmott Dixon Gender Diversity Steering Group.

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Get the best legal advice from Gullands’ Business Hub Gullands Solicitors offers a full range of legal services for businesses of all sizes under the umbrella of our recently expanded Business Hub. Experts in our field Don’t just take our word for it, both The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners give our solicitors and practice areas a great ranking. We will build up a detailed understanding of your business so we can tailor our advice for you. We are specialists in the fields of: • Shareholder and Partnership Agreements

• Employment Law

• Commercial Contracts

• Commercial Property Law

• Finance Documentation

• Construction Law

• Management Buy Outs

• Commercial and Management Disputes

• Company and Business Sales and Purchases • Business defence

• Charity Law

• Insolvency • Licensing

Whatever stage you are in the business cycle, contact us today to see how we can help you or call 01622 689700

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Taking an optimistic view of the construction sector

The Person behind the Business

There has been much debate recently about the health of the construction sector amid fears of a slowdown but talk to company owner Lee Hawkins and the conversation is an optimistic one.

Lee set up in business as a sole trader in Kent in 2008 and went limited two years later. Today, Hawden Associates is a successful firm of consulting engineers, specialising in mechanical, electrical and public health engineering. The company has been growing rapidly based on its expertise in designing systems for almost all sectors of the construction industry. Customers include developers building houses and flats in projects valued at up to £74 million and private clients who are building large one-off houses with build costs starting at £5 million for themselves. Lee, who is Managing Director, is not overly concerned about the recent slowdown in the sector, viewing it as a natural part of the industry’s cycle. He said: “The company has been growing rapidly since

becoming limited. In 2015-16 we grew 31%, 2016-17 it was 65% and 2017-18 has been 30%.

“I think that what we will see from now on for Hawden Associates is steadier growth.

“What has happened is that the construction industry came through the recession triggered by the financial crash in 2008 and companies became more confident and started borrowing and taking on people again and there was a boom.

“Now what we are seeing is a levelling out. There has been talk about the health of the industry and things have certainly been a bit flat in recent months but what we are seeing is something natural rather than something more serious.

“It is something that always happens to the construction industry as it recovers from a recession.

“From our point of view residential work has been growing but we have seen a slowdown in the commercial sector. “I was at a recent event when we were told that the Government wants to see 179,000 new houses built in the county by 2030 but that we are lagging behind. “There are challenges, I think. Some developers have been waiting for the county council’s planning framework to come out before they commit to projects. Commercial projects are affected by this, including education and leisure. “Also, some developers do not want to develop in some areas of the county because they perceive that they are too far from London. “The cheap land is available but the distance from London does put some developers off.” One of the encouraging things for Lee is the emergence of new village developments. A good example is the major new Chilmington Green

development near Ashford, on which Hawden Associates will be working.

The project will see several hundred homes delivered per year with the development providing local amenities including schools, shops, healthcare provision and sports and leisure facilities.

While Chilmington Green will not be a Garden City in terms of its size, it will reflect many of the design principles of the successful garden cities – treelined streets, a spacious layout with high quality public spaces and a strong local community.

Outline planning permission was granted early in 2017 with works on site already under way.

Lee said: “The problem for some towns is that they have been allowed to grow so that they have become sprawling masses.

“Now there is much more awareness of the need to create whole communities with services like schools and healthcare centres. Chilmington is a good example.”

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Join businesses across Medway to make positive, lasting changes in your local community. The Medway Corporate Giving Fund is a collective fund which pools donations from generous Medway businesses and organisations to help their local community, by coming together as members to have a say on which local causes to support. Corporate Social Responsibility is no longer an activity just for large, multinational corporations. Businesses and individuals of any size can play their part in effective local giving and supporting their community.

JOIN THE MEDWAY CORPORATE GIVING FUND 01303 814 500 Charity No: 1084361 Company No: 4088589





Are you compliant with GDPR? Do you need some help with putting together your required documents for the new GDPR regulations. We are working with SME’s to help them produce their Policies and Procedures and to save them time and give them piece of mind. Please contact us if we can be of service to you and your business, we would be very happy to work with you. CDDL can offer a full secure chain for your confidential

paper work. We can offer all types and sizes of containers or bags to securely hold the paper work and we offer scheduled or ad hoc collections to keep your security risk to a minimum. CDDL can handle all your I.T. secure destruction, we can collect, process and certify computers and hard drives to your requirements.

CDDL can offer one off archive collection and destruction, we can clear your office of the clutter you may have, and can offer support to organise and get ready all collections. CDDL can also offer archive storage to remove the pain of blocked cupboards and rooms with boxes of information poorly stored within your business.

If we can help with your confidential documents, please contact us on or Tel: 07798 923622


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Ask the Expert

Ask the Expert

Here Joanna Lush, Business Development Manager at Gx Glass, explores the areas to consider when specifying interior glass to ensure that it adds value to a project, and is fit for use. Glass is a low maintenance, hardwearing, cost effective and versatile material, with a huge range of colour and design options. As such, glass requirements can vary dramatically depending on its intended end-use - be it a splashback or cladding for a lift lobby. It is always advisable to talk to an expert about requirements for a project, as otherwise it can lead to challenges with the safety, lifecycle, and fitting of the glass.

Where is the product going to be used?

In the early planning stages, key decision makers should consider the installation location in relation to end use, visual requirements, budget and the lifecycle of the product; these factors will help to define the finish, thickness and suitability of the glass.

What to consider when specifying glass for Interiors

For instance, back painted glass is best for interior areas such as tea points and wall cladding as the paint is sealed against a wall and cannot be scratched or affected by direct UV light; whereas ceramic paints and coatings on glass are suitable for exteriors, or areas with high humidity. A popular product for splashbacks is satin finish glass, which can be challenging to keep clean without a protective coating, so within the context of the building’s lifecycle, there can prove to be a significant additional cleaning cost.

Is it safe?

From a safety perspective the aim should always be to reduce the risks of breakage or injury from broken or falling glass. Discussing where the glass will be used will identify what safety requirements are needed, such as toughening, which strengthens the glass and allows it to break safely, or laminating, which ensures the glass remains held in place should it break.

What are the access requirements?

Another commonly overlooked area is access requirements. If the size or weight of a piece of glass is not considered,

it may not be physically possible to get it into a building. Considering the transportation of glass at the design stage allows for it to be designed to suit the access requirements – typically by splitting the glass into manageable panels.

What is the environmental impact of the product?

Knowing where the glass comes from and how ‘green’ it is, has become a vital part of both commercial and residential design requirements. Glass is not only recyclable, but usually incorporates recycled material, called cullet, into the manufacturing process. This reduces both the energy and raw materials used within the supply chain. Most glass manufacturers use water-based paints that are low

in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). However, some still use solvent based paints which have much higher VOC levels, and are a contributing factor to air pollution; therefore, it is always worth looking into the product make-up, so you are fully aware of what environmental impact they have. Working with a manufacturer from the early stages of the design process greatly reduces the risk of challenges that can arise from incorrectly specifying a product, as well as providing access to specialist knowledge that manufacturers have of their own products. By considering these factors the resulting product will not only be aesthetically appealing, but also fit for purpose, and cost effective in both the short and long term.

