Business Times Northamptonshire Feb 21

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Business Times Celebrating 30 years est. 1991

February 2021

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In print and online Business Times is published in Northamptonshire for the county’s business community www.Business-Times.co.uk

BR LEG IEF AL IN G

Could housing replace the High Street? P5

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Working from home - what employers need to know P6

EX GR PE E CT AT ATI ON S

Training to help businesses work effectively under new EU rules P18

Renette de Villiers, Product Design Engineer for Performance Projects, based at Silverstone Park. Credit: Silverstone Park/Kirsty Edmonds

PR OP ER TY

Food heroes doing what they do best! P25

Park’s prime location within Moulton Park Industrial Estate P47

Trailblazer initiative to boost success of tech businesses

Government-backed programme will benefit advanced engineering and manufacturing SMEs to make most of growth opportunities and strategic thinking.

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high-profile drive to increase the competitiveness of advanced engineering and manufacturing SMEs across the East Midlands is under way, with the Silverstone Technology Cluster (STC) now actively serving as a Trailblazer Project for government-backed business advice network Be the Business (BtB). The Project, supported by STC founding member Silverstone Park will give businesses access to invaluable advice and practical guidance through mentoring programmes, peer-to-peer networking, SME advisory boards and leadership training. STC CEO Pim van Baarsen said: “We believe this will have a massively beneficial impact on tech businesses across our cluster area in terms of their growth opportunities and strategic thinking –

we would encourage all companies at Silverstone Park, STC and in the wider geography to consider joining.” BtB was launched in 2017, with funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), to help the UK government examine and improve the nation’s productivity, and, as a result of Covid-19, also recovery strategies. Its Chair is Sir Charlie Mayfield (formerly Chair of John Lewis Partnership) and its network of business mentors extends to blue chip companies including, amongst others, Facebook, Cisco Systems, Siemens, Accenture, BAE Systems and KPMG. Continued on page 3 >>

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Business News

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Courtney Lott has joined the sales and marketing team at Walkerpack. Her role at the Northampton-based logistics firm is to further support growth plans of businesses as they take on additional warehouse space and continue to develop their eCommerce and fulfilment services. Courtney has spent the last eight years in sales and customer service roles making her the ideal fit for Walkerpack.

John Harvey

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The deadline for advertising in the March edition of Business Times is MONDAY 8TH FEBRUARY

John Harvey, from the Moore East Midlands Corby office, has recently been promoted to Partner. John joined Moore, then called Moore Stephens, as an Audit and Accounts Senior in 2007, before becoming the Audit Department Manager in 2010 and then an associate in 2014. John is a fantastic role model for the firm and his promotion is a reflection of the enormous contribution he has made over the years.

Courtney Lott

Clare Kaudeur

Leading regional law firm Tollers are delighted to announce that Clare Kaudeur has joined our well-respected Family Department as a Senior Associate. Clare is long established in the Northamptonshire market and brings with her a wealth of experience having practiced law locally for nearly 14 years. Clare specialises in all types of Financial Settlement, children matters, relationship matters and

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Clare Kaudeur

unmarried couple disputes. Clare also sits as a judge one day a week.

level, supporting local FSB members, both locally and nationally.

Clare Elsby

Clare Elsby is FSB’s new Policy Representative for the East Midlands. Clare, who is Head of Marketing & Business Development, at accountancy firm Elsby & Co, was elected Area Lead for Northamptonshire, Rutland and Leicestershire in January 2019. This has given her an opportunity to be involved in many policy areas at grassroots

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Sarah Hillier, is the new CEO of Northamptonshire Mind, which has been created as a result of the merger of Mind organisations in Rushden, Wellingborough, Corby and Northampton and district. Before joining the charity, which has been a leading player in offering support to communities throughout the county, Sarah was CEO at NorPIP.

Chloe Pitts

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Chloe Pitts has joined the Midlands Head Office of GSSArchitecture. She is working as a Bid Assistant in the leading architects’ admin team. Chloe, as part of the Bid Team, will work closely with the Partners and Team Leaders across all five of the firm’s offices including Kettering in order to support the increasing workload.

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Business News

Project on target to deliver superfast broadband

Impressive growth in fast and reliable broadband is being rolled out across Northamptonshire which meets higher benchmarks. Now new steps are being taken to work with telecoms providers to ensure businesses and homes across the county can access the higher speeds.

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ockdown and increased working from home and home-schooling have highlighted the value of access to fast and reliable broadband. Government targets are increasingly focusing on Gigabit capable broadband – networks able to support speeds of a Gigabit per second (Gbps) – as the new benchmark. Due to efforts through the Superfast Northamptonshire initiative and commercial telecoms investment, access to this new benchmark has increased tenfold in the last five years in Northamptonshire, according to thinkbroadband the UK’s largest independent broadband news and information site. In January 2016, gigabit broadband was only available to 1.7 per cent of premises in the county compared to 17.42 per cent reported in January 2021. The Northamptonshire figures are even more impressive as they reflect full fibre network coverage. This means that it is future proofed for speeds in excess of one Gbps, which is especially important as demand increases. The Government’s previous benchmark has been superfast broadband coverage. This means access line speeds above 30 megabits per second (Mbps). Coverage of superfast broadband has also increased (by almost nine per cent) in the same period, and now stands at 98.5 per cent. Efforts are

also continuing to address those areas with slower speeds. The focus of the superfast Northamptonshire initiative is now to work with telecoms providers to encourage and support further investment to extend faster and reliable broadband in Northamptonshire. Contracts with Gigaclear Networks will see around 7,000 premises connected by full fibre with the support of public investment by the end of next year, and together with their current commercial investment should see over 30,000 rural properties benefit overall. Recent announcements by Openreach on its ‘Fibre First’ programme have boosted plans for gigabit coverage in Daventry, Towcester, Rushden and the south of Northampton exchange areas. With CityFibre rapidly expanding their footprint in Northampton, and OFNL covering parts of Corby, along with the forthcoming VirginMedia network upgrade to DOCSIS 3.1, the overall picture is looking very positive. It also means that Northamptonshire is ontrack to meet its local targets which are for 40% of premises to be served by full fibre networks by the end of 2023, and 75 per cent coverage of gigabit capable networks, by the same date. These are both challenging targets and complement the Government’s

current ambition to see 85 per cent gigabit coverage nationally by 2025. In support of its 85 per cent national coverage target, the Government has announced a new national Gigabit programme. This will focus on the estimated final 20 per cent of premises nationally which are unlikely to benefit from commercial investment in gigabit broadband. Through the superfast Northamptonshire initiative, the County Council is working with Building Digital UK (BDUK) - the government team leading on all things broadband – to ensure this further investment benefits Northamptonshire and is targeted where commercial plans are unlikely to come forward.Cllr Jason Smithers, Cabinet Member for Highways and Place for Northamptonshire County Council said: “Whilst government-led and funded, it is vital that local bodies and initiatives, such as Superfast Northamptonshire, have an important role to play in the new programme because of their local knowledge, existing relationships with key stakeholders, role as highway authority and experience of problem solving. “This is a message that we will be playing back to Government through BDUK, and we expect the first procurements to come forward later this year.”

Help build the future to support apprentices

Continued from page 1 >> STC, as part of its Trailblazer Project with BtB, began the programme last month (January) focussing on SME Advisory Boards. February’s focus is ‘Mentoring for Growth’, in March the participants will explore ‘Leadership Pathways’ and in April the topic will be ‘Tech Adoption’. Pim added: “These are free for businesses to join and not limited to just members of the STC. The programme of support is open to every business in the Cluster region operating in advanced engineering, manufacturing, electronics and software development.

The project will give businesses access to invaluable advice

“Our first business support programme is called ‘SME Advisory Boards’ and, in essence, provides handpicked experts to work as a Board to help the business with its strategy and growth ambitions.” Pim continued: “As previously highlighted by government, the collective potential of the Cluster’s tech businesses is really exciting for both the local and UK economies. “Be the Business has chosen the STC to become one of its Trailblazer Projects because of the great potential of the businesses in the area which are experts in the ‘D’, of R&D; that is the ‘development’ of products and solutions. The companies have established a great set of specialist facilities, and these skills and expertise can be transferred to many different sectors of industry, and serve to improve productivity and the recovery of UK manufacturing, post-Covid-19.” The STC region is designated as the ‘one-hour drive time radius’ from Silverstone. Research shows the region is home to an unrivalled cluster of some 3,500 small, medium and large businesses operating in high-tech engineering. To contact the STC, call 01327 856108 or email joanne@ silverstonetechnologycluster.com Be The Business can also be emailed at networks@ bethebusiness.com

“Build the Future” is the theme for the annual apprenticeship week, NAW2021.

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he Government-backed we want the theme for National initiative which runs Apprenticeship Week 2021 to between 8 and 14 be a springboard to look ahead February 2021 is to how apprenticeships can aiming to encourage everyone futureproof workforces and to consider how apprenticeships boost careers. help individuals to build the “The week is a great skills and knowledge required opportunity to highlight the for a rewarding career. huge range of apprenticeships It will showcase the impact on offer – from Space Engineer apprenticeships can have on to Registered Nurse. I encourage communities, local businesses everyone to get involved and and regional economies and how help make it a success.” they all benefit from the impact To s u p p o r t N a t i o n a l of apprenticeships. Apprenticeship Week 2021, As a result of the pandemic and individuals, employers, training many individuals relying on providers and communities technology and virtual are being encouraged to get involved, meetings more than ever, National to celebrate apprenticeships Apprenticeship Week 2021 will and how they: T R A I N be different, but apprenticeships apprentices, just as exciting. NAW2021 will and future proof #BuildTheFuture celebrate the their workforce motivating stories and careers though of how apprentices apprenticeships; RETAIN apprentices, have helped business adapt and build during a difficult gaining the skills and knowledge year. needed by the business, and Minister for Apprenticeships seeing apprentices thrive, whilst and Skills, Gillian Keegan having impact; ACHIEVE a real return on said: “Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to learn while investment from apprentices; you earn, opening up new and realising the business benefits exciting career paths that can of apprenticeships, with transform lives. It’s been a apprentices progressing in their tough year for everyone, but chosen careers.

Get involved, to celebrate

To feature or comment email: news@business-times.co.uk

Peter Mucklow, Director, Apprenticeships, Education and Skills Funding Agency said: “There is no doubt that National Apprenticeship Week 2021 will be different this year in how we celebrate apprenticeship success. “We are however continuing to ask employers to encourage everyone to consider how apprenticeships can help build organisations for years to come; whilst showing the clear return on investment realised when apprentices are brought into the business. Employers are helping the nation to #BuildTheFuture through apprenticeships. The diversity of career options and industries available now, through apprenticeships, is outstanding. We want all current apprentices from all sectors to get behind the Week and to showcase the positive impact of apprenticeships, on careers, families and communities. Keep up to date with National Apprenticeship Week 2021 updates by following @ Apprenticeships on Twitter, and National Apprenticeship Service on LinkedIn. Use the hashtags #NAW2021 #BuildTheFuture in social media activity. To find out more about apprenticeships, visit: www. apprenticeships.gov.uk

Upskilling your workforce Boost employee performance and retention

Did you know you can use apprenticeships to upskill and retrain your existing workforce? You can use apprenticeship training to: • fill key skill gaps in your business • boost employee motivation by investing in their development • improve retention • For example, an experienced employee may be keen to get a formal qualification in their specialist area. Or perhaps someone has the aptitude and drive to learn something new and progress into a different role?

There are apprenticeships from level 2 to level 7 (equivalent to a degree) so you’ll be able to find apprenticeships that suit the learning and development needs of your employees. Apprenticeships are designed by employers so they reflect the relevant knowledge, skills and behaviours that your business needs.

78% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve productivity

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Legal Briefing

Extension to Commercial property and eviction ban LOCKDOWN January 2021

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further extension to the ban on bailiff-enforced evictions for private renters in England will run until February 21. The announcement by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick came just days before the current restrictions were due to end following a month-long ban over the Christmas period. The new extension which was announced on January 11th will be reviewed regularly. There are exemptions to the regulations which include: • Illegal occupation • False statement • Anti-social behaviour

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick

• Where a property is unoccupied following the death of a tenant • Extreme rent arrears (equivalent to six months’ rent with any arrears accrued since 23 March discounted) Mark Hayward is the Chief Policy Advisor at Propertymark, the organisation which promotes high standards in residential lettings. He said: “In light of the recent lockdown, it is no surprise that the Government has made today’s announcement, yet over the past few weeks the UK Government has held off updates about evictions to the sector making it impossible for agents to respond and plan for the difficult winter months ahead. The whole of the private rented sector has been impacted as a result of COVID-19, but we must recognise that the courts already faced a backlog of cases prior to the pandemic. “Although the new mediation pilot will help, it is important to take steps back towards normality so that both landlords and tenants have access to the justice system, while putting measures in place to offer further support to tenants who have built up COVID-related arrears through no fault of their own.”

