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in:brief napthens.co.uk

WINTER 2010 ISSUE FIVE

THE NEWSLETTER OF NAPTHENS SOLICITORS

Business Roundup East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce chief executive, Mike Damms, reflects on a busy year page 2

Debt Recovery Litigation solicitor, Kate Baker, gives tips to help you recover your cash page 2

Stellar Growth for Lunar in:brief profiles Lunar Caravans’ green ambitions page 3

South Rings Office Village

Developer starts work on new £8 million office scheme

Advice Corporate solicitor, Ben Dredge, discusses how to protect your brand online page 6

Napthens’ client, Roundhouse Properties, has started work on its flagship £8million speculative office development at South Rings Business Park in Preston. Roundhouse Properties has a property portfolio stretching across the region offering office and industrial space for small to medium sized enterprises and its new scheme is expected to mirror the success it has had with other office developments, particularly its adjacent site, South Preston Office Village. The new development at South Rings is only one of a handful of speculative office build projects that are progressing in Lancashire and it is expected the new scheme will house over 500 office workers. The state-of-the-art development will span 60,000 sq ft and will incorporate 23 offices ranging from 750 sq ft to 6,000 sq ft in a landscaped village. The new office scheme will be staged over three phases and will be built to a ‘very good’ BREEAM rating, which is the

leading and most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings. Commenting on the start of building works, Roundhouse Properties’ director, Harold Lefton, said: “We are committed to providing prospective and current tenants with a property solution that gives their business the platform for growth. We’ve had great success with our South Preston Office Village during one of the worst recessions in history and we are already getting enquiries about the new development at South Rings.

Napthens’ commercial property partner, Mike Fetherstone, advised Roundhouse Properties on the acquisition of the development site. He commented: “South Rings is a popular location for businesses and the area is well supported by leisure and retail facilities. “The site itself was previously earmarked for the development of a Bentley showroom which never got

off the ground, but fortunately we now have a scheme set to take off that will be delivered by a developer with a well-established reputation for providing a new standard in property.” Bailey Deakin & Hamiltons and King Sturge LLP have been appointed as joint agents for the development which is already attracting significant interest.

Opinion Rebalancing the Licensing Act. Head of Licensing, Malcolm Ireland, gives his views on the impending legislation page 7

Old punks never die... in:brief learns more about Sean Gibbs’ passion for all things punk page 8

“The area is well known in the property industry as a good location as it sits directly on the M6, M61, M65 interchange and will provide the perfect base for any business wishing to make the most of the excellent motorway infrastructure.” Artists impression of South Rings Office Village

Charity begins at home?: Sector special page 4 & 5


welcome / round up / legal update:

in:brief

Business roundup

welcome

By Mike Damms, chief executive, East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce

Mike Fetherstone - partner, Commercial Property department

Welcome to the last edition of in:brief in 2010. As with our other editions we have contributions from some of the region’s key business people and important advice from our experts. It’s heartening to read in this edition that although we are still facing uncertain times, there are opportunities out there. Our front page shows confidence in the property market is creeping back and I am positive Roundhouse Properties will be successful with its latest development. Mike Damms, chief executive of East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, also discusses how business is booming in that part of the region. We should take solace in that and perhaps not be as modest about Lancashire’s entrepreneurial flair as we tend to. The word ‘entrepreneurial’ is not something we associate with charities but they are now operating in a different world, with fundraising becoming very competitive. Our sector feature highlights how they are having to change the way they work and become more business-like.

If we reflect back 12 months, didn’t the world look different? We were still in the midst of the first global recession, a Labour Government was in power, the state was expanding and job creation was in the public sector, exports were weakening and manufacturing was out of fashion. Government economic policy and administration was based on regions, sub-regions and City regions. The banks were in great odium, and housing markets were to all intents non-functioning. Furthermore England were about to win the World Cup. Taking stock a year on, the economy is growing, there’s a coalition Government, the state is being reined back, export markets are picking up and manufacturing is seen as an asset. Government architecture has changed dramatically; gone is all things regional, including regional development agencies, Government Office NW and 4NW (Regional Assembly). Fledgling Local Enterprise Partnerships are being introduced as the single step between economic localities and central Government. The state is being rolled back (but only to the level of five years ago) and it will still account for over 30

With the continuing exception of construction/housing, and perhaps retail where we have no direct involvement, virtually every company I see as the chief executive of the Chamber, is doing well or very well. Our analysis is that there are around 200 companies with over 10 employees in Pennine Lancashire which have grown by a compound 20 per cent per annum over the last

So what can businesses do to improve debt recovery? Know your customer If you’ve started working with a new company or one you’ve not worked with before, get a director to sign a personal guarantee. The guarantee has to be signed and in writing, preferably by deed. Also find out when the customer’s cheque runs are and plan your invoicing time accordingly. Terms

Kate Baker

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Which leaves job creation and the role of the private sector to be considered. The CSR is expected to cause half a million redundancies in the public sector, with an unquantified but possibly equivalent knock-on in the private sector. The hypothesis, or gamble if you prefer, is that the private sector will take the strain – and this is where it becomes interesting.