Inspirational Glass Solutions

GX Glass manufactures, supplies and installs a range of at glass products designed to meet the needs of today’s interiors. 01233 642220 | |

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Members News


project Highly Commended in RICS awards

The work of Canterburybased Clague Architects, with BBC DIY SOS to design a home for a Kent family with four adopted children, three of whom have very complex and life-limiting medical conditions, has been Highly Commended in the 2018 RICS South East awards. The project in Brambledown on the Isle of Sheppey saw the demolition and rebuild of a dilapidated bungalow to meet the specific needs of the Kent family, making it the biggest ever project undertaken by the popular BBC television programme, led by presenter Nick Knowles. The project was entered into the Residential category of the RICS Awards which showcase the most inspirational initiatives and developments in land, property, construction and infrastructure, and celebrates their impact on local communities. Clague designed the home around the needs of the family. It included the installation of talking doors, a remote controlled toilet and winches to take the severely disabled youngsters from bathroom to bed. Tim Wolfe-Murray, Partner at Clague who accepted the Highly Commended certificate at the awards ceremony, said: “This has to be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling projects I’ve been involved with. “To have it recognised in this way by RICS makes it even more gratifying and reflects well not only on Clague, but also on all the partners and suppliers who came together to make it happen.”


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Businesses in Medway celebrate five years of charitable giving

The Medway Corporate Giving Fund, run by Kent Community Foundation (KCF), has been distributing grants to local grassroots charities in Medway for five years. During the past five years, in Medway alone, Kent Community Foundation has awarded more than £580,000 in grants to 162 projects with a predicted 13,700 beneficiaries. Charities that have benefited from funding through the Medway Corporate Giving Fund include; Medway Watersports Trust, Holding on Letting Go, Caring Hands in the Community, Café Sunlight CIC, HACO, Maidstone & Mid Kent Mind, All Saints Community Project and many more. The Medway Corporate Giving Fund brings together Medway businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals committed to supporting their local community. The aim of the Fund is to connect socially responsible local businesses with innovative projects making a real difference in the local community and helping those most in need. Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive at Kent Community Foundation, said: ”Corporate social responsibility is no longer an activity just for large, multinational corporations.

Businesses of any size can play their part in effective local giving and supporting their community. The Fund brings together local charities and business leaders in Medway to enable them to meet and encourage them to provide funding.” Ann A. West MBE JP DL, said: "As a long-term resident of Medway I am proud to be supporting the Medway Fund. It is a straightforward way for local businesses to give something back and to be more engaged and connected with their community." Each member makes an annual charitable donation to KCF, of between £1,000 - £2,500 which is pooled to create a collective fund. Twice a year, members come together via Kent Community Foundation to decide which local causes to support. Colin Jarvis, Chairman of Gillinghambased Power Generation firm MEMS, said, “The events provide great opportunities to meet with some brilliant local charities who are working hard within our community to make long-lasting, positive changes. I would encourage other Medway businesses to get involved

and see how they can help make a real difference.” Caroline Ford, Chief Executive of Holding On, Letting Go, said: “We received a very generous offer of funding which will help us to make a difference to the lives of children and young people in Medway who are struggling with their grief following the death of someone close to them. It was fantastic to be able to meet the people behind the funding and talk to them about our organisation, and specifically our work in Medway and what their donation means to us. It was also great to make links with other organisations working in the Medway community and explore ways in which we may be able to work together.” If you are a local Medway business or individual and would like to join the Medway Corporate Giving Fund to help make positive, lasting changes in your local community, please contact or to donate, please contact Kent Community Foundation on 01303 814500 or visit

Active Digital wins at the National Family Business Awards

Active Digital won two awards at the National Family Business Awards 2018, the UK and Ireland’s only awards dedicated to family businesses. The company collected the South-East region award in the ‘Technology & Innovation’ category as well as the national award for the same category, demonstrating the company as ‘best in class’ across the UK and Ireland. Managing Director Richard Groves said “To get shortlisted for the National Family Business Awards 2018

is fantastic but to win both the regional and the national award is an amazing achievement. “Being a family business for more than two decades, these awards mean a huge amount to us and we are thoroughly delighted. “None of this would be possible without the dedication of our hardworking employees and loyal customers, so I’d like to say a big thank you to them.” Founded in 1996, Active Digital has evolved to become a player in the business mobile communications sector. The brother and sister organisation now employees a team of more than twenty-five and has won multiple national and global awards over the past decade for customer experience, making them one of Telefonica O2’s most decorated partners in the UK.

Left to Right: Scooping the Regional and National Awards at Wembley Stadium, Active Digital’s Andrew Thomas, Finance Manager with Business Director, Jo Wimble-Groves

Left to Right: Jo Wimble-Groves, Active Digital Company Ambassador, Steve Backley OBE and Managing Director, Richard Groves.

Kent recycling company celebrates its 40th birthday

LKM has since survived the challenging economic conditions of the 1980s and 90s and is now a leading Total Waste Management provider in the UK with services including car recycling, general waste, wood, metal, cardboard, paper, glass and confidential destruction. The firm employs more than 70 people at its Sittingbourne and Chatham sites and has its eye on investing in further growth using technology and targeting local employment to drive its growth. Gary Eastwood, LKM’s founder,

One of the UK’s leading providers of waste management & recycling services, LKM Recycling in Sittingbourne in Kent, is celebrating its 40th year since its founder Gary Eastwood created the LKM brand in the late 1970’s. stays true to the company’s origins by ensuring that the company provides a great place to work, offers the highest quality of service and remains at the cutting edge of the recycling industry. The company also supports several local charities with employees being encouraged to take part in events to raise money for key local charities such as Demelza House. Ryan Eastwood the son of founder Gary Eastwood and now Managing Director of LKM Recycling said “I am extremely proud of what my Dad has built in terms of LKM and am thankful to all our employees who work hard to

Hythe Imperial owners complete purchase of The Marquis at Alkham

deliver our customers a great service. I am aware that I have taken on the responsibility for the next phase in our history and am very excited to see our ambitious growth plans in Kent progressing well”. The company has recently added a new line of business with confidential certified shredding which aims to give companies and households a guaranteed simple, secure way to dispose of paper, hard disks, credit cards and other items. For more information please go to

Darrell Healey, Chairman of Ashfordbased GSE Group, which has civil engineering and plant divisions and owns Ashford International Truckstop, said: “We are proud of what we have achieved with our recently-completed four-year refurbishment of the Hythe Imperial and believe the knowledge and expertise of the hotel and restaurant markets we have gained there makes the purchase of an established, high quality and fine dining venue such as The Marquis a

natural progression for the business.” The refurbishment and upgrading of the Hythe Imperial has seen its Coast restaurant gain an AA rosette, while its most recent AA inspection saw an improved rating of 82%, two up from last year’s report and close to the top of the band for four star hotels, which goes up to 84%. The Marquis will sit alongside the Hythe Imperial within GSE Group. Operations at both will be overseen by Executive Director Nick Gauntlett, who said: “The Marquis has an exceptional reputation and while it has a different character to the Hythe Imperial, we believe the two complement each other perfectly. “There will be no major changes to The Marquis. It is very much business as usual and we will

maintain the very high standards of service and quality its customers have come to expect.” Tony Marsden, out-going owner of The Marquis, said: “It is time for me to move on to new projects and challenges, but having invested so much time and effort in building the business up, I wanted to make sure I was leaving it in the right hands. “Having seen the exceptional job GSE Group has made of restoring the Hythe Imperial and the level of service and attention to detail on display at the hotel, I have no doubt that the team will treat The Marquis with the same love and care.”