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By Mohammed Rahman Borneo Martell Turner Coulston

t would be fair to say that 2020 has been a year of uncertainty in the commercial rental market for both Landlords (to collect rents) and for Tenants (to bring in enough money to rent). However, although it’s a new year, there seem to be new uncertainties, with a further impact on businesses. On 9 December 2020, it was announced that the temporary ban on the use of forfeiture for non-payment of rent, the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) and the issue of statutory demands and winding up petitions where a company cannot pay its bills is due to COVID-19, will be extended until the end of March 2021. From 25 December 2020, it was introduced that Landlords will only be able to use CRAR where the arrears are the equivalent to at least 366 days of net rent. However, the Government is still highlighting, that where a Tenant can pay the rent, then they should continue to pay. The measures around CRAR are intended to protect the worst affected business and not those who are still able to meet their financial obligations. If other obligations in a lease are

breached, other remedies are still available to the Landlords. Examples of some remedies a Landlord can use, but may not be available for all instances, include: 1. Forfeiture for breaches of covenant other than non-payment of rent; 2. Exercising their right to withdraw funds out of any rent deposit that may exist; 3. Pursuing any guarantor or previous tenant who is liable under the terms of the lease; 4. Acting against unauthorised occupiers/ those who have unlawfully assigned or sublet and pursuing the legally named tenant when another party occupies; Whichever route a Landlord wishes to pursue will be depending on their specific situation and each different route, may lead to a different outcome. The outcome could lead to, for example, a vacant property and no other proposed tenant coming forward to take on a new lease. In the majority of situations, leases are medium to long term agreements. Under the current circumstances, a tenant may not be able to meet all of its liabilities in the shortterm, but they may be able to offer a proposals as to how it will meet these liabilities in the long-term. In the event the Landlord and Tenant wish to agree alternative terms in the interim or they agree to change the terms of the lease, any agreement should be formally documented to ensure it is enforceable between the parties. If there is no agreement made between Landlord and Tenant, it should be noted,

Howes Percival invests for post-Covid future

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Howes Percival’s Chairman, Geraint Davies, commented: “I’m incredibly proud of our response to the events of the last 12 months. We have adapted and improved our service and I want that to continue. We were in a strong position before the pandemic, having made a series of investments in our IT to enable more collaboration and different ways of working. As a result, we were able to adapt to remote working almost immediately. “It has been said before that the pandemic has accelerated the rate change in certain sectors, and I strongly believe that the legal sector should be included in that. The way we all work has changed, relationships with clients have changed, and professional services firms can’t simply revert to how it used to be after all this. “We need to continue to embrace new ways of working and look for further improvements and innovation. We also need to be able to develop as individuals and teams and bring new skills and ways of working smarter and closer with clients. The two things together - fantastic technology and amazing, talented people - that’s very much how I see Howes Percival. “The technology available now is incredible. There are elements of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in some of the tools we are using, and we are really excited by the opportunities this presents. I think the image of law firms being

If you would like advice on these points or any other Property matters, please contact Mohammed Rahman at Borneo Martell Turner Coulston Solicitors mohammed. rahman@bmtclaw.co.uk 01604 622101. Given the pace of change due to the covid restrictions the law may have changed since the time of writing this article so please do not hesitate to contact Mohammed for further advice.

Be on guard against phone fraud scam

Leading law firm Howes Percival has announced a series of new investments in IT, its people and skills development, as it positions itself for the post-Covid-19 recovery.

he firm which has reported a good pipeline of transactions during the pandemic and has expanded its Employment Law team, is keen to build on new ways of working in recent months and further improve its service for clients. The investments include a new client relationship management platform and client feedback programme, as well as enhancements to the firm’s learning framework and 12 senior promotions. Howes Percival has invested in a number of major IT projects to enhance its service for clients: “This is a message that we will be playing back to Government through BDUK, and we expect the first procurements to come forward later this year.” • A new client feedback programme to understand client needs and improve the firm’s service. • A new document management platform to enable more effective collaboration with clients, smarter working and improved document security. • A new, client relationship management platform, developed specifically for law firms, to help strengthen relationships with clients and contacts and allow them to manage their own communication preferences. • A new practice management system to further improve the level of service to clients.

as things stand, the Government’s current position is that the protections will fall away at the end of March 2021 and no further extensions will be granted. However, in light of the new lockdown that been imposed it would not come as a surprise to Commercial Property Landlords, Tenants or professionals who deal with Commercial Property if the protection for business tenants is once again extended beyond 31 March 2021. For Business owners, who are property owner occupiers or those who are Tenants, further grants have been proposed, with a maximum of £9,000.00 available as Local Authority grants, to help business to survive during this lockdown. Each Local Authority will have set up their own portals for businesses to apply for these, and any business owner will need to contact them directly. The Communities Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, has announced that there will be a review of Commercial Landlord and Tenant legislation in the near future, as it is now viewed as being outdated, particularly in the current climate.

quaintly old fashioned, is long gone. Or it certainly is at Howes Percival.” In addition to the IT investments in recent months, Howes Percival has also invested in its people and developing their skills: Howes Percival has appointed a new Head of HR. Dawn Bloom joins the firm from Grant Thornton. Despite challenging conditions this year, the firm has been able to retain most of its trainees. Howes Percival has made 12 senior promotions and expanded its Employment and Family Law teams. A new learning management system (LMS) was introduced in July to support the firm’s learning framework, share knowledge within the firm and improve awareness/accessibility to learning. Geraint continued, “We’ve always been a firm that invests in training and looks to develop and promote from within and this year has been no different, despite everything that has been going on. We were able to retain almost all of our newly qualified trainees and five of our 12 recent senior promotions started with the firm as trainees. Our new learning framework will help reinforce our approach to personal development and take us to the next level.” For more information on training and careers with Howes Percival, please visit: www.howespercival.com/ careers

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ction Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime, has called for individuals to be vigilant following a surge in a National Insurance scam. The centre received more than 1,000 extra calls in just one week from victims who reported receiving an automated telephone call telling them their ‘National Insurance number has been compromised; and in order to fix this and get a new number, the victim needs to “press 1 on their handset to be connected to the caller”. Once connected to the “caller”, victims are pressured into giving over their personal details in order to receive a new National Insurance number. In reality, they’ve been connected to a criminal who can now use their personal details to commit fraud. Pauline Smith, head of Action Fraud, said: “We are asking the public to remain vigilant and be cautious of any automated calls they receive mentioning their National Insurance number becoming compromised. “It’s important to remember if you’re contacted out the blue by someone asking for your personal or financial details, this could be a scam. “Even confirming personal details, such as your email address, date of birth or

mother’s maiden name, can be used by criminals to commit fraud. If you have any doubts about what is being asked of you, hang up the phone. No legitimate organisation will rush or pressure you.” How to protect yourself - If you receive an unexpected phone call, text message or email that asks for your personal or financial details, remember to: STOP - Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe. CHALLENGE - Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you. PROTECT - If you have provided personal details to someone over the phone and you now believe this to be a scam, contact your bank, building society and credit card company immediately and report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police. uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. You can also contact CIFAS to apply for protective registration. This means extra checks will be carried out when a financial service, such as a loan, is applied for using your address and personal details, to verify it is you and not a fraudster.

For Northamptonshire’s business news visit www.Business-Times.co.uk


Business News

Could housing replace the High Street? By Samantha Jones Prop-Search

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he Government has opened a consultation to seek views on a controversial new permitted development right that could see housing replace the traditional High Street, says commercial property agent PropSearch. The consultation - ‘Supporting housing delivery and public service infrastructure’ looks to allow a change of use from the newly created Use Class E (commercial, business and services) to residential. The Government envisages that this permitted development right would help support housing delivery and address the surplus of retail floorspace, with the end result that residential development will help diversify and support the high street. Samantha Jones, an Associate Director at Prop-Search, said: “It is no secret that in general high streets have had a tough time of late and according to Government statistics, there has been a net reduction of 5,350 units in town centres in England from June 2019 to June 2020. In addition to the introduction of Use Class E, the Government hopes that this new permitted development right would help to support town centres and high streets in adapting to them to become hubs where people live, shop, use services and spend leisure time.” Such a right could also be good news for

developers looking to convert existing buildings to residential and has the potential to increase the supply of housing at a time when it is in short supply. However, Samantha warns that it is a difficult balance to get right. She said: “Nobody wants a high street filled with empty stores, but people do still want some kind of high street. There is a risk that the recent changes to the Use Classes Order and the rapid expansion of permitted development rights will mean that by definition it will be harder to control piecemeal development and high streets may, in the worst case, become too diluted to be viable shopping destinations.” Over recent months, Prop-Search advises that it has seen an increasing shift to smaller independents seeking space; one to take control of their own destiny, but also to capture demand for the local shopping experience. Not only is this for the traditional butcher, bakers or barbers, but also those looking to respond to changing consumer demands and the evolution of technology. It has already been a busy year in the world of planning with a raft of new permitted development rights that were introduced including the right to demolish certain buildings and construct new dwellings in their place, and to construct flats on top of commercial/ mixed use or residential terraces. In only September, the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 was amended and included the introduction of a new Class E (commercial, business and service), combining the former use classes A1 (retail), A2 (financial and professional services), A3 (restaurants and cafes), B1 (business) and some D1 (nonresidential institutions) and D2 (leisure) uses.

The Government hopes that this new permitted development right would help to support town centres and high streets in adapting to them to become hubs where people live, shop, use services and spend leisure time.”

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Legal Briefing

A Lasting Power of Attorney will protect your interests if you become incapacitated As a Business Owner, Director or Partner it is important to ensure that you have a Business Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place that protects your interests should you become incapacitated in any way. Tonina Ashby, Partner and Head of Elderly and Vulnerable Client Law at Tollers, assesses the options.

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f you do become incapacitated either through illness or you lose the ability to make decisions, a Business LPA will allow you to appoint a legal representative who can assist with your business dealings and ensure business continuity even if you are unable to work or are absent from the business for any reason. A Business LPA protects your business from being exposed to risk and it can cover all manner of situations. Have you ever thought who would pay salaries, deal with bills, sign cheques, approve and deal with many of the day-to-day activities that you, as a senior member of staff, deal with and take for granted should you be unavailable to do so? Most businesses have a Continuity Plan in place that covers essential requirements should something happen that would prevent the business from operating. These might include provisions in terms of computer systems, telephony, networking, off site back up, as well as more general areas such as flood, fire and even epidemic. Each business has its own unique continuity plan, but they all have the same goal to ensure the least amount of disturbance and ensure the business can continue to operate with the minimum of disruption.

As part of a business’s continuity they may also make provision for what would happen if one of the key decision makers was incapacitated, but this is not always the case. How would your business continue to function should you be incapacitated in anyway? Is this covered in your continuity plan, articles of association or even partnership agreement? Do you need a Business LPA?

Director would result in no-one in a position to run the business – this is where a Business LPA can help make clear your wishes. General Partnerships If you are a Partner, your Partnership Agreement may cover what would happen if you were incapacitated - it is always good to check to ensure that the provision is adequate as you may feel that an LPA is needed. If this is the case it is important to ensure that advice is sought to guarantee that any clause included is not discriminatory and that the LPA you wish to put in place does not conflict with the provisions already made in your current agreement.

How would your business continue to function?

Company Directors Depending on the size of your business and its structure, provision may have been made that deals with incapacity in the Articles of Association. The most common provision in large companies is for the termination of a director’s appointment if he or she loses capacity. If your business does not have this or a similar provision or if you feel it may be discriminatory, a Business LPA would be an alternative to consider which allows you to appoint a proxy should you lose capacity. As a Sole Director it is not as straight forward. The loss of capacity of the Sole

Limited Liability Partnerships If you are a Partner in a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), it may be that you operate under an Articles of Association model. If this is the case it may be worth reviewing your Articles to ensure that any discriminatory clauses are removed and that you and the other partners

By Tonina Ashby Tollers

take legal advice in regard to a Business LPA to ensure the minimum of disruption should any of you be incapacitated. Sole Trader As a Sole trader you run your business as an individual. As such the business is not legally separate from the owner. It is advisable if you are a Sole Trader to put a Business LPA in place to ensure that you do not expose your business to unnecessary risk. The team at Tollers have experts that can assist with both Personal and Business LPAs and work with companies to ensure that their agreements and articles are robust and cover all that is required currently by law. Having a Personal LPA in place will not necessarily cover your business interests and so it is important to take legal advice to ensure that your business interests are protected. If you would like to know more Talk to Tollers on 01604 258558 and our Wills/Tax and Estate Planning team will be happy to advise you.

Working from home - what employers need to know Working from home has become the norm so it is crucial employers understand the needs of each employee and ensure they have support to do their job.

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year ago, few would have thought that working from home would be part of so many teams daily routines. Some employees have embraced the opportunity with no more lengthy commutes and more time to spend with family and friends, while others miss the office environment. Acas, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, work with millions of employers and employees every year to improve workplace relationships. Here they give invaluable advice on how to make working from home work for everyone. Employers and employees should be practical, flexible and sensitive to each other’s situation when working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic. Deciding on working from home arrangements There might be a need for ongoing changes to working arrangements during the pandemic. For example, because of changes to government rules or employees’ circumstances. When making decisions about working from home, it is important employers and employees communicate regularly. For example, to discuss which roles can and cannot be done from home, if possible, would an employee prefer to work in the

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office and how to handle any concerns. This can also help make sure that decisions about working from home are fair and follow discrimination law. Employers should also talk with any trade union or other employee representatives. If an employer has an existing agreement with a recognised trade union about working from home, for example an agreed homeworking policy, they must consult the trade union if they are considering any changes. Pay and terms and conditions An employee’s pay and other terms and conditions of their employment stay the same, apart from having to work from home on a temporary basis. Employees working from home are still covered by the law on working hours and it is important employers understand there needs to be flexibility. This is especially true for parents having to not only complete their work but take on the challenge of home schooling. Employers should talk to their employees and any representatives about who will cover any extra costs employees might have when working from home. If a homeworking expenses policy has been previously agreed with a trade union, the employer must agree any changes with the union. Employees should check there are no

February 2021

issues with them working from home, with their home insurer, mortgage provider or landlord. It is a good idea for employers to remind their employees to check this. Employers should also make sure their insurance covers employees working from home. Equipment and technology To do their job, employees need to have the right equipment and technology. Things employers, employees and any representatives should agree on include: • what is needed to do the job, for example a reliable and secure internet connection or a suitable desk and chair; • who will provide or cover the costs of equipment and repairs; • technical support for setting up any new equipment or technology, including any training. Employers should have clear policies around work equipment and technology, including: • how to report any issues and to who, for example the IT team; • how they will monitor use and handle information; • rules around data protection and cyber security; • what to do if a work device is lost or stolen. Employers should regularly check

Employees working from home are still covered by the law on working hours

with employees to assess how technology and equipment is working, and make any improvements. For example, checking: • IT systems are handling the number of staff working remotely; • the level of IT support needed for homeworkers; • any extra equipment that might be needed from time to time, for example headsets or stationery; A homeworking policy helps everyone to know: • how people will be set up to work from home, including how the employer will carry out risk assessments;

• who will provide and pay for equipment?; • how homeworkers will be managed; • how things like expenses, tax and information security are handled; • the employer’s approach to homeworking in non-emergency situations. If a homeworking policy has been previously agreed with a trade union, the employer must agree any changes with a trade union representative. For the latest government guidance see national lockdown advice on going to work on www. gov.uk

For Northamptonshire’s business news visit www.Business-Times.co.uk


To feature or comment email: news@business-times.co.uk

Business Times

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February 2021

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Legal Briefing

Howes Percival helps Inspections to check fintech entrepreneur businesses are Covidcomplete sale secure Howes Percival have acted on a transaction in the fast growing fintech sector, completing the sale of EBR Analytics Limited to RIMES Technologies Limited.

