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River dance Mersey gets makeover Northwest springboard for Siemens’success Environmental expertise vital for Lancaster

Chairman and Chief Executive’s Message / NWDA / 315º Magazine


A positive beginning, but...

As we enter a period of change following the election of a new Government, the focus of the NWDA remains on helping the region emerge from the economic downturn in a strong position. The Agency has a great deal of support across the Northwest, with local authorities, businesses and business organisations, but

we don’t take this for granted. We know we have to keep focused on our priorities and delivering real and tangible economic benefits. We were fortunate to have a visit from the new Secretary of State for BIS, Dr Vince Cable, at our Warrington office where he spoke about the future of the RDAs. It was encouraging to hear Dr Cable’s supportive words on the NWDA, and his clear understanding of the structural needs of the Northwest economy. For every pound we invest, £5.20 is generated for our economy, and we are committed to maintaining and building on this. Right now we have a significant job to do and this issue of 315° highlights just some of the important work underway across the region. A key milestone has been reached by the Northwest ERDF Programme, which is managed by the European Executive at the Agency. This important funding programme has been underway for two years and has

committed investment of £320 million across 100 projects, representing 50 per cent of the total amount available. It has enabled the region to take forward some flagship projects, including Europe’s largest Regional Venture Capital Fund and a £100 million urban investment fund. Our special report on page four looks at the progress made so far. In Merseyside, the world-famous waterfront has received significant investment, including £20 million from the NWDA. Read more about the regeneration programme on pages 26 and 27. Robert Hough Chairman Steven Broomhead Chief executive Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA)

Contents Special focus 04 European funding underpins growth

News 06 Round-up of the region’s leading stories The big idea 08 Juergen Maier


Picasso is part of the Tate Liverpool Major Exhibition Programme which is just one of several major attractions supported by the European Regional Development Fund in England’s Northwest. ERDF funding also supports: The People’s History Museum; the new Museum of Liverpool; Liverpool Biennial 2010 Festival and the redevelopment of the Museum of Science and Industry.

Mark of confidence. Major companies continue to see the Northwest as a great place to grow their business. Page 10

Creative Cumbria. The Lakes Festival is putting Cumbria on the cultural map. Page 16

10 11 12 13 14

Investors show confidence in region Liverpool’s Shanghai surprise Funding boost for social enterprises Growth hopes for visitor economy Businesses tap into eco initiatives

In pictures 16 Good life in the Lakes

People 18 20 21 22 23

ERDF – making a real difference to people and businesses in the Northwest

Youngsters go mad for manufacturing Graduates grab Masters places Talk is cheap for managers Lancaster goes global In the news: Eddie Stobart

Places 24 26 28 29 Make it big. The region’s manufacturing sector is attracting a new generation of future jobseekers. Page 18

Waterfront wonders. The Mersey Waterfront programme has revamped a number of sites along the iconic river. Page 26

Chester goes for growth Mersey investments bear fruit Gateway outlines vision for future Breathing new life into old sites

Regulars 30 Last word: Sinead Greenaway 30 People in the region 31 Events and contacts

Cover photography by Craig Easton/Driftwood

315° Editor: Gareth Chadwick / / 0161 637 9224. NWDA: Sam Shale / / 01925 400 264

315º Magazine / NWDA / Special Report

Special Report / NWDA / 315º Magazine

Euro millions aid recovery Photography by Craig Easton/Driftwood


Manchester-based Centre of Excellence for Biopharmaceuticals, link small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) with university expertise in advanced technologies. Targets include 26,000 additional jobs, and an annual £1.2 million boost in the region’s gross value added (GVA). Job creation, according to Malpass, has been dampened by the tough economic climate, but the programme has ‘overachieved’ on the commitment of safeguarding jobs.


n 2008 Steven Broomhead, the NWDA’s chief executive, promised ‘a sense of urgency’ in dealing with funding allocations for ERDF resources and matching support from the Agency’s budget, by subjecting applications to a single appraisal process. “This has allowed us to streamline and manage applications more effectively. It’s made things simpler and speedier and on average we’re taking just four to four-and-a-half months to process a project from the idea stage to issuing a contract,” he says. When the programme was announced in 2007, the total ERDF pot was £521 million, of which £212 million was ring fenced for Merseyside. The fluctuating exchange rate, however, has currently boosted its value to £630 million. Flagship projects already completed include the Arena and Convention Centre (ACC Liverpool) on King’s Waterfront.


wo years, £320 million, 100 projects. Not a bad start for the biggest funding programme in the region for over a decade. In the two years since it was launched, the latest Northwest European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme, managed by the European Executive at the NWDA, has spurred the region’s economic recovery by unlocking scores of quality business and public investment schemes, many of which capitalise on the Northwest’s world-class assets, skills and technological ingenuity. The £320 million invested so far represents 50 per cent of the total amount available. Schemes still in the pipeline take the total allocation closer to 80 per cent. The programme has also been used to establish two flagship projects, Europe’s largest Regional Venture Capital Fund – managers are

Dockside diva: the stunning ACC Liverpool is one of the landmark projects part-funded by the ERDF.

currently being appointed to run the six funding strands – and a £100 million urban investment fund, JESSICA, that will support property and infrastructure related projects. The Agency is providing match funding of £50 million for the Northwest Urban Investment Fund and is also supporting the venture capital scheme. Programme director David Malpass says that ERDF’s main thrust is to improve the region’s economic performance by focusing on projects that stimulate enterprise and innovation in line with the EU’s ‘jobs and growth’ agenda. Funding allocations have been running at £10 million a month since September 2008.“That’s a fantastic achievement, bearing in mind we have the largest programme in Europe,” says Malpass. This funding covers a seven year period: 2007 to 2013. Many of the schemes approved, such as the Chester Innovation Centre and the

Another recent approval will see almost £10.8 million invested in the redevelopment of the Chapel Street area in Salford, with £1.8 million coming from the ERDF and almost £9 million from the NWDA. The funding will help to develop the public infrastructure needed to set in motion a major mixed-use redevelopment scheme in the heart of the city, which will eventually generate over £650 million in private sector investment. Chris Farrow, chief executive of Central Salford Urban Regeneration Company,says:“the funding enables us to deliver the right infrastructure for Chapel Street to generate 11,000 new jobs and 849 new homes. Importantly, it allows us to get on and deliver what the local community has been telling us they want;to revitalise the historic heart of the city.”

Liverpool has a stunning new rail gateway after European funding was used to reveal and enhance the acclaimed 165-year-old architectural pedigree of Lime Street station. The £8 million public realm project, which included removal of an eyesore office block and low grade retail units to open up the station frontage, was the first project to win investment – £2.6 million – from the Northwest ERDF programme. Nearing completion, the project incorporates a unique series of etchings by the artist Simon Faithfull, and feature lighting to highlight the station façade. It was undertaken in two main stages. • Demolition of a 1960s office building and shop units blocking the front of station • Construction of a new gateway entrance with gentle steps and slopes to dovetail with the different concourse levels and restoration of the station’s Victorian stone and glazed façade ERDF investment, says Alistair Macdonald, senior development manager with Liverpool Vision, which managed the project, was ‘pivotal’ in getting the project off the ground after a previous scheme had stalled. “The public space and station façade as a backdrop is extremely impressive and Liverpool now has a gateway of fitting quality to the city centre,” says Macdonald.

So what is the ERDF? The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme allocates funding to different regions throughout the European Union to boost economic development in less prosperous areas. In the UK, the Government has given the nine regional development agencies responsibility for managing the funding, which means that European Union regional policy can be aligned with UK domestic regional policy. In the Northwest, the NWDA is responsible for managing the ERDF programme – called ERDF – with the multipartner Programme Monitoring Committee (PMC) overseeing its strategic direction and delivery. The ERDF has been allocated €755 million to spend on the region between 2007 and 2013.

The Northwest European Regional Development Fund is helping to drive a series of economic and regeneration initiatives across the region, as Trevor Bates discovers.

Liz Meek, chair of the Programme Monitoring Committee which oversees the fund and regional director of Government Office for the North West, says European funding has changed the face of the region’s towns and cities and brought thousands of skilled jobs to the area.“Without it some of the major regeneration schemes we have seen over the last few “The Northwest“ years simply would not have ERDF programme, happened,” says Meek. managed by Projects currently approved cover a wide spectrum of economic the NWDA, has activity from building a business spurred the park road in Barrow to tourism region’s economic campaigns and schemes built “recovery.” around green travel and carbon reduction technologies. The programme’s underlying aim is to increase competitiveness and productivity. ERDF investment of £8.5 million, for example, has gone into ensuring the Northwest Manufacturing Advisory Service can continue to deliver its expertise in lean manufacturing to SMEs.