Don’t simply make do and mend – Chips and Dinks it

With his powerful television series last year, Sir David Attenborough created the Blue Planet Effect This has helped to change our attitudes as consumers from being a throwaway society, to one that is far more focused on sustainability and preserving the planet for future generations. All very worthy, but things wear out and get damaged. As a conscious consumer, preserving the planet, do we need to settle for

Further farm infrastructure investment for AC Goatham & Son

AC Goatham & Son is investing in the expansion of its farm infrastructure with the construction of a new 12 chamber cold store at Howt Green Farm, near Sittingbourne.

The new cold store will be finished summer 2018 and further cold stores are planned including Swanton Farm, Bredgar, subject to planning approval.

GSE Group, owner of the Hythe Imperial, has completed the purchase of the five star Marquis at Alkham, between Dover and Folkestone.

The 200-year-old former village inn was converted into a luxury boutique hotel and a fine dining restaurant following a £1.5 million renovation in 2008. The restaurant holds two AA rosettes and has been listed in the Michelin Guide.

Members News

second best? Not if you employ Chamber Members Chips and Dinks. Set up in 2016 by husband and wife team Tony and Beverly Burke, Chips and Dinks provide businesses, landlords and homeowners with an onsite solution to any surface damage. Utilising nearly 40 years of experience Tony has been

able to develop processes that are sustainable and effective and can also repair cars, caravans and mobile homes. Tony said: “By reviving existing fixtures, fittings and hard surfaces, we eliminate waste and, therefore have an ecofriendly approach to repairs that prevents materials from ending up in landfills.”

There will be further investment into farm infrastructure and buildings taking place during 2018/19 at various farm locations, to provide new facilities for seasonal workers and to house machinery. Ross Goatham, Managing Director at AC Goatham & Son, said: “There is an industry wide lack of modern cold storage facilities here in Kent. We are continuing to invest for our future to ensure we can supply the British public with the best quality apples and pears for longer each season.” “To support the planting of our new orchards, we need to have this infrastructure in place to store the fruit once harvested. It makes sense to build or improve facilities at our individual farms around the county, to help reduce vehicle movements during the harvest period and crucially to get the field heat out of the fruit as soon as possible. This will help to ensure that the fruit stores for longer, so it will be available or longer in British supermarkets for consumers.” AC Goatham & Son has 27 farms across Medway and Kent and in 2017 grew 200m apples and 50m pears. Ross Goatham said: “All businesses need to invest to build a successful future. Despite the challenges which Brexit will bring for our industry, we are very confident that with this investment, the British top fruit sector is well placed for a sustainable future.” Thinking Business


The Economy & Us

The Economy & Us:

Time for new ideas Nick Rowell

Director of Policy Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Direct line: 01622 753568 Email: Recent Quarterly Economic Surveys (see Chamber website for Q1 & Q2) show Kent’s economy growing robustly. Just as well, with bullies driving politics, and still no meaningful Brexit plan. When politicians assert “trade wars are easy to win” and “f*** business”, it’s time to ignore them and make our own viability and resilience. But where to start? How best to renew/sustain our common wealth? The welfare state conceived by William Beveridge in 1942 was remarkably successful: Britons enjoyed better education, health outcomes, life expectancy, social mobility, employment opportunities and prosperity. This consciously radical innovation worked. But Beveridge noticed a flaw in how the new system was actually working: the bureaucracy pre-empted personal relationships, leading to dependency. It needed “room, opportunity and encouragement for voluntary action in seeking new ways of social advance … services of a kind which often money cannot buy”. The system nudged people to focus passively on their needs. In 2005 designer Hilary Cottam launched an organisation, Participle, to put this insight into practice. Sharing resources rather than asserting needs/rights. Cottam’s key insight is that we refuse to define ourselves as either ‘consumer’ or ‘needy’. “We have found over and over again, even in the most ‘difficult’


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“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world….

The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.”

of places, that people do not want to see themselves in either category. We do not want to be needy, with ‘things’ being done to us, we want to contribute and participate. Nor do we want to be atomised consumers. We find that people want to be socially connected and to collectively make things happen…. When we design new systems that make this sort of collaboration and connection feel simple and easy, people want to join in.” Visit or read Radical Help (2018). Unamenable to upscaling, this works by the gumption and engagement of (eg) you and me. A second innovator, Kate Raworth, is replacing the traditional closed model of money flows – which ignore unpaid (eg family) work and even assume limitless air, water, labourers, customers, know-how and commodities – with something more realistic. See Doughnut Economics, listed for Financial Times Business Book of the Year 2017. Raworth shows how economic activity necessarily takes place in the sweet spot between what is (a) ecologically feasible and (b) humanly sustainable. Like Cottam, she sees the flexible (re)combining of human and physical resources as crucial, aided nowadays by inexpensive, far-reaching digital communication. “I’m only reflecting what people are already doing. Much of the new economy is being created first by practice and then by theories following it…. People want to live in a community,

where neighbours collaborate, where their kids are safe, where the environment is healthy, where their energy comes from a solar panel on the roof so they’re not paying bills and their walls are well insulated, where their job is secure because it is rooted in the community.”

W B Yeats, 1919

For all of us, whether ‘early adopters’ or Luddites, I suggest these two approaches will increasingly inform how we and our children shape our livelihoods and wellbeing, whether our world steps back from anarchy or not.

"We do not want to be needy, with ‘things’ being done to us, we want to contribute and participate."

International Trade

International Trade

The United Kingdom (UK) will leave the European Union (EU) on Friday 29 March 2019 at midnight. This is exactly two years after it notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw. As of 30 March 2019, the UK will be a third country. It is now urgent that businesses in the EU start preparing for the UK’s withdrawal, if they have not yet done so. 1. YOU NEED TO PREPARE FOR 30 MARCH 2019 • If the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified before 30 March 2019, most of the legal effects of Brexit will apply as of 1 January 2021, i.e. after a transition period of 21 months, the terms of which are set out in the draft Withdrawal Agreement. • In the absence of a Withdrawal Agreement, there will be no transition period and EU law will cease to apply to and in the UK as of 30 March 2019. The negotiations between the EU and the UK on the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement are still ongoing. Once negotiations have concluded, the Withdrawal Agreement will need to be ratified. The future relationship betweenthe EU and the UK can only be negotiated after the UK has left the EU. In addition, even if the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified and an agreement on the future relationship is successfully concluded during the transition period, this relationship will not be that of a Member State of the EU. Therefore, all businesses concerned have to prepare, make all necessary decisions, and complete all required administrative actions, before 30 March 2019 in order to avoid disruption.