Mike Damms

three years, or have reached £1m turnover in their first three years of trading. These are locally owned and have a sense of commitment to the area and are in an astonishing array of sectors. While some are in traditional strong manufacturing, others are in internet services, country cottages/barges, mobile phones, drinks industry merchandising platforms, lighting, metering, restaurants, tourism, bailiffs… and they are creating jobs. Of course, we are SME territory so jobs come incrementally and steadily, and hence largely unnoticed – whereas large company

and public sector losses usually come in large blocks and accompanied by a fanfare. So, if Pennine Lancashire is typical, there’s hope. Additionally it has to be believed that the UK has come to its senses and recognises that it is wealth creation that matters, and that industry and commerce should be given the esteem it deserves. If that’s what is happening, hasn’t the last year been momentous. Contact: m.damms@chamberelancs.co.uk 01254 356400

Debt recovery is on the minds of many business people at the moment as they aim to secure payment for goods or services supplied to customers. Businesses with fast, efficient credit control processes find their bad debt problems aren’t as severe as those with a more cavalier approach.

In addition to these articles, we have legal updates from our Litigation and Corporate teams dealing with the debt recovery process and protecting your brand online, two issues of great significance.

Seasons greetings and best wishes for 2011.

The situation on banks and housing hasn’t changed much, and we choose to forget South Africa.

Legal update

Our client spotlight looks at one of the leading names in caravan manufacture, Lunar Caravans, and how innovation is so important in its business today.

I hope you enjoy this edition of in:brief and if you would like further information or have comments on any of the issues covered, please contact us.

per cent of the economy. The Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) and White Paper ‘Local growth: realising every place’s potential’ set out the new environment – described by believers as overdue and proper, by critics as draconian, austere, ideological and, even, spiteful.

Ensure your customer is aware of your terms of payment before starting work and remind them when you send the invoice. Send your terms and conditions to the customer and ensure they understand you rely on them. Timing Invoice as soon as the job is done. A delay invariably leads to a delay in settling the bill. When chasing outstanding invoices always inform

the customer of the date that you expect payment. Never leave it up to the customer to decide when they’ll pay you. When to sue? At some stage you might decide to take action. Let the defaulting customer know you’ll be taking action and make sure you follow through. It’s a commercial decision whether to take your debtor to Court, this will depend on the size of debt and whether they are worth suing. Making a claim Start off with a letter setting out in detail what you are claiming. If no response or payment, start a claim in the County Court (claims £5k£25k) or High Court (£25k or more). If the claim falls below £5k it will fall within the small claims track - you will only recover your Court fees and fixed costs if successful. For claims above £5k it will follow the Court process to a final trial.

Turning your judgment into cash Once you get Judgment from the Court, there are various ways to enforce it including insolvency routes (bankruptcy and winding up) enforcing against debtors’ salary (attachment of earnings) enforcing against goods (bailiffs) enforcing against property (charging order) or monies due to your debtor (third party debt order). These routes show it’s necessary to know your customer/debtor as the enforcement method will depend upon the debtor’s circumstances e.g. if they are working (attachment of earnings) or if they have a number of houses (charging order). These basic tips should aid your debt recovery process but if you need more specialist advice, we’ll be happy to help. Contact: Kate.Baker@napthens.co.uk 01772 904254

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talking heads / Lunar / Thornber Home & Leisure:

Talking Heads What are your hopes and aspirations for 2011? Michael Gregory, director, Freshfield: Hopefully we’ll go into 2011 with another Ashes victory under our belt and the England rugby team is firm favourite for a grand slam at the Six Nations. These sports require the right mental and physical attitude including the correct protection and support from your team mates. Nothing too dissimilar in the business world. Ian Leigh

Ian Leigh, chief executive, Napthens: Personally I am hoping that 2011 will be a year of stability and no nasty surprises – basically giving businesses time and confidence to plan for the medium term future and not just short term. Businesses should be given some

Michael Gregory

‘breathing space’ to invest without the worry of having to take into consideration elections and spending reviews. I’d also like to see the Government bring inflation under control which will help business to manage wage

Les Nutter

demands. It also needs to consider measures that will help the region’s enterprises have sustained and controlled growth. My biggest hope is that the banks start changing their approach to lending, which will help bring some additional confidence to the marketplace.