More zest for Lime Street


315º Magazine / NWDA / News

News / NWDA / 315º Magazine



James Walker commits to Cumbria

The new Northwest Manufacturing Forum welcomed a special guest to its inaugural meeting in May– Dr Vince Cable, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. Cable stopped off in Warrington to meet the NWDA while on a visit to the region. Following the meeting,he confirmed his belief that northern RDAs ‘are doing a good job,’ but said that reforms were inevitable.

research was conducted across 150 cities and 2000 events. Manchester also walked away with two further accolades at the ceremony. It was named the best in the Small City category, and also won in the Best Legacy category, for the way it has capitalised on the hosting of the Commonwealth Games 2002.

Historic dock to be opened Nuclear

boost for Lancashire

The largest employer in Cockermouth, James Walker & Co, has confirmed its commitment to Cumbria following support from the NWDA. The company, which has a world-class research and manufacturing facility in the town, will continue to invest in the business, after the NWDA supported the provision of flood defences at the factory. The floods in November 2009 meant that the facility was forced to outsource manufacturing to other James Walker factories, leading to job fears at the site which employs 350 people. However, the new defences now mean that the factory, equipment and materials are protected against future flooding, enabling the company to reaffirm its commitment to the town. Peter Needham, chairman of the James Walker Group, says:“Our plans are back on track to ensure that Cockermouth continues to lead in material and product developments.”

Manchester in global top10 for sport Manchester has been ranked one of the world’s top 10 cities for hosting international sports events in new research by SportBusiness Group, a leading supplier of sporting information. Manchester was ranked seventh overall at the SportAccord International Convention in Dubai, after


See Investors look north, page 10 See Investors look north, page 10

Interim VCLF makes first investment The Northwest Interim Venture Capital Loan Fund (VCLF),funded by ERDF in the Northwest and the NWDA, has made its first equity investment, in computer software and service company, Fresh T. The Interim VCLF has invested £300,000 in the company, which will move into the Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus. At the same time, the structure and management of the new long term VCLF has also been confirmed, with Lord Daresbury assuming the chairman’s role and Andy Leach, formerly a director with Lloyds Development Capital, becoming CEO. See Euro millions aid recovery, page 04

A historic dock that sparked Liverpool’s transformation from a small town into a thriving global port has been converted into a tourist attraction. The Old Dock, which featured on Channel Four’s Time Team programme in 2008, was the world’s first commercial enclosed wet dock when it was completed in 1715. Built at the mouth of the Pool which gave the city its name, the dock included a revolutionary gate system which allowed it to be used regardless of whether the tide was in or out. The building of the dock saw Liverpool rocket from a

community of 5,000 people into one of the busiest ports in the world 100 years later. The original dock was buried in 1826 as the port continued to grow, but was rediscovered by archaeologists in 2001. It has now been preserved beneath the Liverpool One development. The attraction shows the north east section of the dock and includes a tunnel that could have once linked to Liverpool Castle. A giant projector screen also shows how the site would have looked in 1715. See Mersey, Mersey me, page 26

The Northwest’s nuclear industry has been boosted with the news that Westinghouse Electric Company – part of the Toshiba Corporation – has signed a 150-year lease on the Springfields nuclear fuel manufacturing site, near Preston. The deal is expected to safeguard 1,350 jobs at the site. It could also lead to many more jobs in future if the British government places orders for Westinghouse’s AP1000 nuclear generator, currently being trialled by UK regulators.

Construction begins Lancaster MBA fifth best in Europe on next phase of The Financial Times ranking of the top global MBA programmes has placed Lancaster University fifth in Europe and third in the UK in the PhD rating. Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) has one of the largest PhD programmes in the UK, with academic research in all areas of business and management. Around 75 per cent of LUMS’ research activity has been assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent in the latest UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008). See Green giants, page 22

Daresbury Campus

Construction of a major new facility for hightech businesses, Vanguard House, has officially begun on the Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus (Daresbury SIC). The project, which is being funded by the NWDA, will provide 3,300 sq m (36,000 sq ft) of accommodation and heralds the next stage of development of the internationally recognised campus. It follows on from the hugely successful Daresbury Innovation Centre, and is set for completion in the first quarter of 2011.

315º Magazine / NWDA / The Big Idea

The Big Idea / NWDA / 315º Magazine

Siemens’ technology underpins much of modern life, yet few people could actually name one of its products. Juergen Maier, head of Siemens UK Industry Sector, helps Gareth Chadwick clear up some of the confusion.


n Austrian, a German and an Englishman walk into a room… no, not the beginning of a humorous musing on European harmony, simply a description of Juergen Maier’s arrival for our interview. Maier, managing director of Siemens Industry Sector UK, could feasibly qualify for all three national pronouns. An Austrian passport holder through both his parents, he was actually born in Karlsruhe, in south west Germany, and lived there until the age of ten, before moving to Leeds in 1974. Ever since then, barring the odd overseas posting, he’s been based in the UK, and happily describes himself as more English than German. “I’ve been here so long and since such a young age, I feel more British than anything. I feel like an outsider whenever I go back to Germany which, given my name, confuses the heck out of people,” he laughs. Based in Manchester, Siemens Industry Sector operates on a global scale supplying production, transport and building engineering technologies. In the UK, this activity amounts to sales of around £1.5 billion and the Industry Sector employs some 5,000 people, of whom around 1,500 are employed at sites in West Didsbury, Ardwick, Wythenshawe and Congleton. Most people are familiar with the Siemens name, even if few fully understand what the company does, and certainly not what the Industry Sector does. But given the sheer range of its products, it is perhaps not surprising. To give an idea, Siemens makes the technology for sub-stations which supply around 50 per cent of Manchester’s electricity; it supplies hi-tech parts for water companies to control the flow of water into homes across the country; its technology is in most

areas of transport,from traffic lights,to cars,to trains, he explains, is to continue researching, developing and manufacturing new technology in focus areas to trams,even the luggage belts at airports; few “The Northwest’s“ such as: reducing energy consumption in the modern buildings could operate effectively without engineering heritage, manufacturing sector; making buildings more the Siemens components in their management established markets energy efficient; providing solutions to support the systems; and hospitals across the country rely on transport infrastructure; and renewable energy its state-of-the-art medical equipment, such as CT and modern generation, initially wind energy, for which scanners. The list could go on and on. manufacturing skills Manchester is an international ‘competence centre’ That the company’s relatively low profile belies its have been the integral role at the heart of the modern industrial for grid connections from wind farms. To do so springboard for the society is an irony Maier is aware of, if not exactly of course, it needs the engineers, technologists “company’s growth.” happy about. and researchers to develop its products and staff “If we could find a cost-effective way of addressing its laboratories – another area where Siemen’s it more quickly, we would, but when it comes down Northwest operations are leading the way. It was a to it, we simply prefer to invest that money in the R&D that drives our lead sponsor of the Big Bang Fair in Manchester in March, works products and our company. Manufacturing innovative,reliable products closely with the Engineering Employers’ Federation on Manufacturing does of course bring its own benefits in terms of reputation and profile, Week and Maier himself sits on the board of Manufacturing Insight, the government-backed body tasked with improving the image of albeit at a much slower and more sustainable rate,” he says. manufacturing among young people. “At Siemens, we’re actively trying to influence perceptions of the engineering and manufacturing sectors and encourage more people iemens has been a recurrent feature of the 46-year-old Maier’s life. His primary school in Germany was sponsored into the industry,at a regional and national level. Modern manufacturing by Siemens. His engineering degree at Nottingham Trent is about A380 aircraft, electric vehicles, hi-tech electronic gadgets, energy saving technology. This is what we as an industry need to get University was sponsored by Siemens, and he undertook two across, and an awful lot of it is done right here in the Northwest,” placements with the company during his degree course. But even says Maier. so, he says it was never a foregone conclusion that he would join the company. Indeed, after failing to get the required grades at A level, it was doubtful at one stage if he would even become an engineer. In a nutshell... “I’ve always been very practically minded, rather than a pure academic, and the disruption of moving to the UK at the age of ten probably didn’t Name: Juergen Maier Age: 46 help. My initial aim was to study biomedical engineering in London, but I didn’t get the grades, which was a big disappointment. So instead Where were you born: Karlsruhe, Germany I started a straight engineering diploma in Nottingham and then Where do you live: West Didsbury managed to transfer to the Siemens-sponsored degree course,” says Maier. What did you want to be when you were younger? He’s been with them ever since. First of all helping to mastermind Something to do with engineering or innovative the development of a new factory in Congleton to produce variable technology speed drives and, via various stints elsewhere in the UK and overseas, What was your first ever job? as managing director of the Industry Sector since 2008. On being appointed to the MD’s role, he was determined to base it in Stacking shelves at a local delicatessen the Northwest,the traditional heartland of the UK’s manufacturing and What’s the hardest thing about your job? engineering industry. Moreover, he says it is the region’s engineering Finding the right work/life balance heritage, established markets and modern manufacturing skills base that have been the springboard for the company’s growth. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? “It’s a great place for us to be. Going back 25 years, it’s where a lot of Regardless of your position and your success, keep your our early markets were, with companies like GEC and Ferranti.We were feet firmly on the ground able to capitalise on that. Since then, it’s provided the opportunities, What is the best thing about being successful? the skills base and the relationships to develop the company, our Paying more taxes products and our markets to where we are today,” he says. It is a development that is still very much in progress. Siemen’s strategy,