2. RESPONSIBILITIES IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN Under EU law, businesses have different responsibilities depending on where they are situated in the supply chain (e.g. manufacturer, importer, wholesale distributor, etc.). For example, post-Brexit, if EU27 businesses that buy goods from the UK are considered as importers for the purposes of EU product legislation, they will have another set of obligations under EU law. If you receive products from the UK, you should assess your responsibilities under EU law now. 3. CERTIFICATES, LICENSES, AND AUTHORISATIONS If your activity relies on certificates, licenses or authorisations issued by UK authorities or by bodies based in the UK – or held by someone established in the UK – these may no longer be valid in the EU postBrexit. You may need to transfer or seek new ones issued by an EU27based body or authority. This is the case, in particular, for certificates, licenses and authorisations issued for goods (for example in the automotive sector, or the medical devices sector) and for services (for instance in the transport, broadcasting, or the financial sector). You should now take all the necessary steps to transfer certificates, licences or authorisations issued in the UK to the EU27, or obtain new ones. 4. CUSTOMS, VAT AND EXCISE

For customs and indirect tax, it makes a big difference if you are moving goods within the EU or to/from a third country. Doing business with the UK post-Brexit will become more complex in terms of customs and VAT procedures. If you trade with companies in the UK, you should get acquainted with the EU procedures and rules that will apply post-Brexit, in particular if you have so far had little or no experience in trading with third countries.

5. RULES OF ORIGIN When exporting products to third countries with which the EU has a Free Trade Agreement, exporters may enjoy a preferential tariff rate if the products have enough «EU content» according to rules of origin. Post-Brexit, you can no longer count on UK input to the finished product being considered as EU content. You should therefore examine your supply chains and start treating any UK input as “nonoriginating”, in order to ensure EU preferential origin for your goods. 6. PROHIBITIONS AND RESTRICTIONS FOR IMPORT/EXPORT OF GOODS To protect health and safety and the environment, EU rules restrict the import/export of certain goods to and from third countries – for example, live animals, products of animal origin, and some plants and plant products, such as wood packaging. Imports/exports of certain commodities are subject to specific permits or notifications, for example in the case of radioactive material, waste, or some chemicals. Post-Brexit, goods destined to or coming from the UK will be subject to these EU rules. You should take the necessary steps to ensure compliance with the EU’s import/export prohibitions and restrictions. 7. TRANSFER OF PERSONAL DATA Currently, personal data can flow freely between the Member States of the EU. Post-Brexit, the transfer of personal data from the EU to the UK is still possible, but it will be subject to specific conditions set in EU law. Companies that are currently transmitting personal data to the UK should be aware that this will become a «transfer» of personal data to a third country. If the UK’s level of personal data protection is essentially equivalent to that of the

EU, and certain conditions are fulfilled, the European Commission may adopt an adequacy decision which allows for transfer of personal data to the UK without restrictions. However, companies should assess whether, in the absence of an adequacy decision, measures are necessary to ensure that these transfers remain possible. CHECK THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION’S PREPAREDNESS NOTICES Brexit may impact businesses in the EU27 in many other ways too. For example this concerns rules for companies registered solely in the UK but conducting business in the EU27, compliance of goods placed into the EU market, choice of auditors, choice of jurisdiction in contracts, and the recognition of professional qualifications. Check the European Commission’s preparedness notices1 and seek advice if any of these changes may affect your business.

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION AND WHO CAN ASSIST ME? • The European Commission’s website has over 60 preparedness notices2 on a wide range of economic sectors. They are meant to help all market participants prepare. • Consult the websites of the European Commission’s departments and agencies3 active in the area that concerns you and your business. • To get additional information and assistance, contact your national authorities, your local Chamber of Commerce and Industry, or your industry association.

This article is presented for information purposes only and should not be understood as a legal text. Its content is without prejudice to the negotiations on the Withdrawal Agreement and the discussions on the future EU-UK relationship. 3 1 2

Obtain your free Brexit Business Checklist from your Chamber

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Heather Redman

Green Gate

Solar-powered barriers prove popular in construction sector For Heather Redman, the day revolves around her work helping her employer to strengthen its presence in the construction sector with its innovative security products. Heather is Sales Co-ordinator for Maidstone-based Green Gate Access, which provides everything from simple car park barriers, rising bollards, and gate automation through to the most advanced automated security systems. The company, which was formed twelve years ago, works with schools, public buildings, retail centres and private dwellings and a key part of Heather’s work is developing the market for SOSEC, the UK’s first mobile and solar-powered barrier/gate system. The team at Green Gate has a wealth of knowledge

spanning security assessment, project design and management, bespoke product manufacturing, installation, servicing and support and, with the business busier than ever, Heather’s working days can be full ones. She said: “I start work at 8am and the first thing I do is check emails and any messages that have been left overnight. “We have an in-house computer system that allows us to track our clients’ needs and my first job of the day is to make sure that any queries and phone calls are followed up. “After that, the day can be varied. I started work for the company in February and a lot of my time is spent promoting the benefits of SOSEC.” The SOSEC range was developed in 2016 as the

UK’s first solar-powered and mobile barrier and came about as a solution to a construction client’s site needs. It is now being used by many other clients seeking ways in which to make their security systems more green and to save costs on both energy and staffing. Heather said: “Much of my job involves helping the company establish itself in the construction sector so I spend quite a lot of time ensuring that we have the right accreditations to allow us to supply the products. “Although I do have office days, some of my days are spent out of the office working alongside our sales managers. “I could be out at meetings with clients or prospective clients or sometimes attending

events and networking breakfast meetings. I recently helped a client at a trade fair, helping them with their stand for three days. “We do not just restrict ourselves to Kent and the South East and I can be anywhere in the country. If we need to go somewhere we will go. “For example, I was recently at Sellafield in Cumbria discussing potential work with a client. “We also have a satellite office in the Bristol area, which is allowing us to break into the South West. “My working day usually finishes at 5pm and I try to be disciplined about that if it’s an office day but obviously, if I am travelling, my working day ends when it ends.”

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Chamber Business Events

August 2018 onwards

GENERAL NETWORKING Muesli Mafia Breakfast 23rd August 2018 at 7:30am Members: £20.00 + VAT Non-Members: £25.00 + VAT Mercure Great Danes, Maidstone Muesli Mafia Breakfast 6th September 2018 at 7:30am Members: £20.00 + VAT Non-Members: £25.00 + VAT Ashford International Hotel Lost Village of Dode Networking Lunch 12th September 2018 at 12:30pm Members: £20.00 + VAT Members Non-Members: £25.00 + VAT The Lost Village of Dode, Gravesend “The Grand History” Behind The Scenes 27th September 2018 at 12:00pm Members: £20.00 + VAT Non-Members Non-Members: £30.00 + VAT The Grand Hotel, Folkestone After Hours Meetings (Free) 6.00pm - 7.30pm August 2018 7th: Conningbrook Hotel, Ashford 8th: Hotel Campanile, Dartford 9th: KIMS Hospital, Maidstone 9th 14th: Burlington Hotel, Folkestone 15th: Abbots Barton Hotel, Canterbury

INFORMATION EVENTS Cyber Essentials and Staff Awareness Seminar 5th September 2018 at 9:30am Members: Free to attend Non-Members: £15.00 + VAT Abbots Barton Hotel, Canterbury Intellectual Property P 13th September 2018 at 11:00am Members: Free to attend Non-Members: £15.00 + VAT K Sports, Maidstone Tendering For Success 26th September 2018 at 9:30am Members: Free to attend Members Non-Members: £15.00 + VAT Medway Innovation Centre, Rochester “Your Employer Brand is just as Important as your Customer Brand” Information Business Lunch 10th October 2018 at 12:00pm Members: £20.00 + VAT Members Non-Members: £25.00 + VAT Dover Marina Hotel