By Gerald Couldrake Howes Percival

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BR was founded by fintech entrepreneur Jay Gandhi who spotted a gap in the market for the production of up to date and timely benchmarking information required by financial institutions in order for them to comply with their legal obligations. EBR’s software solution rapidly became a market leader amongst leading clearing and investment banks. They discovered it was easier and more cost effective for EBR to provide their benchmarking information, rather than to collate the information from databases themselves. RIMES is a leading global provider of Managed Data Services (MDS) and regulatory technology (RegTech) software solutions that help firms thrive in the era of data-driven finance. Backed by private equity, RIMES leverages powerful

proprietary technology, an unrivalled team of data management and regulatory experts and direct relationships with more than 650 data partners. Owner Jay Gandhi commented: “I had taken EBR as far as I could on my own. RIMES represents an excellent fit for EBR which will benefit hugely from their expertise and resources. I was recommended to use Howes Percival for the sale process and their care and service was superb throughout.” Howes Percival’s Gerald Couldrake commented: “The fintech sector is one in which we have an increasing presence. It is fast moving and involves a range of expertise from different disciplines in our teams. “We were delighted to help Jay achieve a fantastic result from his hard work in founding and developing the EBR technology. We look forward to seeing him working on his next project.” Tax advice on the transaction came from Rachel Nutt and corporate finance help from Craig Chamberlain both of MacIntyre Hudson. For more information on Howes Percival’s Corporate team or help with acquisitions or disposals, please visit our website: www. howespercival.com/services/corporate/

The Health and Safety Executive is carrying out spot checks and inspections on all types of businesses in all areas to ensure they are Covid-secure.

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nspectors are making calls to give expert advice on how to manage the risks and protect workers, customers and visitors. They are also working closely with local authorities, assisting them in the sectors they regulate such as hospitality and retail. By calling and visiting premises and speaking directly to employers, HSE can check the measures put in place are in line with government guidance. A HSE spokesperson said: “Inspectors will make Covid-secure checks as part of their normal role in visiting workplaces during the pandemic. To ensure we reach as many workplaces as possible nationally and support the core work of our inspectors, we are working with trained and approved partners to deliver the spot check calls and visits.” Officers that visit premises will be carrying identification from their business and a letter of authorisation from HSE. If you wish to verify an officer that calls or visits your organisation, please call 0300 790 6896. For further information see the website at www. hse.gov.uk If you receive a call or visit from HSE, you should participate in the spot check as failure

to do so could lead to enforcement action. As well as participating in the phone calls and visits, there are sensible and proportionate steps business owners should take to help keep your workplace Covid-secure, including: • carrying out a Covid-19 risk assessment • maintaining social distancing • keeping your workplace clean, with handwashing and hygiene procedures

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February 2021

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For Northamptonshire’s business news visit www.Business-Times.co.uk


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Working hard to lower bills and reduce carbon emissions

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t’s good to be back in Business Times and everyone at Griffiths wish the new owners the best of luck with a publication that many businesses in Northamptonshire have missed over the past year. For those that may not know, Burton Latimerbased Griffiths offer a full range of building service installations and maintenance and specialises in air conditioning to the small commercial market and heat pumps to the domestic sector. Heat pumps are one of the main methods currently being promoted as part of the Government’s plan to reduce carbon emissions. As more and more people understand the benefits that heat pumps can bring in heating their homes or commercial premises, Griffiths are working hard as the county’s premier installer of this energy saving microgeneration technology. Heat pumps extract heat from the air or ground, and very efficiently use it to warm the water flowing through radiators or underfloor heating, showers and the taps on sinks and baths. They are powered by electricity, but one kilowatt of electrical power will produce around four kilowatts of useable heat, so four times more energy efficient than an electric fan heater. Griffiths were the first Northamptonshire approved installers of heat pumps under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) back in 2008 and since then have carried out hundreds of heat pump jobs. Most domestic installations qualify for the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), a cash back scheme for providing heat from a renewable source. In most cases this amounts to several

Ian Griffiths of Griffiths Air Conditioning & Electrical thousand pounds and in certain circumstances, the Government’s Green Homes Grant Scheme can provide upfront vouchers for heat pumps. Griffiths work with two of the biggest names in heat pump technology - Daikin for air source heat pumps and Kensa for ground source projects. Griffiths have built up a wealth of experience in application, installation and servicing. Griffiths are Daikin Sustainable Home Expert Installers of air source heat pumps and part of Kensa’s Underground Network of Approved Installers for ground source heat pumps.

As well as installing the heat pumps, Griffiths’ own engineers can carry out all associated plumbing and electrical works, and their Service Team provide the essential annual maintenance, ensuring the heat pumps are running as efficiently as possible. Contact Griffiths by telephone on 01536 420666, by email at office@griffithsaircon. co.uk or by visiting their Energy Efficiency Centre showroom at 111 High Street in Burton Latimer between 9 and 5, Monday to Friday where you can see working examples of the heat pump products.

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So here’s the thing... expert speaker events confirmed

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rom a passion for comics to a love of running, the latest batch of UON expert-led talk and insight sessions for the new year have been confirmed. So, here’s the thing…is a series of sessions providing University of Northampton (UON) staff, students as well as interested members of the public the chance to talk to an audience about something they are passionate or knowledgeable about. Previous sessions enlightened and entertained people with a wide range of topics including freedom of speech, eating disorders, firearms trafficking, screenwriting and the sociology of hair. The new sessions are free, will be held online and are open to all:

19 Feb (12.30 to 1.30pm) – Nick Dimmock, from the University’s Research Support team, will be sharing his love for the EC comics of the 1950s. Find out more and register here. 18 March (12.30 to 1.30pm) – Professor Shân Wareing, UON Deputy Vice Chancellor, will be talking about training for a half marathon. Find out more and register here. 28 April (12.30 to 1.30pm) – Law graduate, Tom Warrender, will tell how he achieved his present position as an equity partner who sits on the board of management at Wilson Browne Solicitors. Find out more and register here. Jenny Townend is a Learning Support Specialist

To feature or comment email: news@business-times.co.uk

in the University’s Library and Learning Services team and coordinates the events. She said: “We had a really good response to our call last year for experts to ‘have a go’ at leading our discussion events, with members of the UON community stepping up to give a broad range of enlightening talks. “We have further sessions in planning mode, but there is still space if their peers or members of the public want to join them. Watch this space for more, but we look forward to welcoming you to the sessions already confirmed.” Anyone can be a speaker, so if you or someone you know would like to take centre stage then please email: jenny.townend@ northampton.ac.uk

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February 2021

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Money Matters

‘Peer Networks’ offers local business leaders vital support during latest lockdown Ambitious business leaders have been told ‘you’re not alone’ as companies are forced to close their doors and work remotely from home as part of the latest lockdown restrictions.

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ith Covid cases surging, businesses have once again found themselves working from makeshift home offices, with employees having to juggle the demands of working life with home-schooling children kept away from the classroom. It all adds up to a tricky time for companies, with senior staff often left feeling isolated and frustrated at being ‘away’ from their business. But a new fully-funded scheme launched in the South East Midlands for ambitious business leaders has created an expert-led network to stimulate business development and growth. Peer Networks is a national peer-to-peer programme managed locally by SEMLEP’s Growth Hub. The mentoring sessions are being designed and delivered by experts from the world-leading Cranfield School of Management. It brings

together diverse cohort groups of individuals from businesses across Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire to collaboratively work through common issues and develop an action plan to resolve them.

The first cohorts started in January and initial feedback has revealed the sessions are proving a lifeline for business leaders who would otherwise be stuck at home on their own. A snapshot from the first virtual

meeting showed that 83 per cent of businesses were ‘very satisfied’ with the quality of the session and also the quality of input from other businesses attending. One delegate said they were “really looking forward to engaging more

with everyone on the journey ahead” while another said it was “really exciting” to be part of the first cohort. Vicky Hlomuka, Manager of SEMLEP’s Growth Hub, said: “It’s hugely encouraging to see such positivity from our first cohort. These businesses will be going on a journey together and already you can see the benefits of working alongside like-minded business leaders to develop your own ideas which will ultimately benefit both your company and others. “Working from home is likely to be a reality for many of us for months to come and it can be tough, particularly for those who work best in social environments and thrive on human interaction. Peer Networks allows this to happen despite the restrictions placed on us all by Covid. “By engaging with our Peer Networks programme, businesses can ensure they are ready to emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever, equipped with the knowledge and expertise they need to build and grow. “Peer Networks enables you to make connections that go far beyond traditional networking, this is about building a trusted network of connections to support you both now and in the future, improving your long-term personal and business performance.” Experienced facilitators from Cranfield School of Management are managing the interactive action learning featured in the Peer Networks programme, giving business leaders the chance

to openly discuss their own challenges, gain and reflect on valuable feedback and implement practical solutions to overcome them. Sabrina Sommer, Director Business Growth Portfolio at the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship at Cranfield University, said: “This programme offers an opportunity for SMEs to spring into action and address and overcome some of the major challenges they face. The first sessions have got off to a fantastic start and it was good to see such energy and positivity from all those attending, at such an uncertain time for all of us. “We all need to work together to overcome this unprecedented challenge but it’s hard to do that in isolation. Peer Networks is about telling business owners ‘you’re not alone’ and bringing people together to give them the tools they need to prosper in the postCovid world.” The Peer Networks programme is available to any SME business in the South East Midlands that has operated for at least one year and with a turnover of at least £100,000. Ideally, participants should also have the potential to scale up and the ability or potential to export overseas. A limited number of places on the programme are still available, with businesses urged to sign up as soon as possible to guarantee your place in the cohorts. Register your interest in the Peer Networks programme by completing the enquiry form at semlepgrowthhub.com/peernetworks.

Is your business making the most of tax year-end 2020/21? Brace Wealth Management is a local, family-run wealth management business with many years' experience of working with business owners like you. We can work with you in both a professional and personal capacity to help you achieve your family, business, financial and lifestyle objectives. And, right now, we can help you make full use of your tax saving opportunities. Whatever’s on your mind, just ask. Please contact us on: 01327 844433 or email: bracewealth@sjpp.co.uk

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The levels and bases of taxation and reliefs from taxation can change at any time. The value of any tax relief depends on individual circumstances. Brace Wealth Management is an Appointed Representative and represents only St. James's Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the Group’s wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the Group’s website www.sjp.co.uk/products. Brace Wealth Management is the trading name of Keith Brace Wealth Management Ltd.

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February 2021

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For Northamptonshire’s business news visit www.Business-Times.co.uk


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Money Matters

Take time to protect and grow your wealth

opportunities to help you grow and protect your wealth. It’s also a good time to start putting an appropriate plan in place for the future. Many business owners hope to create enough capital from the future sale of their business to secure a comfortable retirement for themselves and their family. However, for many, this may become an unrealised dream if action is not taken. Brace Wealth Management is an established financial planning business with many years of experience working with business owners. We can help you in both a professional and an individual capacity to achieve both your business and personal financial goals. We take time to get to know you, your situation, and your ambitions, taking into consideration your exit* planning and lifestyle objectives. From there, we’ll create a long-term financial plan incorporating both business and personal goals to:

Ambitious business leaders are being invited to enjoy the peace of mind afforded by a tax health-check with Brace Wealth Management.

The Brace family L to R: Teedie Brace, Mandy Brace, Keith Brace, Hannah Brace and Daniel Brace

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s a successful business owner, you’ll have an understanding of the financial planning needs of your business. With the

turbulence and uncertainty of Covid-19 continuing to cause changes to your working practices, you may not have anticipated losses in income and sales, or still having staff

on furlough. Consequently, you may well be looking to make as many savings as you can. A tax health-check will help you to plan how you

We are interested in what you are interested in

can unload your tax burden before the end of the tax year 2020/21. It’s a good time to get to grips with solutions that will help mitigate your tax and capitalise on

•create financial independence from your business; • provide advice to help protect you and your family against future risks; • develop a joined-up approach with your existing professional advisers;

• create a plan so you can enjoy a relaxed and secure retirement. This will provide you with time and peace of mind to focus on the successful running of your business because that’s what you do best. Contact us to book a noobligation tax year-end health check by calling 01327 844433 or emailing bracewealth@sjpp.co.uk The levels and bases of taxation, and reliefs from taxation, can change at any time. The value of any tax relief depends on individual circumstances. *Exit Strategies may include the referral to a service that is separate and distinct to those offered by St. James’s Place. Brace Wealth Management is an Appointed Representative of and represents only St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the group’s wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the group’s website www.sjp. co.uk/products. Brace Wealth Management is a trading name of Keith Brace Wealth Management Ltd.