I am sure 2011 will present a few tough overs and even some high tackles but with the right attitude and support, it will be a productive year. I would like it to be an ‘easy’ year but I doubt it will be – there maybe some more surprises or shocks along the way. Whatever happens we are ready for it and look forward to continuing our growth.

Lunar on the road to greener manufacturing Inspired by the moon landing mission, Preston-based Lunar Caravans took off in 1969 under the guidance of its co-founders Brian Talbot and Ken Wilcock. Now more than 40 years later, following a successful management buyout led by Brian Mellor, chairman and CEO, the £40 million turnover business is going from strength-to-strength.

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A pattern for growth Clitheroe textile manufacturer Thornber Home & Leisure Ltd has acquired a Bury based textile dyeing operation in a strategic expansion. Thornber acquired Blacksheep Textiles Ltd in Hawkshaw, from administrators Begbies Traynor and the purchase will secure the jobs of 20 staff. The operation specialises in weaving and dying fabrics for furnishings, upholstery, curtains and window blinds.

Owner, Bill Collins said: “This acquisition is an ideal strategic one for Thornbers. We have had a close working relationship with Blacksheep Textiles for some time and the synergies will benefit our enlarged operation. “The acquisition means Thornbers can add a string to its bow, and means the company brings the dyeing and finishing in-house.”

With over 40 years experience in building caravans, Lunar has always made it a business priority to produce lightweight caravans that are the ultimate in luxury touring and provide significant green benefits. A lightweight caravan is naturally lighter to tow and provides greater fuel economy, a reduction in carbon footprint and the choice of a smaller tow car.

With expert assistance from Talbotts, Lunar purchased a Talbott C4 unit with a rated output of

I see many business owners in East Lancashire desperate to start taking action to grow their businesses; they just need an injection of confidence about the future to encourage them to start taking long term decisions again. We also see some true entrepreneurs working with us on innovative ways of making deals happen. We just need others to follow.

The company’s weaving plant is now one of the largest and most advanced in the UK.

After the sale of the business to Tirus, Lunar’s retailer network includes 59 outlets and stretches across the UK but Lunar is not resting on its laurels. It has recently invested £500,000 in new industry leading manufacturing equipment and has introduced a new collection of caravans for 2011 with an even higher level of specification.

As the company has increased its market share, caravan production has significantly increased at the Lunar factory. With much greater volumes of waste wood being produced, Lunar approached Stafford based Talbotts, a biomass specialist, to develop a greener alternative to landfill disposal.

Les Nutter, managing partner, Cassons chartered accountants and business advisers: I hope the wave of positivity from Will and Kate’s wedding can be sustained and replace the doom and gloom of the VAT increase, personal tax levels and restricted bank lending, by kickstarting the economy in the region.

The interior of the luxurious Clubman

300kw/hour. This recent installation has meant that all of Lunar’s waste wood, many hundreds of tonnes a year, can now be utilised as fuel to provide heat to the factory.

of an industry recognised as a greener way to holiday means we’ve remained passionate about developing lightweight caravans that provide eco-friendly benefits.

Space heating is now supplied to the factory via 95 metres of hot air convection piping, saving approximately £15,000 each year in energy bills.

“This year Lunar has continued to be one of the most popular brands in the industry, providing us with a 12 per cent market share. While this is a fantastic result, the increase in production to achieve this volume has had a substantial impact on our waste quantities.

Martin Henderson, sales and marketing director says, “Being part

“To continue our commitment towards helping the environment, we researched greener technologies that would have a positive impact on the business while helping us maintain our position in the marketplace. This new biomass boiler will help us on the road to achieving a more environmentally friendly manufacturing process.” www.lunarcaravans.com

Andrew Clare of Napthens, who led the corporate team which advised on the deal commented, “It has been a pleasure working with Bill on this acquisition, which I am sure will provide him with the strategic platform necessary to expand the company’s presence in the marketplace.”

Contact us: We welcome your feedback and comments on any of the articles in this issue of in:brief. Feel free to drop us a line at Marketing@napthens.co.uk or visit our in:brief page on our website, www.napthens.co.uk/inbrief. Alternatively if you want to contact any of the Napthens team mentioned in this issue, please email them at Firstname.Surname@napthens.co.uk. We look forward to hearing from you. Thanks