September 2018 4th: Conningbrook Hotel, Ashford 6th: Bridgewood Manor, Chatham 11th: Burlington Hotel, Folkestone 13th 13th: Margate Football Club 19th: Abbots Barton Hotel, Canterbury 25th: Hotel Du Vin & Bistro, Tun. Wells

International: INCOTERMS 2010 Rules 13th September 2018 at 8:30am Member: £75.00 + VAT Non Member: £95.00 + VAT Kent Invicta Chamber, Ashford

October 2018 2nd: Conningbrook Hotel, Ashford 9th: Burlington Hotel, Folkestone 10th: Hotel Campanile, Dartford 11th 11th: KIMS Hospital, Maidstone 17th: Abbots Barton Hotel, Canterbury

International International: Understanding Exporting Documentation 11th October 2018 at 8:30am Member: £75.00 + VAT Non Member: £95.00 + VAT Medway Innovation Centre, Rochester

PEER TO PEER NETWORKING Kent Construction Focus Group Breakfast 7th August 2018 at 7:30am KCFG Members: £18.00 + VAT KCFG Non-Members: £30.00 + VAT Mercure Maidstone, Hollingbourne Kent Construction Focus Group Breakfast 4th September 2018 at 7:30am KCFG Members: £18.00 + VAT KCFG Non-Members: £30.00 + VAT Mercure Maidstone, Hollingbourne Kent Manufacturing Focus Group Information Session “Grants and Funding” (Free) 19th September 2018 at 8:00am Manufacturers Only Kent Invicta Chamber, Ashford Women In Construction (Free) 19th September 2018 at 12:00pm Construction Only Kent Invicta Chamber, Ashford Talking Tech (Free) 27th September 2018 at 8:00am IT Professionals Only Maidstone Studios, Maidstone

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SPECIAL EVENTS Summer Special Business Lunch 16th August 2018 at 12:30pm Members: £27.50 + VAT Non-Members: £37.50 + VAT Crown Lodge, Ashford BIG Breakfast “Guest Speaker Damian Green MP” Spea 14th September 2018 at 7:30am Members: £22.00 + VAT Non Members: £30.00 + VAT Eastwell Manor, Ashford Kent B2B Medway (Free) 20th September 2018 at 8:30am Dockya Chatham The Historic Dockyard, Kent Construction Expo 2018 (Free) 4th October 2018 at 9:00am Kent Event Centre, Maidstone Kent Invicta Chamber West Kent Roadshow (Free) 9th October 2018 at 8:00am Salomons Estate, Estat Tunbridge Wells 01233 503838

Summer Special Business Lunch

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce have organised this truly spectacular Kentish Summer Lunch at the Crown Lodge, Wye, a peaceful rural location near Ashford in Kent.


Make new connections and network with like minded business people sharing ideas and opportunities within glorious surroundings.

Overlooking the Wye Downs and offering beautiful views of Kent and Sussex, inside and outside the Crown Lodge is just a perfect venue for a summer afternoon. On arrival each guest will receive a locally produced soft drink, followed by a first class 2-course lunch using locally sourced produce.

There is plenty of free parking in the main gravel car park. This event has been sponsored by The Kent and Medway Growth Hub and forms part of the South East Business Hub, the South East Local Enterprise Partnership’s overarching business support program, which also supports local hubs

in East Sussex, Essex, Southend and Thurrock. They help new and existing businesses find the most suitable type of business support available in their area. Discover what grants and funding are available to you. There are limited places available so please ensure you book early!

Thursday 16th August 2018 12.30pm – 2.30pm

Members: £27.50 + VAT Non-members: £37.50 + VAT

Crown Lodge Cold Harbour Road, Wye Downs, Ashford, Kent, TN25 5HE

Lost Village of Dode Networking Lunch Come along and make new connections and generate business leads, whilst sharing ideas and experiences with like-minded business people. An opportunity to put your business in the spotlight to highlight its products/services and how these can help other businesses. Guest Speaker: Doug Chapman, Lost Village of Dode Dode is more than an ancient building, for it is a far older place than perhaps we can imagine, its beginnings go back into the mist of time. If you walk

into the meadow surrounding the building you will see that it is built on a substantial mound which is man-made. The hill which totally surrounds and shelters the building has been known from time immemorial as Holly Hill and it is approached by a narrow roadway which goes nowhere, its ancient name is Wrangling Lane. Here then are the clues to a site of deep antiquity, for Holly Hill is a corruption of Holy Hill and the name Wrangling Lane indicates that here on this mound may well be the site of a Moot or Meeting Place perhaps going back thousands of years.

Join us for a networking business session including a light finger buffet style lunch.

Free on-site parking available.

Wednesday 12th September 2018 12.30pm – 2.30pm

Members: £20.00 + VAT

Non-members: £25.00 + VAT The Lost Village of Dode Great Buckland, Gravesend, Kent, DA13 0XF There are limited places available so please ensure you book early!

The Grand History “Behind the Scenes” at The Grand Hotel Come along and join the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce for a tour of The Grand Hotel’s secret tunnels and its history, followed by a delicious 2-course lunch overlooking the Leas and the English Channel.

The Grand Hotel was built over 100 years ago, originally constructed as gentlemen’s residential chambers, and immediately established a reputation as the place to be seen.

Follow your tour guide through underground tunnels and unused areas of the hotel to find out the history of what happened years ago! • King, Edward VII, a frequent visitor, not only with the Queen but also his intimate friend Alice Keppel • The Hotel’s royal refugees during the Great War • Kind Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson

• Stage Debuts by Robert Morley and Michael Caine

• Agatha Christie’s Murder on The Orient Express Thursday 27th September 2018 12.00pm – 2.30pm Members: £20.00 + VAT Non-members: £30.00 + VAT The Grand Hotel The Leas, Folkestone, Kent, CT20 2XL There are limited places available so please ensure you book early!

For further information on all events please contact 01233 503838 Thinking Business


Medway’s biggest B2B event 20TH September 2018 | 8.30am – 4pm No.3 Slip: The Big Space The Historic Dockyard Chatham

B2B exhibition starring Kent and Medway’s leading businesses

Headline speaker: Rachael Burford World Rugby Champion

Attend for free! Find out more about attending as an exhibitor or a delegate:

Featuring business stories, digital marketing workshops, networking and more

Thursday 4th October 2018 Kent Event Centre, Detling

Fresh Insights into Current Construction Industry Challenges, Opportunities and Innovations

Keynote Speakers

Barbara Res, Head of Construction, Trump Tower

Steve Backley OBE, Three-time Olympic Medallist & Peak Performance Expert

Conference Topics: • • • • • •

BIM & Digital Construction Disruptive Forces: AI, AR, Drones & Robots

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Infrastructure Post-Brexit Innovation Projects & Initiatives within Kent

• • • • • •

Procurement & Supply Chain The Skills Shortage/ Skills Development Smart Cities Health & Safety Regulations Sustainability Project management

Register Now Reserve your FREE ticket at: Produced by

Platinum Sponsor

Gold Sponsor

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Gala Dinner Sponsor

Event Partner

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One Stop Cardiac MRI Clinic now available at One Ashford Hospital

One Ashford Hospital is now offering the latest in that it’s the only independent advancements in Heart Diagnostic Imaging.