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For Northamptonshire’s business news visit www.Business-Times.co.uk


Business News

Call for employers to support victims of domestic abuse

Government Business Minister Paul Scully has written an open letter to employers on how they can support survivors of domestic abuse.

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he letter outlines several practical steps employers can take to build awareness of domestic abuse, ensuring they are noticing warning signs and helping workers access the support they need.. The letter follows the publication of the government’s final report from its Review into Workplace Support for Victims of Domestic Abuse, which was launched in June to collect evidence on what more both the government and employers can do to try and tackle all forms of domestic abuse. Charity R e f u g e reported an 80 per cent increase in calls to their domestic abuse hotline after the first lockdown in March 2020. Recent reports seem to indicate that this trend has continued in the current lockdown. The report’s findings highlight

how few employers are aware of the signs of domestic abuse, and an even smaller number have a clear policy in place to support survivors. The Minister wrote: “For too long, a lack of awareness of and stigma around speaking about domestic abuse has stopped workplaces from putting in place the kind of help that survivors so desperately need. It was once taboo to talk about mental health, but now most workplaces have well-established policies in place. We want to see the same happen for domestic abuse, but more quickly and more effectively. “Colleagues and managers can often be the only other people outside the home that survivors talk to each day and are therefore uniquely placed to help spot signs of abuse – such as an individual becoming more withdrawn than usual,

Employers are uniquely placed to help spot signs

sudden drops in performance or mentioning controlling behaviours in their partner. “Whether it is providing a safe space to disclose issues or helping put workers in touch with the right organisations, employers can be a bridge between a worker and the support they need. “I am not asking that employers become specialists in handling domestic abuse, nor that colleagues should take on the role of healthcare workers or counsellors. What I want to do is burst the stigma associated with domestic abuse, which means we may shy away from these difficult conversations even when we suspect something is amiss. “Every person in every workplace should feel comfortable raising an issue.” Employers are encouraged to raise awareness to help staff spot the signs if a colleague is in difficulty. Simple, practical steps like promoting or downloading the Bright Sky App which provides a service directory for survivors can

make a real difference. Be inclusive and foster an environment where all workers feel comfortable and can talk openly about issues. Ask what support you can practically offer and be receptive to the needs of the individual. Experts and free support is available including toolkits from organisations like Business in the Community and Public Health England. It is also free to join the Employers Initiative on Domestic Abuse. Make use of them, both in terms of helping refer survivors to support tools and using guidance to create your own support policies. The full letter can be read at: www.gov.uk

Use code to get help If you are experiencing domestic abuse and need immediate help, ask for ‘ANI’ in a participating pharmacy. ‘ANI’ stands for Action Needed Immediately but also phonetically sounds like the name Annie. If a pharmacy has the ‘Ask for ANI’ logo on display, it means they’re ready to help. They will offer you a private space, provide a phone and ask if you need support from the police or other domestic abuse support services. For more information see: www.gov.uk/guidance/ domestic-abuse-how-to-get-help

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Money Matters

Take swift action to avoid Self-employed people penalties for late tax returns need support to avoid debt Individuals who missed the January 31st deadline to file their self assessment tax returns are being urged to contact HMRC as soon as possible.

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MRC rejected calls to reconsider automatically waiving late-filing penalties for self assessment tax returns, but confirmed that deadlines missed due to Covid-19 should not result in having to pay a penalty provided an appeal is made. HMRC reaffirmed that its position has not changed, following further calls from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wa l e s , t h e I C A E W and other professional bodies to waive late filing penalties in light of the tightening of restrictions and the increase in coronavirus cases. In a letter issued on 18 January, Jim Harra, HMRC CEO, confirmed: “We will continue to encourage timely filing. Any departure from this simple message increases the risk that taxpayers will miss both filing and payment deadlines unnecessarily or miss out on the simple arrangements we have put in place for securing time to pay.” It was acknowledged that some taxpayers and agents

will have struggled to meet the deadline and offered reassurance that those unable to file on time due to pandemic will not have to pay a penalty. “I want to reiterate that no taxpayer or agent who was unable to submit a return by 31 January for reasons related to the pandemic should worry that a penalty will be payable; it won’t, and we will make the process of cancelling penalties as simple and easy as possible for all concerned,” he said.

Be aware of copycat HMRC websites

Time to pay your tax There are options for individuals who want to spread their payment liabilities. Once customers have completed their tax return, and know how much tax is owed, they can set up their own payment plan to help spread the cost of their tax liabilities, up to the value of £30,000. They can use the selfserve Time to Pay facility to set up monthly direct debits and this can all be done online. Interest will be applied to any outstanding balance from 1 February 2021. To find out if they’re eligible, customers can visit GOV.UK

to find out more about the Time to Pay facility. Customers can also check on GOV.UK whether they need to declare, or possibly pay tax on any ‘casual’ income they receive. The new interactive guidance is quick and easy to use and explains what individuals need to do if they receive non-PAYE income from: • selling things, for example at car boot sales or auctions, or online • doing casual jobs such as gardening, food delivery or babysitting • charging other people for using your equipment or tools • renting out property or part of their home, including for holidays (for example, through an agency or online) Be aware of copycat HMRC websites and phishing scams. Customers should always type in the full online address www. gov.uk/hmrc to get the correct link for their Self Assessment tax return online securely and free of charge. Be alert if someone calls, emails or texts claiming to be from HMRC, saying that they can claim financial help, are due a tax refund or owe tax - it might be a scam. Check GOV.UK for examples of HMRC scams.

Leading Corby-based financial adviser acquired by Perspective Perspective Financial Group Ltd (Perspective), the national financial planning and wealth management group, is delighted to announce that it has acquired Independent Life & Pensions Group (ILPG), a highly regarded financial planning firm based in Corby, Northamptonshire.

Joe Hill, Managing Director of Perspective

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LPG was founded in 1997 and has established an excellent reputation and strong client base advising individuals and companies across the Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire regions. ILPG, now renamed Perspective (Northants & Cambs) Ltd, advises 440 wealth management clients and manages £120 million of client assets. Due to ILPG’s corporate activities, it also has a

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significant number of non-wealth management clients. Joe Hill will continue as Managing Director at the office’s current location and the financial planning and administrative team will transfer across in full. Corby provides a new location for Perspective, giving it a total of 17 offices across the UK. Joe Hill, Managing Director of Perspective commented: “Our industry has undergone significant change recently and we are firmly of the opinion that becoming part of a larger group will enable ILPG to be better placed to respond to the ever-changing landscape of financial advice. “This move will provide longterm security to the provision of financial advice to our clients, and career security for our staff. “I have been remarkably impressed with the way Perspective focus on maintaining the local values of their regional offices. They are clearly committed to delivering outstanding client service and outcomes, and these qualities

February 2021

specifically attracted me to join Perspective.” Ian Wilkinson, Chief Executive Officer of Perspective Financial Group said: “This acquisition is consistent with our overall growth strategy to open and develop new hub offices in carefully selected locations throughout the UK, coupled with our ongoing strategy to acquire quality “bolt on” client banks from retiring IFAs looking to exit the industry, local to our existing extensive office network. “We are inheriting a very capable team of advisers and administrators and we have embraced Joe’s succession plans for the business. As a new hub, we anticipate we will acquire a number of retiring IFA’s within the area over the next 12-18 months. We look forward to working closely with Joe and the team over the long term, providing support for the office to grow and prosper with our shared client-centric culture at the heart of everything we do.” For further information visit www.pfgl.co.uk

Latest lockdown help for businesses welcome but support for those excluded more pressing than ever.

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he Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs Business Debtline, has welcomed the Chancellor’s new lockdown grants for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, but called on the Government to go further by providing help for the millions of selfemployed people so far excluded from existing support schemes. Findings from a recent report from the charity into the impact of Covid-19 on selfemployed people showed that: • 37% of self-employed people surveyed expect it to take more than a year for their income to recover – while one in 10 do not expect it to at all. • More than half (55%) said Covid financial worries had a negative impact on their mental health, with four in ten (43%) regularly losing sleep. • Many who were ineligible for the Selfemployment Income Support Scheme or other support are struggling to get by on Universal Credit alone. Almost half (47%) of self-employed people surveyed who were on Universal Credit were behind on at least one household bill or credit commitment. Joanna Elson CBE, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs

National Debtline and Business Debtline, said: “The announcement of top-up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will provide some welcome short-term relief to many business owners affected by the latest lockdown. Covid-19, however, has dealt a huge and devastating blow to the finances of many self-employed people. While Government schemes have helped, today’s announcement will provide little comfort for those people who remain excluded from support. “A dedicated grant fund for those excluded from existing support schemes is needed now more than ever, along with an extension to the £20 a week uplift in Universal Credit to provide certainty for those people most in need. This should form part of a Covid-19 Self-employment Recovery Strategy to provide a route out of this situation. “Our Business Debtline advisers are doing all we can to support the thousands of self-employed people already struggling. Without further action now though, the financial challenges facing self-employed people are only set to worsen.” Business Debtline provides free, impartial debt advice to small business owners and self-employed people at www. businessdebtline.org.

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Business News

Events and PR appoint new National Sales Director

The company behind the UK’s biggest business award ceremonies has made a hugely exciting new appointment during lockdown.

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events and PR, which organises the likes of the national and local SME Business Awards, the National Business Women’s Awards, the National Association Awards and the National Building & Construction Awards, has appointed Jonathan Tewson to the new role of National Sales Director. Jonathan has spent the past 15 years working for wellknown organisations such as The Jockey Club, Trinity Mirror and Archant, in high profile client facing roles involving events, awards and sponsorship opportunities for the business community. Jonathan, who is due to start his new role at the beginning of February, said: “I’ve worked with Events and PR’s expert team before and I’m delighted to be taking on this new role with them. “We all know that things are difficult for businesses at the moment so I can’t wait to start working with a wide variety of firms to help them secure some much needed local and national exposure with our support. “I’ll be looking at Events and PR’s overarching strategy to find ways to grow its portfolio so we can provide even more opportunities that will benefit the business community.” Events and PR’s headquarters is in Milton Keynes and it has an office in Towcester, Northamptonshire, where

Events and PR’s new National Sales Director Jonathan Tewson

Jonathan will initially be based. Events and PR awards director Damian Cummins said: “At Events and PR, we create events which celebrate and facilitate success in business and never has this been more important for the business community than in the current climate. “Our speciality is Business Awards and we are proud to deliver a diverse range of awards nationwide which recognise the audacious entrepreneurs and business people working across all sectors. We are absolutely thrilled to have someone of Jonathan’s calibre join our existing team and look forward to working with him to further grow our exciting portfolio.” For further information about Events and PR visit www.smenationals.co.uk

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ith the introduction of Nelson Distribution 2016, and Steve Porter Transport 2019, over time the group’s distinctive Knights of Old core brand was gradually diluted. Most customers of a brand are not confronted with the whole portfolio of brands, they are customers of one brand and rarely experience brand confusion. The introduction of the Nelson and Porter brands, combined with the existing customer liveried trailers, allowed 75 tractor and trailer brand combinations. On the road customers were confronted with the whole portfolio of brands. The decision was taken to establish one on road holding company brand, maintain the familiarity of the regional brands and respect the combined 275 years of operation. The move to a three letter name was created to align the new brand with the global logistics sector and position it beyond local. KNP Logistics Group was eventually chosen, evolving from the first initials of the Knights, Nelsons and Porters brands. The new KNP logo shares many similarities with the existing Knights of Old brand. The first two letters of both brands, the lettering slant of both brands and the sharing of Pantone and Sioen colour values allow KNP to reflect the Knights of Old brand and stand strong amongst its three letter logistics peers. KNP Logistics Group is the group’s holding company name, and the sole brand for the trailer

Award winning look for logistics partners KNP Logistics Group comprising Knights of Old, Nelson Distribution and Steve Porter Transport, are delighted to win Motor Transport Livery of the Year 2020.

L-R Malcolm Gibson, MD, Steve Porter Transport, Ian Beattie, MD Knights of Old, and Simon Nelson, MD Nelson Distribution

fleet. Knights of Old, Nelson Distribution and Steve Porter tractor units and distribution vehicles all continue to represent their local, historic brands. Motor Transport judges were impressed by the clarity of thinking behind the livery which they say fits perfectly with the wider rebranding exercise.

“The actual livery is simple, yet effective. I’m sure these vehicles will be easily recognised on the road,” said one judge. “I like the transition and evolution from old to new, which will make it easier for customers to assimilate and recognise. The livery is clean, crisp and distinctive.” Simon Nelson, Managing

Director of Nelson Distribution, said: “It’s perfect timing in terms of the creation of KNP Logistics Group. To form the new group, which is an amalgamation of the three companies, Knights of Old, Nelson Distribution and Steve Porter Transport and win the award at the same time is absolutely fantastic – it’s excellent!”