WINTER 2010 in:brief 3


sector focus: charities and voluntary groups

Charities are facing up to the challenge Charities and voluntary groups have been thrust into the political spotlight by two major Government announcements – the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) and David Cameron's Big Society. Against a backdrop of economic uncertainty, the sector finds itself having to make some difficult choices – yet there are also opportunities. “The impact of the CSR will be long lasting and deep,” said Stephen Robinson, a Preston-based partner at national accountancy firm Champion, which specialises in charity accounting. “The amount local government receives has a significant impact on how much local charities receive. A number of small charities may find their support from the public sector is cut completely.” There are widespread concerns across the charity sector that the CSR will cause a significant increase in the number of people falling into the poverty trap. “We are facing some stiff challenges and charities will need to be smart in the way they work, so we will need to see more collaborative activity and partnerships,” commented Nigel Francis, CEO of Methodist Action Preston, which runs a homeless centre and a number of community-based projects. “Already more people are approaching charities for food

parcels and the demand for social housing is increasing. The number of people accessing homeless charities is another area where demand is growing and a new development is the number of people approaching charities who didn’t previously identify themselves as being in need.”

asked to pick up the cost of nonessential work that NHS Trusts can no longer afford. “However, we will not overstep our charitable purpose and equipment and facilities essential to the delivery of services will remain the responsibility of the NHS,” said Sue Thompson, Rosemere’s chief officer.

“The Big Society, the Prime Minister's blueprint for voluntary and community groups working together for the greater good, has been welcomed by most commentators – yet all have reservations about how it will translate to practical action ”

with providing services to vulnerable groups, because it will be very difficult to cover the cost of those services without government support.”

.

Charities working with the NHS, such as Preston-based Rosemere Cancer Foundation, are concerned that they will be increasingly

“We do not have any statutory funding through local government contracts, but I think this will be a huge challenge for colleagues working in charities concerned

Regulatory and governance issues represent another major challenge that charities and voluntary groups must manage if they are to deliver front line services. “Charitable trusts are doing great work, but trustees need to be aware

that they could potentially have personal liability,” said David Sewell, a corporate partner and charity specialist at Napthens. “A lot of them should be thinking about incorporating all or part of their charity into a company with limited liability and we are helping many of our charity clients to reorganise in this way. “Charity law also imposes a lot of very specific rules for activities such as dealings with charity property and borrowing. The Charity Commission emphasises the need for trustees to take proper advice and ensure that decisions are not only thought through but properly recorded,” added David. The Big Society, the Prime Minister’s blueprint for voluntary and community groups working together for the greater good, has been welcomed by most commentators – yet all have reservations about how it will translate to practical action.

Stephen Robinson

4 in:brief WINTER 2010

Ian Higginbotham

Sue Thompson

David Sewell

“The Big Society can address the complaints and moans we have about our dysfunctional

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sector focus: charities and voluntary groups

Is The Big Society the answer?

communities,” said Nigel Francis. “People with skills, knowledge and a commitment to make the community safe, attractive and vibrant will be needed to make it work. The Big Society really needs to deliver now and the question to everyone is, what are you prepared to do?” This is a view shared by Nigel Deane, CEO of Brothers of Charity, which runs services in central Lancashire and Merseyside, and employs some 800 staff who help over 500 people with learning disabilities to lead more independent lives. “The Big Society fits with our vision and there may be opportunities to partner with other organisations and add value to what we do in terms of community engagement. It’s more about how you integrate, which doesn’t always mean you need extra funding” said Nigel. “However, I don’t think the Big Society will be the answer to everything and it may be the answer to very little.”

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Others charity sector insiders are even more dubious about the Big Society. Among them is Peter Taylor, director at Lancashire-based Galloway’s Society for the Blind, which provides services to over 6,000 blind and visually impaired people. “This is nothing new, it’s political rhetoric with no substance. People have always been encouraged to get involved in society on a voluntary basis. We have 500 volunteers and they were prepared to roll up their sleeves and get involved long before the Big Society was announced,” said Peter Taylor. “I’m more concerned about the setting of priorities. A lot of politicians listen to those who shout the loudest and the very nature of vulnerable people means they sometimes can’t shout at all. Despite the Big Society, I fear this type of person may suffer when the spending cuts really start to bite.” The suggestion that charities should deliver services that cash-strapped local authorities can no longer afford

to provide in-house has met with scepticism from many in the voluntary sector. “If the Government feels that charities are a cheap option to plug the gaps created by local authority spending restraints, there will be problems,” said Nigel Deane. “Charities might be seen as a soft touch because they are driven by their ethos and values, but we, like many other charity groups, are set up in such a way that we couldn’t plug any major gaps.” As the UK’s largest co-educational voluntary youth organisation, the Scouts may be able to deliver some services if local authorities are unable to. “Clearly there is going to be less money available for children and young people in the statutory sector and this may present opportunities for us,” said Carl Hankinson, county commissioner for West Lancashire Scouts. “It’s possible that we could work with councils looking to the

voluntary sector to provide services that they are required to offer by central government, but can’t afford to deliver themselves,” added Carl Hankinson. “If there were no statutory youth services at all, scouting couldn’t step in and fill the gap, but the voluntary sector could play a significant role as long as there were sufficient options and resources.” Some organisations suspect that asking charities to do work normally carried out by local authorities will provoke an adverse reaction from the taxpaying public. “There is a widespread reluctance among people to do a job for nothing when it is perceived that they have paid taxes to cover it,” comments Preston-based Ian Higginbotham, a former banker who is involved in charities including the Free Methodist Churches, St John Ambulance and Street Pastors, the Friday night ‘Good Samaritan’ service.