One Ashford Hospital is unique

hospital providing care for and involves lying on a sliding CMR often resolves dilemmas when more basic heart tests table including that will take you inside our all your family, are equivocal’. scanner. You will be asked to hold0your breath intermittently children from months in If you have any concerns, please throughout the scan. Sometimes discuss them with your GP, or an injection of contrastand dye will outpatients and 3 years call One Ashford direct on be used to identify scar tissue in 01233 423000 where a member One Ashford Hospital is of unique the heart. Our scanner at One above for surgical procedures. We often hold a number of our team will be pleased to assist. Ashford is the only state-of-the-art,

Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (CMR) imaging of the heart is currently the most accurate and reproducible technique for imaging the heart. CMR often called ‘Cardiac MRI’ uses radio waves rather than X-rays and so it is a safe and painless scan that provides unparalleled diagnostic power across the whole spectrum of heart conditions, including coronary heart disease, inherited heart conditions (hypertrophic or dilated cardiomyopathies), inflammation of the heart and pericardium, heart valve disease and heart tumours. A CMR scan will usually take between 45 minutes to 1 hour,

in that the events open to the public, so Basedit’s in the heartonly of the independent local and wide-bore machine in Kent please check our website – medical community, One Ashford providing care for to offer a comprehensive CMR hospital is perfectly placed to serve all its imaging service, including stress for further information, and should residents, includingincluding NHS patients, all your family, testing to detect the presence of you wish to visit the hospital for a providing wider access to heart artery blockages/angina. children months treatment.from We are0also welcomedin tour of our facilities, then you are more than welcome to come and recognised by all major health Our Consultant Cardiologist, outpatients and 3 years andalong where a member of staff One Ashford Hospital is not unique insurers, although if you do Dr Steven White says ’CMR is the will be happy to show you around. have medical insurance, we can test I rely on to provide me with above in that the only independent forit’ssurgical procedures. offer competitive self-pay the information I need to treat my Just call us on 01233 423000 hospital providing care for treatments and procedures, patients effectively, or reassure or email all your family, including Nosubject otherto independent hospital terms and conditions. them their heart is normal children from 0 months in o ers such comprehensive outpatients and 3 years and surgicalof procedures. careabove in allforareas surgery One Ashford Hospital is unique in that it’s the only independent and No medicine from hospital other independent hospital providing care for o ers such comprehensive replacement hips and knees all your family, including care in all areas of surgery surgery. children from 0 months in to cancer and medicine from outpatients and 3 years and replacement hips and knees above for surgical procedures. We are recognised by all to cancer surgery.

No other independent hospital o ers such comprehensive care in all areas of surgery and medicine from replacement hips and knees to cancer surgery.

One Ashford Hospital Affordable private healthcare

We are recognised by all major medical insurers and o er a ordable self-pay packages with major insurers One Ashford Hospital is unique No other *independent hospital We medical are recognised by all 0% nance options. in that it’s the only independent o ers such comprehensive

insurers and major o ermedical a ordable One Ashford is unique hospital providing Hospital care for care in all areas of surgery and o er a ordable self-pay packages with all your family, including and medicine from self-pay packages with in that it’s the only independent children from 0 months in replacement hips and knees0% 0% nanceoptions. options.* * nance hospital care forto cancer surgery. outpatients providing and 3 years and above for surgical procedures. all your family, including We are recognised by all No other independent hospital inmajor medical insurers children from 0 months * Terms and conditions apply. o ers such comprehensive and o er a ordable Subject to availability. outpatients and 3 years and care in all areas of surgery self-pay packages with Subject to status. above for surgical procedures. and medicine from 0% nance options.* replacement hips and knees

to cancer surgery. No other independent hospital oWe ers such comprehensive are recognised by all major medical insurers care in all areas of surgery and o er a ordable and medicine from self-pay packages with * 0% nance options. replacement hips and knees to cancer surgery.

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01233 423000

Funding decision puts The Open on track for Sandwich

The tournament, administered by The R&A, is the oldest of the four major international championships in professional golf and is the only ‘major’ outside the United States. The news follows the decision by South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) to contribute more than £1.9m to upgrade the railway station near the golf course in time for the first of The Open’s three visits in 2020. Christian Brodie, Chairman of SELEP, said: “The 2020 event is expected to bring more than 200,000 people to the county. The economic impact is forecast to exceed £85m, with at least £26.8m expected to be direct additional spend. This means that the investment case to upgrade the station at Sandwich is a very strong one. “The R&A has made it very clear that The Open cannot return to Sandwich

A multi-million pound economic boost is on its way to East Kent, after it was announced that The Open Championship is to be held at Royal St George’s in Sandwich, near Dover, three times between now and 2036.

without the current transport problems being fully addressed and brought up to par. “Kent County Council, Dover District Council and neighbouring Districts in East Kent have campaigned tirelessly to secure this funding and commitment from The R&A, Network Rail and DfT to ensure The Open remains on Kent’s sporting calendar.” The decision of SELEP’s Accountability Board to award the money from the Local Growth Fund followed the decision of The R&A that the Royal St George’s course will host The Open on three occasions cycle between 2020 and 2036. The project will extend the platform at Sandwich station to allow 12 carriage High Speed rail services in time for The Open and will provide a further footbridge for passengers.

Event raises awareness of asbestos-related disease

An action day held to commemorate victims of mesothelioma received strong support from professionals, campaigners and victims, as Medway remains one of the areas worst affected by the disease.

Organised by leading law firm Brachers, Alan McKenna of the University of Kent and the London Asbestos Support Awareness Group, the event was held at the Chatham Dockyard and supported Action Mesothelioma Day, an annual nationwide event that seeks to raise awareness and promote discussion around the deadly asbestos related cancer. The occasion and venue were particularly pertinent given the links

between the historic use of asbestos at the dockyards and the incidence rates of cancer in Medway, which statistics show are some of the highest in the country. Guests observed a commemorative dove release led by campaigners Mavis and Ray Nye and Marie and Jason Hoadley, followed by a panel discussion regarding the past, present and future of mesothelioma, with speakers including Professor Karen Cox, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Kent, Louise Gilham,

Currently, the station can only support trains with eight carriages, with longer trains blocking the nearby level crossing and causing delays for road vehicles including park and ride buses, as happened when The Open was last held at Sandwich in 2011. Councillor Mike Hill, county council Cabinet Member for Community & Regulatory Services, said: “The support of Government and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership to enable this important international sporting event to be staged in our county is a great boost for our tourism and inward investment programmes.” Cllr Keith Morris, Leader of Dover District Council, said: “It’s fantastic news that the R&A has made a long-term commitment to Sandwich by bringing The Open to Royal St George’s on three occasions up to 2036.”