Maier makes good

Photography by Craig Easton/Driftwood


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315º Magazine / NWDA / Business


espite the recession, foreign direct investment continues to be one of the biggest contributors to the region’s economy. According to an independent study carried out by DTZ for the NWDA, foreign-owned companies have a massive impact on the regional economy. “Foreign direct investment projects only account for about one per cent of the Northwest’s business base, but they contribute around 17 per cent to GVA because they tend to pay higher salaries and be more productive than indigenous companies,” explains John Cunliffe, head of investment services at the NWDA. These findings demonstrate how important foreign direct investment (FDI) is to the region. The Northwest is the UK’s most popular FDI destination outside London and the South East. Over 3,000 foreign companies operate from the region, accounting for more than one in ten jobs. While provisional figures for the 2009 financial year indicate that like everywhere else in the UK, FDI in the Northwest has been hit by the recession, the picture is far from one of doom and gloom.

Soap star: PZ Cussons invested £26m in a new Innovation Centre in Salford.

11 In the same month, after considering several European locations, Dutch-owned meat processor Tulip decided on Bromborough, on the Wirral, as the base for its new £12 million sausage making plant, bringing 270 new jobs to the region. It is not just foreign-owned businesses who are investing in the Northwest either – a number of UK organisations have recently made significant investments. PZ Cussons, the multi-national company behind toiletry brands such as Imperial Leather and Carex, already has a successful base in the Northwest, employing some 400 people. But investing in a new R&D facility is the kind of decision that is taken on a global, “The Northwest“ not local scale. Nonetheless, is the UK’s most despite ample opportunities to popular FDI relocate outside of the UK, destination outside when it came to building a new London and £26 millon innovation centre, the company chose Salford,owing to “the South East.” its confidence in the Northwest’s labour pool, infrastructure and supply chain. At the same time, it invested in brand new global headquarters at Manchester Business Park. “We wanted to retain the skilled workforce we have in the Northwest and continue to support the local suppliers,” explains Brandon Leigh, finance director at PZ Cussons.“Having the headquarters a stone’s throw away from Manchester Airport will allow us to retain the talented labour we already have and continue to attract high-quality personnel in the future.” Then in February, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirmed that the data capture operation behind the next census in 2011 will take place in Trafford, Greater Manchester, creating 1,300 new jobs at a new data scanning centre. The NWDA’s Cunliffe says: “The range of businesses that have invested demonstrates the Northwest’s ability to attract investment from a variety of sectors. In the future we expect MediaCityUK to be another big attraction for FDI, so we’re very positive about the outlook.”

Milk laps up free office space The number of FDI projects may have dropped from 176 in 2008/09 to around 166 in 2009/10, but job numbers increased – over 13,600 jobs have been created or safeguarded so far, compared to 11,436 in 2008/09. One major investor was Spanish packaging firm Sociedad Anónima Industrias Celulosa Aragonesa (SAICA), which invested £290 million in a paper recycling mill at Partington Wharfside, near Manchester. The mill promises to create 200 new jobs and is expected to be up and running by February 2012. The US is the largest foreign investor in the Northwest, responsible for 40 per cent of the region’s total FDI. Recent investors from across the pond include SPX Corporation, which in November 2009 announced plans to locate a major shared service centre (SSC) in Manchester. Due to open in the second quarter of 2010, the centre will house 160 staff who will provide key support services in 12 languages for SPX’s operations in 18 European countries. SPX was attracted to the region because it is home to a large cluster of successful SSCs, including those operated by Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s, and a large pool of multi-lingual talent.

Weblinks: / /

In March, Milk, a pan-European digital media agency, became one of the first businesses to open an office in Manchester through the new ‘Hello Northwest’ scheme. Under the scheme, inward investors can get free desk space in serviced accommodation for the first 12 months of their relocation to the region, allowing them to test out the Northwest as a location before committing to a major investment. Involving a range of office providers, the initiative is being spearheaded by the NWDA, MIDAS and The Mersey Partnership. Milk, with offices in London and Barcelona, has taken space in 111 Piccadilly, and plans to recruit up to 15 staff for its Manchester base. It said the scheme was one of the key reasons for selecting Manchester ahead of Cape Town in South Africa.

Liverpool eyes success in China

Liverpool is putting itself on the map in the world’s most populous country, China, with its presence at this year’s World Expo in Shanghai. Running from May to October 2010, the World Expo is expected to attract around 70 million visitors from all over the globe and will showcase the cultural and economic vibrancy of the world’s leading urban centres and nations. Liverpool, which is twinned with Shanghai, is the only British city invited to exhibit at the Expo other than London, which subsequently pulled out. Sir Paul McCartney will greet visitors to the Liverpool pavilion via a recorded video message; guests will then be ushered into a purpose built cinema to watch a breathtaking 10-minute 3D film about the city and the Northwest. Mike Taylor, director of investment and enterprise for Liverpool Vision, says: “Consultants conservatively estimate Liverpool’s involvement will result in a £50 million economic impact across the Northwest over the next decade. The city hopes that its presence in Shanghai will encourage Chinese investment in the city region, position the region as an essential stop-off for Chinese tourists visiting the UK, and help local business access new markets.” During the Expo,more than 200 nations and international organisations will present their interpretations of the official Expo theme: Better City, Better Life. Liverpool’s pavilion will present the city and the wider Northwest to a massive international audience and the event is expected to provide significant business opportunities. Liverpool’s presence was made possible by a £1.25 million funding package from the NWDA, £300,000 from Liverpool City Council, and support from a wide range of sponsors, including main sponsor Peel Holdings. ∆

From soap to sausages, digital media to financial services, the Northwest is continuing to pull in investors from all around the globe, writes Lynda Searby.


Investors look north

Business / NWDA / 315º Magazine

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315º Magazine / NWDA / Business

Business / NWDA / 315º Magazine

Enterprise with a conscience Roy White, Northwest regional director at TSELF, says: “There’s been a great deal of interest in the scheme and we’ve been able to assist a wide variety of social enterprise businesses that were struggling to obtain funding from mainstream sources.”

TSELF has, to date, invested £8 million in social enterprises across the UK, helping to create jobs and training opportunities.The new funding means TSELF is able to offer more

Catalyst Science Discovery in Widnes, an interactive science centre and museum, received an £50,000 loan to pay for a full-time marketing manager and help it engage with

Putting social benefit at the heart of your business may be great for society, but it can make it difficult to obtain finance, which is where the social enterprise loan fund comes in. Helen Dugdale reports.

more young people by increasing the breadth of science education it offers. Other organisations that have benefited include Croxteth Enterprise Training and Employment Centre (CENTEC), which received funding to help develop a former industrial site into a variety of managed work spaces, including offices, showrooms and industrial units for local commercial and community enterprises.

The continent might get more sunshine, but the Northwest receives around 31million overnight visitors each year. Helen Dugdale looks at some recent initiatives to boost this number further.

Pat Brand, chief executive of CENTEC, says: “without the loan we could not have left the starting blocks. Social enterprises across the Northwest should explore the viability of TSELF loan finance to grow their organisations.”

People power: a £9m redevelopment has transformed the People's History Museum in Manchester.