cuts gap, but they should be able to tackle small local issues where it is not possible or cost effective for the public sector to do it. Local ‘community clean ups’ are increasingly taking place with volunteers, while road roundabouts are sponsored by local companies, and I foresee schemes – as in America – where local community groups might even take responsibility for looking after a section of road.” So what does the future hold for charities and voluntary groups? “Without a doubt, the outlook is tough,” said Ian. “The combination of harsh economic conditions and the most savage Government cuts seen in at least a generation will create challenges most younger trustees have never met. “I predict that people in their late 50s and 60s, who have managerial experience of leading through similarly severe times, will be worth their weight in gold.”

“I don’t think charities will ever be able to fully fill the public services

WINTER 2010 in:brief 5


ask the expert / Browsholme Hall / protect your online brand: ask the expert:

Building regulations Q: I’m selling my home and the buyers have asked for Building Regulations information. Is this necessary? A: The law relating to Building Regulations is complex. The principal purpose of the Building Regulations is to ensure the safety, accessibility and sustainability of buildings. Homeowners often assume that Approvals under Building Regulations are only required when building new homes or making substantial alterations to existing buildings. The Building Act 1984 provides the framework for the Building Regulations 2000 and the Building (Approved Inspectors etc) Regulations 2000 and more recently the Building Regulations 2010, all of which have steadily introduced new requirements over the last decade Approvals are now needed for the installation of new windows, a new boiler, certain electrical works, substantial re-roofing and even the installation of cavity wall insulation the list seems to be getting longer. Approvals can be obtained by applying to the Local Council or under a Competent Persons Scheme. For example a CORGI registered gas fitter may be able to provide a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate on installing a new boiler, avoiding the need to go to your local Council. Our team is regularly faced with problems during the conveyancing process due to lack of paperwork. Often sellers are unable to produce Approvals or Completion Certificates because works have been carried out by friends or family, or by contractors who don’t work within relevant schemes. Finding the paperwork or applying for duplicates causes delays and, whilst buyers often accept insurance policies, which should reimburse costs incurred in making the works comply with the rules, some buyers will withdraw from a purchase because the seller cannot prove the works are ‘safe’.

Safeguarding your brand on line: Ryanair v. ihateryanair.co.uk The European airline has won an important ruling against Robert Tyler, the man behind the controversial www.ihateryanair.co.uk, a consumer criticism website. Corporate solicitor, Ben Dredge, explores this case and suggests how business can protect their online brand. The domain names adjudicator, Nominet, stated while the website was able to argue fair comment in relation to much of its content, it was the element of commercial gain generated by through traffic revenue and advertising which allowed the individual to profit from the domain name and meant the domain name should be transferred. Online brand management This case highlights the importance of controlling your brand on the internet. If you compare this to the bricks and mortar world, its parallel is the signage outside your business or in your shop window. So in the online world, poor brand protection or awareness can allow your competitors or third parties to take your signage, manipulate or build on it, alter it and use it without your control, or even put it outside their own shop window.

As well as online research of your brand, a general search of the trade mark register is a sensible and easy way of choosing the right online brand. Choosing a non-descriptive name with no meaning is also an extremely effective way of securing

Securing domain names is also a relatively inexpensive way to protect your brand online. Consider buying up domain names in all forms and variations of your brand in top level domains such as .com, .co.uk, and the new .co domain name level. Also consider registrations in territories you might wish to consider selling or marketing to in the future as well as obvious misspellings of your brand name.

Ben Dredge

Contact: Ben.Dredge@napthens.co.uk 01772 904256

Browsholme Hall, the historic Forest of Bowland stately home owned by the same family for 500 years, has been given permission to hold events at its new Tithe Barn venue thanks to Napthens. Built in 1507, the hall, in Cow Ark to the North West of Clitheroe, is the oldest surviving family home in Lancashire. The hall is currently owned by Robert and Amanda Parker – the 14th generation of the family to occupy the house since it was built by Edmund Parker.