Mesothelioma UK’s specialist nurse for Kent, John Reeves from the National Union of Teachers, Mavis Nye a mesothelioma victim and campaigner, Professor Bill Cookson from the National Mesothelioma Research Centre, Dr Tuck-Kay Loke a Consultant Respiratory Physician and Jeremy Horton, Partner at Brachers. Government figures on national mesothelioma deaths show that the Medway area remains in the top ten for the incidence of deaths from mesothelioma. Jeremy Horton, partner at Brachers specialising in industrial diseases, said: “Mesothelioma is a cruel disease that has affected so many people in Kent and Medway and it is currently not expected that numbers will peak until 2020-2025. However, there is a lot of fantastic work going on to increase awareness and campaign for improved research and support, which is very positive.”

Talking Tech back for a third event at the Maidstone Studios The popular technology event Talking Tech is back for a third instalment in under a year.

Scheduled for September 27 the event organised by Custodian Data Centres and Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce has previously attracted IT professionals from businesses around Kent and the South East. The event is held at the Maidstone Studios and has featured speakers from BT, Holiday Extras and University of Kent, discussing the

topics GDPR, cyber security and jobs in IT. The third event will focus on the topics of cloud computing and automation, continuing with its format of providing speakers, panels and round table discussion between the attendees. Drew Morley, part of the commercial team at Custodian Data Centres, leads the event and said:

“The fact that we are back for a third event since October 2017 really shows the demand for an IT forum in Kent. “Our goal was to create a session that allowed IT professionals an environment to meet their peers, share information and learn from the industries best speakers. With more than 80 attending in the first two events,

we feel we have achieved this in providing Kent’s tech community a platform to share their ideas and experiences.” The session starts at 8.30am and finishes at 12.00pm, with free breakfast and refreshments provided throughout. To book your place, visit events.

Business News

Record visitors at Taste the Best of Produced in Kent

Biddenden Vineyards hosted the 12th annual “Taste the Best of Produced in Kent” on Sunday 10th June with an overwhelming level of support received.

More than double the number of people visited compared to the previous year, helping to raise £5,700 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance – record breaking on all fronts.

With perfect weather, visitors were able to spend time visiting the 46 stalls, all of which were selling food, drink and crafts made in Kent, enjoying a Vineyard ploughman’s lunch and taking a walk around the 23 acres of vineyards.

Julian Barnes, Managing Director, said: “We are blown away by the number of people who joined us to support the event and this very worthy cause this year.

“We are passionate about the great array of produce Kent has to offer and feel very proud to have been able to provide a platform for visitors to meet and buy from some of the county’s best producers whilst also helping to raise money for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.”

Julie Clare, Head of Corporate Relations, Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, said “It is wonderful to have the support of Biddenden Vineyards and their visitors. As an independent charity, we rely on donations and fundraising so every penny is truly valued. We are so pleased the event was another great success.”

The date for next year’s event is Sunday 9th June 2019. Thinking Business


Welcome to our new members New Members

2 of Harps

Brake Bros Ltd

Evoke Media Ltd

Action Coach Claire Harvey Coaching Ltd

Chalkwell Coach Hire Ltd

Fosten Green Consulting Ltd

Lydd 07795 511355 Musicians

Maidstone 07545 564866 Biz Coaching, Training and Education

Aecom Limited

Ashford 01233 658228 Design, Build, Finance and Operate Infrastructure Assets

Amelix Telecom Limited Whitstable 01227 649007 Telecommunications

Apricot Consulting Ltd

Canterbury 01227 860375 Commercial Skills Training, HR Training, Consulting, Marketing Services


Maidstone 07702 095374 Creation of Biscuits and Cookies

Bison Print Limited

Maidstone 01622 677541 Creative, Print, Signage


Thinking Business

Ashford 01233 206000 Food and Distribution

Sittingbourne 01795 423982 Coach Hire and Bus Services

County Enforcement Group

Bexley 01322 906300 Enforcement, Security, High Court Enforcement, Mobile CCTV Units, Evictions, Commercial Enforcement

Curco Ltd

Canterbury 01227 450430 Cleaning, Catering and Bar Supplies

Diagrama Foundation

Chatham 01634 545000 First Aid, Personal Safety, Fire Training, Care Homes etc

Distinct Connections Ltd Sidcup 07904 232173 Communication Solutions

Do Things Right

Ashford 01233 732912 HR, Office Management and Payroll

DPH Security Consultancy Ltd Canterbury 01303 894368 Security Consultancy

Sittingbourne 07804 906211 Marketing Communications

Biddenden 01580 291886 Information Technology Consultancy

Grandhealthcare UK Ltd Faversham 01795 597762 Website under construction Wholesale Healthcare

GVE Commercial Solutions Ltd Maidstone 01622 755359 Quantity Surveying

Hawk FX

Sevenoaks 0330 3803030 Foriegn Exchange and Payments

Heart of Kent Hospice Maidstone 01622 790195 Charity, Hospice Care

Ikonix Telecoms Group

Tonbridge 01622 843421 Phone Solutions

JNR Accounting Ltd Ashford 01233 223767 Accounting Services

Kitchen Table Creative CIC

Whitstable 07894 642862 Content and Copywriting Agency

New Members

Lion Investigations Kent

Gravesend 01322 687950 Private Investigations

New Leaf Technology Solutions Herne Bay 07534 740732 Software, Technology, GDPR Compliance

Offset Architects Ltd

Wrotham Heath 01732 753333 Architects


Maidstone 020 3405 4215 Marketing

Operational Accounting Systems Ltd

Ashford 01233 812050 Sales, Support, Consultancy of Accounting and other Business Systems

Priory Business Group Plc Maidstone 01622 580100 Packaging and Labels, Digitial Marketing, Bespoke Print

Purple Rhino SoftWash Systems Ltd

Ashford 08000 496098 Equipment Suppliers and Training for Business Development

Red Bullet Web Design Ltd Canterbury 01227 378740 Web design, Marketing, Graphic Design, Social Media, Digital Advertising

Robins & Day (Peugeot Citroen Retail Ltd) Maidstone 01622 753333 Motor Trade

Structural & Weld Testing Services Ltd Sittingbourne 01795 420 264 Website under construction Welding Consultancy

Telematics UK (Vehicle Telematics Ltd)

Servo & Electronic Sales Ltd

Nottingham 0115 8880282 Advice, Support and Sales of Telematics Solutions


Sandgate 03333 051669 Tour Operator

Lydd 01797 322500 Electronic Component and Connector Distribution

Ashford 01233 721030 Digital solutions, Mobile Apps

Smart PA

Maidstone 01622 320 240 Virtual PA/Business Support

Temptation Tours

The Bradley Group Ltd

Sittingbourne 01795 599989 Risk Management Training and Consultancy

Space to Trade

The Decontaminator Ltd Sanondaf West Kent

Spain Brothers & Co

Tree of Hope

Chatham 07964 360 677 Mall Commercialisation, RMUs, Mall Promotions Canterbury 01227 769321 Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers

Street Soccer Foundation

Chatham 07866 523691 Skills Based Learning & Development Programme for Young People

Snodland 01622 370 331 Disinfecting Service Tonbridge 01892 535525 Children's Health Charity

Washroom-Wizard Ltd

Maidstone 01622 743381 Specialists in the Sale of Ecobreeze, The Ultimate Solution in Air Care Thinking Business