Pledge to support town neighbours

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new business support hub has been unveiled to help Northampton town centre businesses manage during the coronavirus crisis. #PayItForwardNN, designed and rolled out by Northampton Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID), has been designed to enable businesses to connect and talk. It is also an open forum for businesses to share news, events and ask questions. Local companies have already pledged their support and joined the #PayItForwardNN community – offering everything from business and coaching webinars to communications resources and legal advice. Mark Mullen, BID Operations Manager, said: “So many of our town centre businesses need advice and support during this time and are struggling with the snap downturn in custom. We feel passionately that now is the time to support each other so please join our new Facebook group – to both access and offer support.” If you are a Northampton town centre business join through #PayItForwardNN Facebook Group or see the link at www. discovernorthampton.co.uk/pay-it-forward

To feature or comment email: news@business-times.co.uk

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February 2021

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TOP THINGS TO DO NOW The UK has agreed a deal with the EU. Rules for doing business with Europe have changed, and we all need to make changes to keep business moving. While the deal with the EU means zero tariffs and zero quotas, businesses still need to adapt to changes to trade and customs procedures, and changes to travel. Businesses should use the Brexit checker tool at gov.uk/transition for a personalised list of actions.

TAKE ACTION NOW TO KEEP YOUR BUSINESS MOVING GOV.UK/TRANSITION 16

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February 2021

For Northamptonshire’s business news visit www.Business-Times.co.uk


Business News

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rchard House has a workforce of around 1,000 people with headquarters based at Manton Road on Corby’s Earlstrees Industrial Estate and additional facilities in Gateshead. Orchard House and its associated brands supply retailers, on-the-go food outlets, food service providers and manufacturers throughout the UK. Its impressive client list includes Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Pret A Manger, Sainsbury’s and Tesco with a global supply chain, sourcing and preparing a range of exotic fresh fruits from across the world. Hain Celestial Group sold Orchard House after a competitive bidding process. The acquisition fits Elaghmore’s investment strategy, which is to use its executive team’s proven operational skills to deliver significant growth and value creation. Hain’s decision was based on Elaghmore’s proven ability to quickly and efficiently complete deals, offering certainty of execution, despite the current challenging operating environment. Furthermore, Elaghmore’s hands-on approach means it will support the Orchard House management team as the business enters its next

New owners for Corby College based fruit suppliers investment in next gamers’ generation Corby-based Orchard House, one of the UK’s largest suppliers of prepared fruit, fresh fruit drinks and desserts, has been sold to UK Private Equity fund Elaghmore.

Computer games are big business and Northampton College is playing a pioneering role in finding the next breakout star of eSports.

N Marks and Spencer’s fruit salads are one of many products manufactured by Orchard House Image: Orchard House

growth stage. Elaghmore founders Andy Ducker and David Manning have experience working with a global fruit business

as investors and executives at Chaucer Foods. They developed and subsequently sold Chaucer Foods to Nagatanien Holdings Co.

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Limited in December 2016 in a deal worth $130 million. The acquisition of Orchard House and its associated brands is Elaghmore’s tenth deal – and first from Elaghmore Fund 1A. Elaghmore first launched its initial fund on December 2016 with a raise of £60 million from institutions in the US and Europe. In December 2020, Elaghmore raised a further £30 million from US institutions to create Elaghmore Fund 1A. Elaghmore’s previous nine acquisitions have been combined to create three distinct businesses: Total Vehicle Solutions Group; Alucraft & EAG; and Hexcite Group. Together, the three groups have a combined annual turnover of £170 million and employ more than 900 people across the UK & Europe. Michael Rice, Investment Director at Elaghmore who led on the transaction, said: “Orchard House is a marketleading business which supplies products that many UK customers buy daily. We are very proud that we will be part of Orchard House’s growth and development as we look beyond Covid-19. Orchard House is a flagship investment for Elaghmore, and our financial strength and operational expertise means we can help Orchard House prosper. “ E l a g h m o r e ’s d e a l pipeline is full of interesting opportunities. The pandemic has seen the need for many successful companies to seek new investment, especially as Government support schemes end, and bank support is limited. Elaghmore is well placed to help these companies, and we look forward to continuing to create significant value for our investors.”

orthampton College is one of 72 across the country involved in the launch of the first-ever BTEC in eSports as competitive gaming continues to gain traction in the mainstream and evolve as a genuine career choice for the next generation of highly-skilled gamers. With most American colleges now having their own eSports courses and teams and all Premier League sides also having gamers representing their football clubs, the course will enable students to gain knowledge and skills in an ever-growing area. They will have the opportunity to compete nationally and also develop an understanding of digital marketing, fund raising and event management – with the ultimate aim of seeing Northampton gamers at the forefront of the eSports revolution. Pat Brennan-Barrett, principal of Northampton College, said: “We have a generation of students who are incredibly well versed in digital life. Gaming is no longer a hobby, it’s a genuine career choice and there is good money to be made for those who are early adopters and can spot a gap in the market. “This course will look in-depth at the business side of eSports, focusing on strategy, entrepreneurship, live-streamed broadcasting, video production and computer networking – it’s far more than simply playing games with your mates, it’s an opportunity to do something spectacular.” Televised FIFA tournaments starring professional footballers and competitive gamers gained impressive viewing figures both on YouTube and Sky Sports during the initial Covid-19 lockdown when elite sports were suspended. The burgeoning eSports industry is projected to have generated revenues of more than £830 million in 2020, equating to year-on-year growth of more than 16 per cent. The total global eSports audience is set to rise 11.7 per cent to around 495 million people. The eSports course will be one of the flagship programmes in Northampton College’s state-of-the-art Digital Academy – due to open in September this year. The Digital Academy, funded through the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) and the Local Growth Fund, aims to close digital skills gaps across the county and develop students’ basic IT competences. The Digital Academy will enable students to develop their skills from a basic to a specialist level, appropriate to their need. Digital spaces will encourage teams to network, create, plan and build. Entrepreneurship will be at the heart of the Academy with programmers working alongside creatives, coders with designers and technicians with marketeers to share ideas and build the businesses of the future. As part of the planning process for the building, teams from the college visited a number of institutions to find a model on which the Digital Academy could be designed and built, including the East London Academy of Media/Music, the National College for Digital Skills and the Northamptonshire County Council offices at One Angel Square. It promises to be a purpose-built facility constructed with the modern worker in mind – with scope for the sort of flexible workspace made even more in-demand due to the remote working we are all now so accustomed to as a result of Covid-19. Assistant principal of Northampton College, Jake Zelcowicz, said: “Colleges are at the centre of the economic rebuild and we are preparing a new generation of tech-savvy digital natives who are going to change the way we do things for years to come. “Our Digital Academy is going to be a game changer for the Northampton economy. As a town we are at the forefront of the digital revolution, with a host of emerging start-ups and small businesses making waves in the exciting world of social media, games design, coding, virtual reality and artificial intelligence.” For more information about the Level 3 eSports course at Northampton College visit www.northamptoncollege.ac.uk/ courses/games-design/570-level-3/2476-level-3-esports.html

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February 2021

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Business News

Call for urgent action to support small businesses facing closure The latest survey from the FSB shows many business owners lacking confidence in the future.

A Training to help businesses work effectively under new EU rules A new fully funded programme of in-depth virtual training sessions is available for South East Midlands businesses to understand the new processes and paperwork requirements when working within the EU.

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ince January 1st 2021, new rules affecting business operations apply. While the trade-deal relieves the impact on businesses, work to understand and use the new paperwork, processes and regulations begin to keep businesses moving in 2021. SEMLEP’s Growth Hub, Bedfordshire Chambers of Commerce, Milton Keynes Chambers and Northamptonshire Chambers have teamed up to offer 20 free virtual workshops over February and March, sharing their wealth of expertise in export and import documentation and processes. Aimed at businesses who are involved in export and import – including contracting and processing documentation, the sessions are designed to help businesses understand how the procedures and documentation now work in a post EU-Britain. The virtual series will offer workshops on a range of topics, designed using insight of business need. Topics include export customs declaration, tariff classification, customs special procedures and imports declarations and compliance. Any business within the South East Midlands is eligible to attend at no cost to them. Vicky Hlomuka, Growth Hub manager, said “We’re thrilled to be working in partnership with our local Chambers to share their expertise with our local business community. “Their wealth of knowledge combined with our collective understanding of business barriers has designed a programme which we hope will allow businesses to keep operating within the EU throughout 2021 and beyond.” Louise Wall, interim chief executive at Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce, added “The team at Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes Chambers of commerce are dedicated to helping our businesses realise their full potential when it comes to International trade. “This series of workshops will provide current exporters with updated information on the new processes and paperwork and encourage those thinking about exporting to take the first leap.” Justin Richardson, chief executive at Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, said “Trading with the EU has become far more complex. We are delighted to be working in partnership with SEMLEP to ensure people have the tools to keep their businesses moving in a post EU-Britain.” Businesses interested in finding out more about the programme, topics or wanting to book, should visit the SEMLEP’s Growth Hub website on bit.ly/EUExitEvents. Alternatively, businesses can contact the Growth Hub to request more information by calling 0300 01234 35 or emailing growthhub@semlep.com.

fresh call has been made for urgent support to help small businesses following a survey which shows loss of confidence for the coming year. The Quarterly Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Small Business Index (SBI) shows confidence at its second lowest ebb in report’s ten-year history. The findings reveal a record number of small business owners are planning to close their firms over the coming twelve months, putting the UK on course to lose more than a quarter of a million businesses, according to the latest SBI. Just under five per cent of the 1,400 firms surveyed for the study say they expect to close this year. The figure does not reflect the threat of closure faced by those hoping to survive despite having frozen their operations, reduced headcounts or taken on significant debt. The proportion is at an alltime high for the SBI, which launched in the wake of the financial crash, and is more than double that recorded at the same point 12 months ago. There are 5.9 million small firms across the UK, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, BEIS.

The UK SBI confidence measure stands at -49.3, down 27 points year-on-year. The East Midlands Small Business Index stands at -23. The UK reading is the second-lowest in SBI history, second only to that recorded in March 2020. The vast majority of those surveyed (80 per cent) do not expect their performance to improve over the next three months. Close to a quarter (23%) of small firms have decreased the number of people they employ over the last quarter, up from 13% at the beginning of last year. One in seven (14) say they’ll be forced to cut numbers over the next three months. BEIS estimates that 16.8 million people work in smaller firms across the UK. The proportion of small businesses forecasting a reduction in profitability for the coming quarter has spiralled over the past year, rising from 38% to 58%. The figure is at an alltime high. Almost half (49%) of exporters expect international sales to drop this quarter, up from 33% at this time last year. FSB East Midlands Policy Chair, Clare Elsby said: “We need to adequately support businesses who are feeling the big pinch, particularly those in

the East Midlands who missed out on a fair proportion of local discretionary Grants and who have seen a massive footfall reduction in the run up to the Golden Quarter and those who rely on a thriving night time economy. The fear of at least 17,500 East Midlands businesses folding, based on this fresh FSB data, is extremely worrying. “Company directors, the newly self-employed, those in supply chains, and those without commercial premises are still being left out in the cold. We’ve published a fivepoint plan to address gaps in the support landscape, and we look forward to the Treasury embracing it. Action in March will be too late to stem closures.” FSB Regional Chairman, Les Phillimore said: “The development of business support measures has not kept pace with intensifying restrictions. As a result, we risk losing tens of thousands of great, ultimately viable small businesses this year, at huge cost to local communities and individual livelihoods. A record number say they plan to close over the next 12 months, and they were saying that even before news of the latest lockdown came through. “At the outset of the first national lockdown, the UK

Government was bold. The support mechanisms put in place weren’t perfect, but they were an exceptionally good starting point. That’s why it’s so disappointing that it’s met this second lockdown with a whimper. “There are meaningful lifelines for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, which are very welcome as far as they go. But this Government needs to realise that the small business community is much bigger than these three sectors. “We also have to look again at how we treat emergency debt facilities over the coming months. Many of those who have borrowed significantly have done so in order to innovate. It would be a shame to lose the top businesses of tomorrow because of a failure to extend grace periods today. “All the while our exporters are trying to get across what a new EU-UK trade agreement means for them without the cash they need to make adjustments. Direct funding to help them manage new obligations in the form of transition vouchers is urgently needed. “This Government can stem losses and protect the businesses of the future, but only if it acts now.”

Auto businesses encouraged to act now with new videos on EU trade rules New on-demand videos are available for auto businesses in a drive to encourage them to act now and follow the new rules agreed as part of the UK’s free trade agreement with the EU.

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he videos, being rolled out by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), are designed to help businesses take advantage of the deal, which maintains zero tariffs and zero quotas on trade in goods between the UK and EU. Business sectors, including automotive will find videos on 14 priority topics including: • Importing and exporting • Placing and selling goods on the market • Trade agreements • Operating online • Data • Tariffs Those auto businesses yet to take action are being urged not to delay any longer. Silverstone-based David Brown Automotive, which makes bespoke performance cars with vintage British styling, began planning early and is encouraging other manufacturers to get started if they have not already done so. Sales and marketing director Michelle Gay said: “We sell goods to the EU and started

preparing early by speaking with our logistics partners to make sure the additional paperwork requirements were in place. We used gov.uk to identify changes affecting manufactured goods, such as new marking requirements and approvals to ensure we are ready to sell in the UK and EU. It was a very simple and easy process and I urge manufacturers to use the checker tool and view the new on-demand videos.” David Brown Automotive, has a 35-strong workforce and their sales staff and technicians travel to the EU for work purposes several times a year. Michelle continued: “It’s really important to start as soon as possible. Check the gov.uk website and speak to lots of professionals in various areas such as accountants, IP lawyers, logistics partners, to check you’ve got everything covered.” Business Minister Paul Scully has set out a checklist of key actions all business may need to take relating to exporting goods, professional qualifications, hiring staff, business travel, intellectual

Michelle Gay, sales and marketing director David Brown Automotive property, and accounting and reporting. Speak with your lawyer and accountant for more information, or answer

questions using the checker tool online at gov.uk/transition to generate information tailored to your business, and to sign up for email updates.