Contact: Head of Residential Property Simon.Ainsworth@napthens.co.uk 01772 904229

Recently the Parkers completed a five-year project to restore the 17th century Tithe Barn, to create a unique corporate events, wedding and entertainment venue. The project included extensive use of oak and natural stonework, along with energy efficient facilities including a ground source heat pump. The Grade 2 listed Tithe Barn was officially opened by Lord Shuttleworth, the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, and also includes a café for visitors. The project cost £500,000. Napthens’ licensing experts, Malcolm Ireland and Samantha

6 in:brief WINTER 2010

Choosing your brand name is the best time to consider online brand protection. At this stage cost sensitivity is usually high. Easy things to do include researching your brand name online, via Google or Ping search engines. It shouldn’t be forgotten the legal tort of passing off does not protect your brand if you have yet to generate any goodwill in your business name or if your goodwill is specific to a geographic location.

easy brand protection. This has real benefit at the trade mark registration stage. It is essential to consider a trade mark application, which can cost under a £1,000 for a UK application which is considerably less than the crippling cost of a passing off action.

Browsholme Hall

When you have work undertaken, ask your contractor what Approvals are needed and check with us if you are not sure. Getting the paperwork right could stop a lost sale.

Simon Ainsworth

Methods of protecting your brand online

Brown advised the Parkers on obtaining a premises licence for the barn, allowing it to host events such as corporate functions and weddings, complete with entertainment and alcohol being served. Robert Parker said: “Browsholme was opened to the public in the 1950s but there have been no real facilities for visitors to use until we restored the Tithe Barn. Our aim is to showcase just how beautiful a setting the venue is, particularly for weddings. “This development has been the most significant event for the hall in 200 years, and we are now able to host large events in a unique setting which we are keen to establish as a truly world class destination. “We are already having enquiries about using the Tithe Barn as a wedding venue, and we know there is a real gap in the market for a setting with not only first class facilities but also some of the most interesting history in the region.”

The picturesque Browsholme Hall

Malcolm Ireland, added: “Browsholme Hall is a unique property, certainly in Lancashire, and has some truly stunning history making it a perfect public venue.

“This refurbishment and premises licence will allow Robert and Amanda to unlock its potential and increase the numbers of visitors to the hall.”

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a day in the life of / pre-nup agreements / opinion:

Court case paves the way for pre-nups

A day in the life of… Jane Haymes Jane is a business recovery partner in the Corporate department. She handles all aspects of corporate support, restructuring, insolvency and banking related work. 10.00: Attend a meeting with an insolvency practitioner (IP) who is advising a firm with problems, which he believes should be put in into administration without delay. The business is currently being marketed but the only potential purchasers are the owners. Wages must be paid, supplies ordered and the goodwill of the business is deteriorating, so the situation needs resolving quickly. We agree that the IP will deal with the bank while I liaise with the directors to file notice of administration at the court and draft the agreement for the sale of the business. Jane Haymes

6.40: Alarm goes off and I go for a swim in the outdoor pool of my local gym – it’s a shock to the system sometimes but gets the brain cells going. 7.50: Arrive back home and drop my two boys off at school. On the way, I find out what their day has in store for them. 8.50: I land at the office and my first job is to check over any e-mails and follow up outstanding issues that need urgent attention.

11.15: Get back to my desk and return messages before analysing a set of banking documents. I’m working with a property colleague to advise the bank on new funding for a group of companies where there is a second charge-holder, so all the security documents and priority arrangements must be reviewed in detail. 1.00: Nip into town to buy some stationery for school for my boys to replace everything they lost last week. Then I’m off to meet a client

for coffee in Winckley Square. We are organising a joint event for insolvency and recovery professionals in Blackburn and we need to finalise some details. 2.00: Back to the office for a catch-up with my secretary. This involves reviewing searches she has carried out and examining documents that need my signature before they go out. 2.30: A colleague in Blackburn has organised a telephone conference with one of his corporate clients looking to acquire a financially distressed leisure business. We discuss whether it should be acquired from the directors before it becomes formally insolvent, or whether to hold back and deal with the IP. 3.30: Deal with more e-mails. Very little comes in by post – almost all negotiations and instructions are dealt with by e-mail, so I usually have a whole raft to deal with by mid-afternoon. 4.15: A colleague in the litigation department calls about an action involving a liquidator as a party. My colleague needs to know whether

the liquidator’s requests for information must be complied with and I advise accordingly. 4.30: I return some calls, including from a director with issues about demands served on him under personal guarantees given to a bank and to a leasing company. I explain the details, ensuring he understands all the issues and then we agree an action plan 6.00: The phone has stopped ringing so this gives me time to review and amend the court documents and sale agreement for the administration discussed at this morning’s meeting. I also have time to review a mark up a sale agreement where I am acting for a purchaser from receivers. 7.30: Back at home and I help out with my sons’ homework and then finally get to unwind by watching a recording of X Factor with my husband. Contact: Jane.Haymes@napthens.co.uk 01772 904358