SPACE men aim for stars SPACE is a community interest company in Blackpool which offers flexible work experience opportunities for young people interested in the music industry. Two years ago, SPACE acquired a lease on an empty building which it wanted to develop into affordable rehearsal and recording studios for young musicians. However, a lack of finance and strict lending criteria from banks meant that refurbishment plans were hampered. TSELF stepped in with a £10,000 loan to fund internal building alterations, creating an extra room, as well as additional musical equipment and new windows. Sean McGinty, managing director of SPACE, says: “We’re delighted with the loan from TSELF. The loan made a huge difference, allowing us to develop our facilities, open up the centre for daytime use and generate additional revenue from renting out the rehearsal rooms.”

Thirty-one million and rising Over £14 billion in income, more than 220,000 jobs and an estimated GVA of £5.7 billion. The Northwest’s visitor economy is a force to be reckoned with. The region already attracts more overnight visitors than the whole of Scotland, and the number of domestic overnight trips to the region grew by more than five per cent between 2007 and 2009, with only London achieving a higher rate of growth. Now, with a number of new projects recently completed, these statistics look set to increase even further. Two museums are among the venues to benefit. In Manchester, the doors of the People’s History Museum have re-opened after a £9 million redevelopment funded by £7.2 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and a £2 million grant from the NWDA. The museum explores many of the worldchanging ideas fought for by the working classes of Britain and charts the history of democracy from the early 18th Century to the present day. The funding has enabled the museum to double in size and consolidate its previous two sites into one.


The Museum of Liverpool has also received funding from the NWDA in a bid to enhance yet further its appeal to visitors. The venue received £3.4 million to support the creation of four new exciting exhibition spaces, as well as the interpretation and exhibits that will fill the space. The museum hopes to attract over 750,000 visitors per year when it opens its doors in 2011. Providing accurate information for visitors is recognised as vital for the region to make the most of its tourist assets. By 2012, over £5 million will have been invested in modernising the tourist information centre network, including new digital platforms that will make it as easy as possible for visitors to research, book and experience the Northwest.

VEC needs you! A new independent committee has been launched to boost the Northwest’s visitor economy. The Visitor Economy Commission (VEC) aims to influence and enhance the region’s visitor strategy and is calling on the tourism industry to contribute to the debate on issues and priorities facing the sector. The VEC is keen to get feedback from people working in tourism at all levels, to find out what the region needs to do to build on its current successes. To get involved in the debate and to contribute to the VEC visit:

Another key focus is to reverse the decline of coastal towns in the region.Around £100 million is planned to be spent over the next three years, the majority of which will benefit the visitor economies of Blackpool, Southport, Cleveleys/Fleetwood and Morecambe. Projects include an arts trail in Cleveleys, the ‘comedy carpet’ in Blackpool and a new cultural centre in Southport. ∆

financial support specifically to Northwest organisations, by way of Small Loans for Business of up to £50,000. Fixed asset loans of up to £100,000 and land and building loans of up to £250,000 are available through other sources.

Hundreds of charities and social enterprises across the Northwest can access loans to continue their good work, thanks to the latest round of funding for an innovative loan fund. The Social Enterprise Loan Fund (TSELF) provides loans to local enterprises engaged in social regeneration that are unable to secure sufficient finance from mainstream sources. Now, new funding of £500,000 from the NWDA and the Northwest European Regional Development Fund (ERDF),mean the fund can continue to support organisations across the region.



315º Magazine / NWDA / Business

Greenbacks for green business

Business / NWDA / 315º Magazine


Wind of change: a wide range of support means that it is easier than ever for businesses to go green.

Having theoretical documents that outline the consolidate two existing production lines into a necessary course of action is all well and good, but single, more efficient line that will process more products. This is expected to result in carbon how do the region’s businesses know what is expected “Another initiative” savings of 550 tonnes over 20 years. of them under these plans? Northwest firms “Businesses don’t necessarily need to know about It’s not just companies who are looking to adopt may be eligible for CCAP and SCP,” says Mark Atherton, director of sustainable technologies who are offered support. is the £4 million, For businesses wanting to exploit the market for environment and energy at the NWDA.“What they NWDA-funded low carbon solutions, support could vary from do need to know is that support is available for them a couple of days of consultancy to having a to de-carbonise their operations and reduce their Rural Carbon graduate consultant for six months to help develop resource usage.” ”Challenge Fund.” a specific ‘eco-innovation’. Atherton says one of the first steps Northwest Another initiative Northwest firms may be eligible businesses can take is to join the Prince’s Mayday for is the £4 million, NWDA-funded Rural Carbon Network, a community of businesses who are Challenge Fund, designed to support renewable energy projects in committed to taking action on climate change. Hundreds of businesses rural areas. It offers grants of between £200,000 and £500,000 to are already in the network, and this number is growing all the time. micro-businesses, social enterprises, charities and community “The Northwest has one of the largest and most active Mayday groups that are looking to install sustainable energy projects, set up Networks in the UK,” he says.“It is free to join and it provides businesses renewable energy businesses, or supply training and information for with tools and resources which can help them take action on their micro-renewable technologies. carbon footprint.”

Going green has never been easier for businesses, thanks to an ever increasing range of support initiatives. Lynda Searby reports.


usinesses in the Northwest that haven’t yet looked at ways of improving their environmental credentials are fast running out of excuses. Spring 2010 has seen the introduction of several initiatives aimed at helping and encouraging them to do just this. At a strategic level, the Northwest’s revised Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) for 2010-2012 was launched in February, mapping out the approach businesses, communities and individuals need to adopt for the Northwest to make the transition to a low carbon region equipped to cope with the challenges posed by climate change. The CCAP sits alongside a second strategic plan, the Sustainable Consumption Plan (SCP), which outlines ways the region can reduce resource use in four areas: food, chemicals, construction and water.

The Manchester-based Advanced Composites Group, a manufacturer of pre-pregnated plastic materials, took advantage of the programme when it was looking for ways to improve the energy efficiency of its compressed air and heating systems. “Consultants came in and did a site survey,” says the company’s operations manager, Tony Hankinson.“They advised us where the key areas were and then carried out the testing to demonstrate that the cost savings were actually achievable.” The NWDA also offers free support to help businesses with waste, recycling and buying recycled products. This includes identifying local providers, ‘meet the buyer’ events and waste contract support. In terms of financial assistance,there are grants for improving resource efficiency for businesses undertaking capital investment projects which will contribute to reducing CO2 emissions. The maximum level of support available is 50 per cent of the total project cost, up to a maximum of €200,000. One company to benefit is Lancashire-based Impregnation,a casting recovery company specialising in porosity sealing. The £48,000 grant it received will enable the company to

Lee Allman, head of research and commercialisation at Envirolink Northwest, which is delivering the project in partnership with the Energy Saving Trust, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for rural communities in England’s Northwest to make a real difference to where they live and work. There is no other scheme like it in the country, so the successful projects will be pioneers, setting a blueprint for the rest of the UK to follow.” ∆


he NWDA also offers a suite of business support products under the ‘Improving Your Resource Efficiency’ banner to help businesses minimise waste and reduce energy and water use. They can all be accessed via Business Link Northwest. For example, businesses seeking to install renewable energy technologies can access free advice and technical support on identifying the best technology for their needs, achieving planning consent and connecting to the electricity network. The NWDA’s Embedding Resource Efficiency programme gives businesses access to free, independent advice on how to cut costs by reducing use of raw materials, energy and water. Support includes an on-site audit, software to record and report cost savings, staff training and networking events, and use of equipment such as energy monitors and thermal imaging.

Plans for greener future The Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) will be delivered via the Northwest Climate Change Partnership, which is made up of over 20 stakeholder organisations, including the Carbon Trust, Envirolink Northwest, United Utilities and the NHS North West. “CCAP is all about translating national policy into regional actions, and then providing support to make it happen,” says Mark Atherton, director of environment and energy with the NWDA. The actions outlined by the plan range from developing a low carbon transport infrastructure to establishing new support programmes for biomass, tidal energy and low carbon energy technologies. Alongside the CCAP, the Sustainable Consumption Plan (SCP) focuses on ways to use resources more efficiently in four key areas: food, chemicals, construction and water. “Both plans are designed to support the low carbon environmental goods and services sector. So the overall aim is to achieve reductions in carbon and resource use, while boosting productivity,” explains Atherton.