The Last Word

Movers and Shakers

Furley Page promotes five lawyers at Canterbury and Whitstable offices

Name: Aran Brooks

Company: Drees and Sommer UK Ltd Job title: Director

Aran is a Chartered Quantity Surveyor and has in excess of 25 years’ construction industry experience. He has firm roots in Kent and the South East having lived in Kent all his life and started his career with Wiltshier Construction in Canterbury in 1990. Aran spent two terms with other major contractor's regional divisions prior to starting his own Quantity Surveying and Project Management business in 2002. Following acquisitions Aran is now a Director of Drees and Sommer UK Ltd, part of the large German-owned multi-national construction and property consultancy. He is based in their Kent office in Ashford. Aran’s experience spans both public and private sectors and covers Healthcare, Education, Commercial, Industrial, Retail, Leisure and High-End Residential projects. Clients include the NHS, Lloyds of London, Apple, Cisco, Oracle, Astellas, Marks and Spencer, Shell and a number of developers to name but a few. He is experienced in all aspects of Cost Management and Construction Procurement and is responsible for a growing team of Quantity Surveyors and Project Managers between the Ashford and London offices. When not at work Aran can be found with his wife and three children at their home in Ashford. He enjoys classic and sports cars, motor racing, rugby, music and skiing. 1. What was your first job and what was the pay packet? Trainee Surveyor, Wiltshiers, Canterbury 1990. £5000pa

2. What do you always carry with you to work? iPhone, laptop and ……my glasses!

3. What is the biggest challenge facing your business? The skills gap in our profession is a big challenge which is compounded in the current buoyant market. The competition for good quality professional staff is immense. For years as an industry we have underinvested in bringing young people in on the first rung of the ladder. As a company in recent years we have committed to bringing in young talent from school leaving age and above to complement and add to our staff base of qualified and experienced people. We offer these trainees on-the-job training, part time university study and a clear progression path through the company.

4. If you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you change to help business? Give business some certainty over Brexit…although I am not sure that’s even in the gift of the Prime Minister right now! Whichever way you voted in June 2016 like it or not, Britain looks set to leave the EU but with the March 2019 deadline looming and a no-deal Brexit looking more and more likely, there is a lot of uncertainty in the market. We have some major clients holding back on investment in the UK at present until the Brexit situation pans out but thankfully we have other clients still willing to commit. The current market could turn on a sixpence if we don’t get it right.

5. What can you see from your office window? The beautiful Kent countryside – the North Downs at Wye. We are lucky enough to be based in a converted stone barn on Court Lodge Farm at Hinxhill just outside Ashford. All the advantages such as transport links to London and elsewhere and the benefit of a peaceful rural setting.

6. If you could do another job what would it be? I’d probably like to deal in sports and classic cars. Cars have always been an interest of mine… something that I get from my Dad.

7. As a business person, what are your three main qualities? Act with integrity and always strive to always do the right thing! Work ethic – work hard. Attention to detail…in selling professional services, our people and the advice we give is our product. We always aim to ensure that it is accurate, concise and well presented. 8. What was your biggest mistake in business? Trying to do too much of the detail myself. Winning the work, doing the work, running the business. This meant for a period in the early years it restricted growth as my focus was in the wrong place. It is always a balancing game matching resources with workload, but early on I think I got that balance wrong. Now I have a team of a good size and skillset freeing me up to focus on developing the Cost Consultancy service further within Drees and Sommer.

9. What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? If you have a burning desire to start a venture do so. Build a good team around you to facilitate your focus on driving growth and business development.

10.Who do you most admire in business? There are a few, but JB Straubel, co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of Tesla is up there. Not only a car manufacturer, led by him as CTO, Tesla are also at the forefront of energy systems innovation for buildings in an age when questions posed by resource scarcity and population growth are ever more pressing. As an innovator he has an ability to redefine the limits of the possible.


Thinking Business

Naomi Hayward

Joshua Williams

Leading south east law firm Furley Page has promoted five talented lawyers in a move that will strengthen the business.

Naomi Hayward and Joshua Williams have been promoted to Senior Associates with the firm. Naomi joined Furley Page in 2008 and has developed a strong practice in all aspects of family law over the past decade, including a particular specialism for complex, high net worth financial matters and complex arrangements involving children. Joshua, who works in the firm's Whitstable office, is the main contact for Private Client matters in Coastal Towns, advising clients on a broad range of issues including Wills, Probate and Estate Administration, Lasting Powers of Attorney and advice in regard to tax issues and Wealth Preservation planning.

Building for the future at the Gallagher Group Jeremy Licence

Three lawyers, Deborah Trott and Simon Stempien of the Real Estate team and Ross Rowland of the Personal Injury team, have also been promoted to the role of Associate. Jeremy Licence, Managing Partner and Head of Real Estate at Furley Page, said: “I am delighted that we are further strengthening our business with the development and promotion of these very talented lawyers. These promotions are hugely deserved and reflect the lawyers’ hard work, experience and commitment to providing the highest quality client service.“ Furley Page was established in Canterbury in 1725 and has offices in Canterbury, Whitstable and Medway.

The Gallagher Group has appointed Steve Hollingshead as a non-executive director to support the next phase of development at the family-owned civil engineering, building, quarrying and property business.

Steve, the former Chief Executive of J Murphy & Sons, will join existing non-executive, Paul Collins, to assist Chairman Pat Gallagher, CEO Nick Yandle and the management team in developing its future strategy. In addition, Catherine Rossiter joins the Group from Laing O’Rourke as Group Finance Director. Long-term Group Finance Director Tom Corkery will work with Catherine during

a planned transition period over a number of months to successfully conclude the current financial year end, for the 12 months to 30th September 2018. Tom Corkery will step away from his day to day role at the end of 2018 but will remain active as an independent advisor to the Gallagher family on a range of matters. The Gallagher Group has also been active in further developing its next generation

of senior managers, appointing John Kerrigan, Bill Lindsay and Joe Heathfield as Directors of construction and property respectively. Gallagher Group Chairman, Pat Gallagher said: “It is an exciting time for the Gallagher Group. We are celebrating 45 years of successful operation in 2018 and can rightfully be proud of our business performance. However, that success has always been built on continually looking to, and planning for, the future.”

New Consultant Solicitor for Warners Solicitors Warners Solicitors, with offices in Sevenoaks and Tonbridge, has appointed John Beynon to join its Corporate, Commercial & IP team as a consultant solicitor.

John has more than 30 years’ experience in business law, employment law and commercial litigation. He has acted for individuals and business organisationsof all sizes. John will be joining Warners in June, having previously run his own practice in South London.

John lives in Orpington and his interests include swimming, live music and supporting Crystal Palace FC.

John said: "I’m delighted to be joining Warners, it is well known for giving sound, pragmatic advice to its clients and is regularly recognised by the legal directories as being one of the best law firms in the South East. Through joining Warners I will be able to offer my clients and contacts a more comprehensive range of services, particularly for property and private client work.”


Thinking Business August 18  

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Magazine, Latest Local Business Issues, National Business News, Accountancy and Fiscal Management, Business...

Thinking Business August 18  

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Magazine, Latest Local Business Issues, National Business News, Accountancy and Fiscal Management, Business...