opinion piece: Malcolm Ireland, solicitor, Head of Licensing

Re-balancing the Licensing Act may not balance it at all The Home Office has now released details of the amendments to the Licensing Act resulting from the “Consultation on Rebalancing the Licensing Act”. The draft amendments include: • Including Licensing Authorities as Responsible Authorities, which would enable them to object to applications and instigate review proceedings of their own accord. • Including Health Authorities as Responsible Authorities. • Relaxing the definition of “vicinity”, which will allow parties from further afield to object to licensing applications. • Amending the Temporary Events Notice time frames and procedures. • Allowing Licensing Authorities to restrict premises opening between the hours of 00:00 and 06:00.

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• Allowing Licensing Authorities to charge a levy for premises which open later. • Allowing suspension of the Premises Licence for non-payment of the annual fee. Whilst it’s not definite the proposals will become law, the Bill has passed through its first reading, so it is looking more likely. The Bill, as it stands, is a retreat from what was proposed in the Consultation in a number of ways, but it will not be seen as good news for the sector. At a time when some in the industry are facing a bleak economic outlook, the changes could not come at a worse time. I understand why the Home Office wants to counter the

“binge-drinking culture” it seems so sure exists, but personally I think the draft amendments go too far and I am not aware of any evidence at all that points to the changes being needed.

Contact: Malcolm.Ireland@napthens.co.uk 01254 686211

The leisure industry is worth billions of pounds to the economy and supports thousands of jobs, and the Home Office’s amendments will increase the burden of red tape and of course, costs. Not forgetting the fines payable if, as a licensee, you fall foul of them.

Couples are being urged to look at the benefits of a pre-nuptial agreement following an important legal ruling. The UK’s Supreme Court has ruled that a pre-nuptial agreement is binding in the case of a German heiress. Previously, pre-nuptial agreements were only one of the factors that the Courts would consider and would not necessarily be binding. The Supreme Court case arose following the divorce of Katrin Radmacher and Nicolas Granatino. Mr Granatino had agreed not to make a claim on his wife’s fortune if they divorced, but was awarded £5.85 million by a High Court judge in 2008. Ms Radmacher challenged the decision, and the Court of Appeal significantly reduced the payment due to Mr Granatino, placing far greater emphasis on the terms of the pre-nuptial agreement. The Supreme Court agreed that the pre-nuptial agreement should be taken into account. Damian Baron, partner in the Family department, has said couples should be aware of the possible benefits of a pre-nuptial agreement, but warned they will still be carefully scrutinised by the courts and will not automatically be binding. He said: “Pre-nuptial agreements are not exactly romantic, but more couples, particularly those with a high income, are turning to them to ensure fairness in the event of the breakdown of a marriage. “However, it is important to realise that there are a significant number of situations where the agreements would not be binding, even following this new decision. For example, if the couple has children, the needs of those children are prioritised. “Couples considering a pre-nuptial agreement should seek legal advice at an early stage. It is crucial to seek specialist advice about the benefits of such an agreement and to ensure that the potential pitfalls are avoided.”

So as the festive period gathers momentum, let’s hope the call for closing time doesn’t allude to something more permanent for licensees across the county.

Contact: Damian.Baron@napthens.co.uk 01772 904270 Malcolm Ireland

WINTER 2010 in:brief 7


and finally:

Fundraising success Events are organised by a charity committee, made up of volunteers from each office.

Partners and staff at Napthens are delighted to have helped raise more than £9,000 for chosen charity Rosemere Cancer Foundation.

Napthens’ chosen charity for 2011 will be Derian House, selected after a staff vote. Derian House is a children’s hospice charity based in Chorley, which works with youngsters who suffer serious or life threatening conditions.

The money has been raised through a series of events during 2010 including regular ‘dress down days’, quizzes and raffles and Napthens itself making a donation to the fund in lieu of sending Christmas cards.

Ian Leigh, chief executive of Napthens, said: “Derian House is a great cause, and we are all looking forward to getting involved over the next 12 months and helping to make a real difference.”