315º Magazine / NWDA / In Pictures

In Pictures / NWDA / 315º Magazine

In pictures:


akes Alive is an exciting programme of performance events across Cumbria and the Lake District. It is one of the strands of WE PLAY – the Northwest’s cultural legacy programme for London 2012, and aims to establish Cumbria as the centre for outdoor arts in the UK. Launched in May 2009, the programme

16/17 attracted over 75,000 people to the area and generated over £3 million of extra spending in the county. The 2010 event is expected to build on this success. It began on 29th April with a spectacular light show along Hadrian’s Wall and a torch-lit costumed procession in Carlisle, and runs until 5th September.

Opposite page: An acrobat suspended from an ethereal, giant heliosphere led a torchlit parade through the streets of Carlisle, during the awe-inspiring Welcoming the Light event in March.

Top left: Carlisle played host to its first Roman soldiers for 1500 years during the parade for Welcoming the Light.

Photography by Craig Easton/Driftwood (Top Right & Middle Left) and Tony West (Middle Right & Bottom Row)

Northern lights

Photography by D&H Photographers

Top right: At twilight, the Sufi:Zen audience was led into the evocative ruins of Furness Abbey to enjoy a meditative dance piece performed by critically-acclaimed South Asian dance company, Akademi.

Middle left: On arrival at Sufi:Zen at Furness Abbey, guests were welcomed into a beautifully decorated Indian tent, with live music, to try a range of delicate samples of Asian food and drink.

Middle right: Lakes Alive Whitehaven at the end of May kicked off with Adrift, the world premiere of a brand new musical show from Cumbrian artist Dan Fox.

Bottom: Spanish company Sarruga beguiled the crowds in Whitehaven with their show Peixos, as giant carnival-style sculptures of fish, sharks, jelly fish and other colourful sea creatures swam among the audience.


315º Magazine / NWDA / People

People / NWDA / 315º Magazine Kings of the world: youngsters get to grips with Google Earth at the Big Bang Fair.



apoleon once famously called Britain“a nation of shopkeepers”. Big Bang is only one NWDA-backed manufacturing initiative in the These days he’d be more likely to call us a nation of wannabees. region. Another high profile campaign is Make It in Manufacturing, If the surveys are accurate, the number one career choice of which has spent the past four years stoking the interest of young people. Britain’s pre-teens is sports star, followed by pop star or actor. Almost 15,000 have played a part in Make It activities, which include In stark contrast, in a poll of seven to 11 year olds 49 per cent said that the Make It Enterprising Challenge, encouraging teenagers to set up becoming an engineer would be ‘boring’. their own mini-manufacturing businesses. The Make It Zone at careers But thanks to some proactive campaigning by The Manufacturing events like Skills Northwest gives pupils a chance to make hair gel, Institute,supported by the NWDA, and perhaps a sprinkling of stardust solder electronics and mould plastics. It is all about school children from the Northwest’s own pop-star-turned-science getting their hands dirty, so they don’t view the guru, Professor Brian Cox, the industries on which subjects as purely theoretical. our economy is built may be about to enter a new era. “We want to get away from the ‘geeks in lab coats’ “The UK is the“ It can’t happen quickly enough. The UK faces a huge on the one hand, and the perception that they’re low sixth biggest skills shortage,with one report predicting that we will skilled and repetitive on the other,” says Nicola manufacturer in need to recruit 587,000 new workers to manufacturing Eagleton-Crowther, the Manufacturing Institute’s the world and by 2017. Nowhere is this more pertinent than in the campaign manager for Make It in Manufacturing. Northwest. The UK is the sixth biggest manufacturer the Northwest is in the world and the Northwest is the largest The Fab Lab is the latest initiative. Based in the the largest manufacturing region in the UK. Chips building in the Ancoats area of Manchester, it manufacturing is a fully kitted fabrication workshop, encouraging “region in the UK.” The Big Bang Fair is a perfect example of how it young and old to bring their ideas in order that they is possible to change perceptions of science, can turn them into reality. It offers skilled staff, as technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects well as specialist equipment, and it is free for nonin the eyes of the people who matter: school pupils and college students. commercial users. Started at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute The national three-day exhibition came to Manchester in March, in of Technology (MIT) in Boston, the labs have taken off all over the what was only its second annual event. It attracted more than 20,000 world, from Amsterdam to villages in Africa, although Manchester is people to Manchester Central, the venue, and there was a genuine the first in the UK. The first projects already unveiled in the UK include buzz throughout the hall as enthusiastic youngsters darted from the the Sky Baby, a folding travel cot to transport young ones on planes, BAE Systems stand, where an eight foot robot held court, to the Google and a baby’s bottle with an in-built colour changing temperature gauge. Earth exhibition, with its 360° surround graphics. “Fab Labs give people the tools they need to create technology to be creative and make the stuff that they can’t buy in the shops,” says The choice of company representatives helped. This was not the founder, Professor Neil Gershenfield of MIT. place for 50-something suits to push the corporate message. Thirtysomething Canadian Natalie Doduc was a good example. A cool It all goes back to the same principle of encouraging young people to software engineer from Google, she talked to students about how she appreciate the skills necessary for everyday gadgets like ipods, to the worked in the small team which made it possible to watch You Tube technology that goes towards creating an unmanned plane. It looks on mobile phones. Less than 50 metres away, Flight Lieutenant like they’re starting to get the message. After the Make It Enterprising Andrew Graves from the Royal Air Force helped excited youngsters final, 60 per cent said they would consider a career in manufacturing into the cockpit of a Typhoon. For him, it is crucial that people who are now that they understood what it meant. Being a celebrity isn’t rocket passionate about their jobs use that passion to encourage more science, but a career in manufacturing could be – quite literally. young people to consider a career in engineering. “Fifty per cent of our jobs are STEM-related. We need to get away from the negative perceptions. These are the subjects that are going to allow youngsters Manufacturing: The Facts to work on things like the Typhoon”, he says.

Manufacturing has had a tough time attracting youngsters in an era where celebrity rules, but as Scott McCubbin discovers, it’s fighting back.

Photography by Craig Easton/Driftwood

Banging the drum

Most of the big brands – big brands that invest heavily in research and development in the Northwest – had a significant presence at the fair. Siemens was there with an electric Porsche. AstraZeneca set up mini labs and experiments, and Shell displayed an eco-car which was designed and built by students. It was all about reinvigorating the same enthusiasm that people have about space and cars at an early age, when they see bridges and planes and gasp in amazement. The Big Bang was about making them realise they could do it as adults, too. “By 2050 there will be 10 billion people on the planet. If we can get young people to think about oil and gas, why energy matters, then we’ve done our job. The energy industry is going to see major changes and it’s exciting,” says Sally Gold, head of social investment at Shell.

Number of new workers needed in the UK by 2017: 587,000 Number of youngsters taking part in the Northwest’s Make It campaign: 15,000 Number attending Big Bang Fair at Manchester Central: 20,000

Changing perceptions: Percentage of seven to 11 year olds describing engineering as ‘boring’: 49% Percentage of youngsters who would consider manufacturing as a career after the Make It Enterprising Challenge: 60%

Weblinks: / /

315º Magazine / NWDA / People

People / NWDA / 315º Magazine

Waiting in line: this year’s Manchester Masters finalists get set for business.

Masters at work Around 65,000 graduates leave the Northwest’s 12 universities every year. It’s an impressive statistic, but for potential employers it is not the total number of graduates that is important, but the number that choose to stay and build their careers in the region. That’s where Manchester Masters comes in. Just about to start its second year, the innovative scheme aims to encourage more university leavers to stay in the city and work after graduation. It offers 10 graduates the chance to win a range of guaranteed jobs for a year and a Masters degree from Manchester Metropolitan University at the end of the 12 months.

Launched in 2009, the first cohort of 10 graduates is approaching the end of their year in business, with another 10 set to take their place in the coming months. Tom McKenna, a 23-year-old international business graduate from Manchester Business School, is one of the 2009 finalists. “I’ve experienced four very different placements and gained some fantastic experience. I don’t have a definite role in mind for my first job, so this has been a great way of trialling different roles within marketing. The access to key Manchester business people has been unbelievable and I’ve made some great contacts for the future,” says McKenna.