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February 2021

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GREAT EXPECTATIONS A year ago, the question, “Where do you see yourself in 12 months time?” would have prompted people to share their hopes, dreams and aspirations. Words like ‘lockdown’, ‘unprecedented’, ‘furlough’ and ‘tiers’ were rarely used and few of us would have worn masks or thought our commute would be to the kitchen table or spare room and online meetings would become part of our daily routines. Since then, we have all experienced living through a global pandemic yet many of us still have hopes, dreams and aspirations. For some these plans have had to be put on hold but for others the challenge has been to make the most of the opportunities. Investment in equipment, new markets and product development have enabled businesses to thrive and look forward to the coming months and years with fresh optimism. For many it has been tough but there are those businesses and individuals who have been able to take a change of direction and find a way through 2020. Here we highlight the ways businesses across Northamptonshire have adapted and met the challenges.

College courses meet employers’ demands

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he success of The Bedford College Group, which includes campuses in Wellingborough, Corby and Kettering, in winning the FE College of the Year Award has been made possible only through the support of employers. By listening and learning, the college group have been able to adapt the curriculum and programmes, offers and courses, to meet employers’ demands. That interaction, where employees/trainees/students move freely from workplace to college and back again, is even more fluid now because of the increase in online learning/ working from home which has resulted from lockdowns. The use of online meetings and presentations can also be to our mutual advantage. The group are always seeking speakers from industry to link up with businesses, now this can be done via Teams or Zoom, so takes less of a toll on your busy schedule. Similarly, setting students

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projects which add value to your business can be easily done, updated and progressed via online sessions. Gina Bubbins Director of Business Development, said: “The more our students can hear from people in business and industry, the better prepared they will be for that day when they join the workplace. In turn, you can use the interaction to gain insights into how young audiences, employees of the future and even customers regard your business. In effect a combination of focus group meets training session. “If you would like to engage more closely with your local FE College, and remember we have courses across STEM, agricultural, outdoor activities, care, journalism, the arts and so much more, then let us know.” The Bedford College Group in Northamptonshire includes a campus at Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough, The Manor Restaurant in Corby and The Learning Centres. To find out more visit the website at www.tresham. ac.uk

February 2021

Target online customers with support from specialists

Logistics experts offer solutions on how to store, ship and pack items to meet growing demand for customers who want to order online.

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021 was the year that eCommerce grew significantly. After all non-essential shops were closed in March, people were buying online for ease and safety. People who have not traditionally shopped online are doing so and there is a whole new target market available in the online shopping arena. Ecommerce sales in 2020 were estimated to grow 32.4 per cent year on year, while brick-andmortar is expected to sadly decline 3.2 per cent. In 2019, ecommerce grew 14.6 per cent year on year. This is a fantastic positive for any retail company because selling online is easier than ever with the technology in place and is an easy way to reduce overheads. The challenge that SMEs who cater to that need encounter is how to store, pack and ship those items, especially with the extra demand. Sellers of large, odd-sized, heavy or hazardous products or a mix of all four seem to be stuck when looking for online fulfilment because many companies have expressed that they don’t want to work with these goods or simply will not. Northampton-based Walkerpack have been assisting people in storing, moving, packing and sending goods which

Walkerpack can provide the correct package options for products of all shapes and sizes may be deemed ‘awkward’ since the 1920s. Industries linked to heavy or oversize goods who experienced considerably more growth in online sales than usual are: • DIY • Home and garden • White goods and electricals • Sports and leisure • Electronics and computers One Walkerpack customer, a leading manufacturer, importer and distributor of home improvement products with a presence in 17 countries, said:

“We were referred to Walkerpack a year ago by another warehouse that were no longer able to cope with our increased volumes. Even with the time difference and distance, the transition was smooth. “We are delighted with how quickly we get answers and by the very professional, attentive and dedicated staff at Walkerpack. The team provides an excellent service! “In one year, Walkerpack became the best warehouse we use internationally. This is very important when we face new

Strengthen your business and tap into extra Government funding

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o survive and thrive many businesses have been forced to change, adapt or explore new markets, or develop new products and services. An hour-long webinar, ‘Building Resilience in 2021: Change, Adapt and Access New Markets’, is being run by SEMLEP on February 25th from 11am. Join this webinar to learn how to access government funding to support your business. This includes any business who make, produce, or assemble ‘stuff’ who could be eligible for additional support. For those

businesses who have not yet investigated exporting – now could be the ideal time to find out more and access support to help make it a success. You can also strengthen your leadership skills to help set your organisation on track for recovery and growth. You will also hear about the success of local businesses who have accessed the great support available from three Government Business Support Providers – the Department for International Trade, the Manufacturing Growth Programme and the SEMLEP’s Growth Curve programme.

challenges such as large diversity of items and huge numbers of orders.” With a history spanning more than 100 years, Walkerpack have unrivalled knowledge, the capacity in 2021 enabling us to grow with you and we have the straightforward software to support your needs. To discuss expanding your business in 2021 contact the sales team on 01604 760529, sales@ walkerpack.co.uk or see the website at www.walkerpack. co.uk.

This webinar will cover: • Government support and funding available from DIT and MGP • Support available through SEMLEP’s Growth Hub • Testimonials from local business owners who have received support which has made a difference to their businesses The panel will include Heather Martin – International Trade Adviser – Department for International Trade, Adrian Waters – Manufacturing Growth Manager – Manufacturing Growth Solutions and Gordon Sparke – High Growth Business Adviser – SEMLEP Growth Hub. To register for this event visit the SEMLEP website at www.semlepgrowthhub.com/

Trusted legal advisers to the business community in Northampton. To find out more, please contact Gerald Couldrake at gerald.couldrake@howespercival.com or on 01604 230 400.

For Northamptonshire’s business news visit www.Business-Times.co.uk


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ollowing the success of the training programme which launched last year before the Covid-19 pandemic, Northamptonshire County Council has been awarded almost £200k of funding from the Department for Education (DfE) to help people build new skills, boost employment across the county and address a recognised skills shortage in the UK construction industry. The first round of training included classroom-based learning, construction site visits and hands-on work experience, and saw people from all different backgrounds and with varying circumstances lay the foundations for a career in construction. Almost 400 learners completed the training giving them basic level industry recognised qualifications, including CSCS card accreditation which has opened up many construction opportunities for them. Funding for phase two will be used to offer up to 140 more people the opportunity to learn core construction skills in line with the latest Covid-19 secure advice, guidance and restrictions, and will include a blend of virtual learning and

practical experience at live construction sites. Anyone aged 18 and above not currently working in the construction sector can apply. It is hoped applicants will include those who are currently unemployed or at risk of redundancy due to the Covid-19 pandemic or other reasons, those looking for a career change as well as under-represented groups in the industry including women and BAME groups. Steve Radley, Strategy and Policy Director at the Construction Industry Training Board, said: “Congratulations to everyone involved with Northamptonshire Construction Skills Programme in their successful bid. In its first phase, the construction skills fund enabled 13,200 learners from across the UK to develop their skills at hubs and emerge site-ready, including 7,000 from groups that have traditionally been underrepresented in the industry. “It’s fantastic that up to 140 new learners in the Northamptonshire area will potentially have their lives transformed as they enter the construction industry.” Kay Brockall, Managing Director at Evolve Your Future

said: “Our team are delighted to have been awarded the Construction Skills Training Contract in Northamptonshire. As a local established training company, we are looking forward to working with new and established partners in supporting and upskilling individuals who have chosen to take a step into the construction industry.” The only entry requirements for the programme are that participants are aged 18 or above, can prove they have the right to work in the UK (have either a National Insurance Number, valid Passport, full driving licence, copy of birth certificate), can read and speak English, and are not currently working in construction. Phase two of the Construction Skills Programme continues to be run by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) until March 2021, and the County Council is one of 14 organisations across the UK who were successful in their Government funding bid to launch phase two of the programme. To register your interest, visit www.northamptonshire. gov.uk/councilservices/ business-and-economy/Pages/ constructions-skills-hub.aspx

Are you an employer who can help? The Construction Skills Programme team want to work with local construction employers who are keen to support learners with their next steps. This includes: ■ Providing work experience for the Construction Skills Programme learners ■ Offering apprenticeships ■ Sharing information about jobs available and giving access to job interviews ■ Running a short training session for learners To find out more contact the Construction Hub via the website. Business Times

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Great Expectations

Six key employment law issues employers need to plan for this year Leading law firm Howes Percival has highlighted the six key areas of employment law employers need to plan for in 2021. National minimum wage Millions of workers in the UK will receive an increase in pay from April 2021 following a rise in the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and the National Living Wage (NLW). The rate rises include a 2.2% increase in the NLW, which is the equivalent of £345 extra per year for a full-time worker. More young people will become eligible for the NLW, as the age threshold will be lowered from 25 to 23, meaning that the NLW will become the statutory minimum wage for workers aged 23 and over. Tax changes - IR35 The off-payroll working rules (IR35) will be extended to large and medium-sized companies in the private sector with effect from 6 April 2021. Originally planned for 2020, this reform was postponed to help businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. Companies will be required to carry out their own determination as to the employment status of individuals. HMRC released an updated version of their online checking tool (Check Employment Status Tool, or ‘CEST’) in November 2020. As with the previous version of

Significant changes expected

Extension of the furlough scheme The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended to 30 April 2021, postponing the introduction of the Job Support Scheme, which had been announced as the successor to the CJRS. A wider Covid-19 economic support budget, which will set out the next phase of economic support, is due to be announced on 3 March 2021.

RSR Enterprises Ltd Health and Safety

• Forklift Training • Portable Appliance Testing (PAT Tests) • Health and Safety Audits • Gap Analysis

CEST, HMRC have stated that if this is completed correctly, they will accept the determination as given by the check. Non-compete clauses and exclusivity clauses As part of its drive to support economic recovery from the impact of Covid-19, the Government is consulting on the use of non-compete clauses (the consultation closes on 26 February 2021). Non-compete clauses can act as a barrier by preventing employees from working for, or establishing, a competing business. So, the use of this type of restrictive covenant may be restricted in the future. There are two main proposals being considered and either change would affect the drafting of employment contracts in the future, with many employers having to revisit or update their existing contracts of employment. Brexit EU nationals who started living in the UK by 31 December 2020 can apply for ‘settled’ or ‘presettled’ status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Settled status, which allows the worker to stay in the UK indefinitely, will usually be granted if they have lived in the UK continuously for 5 years. If the worker has lived in the UK for less than 5 years, they can apply for pre-settled status which can become

FINALISTS

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obia Ahmad, employment law expert at Howes Percival commented, “The Covid-19 pandemic placed both employers and employees in uncharted territory - from keeping up to date with ever-changing Government guidance, adapting to homeworking and getting to grips with the new concept of ‘furloughing’. “With the focus on helping businesses through the pandemic last year, several anticipated employment law changes, including the extension of off-payroll working rules, were postponed. However, with hope that vaccination sees the beginning of the end of the pandemic, 2021 is likely to be a busy year for employment law with several significant changes expected to take effect.”

By Sobia Ahmad Howes Percival settled status at the 5-year point. The deadline for applying under this scheme is 30 June 2021. Employers looking to recruit outside the UK should make arrangements sooner rather than later. Recruits need to be sponsored by a UK employer, who will need a licence from the Home Office to do so. Applications for a licence can take 8 weeks or more to process. Employment Bill In December 2019’s Queen’s Speech it was announced that the Government is planning a new Employment Bill. This is expected to be published in 2021, with several of the measures originating from the Government’s previous Good Work Plan including, the right for all workers to request a more predictable and stable contract after 26 weeks’ service, extending redundancy protection to limit pregnancy and maternity discrimination and making flexible working the default position, unless an employer has a good reason otherwise. For further details on the upcoming Employment Law changes click to: www.howespercival.com/ articles/employment-law-2021-what-to-expect/

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www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk

For Northamptonshire’s business news visit www.Business-Times.co.uk


Great Expectations

Get your wardrobe into shape for the new year ahead

Countdown to the new councils for Northamptonshire

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There are just two months to go before the creation of the new Northamptonshire Councils.