Appointments boost property offering Sean displays some of his memorabilia

Me and my… Music Sean Gibbs’ passion for punk rock is as vibrant today as when he was swept up in the pop music revolution as a teenager. Sean, a partner in the Litigation department at Napthens’ Preston office, continues to keep the grass roots faith of the original punk movement, travelling far and wide to see reunion gigs by bands that were little-known even 20 – 30 years ago. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia from an era that redefined popular culture, influencing a raft of musical genres from new wave, mod-revival and heavy metal revival to the post-punk bands of immediately after the initial “tidal wave” and recent years. “I was 12 when I first started listening to punk rock in 1977. In those days I thought it was ‘year zero’ for popular music because all I knew before then was glam-rock and teeny-bopper stuff that girls liked,” said Sean, who comes from Blackpool. “I just loved everything, from the major artists such as the Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Ramones to the independent label bands that John Peel used to play on Radio One. These days, I love to track down those old vinyl records –

Preston: 7 Winckley Square, Preston, PR1 3JD DX 714572 Preston 14 Tel: 01772 888 444 Fax: 01772 257 805 Email: Preston@napthens.co.uk

there’s a unique charm to the shambolic, amateurish nature of the music.” As well as old records, Sean collects punk artefacts such as 3-D shop window displays, Xerox-printed fanzines and items of clothing worn on tour by punk icons. “I go to concerts two or three times a month. You can see most people in Liverpool, Manchester or Leeds, but some bands – especially American ones – only do London dates, which means travelling down there.” Sean recently saw Steve Ignorant, former lead-singer with cult punk rockers Crass in Manchester and had seen him in recent years play two nights at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. A few weeks earlier he went to Sheffield to watch niche modrevival band the Chords.

most memorable concert started out as a huge disappointment. He had bought tickets to see the Stranglers at London’s Rainbow Theatre in 1980, but the band though they would have to cancel at the last minute due to the incarceration of their lead singer Hugh Cornwell. “In the event, he was replaced for the two scheduled gigs by a collection of people that included Ian Drury, Jake Burns from Stiff Little Fingers, Billy Idol from Generation X, Toyah and Hazel O’Connor, with Joy Division as the support act. When I look back, it still seems incredible that all those people were brought together in that way.” It is little wonder that Sean’s passion for punk music will continue to flourish and as the saying goes...“Old punks never die, they just stand at the back.”

Nearer to home, he is a perennial regular at the punk festival at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, which features up to 150 bands over four days in August. However, Sean’s

Contact: Sean.Gibbs@napthens.co.uk 01772 904250

Blackburn: St Andrew’s House, Wellington Street (St John’s), Blackburn BB1 8DB DX 17964 Blackburn 1 Tel: 01254 667 733 Fax: 01254 681 166 Email: Blackburn@napthens.co.uk

Blackpool: 41-43 Springfield Road, Blackpool, FY1 1PZ DX 714350 Blackpool 5 Tel: 01253 622 305 Fax: 01253 295 591 Email: Blackpool@napthens.co.uk

Martin Beardsworth, centre, welcomes Jody Kite and Lucy Blackburn

Napthens’ commercial property services have expanded with the appointment of new solicitors Jody Kite and Lucy Blackburn. Jody, of Lytham St Annes, is heading up a new construction and engineering service. He advises those in the construction industry including developers, financiers, contractors and industry professionals on a wide range of issues including procurement, risk management, dispute avoidance and resolution. Jody will have a key role, working alongside colleagues in the commercial property and litigation teams. He has extensive experience of litigation, arbitration, adjudication and alternative means of resolving complex construction, engineering and related disputes. He also advises in relation to procurement and contract matters such as drafting and negotiation of contracts, forms of appointment, collateral warranties, bonds and guarantees.

He acts for clients on transactions and disputes ranging from residential and mixed-use developments through to projects concerning gas pipelines and energy plants. Lucy, of Cottam near Preston, has joined the commercial property team at Preston. She has experience of acting for both landlords and tenants, along with property investors and developers on high value transactions. She has acted for a number of insolvency practitioners, and advised on corporate transactions with a property element. Head of Commercial Property department, Martin Beardsworth, said: “These appointments are important as we expand our offering to clients in the property, engineering and construction sectors and provide what is an unrivalled level of expertise locally.”

Chorley: 10-12 St Thomas's Road, Chorley, PR7 1HR DX 18412 Chorley Tel: 0845 260 2111 Fax: 01257 260 096 Email: Chorley@napthens.co.uk

napthens.co.uk www.n Napthens LLP, registered office: 7 Winckley Square, Preston, Lancashire PR1 3JD. Napthens LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales: OC325775. The term “Partner” indicates a member of Napthens LLP who is not in partnership for the purpose of the Partnership Act 1890. A list of members is available from our registered office.

If you do not wish to receive future copies of in:brief, or wish to receive it by email, please contact Marketing@napthens.co.uk or 01772 904 397.

Napthens in:brief magazine  

Napthens in:brief magazine Issue 5 - Winter 2010

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