The majority of funding for the Manchester Masters scheme comes from the Manchester Innovation Fund, which is funded by Nesta (National Endowment for Science,Technology and the Arts), the NWDA and Manchester City Council. Businesses that take a student pay £1,500 a quarter towards their salary. The remainder of the package is made up of contributions from the private sector, such as travel cards, rent-free accommodation and membership of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

It’s good to talk

Over half of all new businesses fail within the “So far my mentoring experience has been first year, and around 75 per cent fail to make fantastic and I would hugely recommend it to it past 24 months. A new NWDA-funded other SME directors. My mentor has taught mentoring scheme aims to make sure more me how to have more confidence in my businesses in the Northwest are in the abilities and my knowledge. I have really successful 25 per cent that do. amazed myself just by trusting my judgement Open to senior managers of small businesses and believing in myself more,” says Watson. that have been trading for over a year and whose turnover is less than £2 million, the Watson’s mentor is Greg Marshall,who worked business mentoring programme enables less for over 25 years in the IT and telecoms sector experienced managers to and is now working for a benefit from the knowledge major telecoms company. and support of people with He says that successful “The mentoring“ mentoring is based on considerably more business scheme enables “mutual respect andhonesty experience. less experienced A bespoke mentoring inthementoring managers to benefit relationship is created to relationship; so the mentee from the knowledge can have confidence to act explore aims and objectives, and support of on things discussed.” which could include people with more He says that with Watson, personal, leadership and “business experience.” “we looked at preparation management development and confidence building issues.The service is free, when meeting influential andbusinessesarematched people. Then we looked at prioritising with a chosen mentor who best suits their opportunities, maximising short term individual needs. revenue and longer term project planning.” Delivered through Business Link Northwest, Alison Watson, director of Class of Your Own, the mentoring scheme also offers group which offers activities and workshops to mentoring, bringing together six to eight introduce secondary school students to roles in the construction industry, was drawn to the business leaders with one experienced mentor. mentoringprogrammelookingforaconfidence The group sessions include businesses from similar sectors who benefit from sharing and assertiveness boost to help her to deal experiences and ideas. with the array of people she works with.

Running a business can be a lonely experience, particularly if you are just starting out. Helen Dugdale finds out about a new programme to support small business managers.

Creative Karma Web agency DesignKarma joined the Business Mentoring programme in March and hasn’t looked back. Based in Altrincham the business was looking for a fresh perspective on taking the company to the next level. Ian Ebden, managing director, is delighted with the feedback: “I joined because I was looking to get practical support from experienced professionals on where to go next and how to grow the business. Although it’s still early days with the mentor, so far I’ve had honest constructive feedback on what we’re doing right and wrong and some interesting opinions on how to move forward. The programme is very professionally run and free, so we have nothing to lose.”

The programme is open to “The chosen10” final-year students from Organisations signed up receive four, threeManchester, Manchester to the programme include month placements Metropolitan, Salford and Manchester Confidential, with Manchester Bolton universities, from Marketing Manchester, companies, in PR, all disciplines, who apply inward investment agency online for the scheme. MIDAS,promotions company advertising, media, A two-day boot camp, Million-2-1, property firm ”digital or design.” including a Dragons’ DenBruntwood and PR firms style grilling, is then held MC2 and Tangerine PR. to select the final 10 lucky Sandy Lindsay, managing applicants. The chosen 10 receive four, threedirector at Tangerine PR, explains why month placements with Manchester businesses in the city should be part of companies, covering roles in PR, advertising, Manchester Masters: “Manchester Masters media, digital or design. They also benefit is a superb way to get new ideas and talent at from a business mentor, a tax-free salary of an affordable rate. Almost every business that took part last year has applied to be £12,000, high-level networking opportunities involved again this year – which surely and use of a rent-free city centre apartment speaks for itself.” for 12 months.

Show me the money


The Northwest already retains more graduates than most other regions, but for the Manchester Masters programme, more is never enough. Helen Dugdale reports.



315º Magazine / NWDA / People

InBusiness the news / NWDA / 315º Magazine


Professor Davies’s centre for sustainable agriculture is just one of five research bodies, along with centres for chemicals “The LEC is one“ management, environmental of the largest informatics, sustainable environmental energy and sustainable water research centres management, all operating under “in Europe.” the LEC banner. The LEC’s growing profile has attracted 25 businesses to work alongside it, and a number of other public/ private research bodies. “The LEC is playing a key role in increasing the university’s collaboration with business, one of the NWDA’s key priorities, while boosting the region’s reputation for research and development,”says George Baxter, NWDA director of science and innovation. The Waitrose Centre, a partnership with Waitrose supermarkets, researches environmentally sound production of fresh produce from a global supply base. Reach, which stands for Registration and Evaluation of Chemicals, was set up to help chemical companies comply with the growing amount of legislation. It is now one of the leading global providers of such services with offices in Italy and Japan. The LEC’s global influence is further demonstrated by the £1.3 million Research Council UK Science Bridge award it received in 2009 to improve UK innovation links with China in areas such as water and nutrient use efficiency in crops.

Lancaster Environment Centre has built an international reputation for its work with partners as far afield as China, Australia and the US, reports William Hall.

Above. Grow your own: Professor Bill Davies’ water-saving research is benefiting some of the driest regions in the world.

“Climate change predictions show that rising global surface temperatures coupled with significant changes in rainfall intensity are likely to lead to serious droughts and more frequent flooding.This in turn will threaten food production and safe water supplies”, says Professor Bill Davies, director of the LEC’s centre for sustainable agriculture. The NWDA invested £1.9 million in the third phase of LEC’s development, part-funding the Manley Building, which opened in 2006. The building was developed specifically to house businesses that would benefit from close collaboration with researchers in the adjoining, earlier phases of the centre. The aim behind LEC, a joint venture between the university and the Natural Environment Research Council’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, is to optimise cross-disciplinary research teams, to address the challenges of environmental change. Professor Davies has been involved in sustainable agriculture for many years and the work of his team of plant biologists on water-saving techniques for agriculture is one of the reasons for the LEC’s growing international reputation.

Green giants


ood security is one of this century’s key global challenges. Finding new ways to feed a rapidly growing world population at a time of growing concern over climate change, throws up the sort of problems that the Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC) thrives on. The LEC, part of the University of Lancaster, is one of the largest environmental research centres in Europe. Since 2004 some £35 million has been invested in the LEC which brings together around 300 researchers and lecturers, all working to find solutions to major environmental problems, from tracking pollutants to generating sustainable energy.

Its science has also been used to develop new systems to grow cereals in North China, grape vines in Australia and vegetable production around the Mediterranean and in the USA. New water saving techniques have also been developed with the UK horticultural industry. With the world facing a major food security challenge in the coming decades, the LEC’s research is going to be vital to deliver safe, nutritious and affordable food for a growing world population.

Pest control the Lancaster way Bugs beware. When it comes to protecting major food crops from pest attack, research scientists in Lancaster have discovered a much more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional pesticides. LEC researchers found that when a plant is attacked it produces jasmonic acid (JA), a natural plant compound, which acts as an internal signal to make its own chemicals that protect it against insect damage. “We started wondering how we might use what we’d learned from wild plants to improve pest control in crops”, says LEC’s Dr Jason Moore. “Treating seed with JA might act rather like immunisation, protecting plants for an extended period after treatment: it seemed a bit of a long shot, but we tried and it worked.” Last June the Lancaster research formed the basis of a commercial licensing agreement between Norwich-based Plant Bioscience Limited (PBL), which facilitates the commercialisation of university research, and Becker Underwood, a US seed treatment company.

Weblinks: /

In the news...

Name: Eddie Stobart Who are they? Eddie Stobart, now part of the Stobart Group, was founded in the 1950s by, who else, Eddie Stobart. The company began life as an agricultural business in Cumbria, but by the time it was incorporated as Eddie Stobart Limited in the 1970s, it was the haulage side of the business that was taking off. Later that decade, Eddie passed the firm on to his son Edward, who oversaw the company’s growth to national prominence. In 2003, Edward sold the business to his younger brother William and business partner Andrew Tinkler. Today, the Stobart Group operates over 1,850 trucks, 3,000 trailers, a rail freight service and terminal, six million square feet of storage facilities, two ports and two airports – Carlisle Lake District and London Southend. And not forgetting, of course, a fan club. It employs over 5,000 people in the UK and Europe. Why are they in the news? According to the latest business ‘Superbrand’ survey, Eddie Stobart is now a bigger brand than HSBC bank. It is ranked at number 32 in the 2010 list, above not only the banking group, but such global names as HewlettPackard, Saatchi and Saatchi, JCB, Dell and BAE Systems. It is the fifth year Stobart has made the annual list, which is topped by US computer giant Microsoft, with Rolls Royce, Blackberry, Virgin Atlantic and Google making up the top five. They say: “We are extremely proud of our brand which has been built on solid and traditional core business beliefs.” Andrew Tinkler, CEO, Stobart Group. We say: Honk your horn for the men (and women) in green. ∆

Their research has improved irrigation and optimised yield,saving water in the driest regions of the world. In turn, this has increased profitability for farmers and produced better conditions for local inhabitants. The team’s research won the Times Higher Research Project of the Year award in 2009 and in February 2010 Professor Davies was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary prize for Higher and Further Education.