From a single pair of jeans or chinos, to a shirt or entire suit, Dean Anderson creates bespoke clothing which is flattering, comfortable and gives that extra bit of confidence. ockdown was certainly not in the tenth anniversary plans of tailor Dean Anderson of Saint Crispin Bespoke Menswear. This year it is a decade since doors opened at Saint Crispin Retail Village in Duston after making the move from Milton Keynes where he owned Craig Anderson Menswear for many years. A decade later and Dean is still relishing opportunities to do what he does best – create beautifully crafted made-to-measure clothes for clients who want to make their individual style statement. Dean offers an appointment-only service where he has time to focus on the needs of each customer. There is always the temptation to buy on-line but Dean’s clients appreciate the chance to have clothes to meet their personal requirements. Dean said: “Buying online can be a quick fix but I don’t believe it can replace destination shopping. Clients can experience the value of personal shopping and, although it may take longer, the result is quality fashion with the benefits of having a wardrobe that works for you.” Each of Dean’s clients are looking for something unique to them. At the moment many will be looking for relaxed clothes like a casual shirt or even a pair of jeans or chinos simply for day-to-day wear on a Zoom call, in the office or at home. While others will be planning for events later in the year some might want a suit for one of life’s landmark events like a wedding, celebration or awards ceremony. Whatever the occasion, it is important to have that ‘go to’ suit which fits you so well Dean said: “Many clients will come through a recommendation, may have had a bad experience

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Dean Anderson of Saint Crispin Bespoke Menswear going down the hire route or struggle to find clothes that not only look stylish but fit their personal measurements and has their own bespoke touches. “There are clients who may have put on a few pounds during lockdown while others may have upped their exercise sessions and want to show off their new bodies.” Whatever the reason Dean creates pieces that fit each client’s measurement and reflects their lifestyle. “At their appointment we will talk through what fabrics and styles they might like with choices including fabrics from high end brands like ZEGNA,

Loro Piana and Holland & Sherry. I can then use my experience to guide them to styles that offer a personal solution, “The finishing touches and attention to detail are important from the design of a button to a contrasting colour finish on a buttonhole or choice of lining.” Said Dean. Once the garment has been decided upon, about five or six weeks later, earlier if required, the client will return for a fitting at the shop. Good coffee, ample free parking a few steps from the shop are all part of destination shopping experience. Prices for a made-to-measure shirt, for example, start from £125

and a tailored suit starts from £650 about the same price as going online to buy a Hugo Boss suit without having to factor in the usual high costs of alterations. “Our clothes are made to last and anyone who has worn a suit that is made-to-measure will understand just how special it can feel,” said Dean. “We offer London’s Savile Row experience in Northampton. Once you wear your own madeto-measure suit or shirt you will understand why this is money well spent.” For more information, including gift certificates, visit www.saintcrispin.co.uk or call 01604 589907 to make an appointment.

he eight existing councils – Wellingborough, Corby, Daventry, East Northants, Kettering, Northampton, Northamptonshire County and South Northants – will be replaced with two brand new unitary councils on April 1st. The new West Northamptonshire unitary council will serve the areas of Daventry District, Northampton and South Northants, and a new North Northamptonshire unitary authority will serve Wellingborough, Kettering, Corby and East Northants. The new unitary councils will be responsible for all public services provided in their areas – currently these are split between the district and borough councils and the county council. Joining these services up in a unitary system is aimed to provide more efficient service delivery for residents and businesses, with considerable opportunities to develop and transform services to improve outcomes and increase value for money. The focus for day one will be to provide continuity and efficient delivery in the services to residents and businesses. A programme of continuous service improvement will remain in place and will remain a priority moving forwards. Cllr Russell Roberts, Leader of North Northamptonshire Shadow Authority, said: “Clearly we are all living in very challenging times. The continuity of public services has never been so important. Providing vital services to our local residents will remain our number one priority. “We do have a real opportunity to do things in a way that makes an even bigger difference in the future and we are committed to further improving public services in the area. “The pandemic continues to see public services at full stretch, but this does not dent our ambitions for this fresh chapter of local government.” For further information about the unitary programme and to stay up to date with developments in your area visit Future Northants West website at www.futurenorthantswest.org covering Daventry, Northampton and South Northants or the Future Northants North website futurenorthantsnorth. org covering Wellingborough, Kettering, Corby and East Northants. On each website, you will find links to documents such as the Prospectus for Change: an integrated plan for Local Government Reform and Transformation in Northamptonshire, the Local Government Reform FAQs, the latest news releases and details of when the Shadow Authority meetings will take place.

School applies an integrated approach to digital literacy

Northampton High School’s Deputy Head Academic talks to Business Times about the digital classroom and how Digacy has been long established across the school.

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igacy was launched as a concept in Northampton High school over two years ago, with the vision of bringing all things technological together under one banner. The aim was to ensure students had a healthy and holistic understanding of their digital personas and are ready for the changing world of work. Of course, the pandemic and associated lockdowns have pushed technology even further to the forefront of our thinking, and allowed us to indulge our curiosity in all things EdTech related. Students’ access to 1 to 1 devices both in school and in Guided Home Learning (GHL) has prompted the use of some amazing resources that can only really work electronically. For example, we have used intelligent quizzes from Kuizical and students have

improved their language skills with Memrise.com. Socrative.com allows for rapid reviews of understanding, and Bubbl. us is great for those with a more visual style of learning. Poll Everywhere is a tool to help teachers gather instant feedback from students, as is Padlet, while Seneca Learning offers online courses to complement our own resources. There are also great software add-ons that enhance the Google Classroom approach. One of these is Mote, a tool that delivers teacher’s oral feedback to student work, and Jamboard, which opens up collaborative opportunities in virtual lessons. On the flipside, there have been concerns about screen time overload in lockdown and we have been working to mitigate this. To borrow the words of educationalist Doug Lemov, we aim to ‘dissolve the

To feature or comment email: news@business-times.co.uk

screen’, i.e. make learning as close to the real classroom experience as possible. We are experimenting with screen ‘timeout’ periods and activities that require students to get out of their chairs, such as scavenger hunts. And, of course, the sport and wellbeing curriculum continues to thrive, with our expert teachers ensuring that students can take part in physical activity, safely, at home. When we can make a safe return to school, I am confident that the best parts of the ‘new normal’ will return with us to the classroom. Through the Digacy programme, we can embed the best EdTech into the curriculum, to ensure students not only love learning in the technological age, but have the right skills to face a changing future’. To find out more, contact Northampton High School today on 01604 765765 or visit northamptonhigh.co.uk

We want to ensure students have the right skills to face a changing future

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Great Expectations

Pool expert loves life in the deep end

Our wishlists have certainly moved closer to home during the pandemic which has raised the spirits of Steve French who lives and breathes the creation of bespoke swimming pools.

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ore than 30 years since Steve set up Mosaic Swimming Pools there seems to be no drop in demand for the company’s services which promise to turn ‘dreams into reality’. He first dipped his toe into the water in the 1970s when he was a 17-year-old labourer working on building sites in Northamptonshire. “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I had spent a short time in the Army and when I left started to work as a labourer,” said Steve. “At the time, a guy I knew had a son who was building swimming pools. He was going all over the country and I couldn’t believe it when I was given the chance to be his labourer. “At the time I was being paid £46 a week and my wage doubled overnight. Imagine it – I was a teenager, and I was able to work all over the place not just in this country. It was a really exciting job.” Steve has lost none of his enthusiasm for the industry

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e launched his own business at the tender age of 22 in 2010 and quickly grew it into a thriving firm which employs 20 staff members in Northampton and London. Today, it has a string of regional and national awards to its name, works with around 3,000 clients, has worked on £250m worth of construction projects and completed £900m worth of estimates. It turned over its first £1 million in 2019, business was booming and the company was making big preparations to celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2020 – then coronavirus hit. It’s no secret the construction industry faced unprecedented challenges at the beginning of the pandemic when construction output in Great Britain fell by nearly 36%. But Bhangals Construction Consultants defied all expectations. It quickly adapted when the first lockdown was introduced; seamlessly moving to holding virtual meetings with clients and staff and carrying out valuations by video. Not content with this, Parm began posting informative videos on LinkedIn for other construction firms and revamped his company’s training offering. Parm explained: “When the first lockdown came in, we refused to stand still. We used the time to record training videos for our junior estimators which can be used for years to come, saving time and money in the future and I decided I

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Indoor dark blue mosaic pool with curved corner steps

Steve takes pride in every detail which has taken him and his team across the world. He took the decision to set up his own company in the late 1980s and after an amicable split with his business partner in 1999 he has gone it alone. “It is not a job it is a vocation. There is so much more to building a pool than just digging a hole,” said Steve, who takes real pride in

Black mosaic outdoor pool with large copings the job. Clients are often surprised to see Steve on site and regularly behind the wheel of a digger. His passion for giving 100 per cent is shared by his son Thomas who joined the business more than 18 years ago. The latest appointment is Henry Gore who at 23 has put a Masters degree on hold after spending the summer working with Steve.

Steve’s partner Rose VerlanderSmith keeps the wheels turning at the company’s head office in Olney. The two of them understand the value of meeting potential clients face-to-face at a time to suit them to talk through the options and services. Steve said: “If they want to meet on a Sunday then that’s fine with us. We know we are

Young entrepreneur is one to watch in 2021 Parm Bhangal, managing director, of Bhangals Construction Consultants has always been one to watch.

not the cheapest or the most expensive and what we offer is only available from a handful of other businesses in this country.” Trends have changed over the decades and Steve’s experience is invaluable. “Many people dream about a pool but think it is going to be high maintenance. This is no longer the case and once we have

spoken to people, they realise how pools are so much easier to maintain with low running costs.” Key considerations include a safety cover which is tough enough to run across and an air source heated pump which has low running costs but can maintain the pool temperature at around 30 degrees C. Sanitation is now achieved by using digital salt chlorination and UV systems which are a far cry from the old harsh chlorine chemicals. The look of the pool is another priority and Steve’s extensive experience in the use of Marbelite, which is a shimmering marble coating, is now enabling the company to meet growing demand from clients. “It used to be very popular but tastes changed. However, there is now a returning interest in its use, but there are only a few of us who have the experience to use such a bespoke material,” said Steve. The company’s extensive list of satisfied clients includes those who had pools installed more than 25 years ago. The ongoing lockdowns mean people who are forced to stay home are making sure they can make the most of their gardens and pools are being brought up to date or undergoing renovation work. “A properly installed pool will bring many years of pleasure for the users,” said Steve, who would be the first to admit the pleasure really is all his. To find out more and for a free estimate call 01280 843101 or see the website at www. mosaicswimmingpools.co.uk

Have you considered

leaflet delivery

direct to homes across

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Direct mail to home is proving its effectiveness with 96% engagement* as patterns of working and living have shifted. Parm Bhangal - When the first lockdown came in, we refused to stand still

could use my knowledge, experience and desire to help others to become a coach for developers and contractors too. This is something I’m really passionate about. “Last year was tough but we achieved a great deal. We were proud to support our staff during difficult times, to celebrate our 10th anniversary and to make it to the finals of

February 2021

several prestigious awards. “We plan to grow year on year every year but this pandemic has made it almost impossible to plan for growth which is frustrating at times. So, we’re doing what we can now to help us in the future – whether that’s through recording staff training videos or focusing on helping our construction industry contacts

and further developing those important relationships. Both will help us when we’re able to pick up our growth plans again.” To find out about Parm’s coaching business visit www. parmbhangal.co.uk or for further information about Bhangals Construction Consultants go to www. bhangals.co.uk

With more people at home than ever, mail matters. More than ever. Deliver your message with us

call 01604 935300 for details

Promote Content. Drive Brand Awareness. Generate Leads *Source: 1 JICMAIL, Q2 2018 – Q2 2020

For Northamptonshire’s business news visit www.Business-Times.co.uk


Great Expectations

Food heroes doing what they do best! Resilience, endurance and creativity have been key to the survival of some of the finest food firms in Northamptonshire.

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hile a New Year is traditionally associated with hopes of a fresh start, the announcement of a third lockdown just four days in to last month meant that the county’s food and drink sector had little reason to toast the arrival of 2021. But just as they had demonstrated through the struggles of the previous nine months, resilience, endurance and creativity have been key to their survival – and success – and some of our finest food firms are once more calling upon those attributes to meet the ongoing challenges head on. So it is for the four amazing businesses named as finalists in the ‘Local Food Hero of the Year’ category (sponsored by Northampton College) in the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards, which, having come to the rescue of their local communities throughout last year’s restrictions, are at it again! Take Hamm Tun Fine Foods Deli at Long Buckby, who are continuing not only their online store, supplying a wealth of delicious Northamptonshire goodies (including their own award-winning cheese) to customers, but also their free shopping delivery service to those who are elderly, vulnerable or isolating, even collecting items from the pharmacy and other shops in the village when needed.

Famous beef stew hot pots by Hamm Tun Fine Foods Deli In addition, co-owner Rachael Bradshaw sets her alarm clock for a very early start every Friday to produce her much-vaunted hot pots, which act as a warming boost for those missing the fare usually provided by the village’s currently closed pubs. It’s clear that Rachael is committed to supporting her local community, even forgoing her only holiday of the year to remain open: “We normally close for a fortnight in January to take a bit of a break and to re-decorate, but with another lockdown upon us, we just didn’t feel we could that this year as we know how vital we are to our loyal customers” explained Rachel. “Of course I missed the burst of sunshine and the feeling of sand between my toes but their heartfelt appreciation helps to make the long hours worthwhile and being in the reckoning for such a prestigious title is really the icing on the cake!” she added. Meanwhile, with the third enforced closure of its restaurant, not to mention its own shutdown

The Elliott family and team at Noborough Lodge Farm Shop Credit: Kirsty Edmonds due to a kitchen fire last summer, The Fox and Hounds at Whittlebury has also shown that diversification is key, swapping its in-house dining offering for a takeaway collection and delivery service Wednesdays to Saturdays, as well as dedicating part of the pub to act as a shop, again crammed with local produce.

The shop at The Fox and Hounds at Whittlebury Alongside his furloughed team, who have generously volunteered their time throughout the pandemic, General Manager, Robert South, says that the switch has not only helped them to develop an extended customer base but also kept them all out mischief: “Throughout last year it was great to see old and new faces alike coming in to support us, and lockdown three is proving to be no exception” revealed Robert. “I’ve also learned that being in charge of a pub is child’s play compared with running a shop – yet another reason why we can’t wait for all this chaos to be over!” he grinned.