315º Magazine / NWDA / Places

Its role as an up-market shopping destination has been hit by increased competition from regenerated city centres in Manchester and Liverpool, and out-of-town retail sites, such as Cheshire Oaks, the UK’s biggest designer outlet, which is less than five miles outside the city centre. “Chester’s problem was that it had rested on its laurels for the last 15 years,” says Mike Jones, Conservative leader of Cheshire West and Chester council (CWaC), the new unitary authority created last year after Cheshire County Council was split in two. The city had not invested in its prize assets – its walls, town hall and historic buildings. “The new council has come in with a new broom and a fresh pair of eyes; they have highlighted where the problems lie”, says Paul Norman, development director at Liberty, a Chester-based property developer which has just completed the £60 million HQ development, a 250,000 sq ft “Investment from“ mixed-use scheme overlooking the NWDA has Chester racecourse. The HQ, provided the high which replaces the 1960s-style quality public realm Cheshire Constabulary headquarters, is the first major which will improve investment in Chester city a key gateway centre in 15 years and is already “ into the city.” fully let. Investment from the NWDA has provided the high quality public realm around the development which will improve a key gateway into the city and build momentum around HQ to establish Chester as an international business location.

Chester has long been overshadowed by its larger, louder neighbours of Liverpool and Manchester, but a number of bold initiatives are seeing the historic city step out of the shadows, reportsWilliam Hall.


hester has had its fair share of ups and downs over the last 2,000 years. It was one of Britain’s most famous Roman fortresses, and for many centuries was the most important city in the Northwest. But by the18th Century, industrialisation and the rapid growth of Liverpool, just18 miles away, and Manchester, saw Chester’s importance overshadowed.

Now, with its population of less than 100,000, Chester is on the verge of a historic comeback. The city still has a number of advantages over bigger regional neighbours. It has excellent motorway connections, an hourly direct train service to London, and even a small private airport at Hawarden, four miles outside the city. In terms of quality of life and access to a skilled workforce, few Northern cities can match it. Its financial services sector is also the envy of many other cities. Bank of America’s European Card Services, the largest credit card lender in the UK, is headquartered at Chester Business Park, as is M&S Money, the retailer’s financial services arm., a price comparison website set up by Chester entrepreneur Simon Nixon, is based a few miles away. Meanwhile, its Roman walls, medieval cathedral, ancient racecourse and quaint shops, known as The Rows, fuel a visitor economy worth some £526 million a year and employing 7,600 people. But despite these advantages, Chester’s economic engine had spluttered in recent years.


Dome alone: a £225m masterplan at Chester Zoo will include an African biodome.


cross the road, the old County Hall is being refurbished as part of an expansion plan for Chester University whose15,000 students contribute £135 million to the local economy. Northwest ERDF funding of £1.2 million was awarded to the university to purchase and refurbish the county hall annex, converting it into an Innovation Economy Centre. The refurbishment work has begun and when complete will provide business support for graduates and local residents. These two projects are the most visible signs of the accelerating pace of regeneration which aims to re-establish Chester as a ‘must-see’ European destination and a sought after business location. Rita Waters, chief executive of Chester Renaissance, a public/private partnership charged with delivering a 10-year, £1billion plus regeneration plan, ticks off the projects now emerging from the development pipeline.

Major employers within10 mile radius of Chester Name





Aircraft wings

Staff 7000

Bank of America

Chester Business Park

Credit cards



Ellesmere Port

Car plant




Oil Refinery


M&S Money

Chester Business Park

Fin. Services


Quinn Glass



Deeside Industrial Park

Engine plant

c600 529


Fin. Services




Nuclear fuel


visitors a year. There are plans for a £30 million riverside theatre, and Chester is bidding to become both a Unesco world heritage site and the UK City of Culture in 2017. Chester wants to “clearly differentiate itself from its neighbours by using assets that are unique to Chester, with culture running through every one of them”, says Waters. Meanwhile, the new council is negotiating with ING and Land Securities to resuscitate the £400 million Northgate retail development. A casualty of the credit crunch, Northgate is key to Chester’s bid to re-establish its credentials as a regional shopping destination. An announcement is expected soon. The other big item on the agenda is the expansion of Chester Zoo, which already attracts 1.3 million visitors a year. Over the next 15 years it plans to invest £225 million in the Natural Vision masterplan that will include a 34-metre high ‘Heart of Africa’ biodome housing an African rainforest-themed sanctuary for gorillas, chimpanzees, and other species. It wants to become the largest animal conservation, education and leisure attraction of its kind in Europe. “Chester will never compete head on with Manchester or Liverpool and out-of-town shopping malls, nor should it”, says Jonathan Slater, managing director of the Chester Grosvenor hotel. “Chester is a small boutique city which needs to be best-in-class in everything it does, whether it is retail, financial services or corporate hospitality,” he says. The new developments in the pipeline should see it go some way to achieving that. ∆

Chester joins regeneration game

Places / NWDA / 315º Magazine

Major improvements to Chester station and the city’s public realm are underway, and the Roman amphitheatre is being excavated, adding to the city’s historic assets. Chester Business Park, the main office location, is virtually full, and property consultant GVA Grimley is working up plans for a new business district around the train station, offering 500,000 sq ft of office space over the next 10 to 15 years. The city’s walls and towers are being repaired, and work is underway to transform Chester’s cathedral quarter, to attract an extra 130,000 Weblinks:

315º Magazine / NWDA / Places

Places / NWDA / 315º Magazine

Mersey, Mersey me


Terminal velocity: new ferry facilities at Liverpool’s Pier Head.

The Mersey Waterfront capital programme may be over. But, discovers Mark Hillsdon, there is a firm commitment to continuing the regeneration of this iconic stretch of coast.


rom Liverpool’s gleaming Pier Head ferry terminal, to New Brighton’s Floral Pavilion Theatre, and the now internationally famous iron men on Crosby beach, the Mersey Waterfront programme has helped to create a new world-class waterfront for the Liverpool city region. Managed by The Mersey Partnership (TMP), the programme has regenerated buildings, pockets of land and other assets along the 135 km coastline, as well as re-connecting local people with their waterfront. Built on a collaboration between the public and private sectors, and local communities, the programme has also been hailed as a groundbreaking blueprint for regeneration. “The waterfront was identified as a major opportunity to link all the key areas in the city region,” explains Dave Moorcroft, director of economic development at TMP. “It’s been ambitious… and brought in a whole range of additional investment alongside it.”

Richard Tracey, the NWDA’s head of environmental quality, agrees that from the outset there was a consensus that this was the ‘right thing to do’. “It was about seeing the wider benefit for the whole of the city region and making sure it happened. Even Knowsley and St Helens supported the idea, despite the fact that they don’t have a coastline.” Delivered in two phases, the commencement programme (2003 to 2007) funded around 60 projects of varying scale, while the succession programme, which ran from 2007 to 2010, supported a number of bigger flagship projects. But where the programme really broke new ground,explains Moorcroft, is the way it acted as a catalyst, with initial project funding helping to bring organisations together and ultimately attract extra investment. In total, the NWDA contributed nearly £20 million to the programme, with a further £9 million from ERDF Objective One Programme. But with additional match funding from both the private and public sectors, the final investment figure has now topped £122 million. “I think it’s fair to say that overall, the programme has over-performed,” says Tracey. This level of investment has helped to fund major projects such as the £7 million Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre, and the Floral Pavilion Theatre and Conference Centre in New Brighton, which underwent an £11 million development programme to give the Wirral a new state-of-the-art venue.

Pride in our proms One of the Mersey Waterfront’s key projects was the awardwinning Pride in our Promenades programme, which set about bringing new life and creating better public access to sections of neglected urban waterfront. Over £8 million was invested in 14 km of historic seafront routes, including the promenades at Otterspool and Egremont, Dingle Esplanade and parts of the Leeds-Liverpool canal corridor.

Photograph courtesy of Bardon Contracting, Northern

Photograph courtesy of Walter Menzies


he programme also acted as a catalyst at Tracey is confident that many of the lessons learnt from the programme will continue to have an impact Liverpool’s Pier Head. After initial investment by the Mersey Waterfront into the new ferry on other even bigger regeneration projects across the “The NWDA“ terminal, work on the public realm by Northwest.“We can use the work carried out on the contributed nearly Liverpool City Council in partnership with Liverpool Mersey Waterfront as a genuine exemplar on how to £20 million to the Vision followed, along with investment by British make sense of a large area, and craft a programme programme, with a Waterways in an extension to the Leeds-Liverpool that works, and tackles the most important priorities.” canal. Sefton Council was also able to access While the capital programme itself may have finished, further £9 million additional ERDF money to transform other sections the work very much continues,with the NWDA from ERDF Objective of the canal. committing a further £3.9 million towards phase two “ One Programme.” “Each project demonstrated how investment by the of Brand New Brighton. The money will be used to Mersey Waterfront could actually bring in a much fund important land remediation work along the bigger regeneration package,” explains Moorcroft. waterfront,as well as delivering overall improvements The programme also broke new ground with its People’s Panels. to the public realm, which in turn will pave the way for Neptune Based on the American concept of a Citizen’s Jury, the panels were a Developments to invest a further £33 million into the town. Working with Wirral Council, the plan is to develop a mixed use scheme along sounding board for ideas about where local people felt money could the waterfront that will include a range of new retail and leisure best be invested along the waterfront. amenities, and create over 700 new jobs. As Moorcroft explains: “It wasn’t a case of projects simply being dropped on an area, based on someone else’s views.” The NWDA has also helped to kick start another major project on There was also a strong community basis for the Promoting the Place the waterfront, with funding of £3.7 million to transform the former and Engaging People initiative, which included clean-up and litter international garden festival site in Liverpool into a new riverside picking events in the New Ferry area, work with Liverpool’s Youth residential community and waterfront park. Offending Service and a photography project for adults with disabilities. Looking to the future, Moorcroft adds: “The job isn’t finished yet but And it was another element of the programme, Coastal Places, Open we’ve made an important start.We’ve established a very positive working Spaces, which concentrated on environmental improvements and partnership across a whole range of sectors, and it shows that with access projects that helped in the purchase of Anthony Gormley’s people’s commitment and energy, major changes can be delivered.” Another Place sculptures for the region.

Improvements included new seating, planting and play facilities, as well as fitness trails, artwork and new interpretation boards. The work has seen thousands more people using the facilities, from local residents to visitors watching events such as the Tall Ships’ Parade of Sail. As with all of the waterfront programmes, the work was undertaken as a partnership between the public and private sectors and local communities, a fact that was recognised when the initiative won the partnership award at this year’s BURA Waterways Renaissance Awards 2010.

Stay and play: the new children’s playground at Otterspool.


True colours

Gateway to a new economic future An ambitious new plan aims to combine the strengths of the Liverpool and Manchester city regions to create a new economic powerhouse, discovers Helen Dugdale.

Two new regeneration projects are the latest successes for the REVIVE initiative, aimed at turning brownfield sites into vibrant green spaces. Helen Dugdale reports.

Key brownfield sites across the region are being totally redeveloped under the NWDA’s REVIVE initiative, which has been set up to create vibrant, high quality green spaces to stimulate economic activity. The initiative will see 20 sites get a make-over to enhance the quality of life for local people, as well as creating an environment that will help to attract further investment.

The NWDA scheme has a budget of £17.3 million to reclaim around 170 hectares of land across the region, much of it previously used by the chemicals industry. It is being delivered by a partnership which includes local authorities, environmental charity Groundwork UK, Community Forests, the Land Restoration Trust and the Cheshire and Warrington Economic Alliance. The majority of the sites that will benefit from the funding are located within the Weaver Valley, with 17 in Cheshire and three in Warrington. Work is already underway at Woolston Ecology Park, situated on the banks of the disused Woolston New Cut Canal in Warrington. The park covers nine hectares of derelict land adjoining the existing Paddington Meadows Local Nature Reserve, and received £1.25 million from the scheme. Reed beds and a wildflower meadow have been newly created to provide valuable habitats for existing wildlife and to encourage greater bio-diversity. Paths have been laid

Places / NWDA / 315º Magazine

28/29 throughout the site joining it to Paddington Meadows, turning a derelict, polluted urban site into 40 hectares of public green space. One innovation, part-funded by £62,000 from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), is the use of green compost and other recycled materials, which will not only improve existing wildlife habitats but also create new ones. Revitalisation of the area has been a longstanding ambition of Cheshire West and Chester Council, in partnership with Peel Holdings, the NWDA, Warrington Borough Council, REVIVE, the Environment Agency and Liverpool John Moores University. Richard Tracey, head of environmental quality at the NWDA, says: “Woolston Ecology Park will benefit from the traditional advantages associated with land regeneration, as well as the innovative use of compost and recycled materials to ensure the site remains sustainable.” ∆

315º Magazine / NWDA / Places

Docks away: the Atlantic Gateway could see the construction of a new canal link to Liverpool’s Princes Dock.

The Gateway would create a plan for building on the combined strengths of the city regions of Liverpool and Manchester, and channelling some of the perceived rivalry between them into driving forward a project of huge mutual benefit. The 13 local authorities involved are represented by a leaders’ group supported by officers of the local authorities. The future of the Gateway will be taken forward by a small number of forums and commissions which will maximise collaboration across the area.

Designed to rival the ambition of projects like the Thames Gateway in its vision and scale, Atlantic Gateway will cover Merseyside through to north Cheshire, Chester, Halton and Warrington into Greater Manchester. The area stretches over 50 miles and will include a £10 billion redevelopment of the Mersey waterfront, a new deep water port in Liverpool, a new framework for a sustainable landscape in the area and one of the country’s most advanced broadband networks in Manchester.

Steven Broomhead, chief executive of the NWDA, says: “Atlantic Gateway partners can make it simpler and more enticing for businesses to invest in the area as a whole, by enhancing the offer of the cities – particularly areas such as waste and energy infrastructure, talent attraction and communication infrastructure, which do not relate to one particular location, but cut across the whole region.”

The framework, driven by the area’s local authority leaders in collaboration with the NWDA, is expected to ensure that plans to deliver 250,000 new jobs and 400,000 new homes over the next 20 years are fully realised. Weblinks:

Recognising that investment in the plans over the next decade will predominantly come from the private sector due to the constraints of public sector purse strings, wide-ranging initial consultations with potential investors have already flagged up several key areas of focus, including: the need for a stable and

reliable source of energy, a good pool of available skills,help in meeting the forthcoming carbon targets and above all – a consistent approach within which they can make decisions with a common objective for growth. Councillor John Merry, leader of Salford City Council, says:“This framework of collaborative working between the city regions offers us a unique opportunity and reflects the changing role of the public sector. The Atlantic Gateway framework has the potential for finding more innovative solutions by working outside the traditional administrative boundaries of the individual local authorities.” ∆

Plans for an ‘Atlantic Gateway’ linking Liverpool, Manchester, the Manchester Ship Canal and River Mersey corridor, could create a powerful new international business hub. The vision for the development was launched at Daresbury Science and Innovation Centre in March 2010, where representatives from Merseyside, Greater Manchester, and participating councils, agreed to work together with partners including the NWDA, to turn the strategy into a reality.

Atlantic Gateway: Facts 30 miles between Liverpool and Manchester 6 million population 250,000 new jobs £50 billion economy–same as Singapore 75,000 VAT-registered businesses 400,000 new homes by 2030 1.4 million workforce

Rock on: building new gabion walls at Woolston.

REVIVE breathes new life into Sankey Canal Another flagship project set to get an overhaul thanks to REVIVE is the Sankey Canal. The derelict canal section linking Fiddlers Ferry Marina to Widnes has received £70,000 in funding through the programme. The funding is being used to undertake essential assessment works, including structural surveys of the canal and further studies of the park and water wildlife habitats. The work will provide better access and new opportunities for recreational use and enjoyment.


r o f g n i k Loo Finance r u o y w to gro ? s s e n i s bu We can help Building a business during these uncertain economic times can be difficult, especially understanding and securing the right type of finance. That’s why we offer a range of support to help the region’s companies access finance, including: Small Loans for Business for start-up, development and expansion. Venture Capital & Loan Funding providing loan, equity and mezzanine funding to support business growth. Grants for Business Investment for major expansion and modernisation projects.

Grants for Improving Your Resource Efficiency supporting investment projects which will reduce CO2 emissions. Grants for Research & Development helping businesses develop and exploit new ideas and introduce new products. Northwest Business Angels access to a network of private equity investors, who invest in new or expanding companies.

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