Fully stocked shelves at The Plough Barn Shop Similarly, The Plough at Shutlanger, which was co-winner of the ‘Booker Food Pub of Year’ category in the 2019/20 Awards, is hoping to add the ‘Local Food Hero’ title to its list of accolades, following its nomination which commended its Thursday to Sunday takeaway service, thereby ensuring its award-winning dishes could still be enjoyed at home,

To feature or comment email: news@business-times.co.uk

and its impromptu community grocery store. Indeed, the pub has taken that latter project further, having converted one of its outbuildings to last month open The Plough Barn Shop, selling everything from fresh bread to baked goods, locally-sourced jams, chutneys, cheese and of course wine, for whose list the venue is renowned! Finally, finalist number four is the Elliott family, the team behind Noborough Lodge Farm Shop between the A5 and Norton near Daventry, which, remarkably, opened at the height of the pandemic last summer. The family business is based on the foundations of provenance, traceability, short supply chain and reducing food miles and by rearing and butchering their own animals, supplying eggs from their flocks of hens and ducks, offering additional items from local producers and suppliers, as well as extending their opening hours and launching a free delivery service for the most vulnerable, it’s hardly surprising that that their nominator described them as the ‘lifeblood of the community’. With the latest lockdown prompting a further delay to the announcement of the results in this category and those others in the Awards not yet revealed, the four finalists have a little longer to wait to learn whether they will be rewarded with a Gold, Silver or Bronze for their remarkable efforts, more of which you can discover on their respective Facebook pages. For the full list of the ‘first course’ results announced in November and of the remaining category finalists, or for more information on the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2020/21, please visit www. northamptonshirefoodanddrink. co.uk or call Rachel Mallows on 01933 664437 or email rachel@ themallowscompany.com Meanwhile for further details on how you can join the ‘second course’ of the virtual Awards celebration when they are announced, please follow the Awards on Facebook at @foodawards or Twitter and Instagram at @ foodawardsHQ or on LinkedIn at @weetabixnfadawards.

CarShop thrives thanks to click and collect

Following the announcement of a third national lockdown, many were panicking. But a few local businesses are feeling much calmer this time around.

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ne of which is CarShop Northampton, a used car store located on Ravens Way. The store has reported positive annual sales figures despite the uncertainty that Covid-19 presents. The store’s head of business, Chris Delaney, pins this success down to the retailer’s huge investment in its digital offering - most significantly, around its click and collect service. The group worked hard over summer to advance its national click and collect offering. This was due to the need to offer customers a completely Covidsafe purchasing experience. It also remodeled this based on the retailer’s thorough research around customer preference – for example, which parts of the car-buying process gave the customers the most, and the least, joy. As a result, CarShop reinvented this service in order to maximise the satisfaction of driving a new car away from the forecourt, and minimise the

Chris Delaney - “We have seen a really positive response from customers.” lengthy paperwork admin instore. Customers can now use the service to browse models and makes for sale in Northampton – where there are over 1,200 vehicles – and UK-wide – which gives them access to over 10,000 cars. They can do this from the comfort of their own homes. And, it seems, people are buying into the idea. Delaney reports: “Myself

and the rest of the CarShop Northampton team have seen a really positive response from customers this past year - especially around our click and collect service and how ‘faff-free’ the process is.” Nigel Hurley, CEO at CarShop, comments on the retailer’s thought process behind its investment in click and collect: “When lockdown happened, it removed the opportunity for customers to come in-store and browse, so we had to evolve very quickly. We have always offered click and collect as an option but, previously, it was about reserving the car online and then coming in store for everything else - including the paperwork. “Now, however, we’ve consciously put a huge emphasis on the enjoyment that comes from buying a car. Customers can be assured of their complete safety, have all the fun of driving off with that new car, without any of the lengthy filling in forms instore – it’s a win-win.”

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Great Expectations

Get Staffed helps you to help a generation Online recruitment specialist Get Staffed are providing a free and secure gateway to access funding as part of the government’s Kickstart Scheme.

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edfordhire based online recruitment specialist Get Staffed are proud to announce their participation in new government scheme to become a Kickstart Gateway; an organisation to represent small businesses and employers, accessing work placements for young talent and training them for future employment. The Kickstart Scheme allows businesses to help young people (aged 16-24) who are currently on universal credit to develop the skills and experiences needed to find work via valuable 6-month placements on a 2 5 h o u r- p e r week contract. The government will fund 100% of every placement; 25 hours per week at Minimum/ National Living Wage (pending employee age), plus employer National Insurance and pension contributions, meaning the schemes are 100% cost neutral to employers. The government will also give the

employer a £1,500 grant. Businesses applying for less than 30 placements can access this scheme through a Kickstart Gateway, such as Get Staffed. Director of Get Staffed, Matt Cooper comments; “Here at Get Staffed, we take pride in getting you the right candidates to fit in with your business, without the fuss and bother of standard ‘agency practice’. With the latest Kickstart candidates starting new roles this month, now is a great time for local companies to take advantage of this scheme and grow their way out of the pandemic, offering local young individuals the opportunity to learn, at zero cost to the employer. As an added bonus, employers

100% cost neutral to employers

receive a £1,500 grant – I’d urge local companies to get in touch now to get started.” By partaking in the Kickstart Scheme, businesses will not only gain access to free young talent (to train for possible future permanent roles) but also give young people a chance to gain valuable skills and work experience through meaningful placements, as the job market starts to recover. Taking a Kickstart placement will help a whole generation to get back on their feet. Businesses can get started by applying through Get Staffed’s secure gateway and providing just a few details on the company and roles they plan to offer. Get Staffed will then manage the entire process, at no cost to business as they are funded directly by the government. For further information click to get-staffed.com/ kickstart-scheme

Businesswoman proves business start-ups can still thrive despite Covid

As the admin and business support services sector continues to rise, one Northamptonshire virtual assistant is proving that start-ups can still succeed in the changing landscape.

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arah Damani, from Wellingborough, is celebrating her first business birthday. She launched her Alchemy Virtual Assistance (VA) Hub in December 2019, three months before the pandemic. Back then, high business birth rates were up to 19.3% in the administration and support services sector, and Wellingborough was among the fastest growing areas for business births in the entire country (indicated by Office for National Statistics data). Through her Virtual Assistance franchise hub, she now supports multiple business owners with their PA, marketing and administration, reinforced by the trusted and award-winning Alchemy brand. “As a new business I could either sink or swim when Covid hit, but I have managed to achieve in one year what I set out to achieve in three. The support and backing of Alchemy VA has empowered me, it could have easily been a different story if I had gone it alone,” said Sarah, who has just hit ‘Executive Status’ – the highest rung on the Alchemy franchise development framework. Sarah has also recruited a small team of handpicked, high calibre virtual assistants to help her manage the

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increasing workload, renovated a tailormade home office space, left her job as a business advisor to focus entirely on growing her Alchemy VA franchise hub, and more recently she became a finalist in the ‘Rising Star’ category in the PA Life Star Awards 2020 programme. For Sarah and Alchemy VA, business is booming. “More people were fearful and somewhat untrusting of remote working pre-Covid, but they have now seen that it works. Suddenly hiring a virtual assistant to manage what some consider to be menial admin tasks is far less scary than it might have been before. Most clients who have started working with me and other Alchemy VA hub managers in the last year started out wanting one thing and ended up realising we can assist with so much more. Many of our contracts have grown when clients realise the vast skillset of our VAs and how much time and headspace we can free up.” Former Judo Olympian and coowner of Neil Adams Effective Fighting, Niki Adams, says Sarah’s VA services have helped them diversify and stay afloat during Covid. “We had just built our own studio to train judo athletes, but when the pandemic hit we had to close our club and review all our plans.

February 2021

Northampton business helps exporters overcome the pallet problem post-Brexit PALLITE®, an ambitious, award-winning international designer and manufacturer of paper board products, including pallets and shipping crates, has supported exporters to navigate the change in legislation for wooden export packaging.

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efore the UK left the EU on 1st January 2021, EU member states were not required to use heat-treated wooden packaging, primarily wooden pallets and shipping crates, for the movement of goods between themselves, including the UK. After the UK left the EU, the law changed to state that all wooden packaging moving between the EU and the UK, in either direction, must be ISPM15 compliant. ISPM15 applies to all wooden packaging materials such as pallets and shipping crates. They state that all solid wood and wooden packaging materials over 6mm in thickness and used for export must be treated. These regulations exist to help prevent the spread of pests and diseases found in wooden packaging that could harm ecosystems. In addition, wooden packaging moving in either direction between Great Britain and Northern Ireland must now be ISPM15 compliant and any wooden packaging moving in either direction between Ireland and Great Britain via Northern Ireland. Movements between Ireland and Northern Ireland alone do not require heat-treatment. Due to this change in regulations and the impact of the global pandemic on the heat treatment capacity for wooden packaging,

“Sarah has helped us get our processes in check, but more than that, she has helped us secure £3,000 of funding to launch a new online fitness programme for over 50s and people with health conditions. This was a totally new business idea, and we couldn’t have done it without her organisational skills, connections and expertise. She is now an essential part of our small business. I had no idea a virtual assistant could have such a positive impact.” Founder of Alchemy VA, Suzy Sanders, added: “This year has been a wilder ride than any of us expected but one thing that’s remained true is the way Sarah has focused on their businesses, supporting their clients and each other with such grit and grace. “We’ve seen a huge influx of interest in what we do at Alchemy this year from both potential clients and franchisees. I believe this has been mostly driven by the dramatic shift in focus, priorities and with so many being forced to adapt to new and different ways of working. Whilst this year has bought untold challenges, I’m immensely proud of Sarah and everything we’re achieving together.” For more information on Alchemy VA visit www.alchemyva.co.uk

it is believed current UK supplies of heattreated pallets and shipping crates will not meet demand, and there will be a shortage in supply. There are several alternatives available on the market. PALLITE®’s honeycomb board pallets are a strong alternative to wooden pallets and are exempt from the ISPM15 regulations as they are made from just paper and glue. The Northamptonshire-based business has seen a significant increase in demand for their pallets and shipping crates due to this shortage. PALLITE® pallets can hold up to 750kg in open-beam racking, and PALLITE® shipping crates can hold up to 750kg and stack up to 500kg. The PALLITE® range is ideal for export as it’s typically 83% lighter than wooden alternatives, offering cost savings on air freight and greater fuel efficiencies. What’s more, the whole PALLITE® range is 100% recyclable and made from over 80% recycled materials. Download PALLITE®’s new e-book ‘How To Export After Brexit And Not Get Caught Out By The New ISPM15 Wooden Packaging Regulations’ for free at www.pallite.co.uk

Virtual assistant Sarah Damani

For Northamptonshire’s business news visit www.Business-Times.co.uk


Great Expectations

New look logo same quality service

Home Instead, the leading provider of in-home care for older adults, has launched a new brand identity and campaign to promote the evolving organisation.

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ormerly known as Home Instead Senior Care, the company was founded in Omaha, Nebraska in 1994 by Paul and Lori Hogan to address a need for personalised care to allow adults to age at home, inspired by Paul’s own grandmother. It has since grown to more than 1,200 independently owned and operated franchises across the globe, which employ 90,000 professional CAREGivers and deliver more than 80 million hours of care annually. The brand’s update includes a simplified logo and the removal of the term “senior care” from the official name – Home Instead. The changes are meant to be more inclusive and a reflection of the evolving global language around the way people talk about older adults. The name change also allows the brand to more broadly address helping aging adults meet their needs wherever they are on their care journey. “Our new brand represents Home Instead today and will continue to serve us as we look to the future,” said Mark Darnell, Owner. Owner Rosina Darnell said “It’s great to our see our logo modernised, with a refreshed look, while keeping the tulip that

Water giant leads way in preparing for climate change

Major work has been undertaken at Anglian Water to ensure it can adapt to changes to our rapidly changing climate.

Mark and Rosina Darnell has come to symbolize the highly personalised care we’re known for. In addition to the updated logo, shortening our name to Home Instead better reflects our global presence and the desire of our clients to remain at home at any age.” The variety of services we offer are there to help keep your loved ones at home. We assist with personal care, companionship, shopping, light housework, appointments, days out, dementia, end of life, mental health, young adults and other

debilitating illnesses such as Parkinson’s and respite care to get you back on your feet after an operation. This can be from a minimum of an hour to 24hrs 7 days a week. We also offer the Live in CARE as a new service please contact us if you would like any information. 01933 678775 www.homeinstead.co.uk/eastnorthants

Signs of a brighter future

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ike many businesses over the last 12 months artisan signs rapidly responded to the changing needs of its customers with new and adapted products. With customers suddenly needing new signs, notices, floor graphics and protective screens the team stepped up to the challenge, creating both generic and customised products on short turnarounds. While covid products will be needed for a while yet the Kettering-based business is looking forward to introducing more new products to its customers who themselves either flourished, adapted and diversified, started up or were forced to temporarily close or scale back operations during the last few months. With businesses across all industries needing to rethink their workspaces and ways of working the specialist producer of large format prints and signs has a range of internal décor products to support customers with bespoke, branded wallcoverings, floor products, roller blinds and graphics to entice staff to a welcoming environment that both informs and supports their wellbeing. As the boom in remote working and online ordering will continue backdrops for video calls and magnetics for delivery vehicles are also available. Moving forwards many workplaces including shops, offices, warehouses, factories, schools and public buildings, will want to reduce their impact on the environment and artisan signs can produce

Business Times Delivered to more than 9,500 decision makers every month

sustainable and climate friendly prints from their inhouse production facility, which itself has reduced its carbon footprint over the last few years. Later in the year will see a welcome return of sporting events, festivals, international travel, conferences and trade shows, where artisan can help with the signs, displays and large format graphics needed to promote brands and their key messages. So if your business is thriving, surviving or looking to revive and you have a project or an idea you would like to discuss call 01536 522777 or email sales@artisansigns.co.uk. More information is available at artisansigns.co.uk

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01604 259900

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Recent flood water as the River Ouse burst its banks

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nglian Water has become one of the first companies in the UK to set out how it is preparing for the impacts of climate change in Defra’s latest round of adaptation reporting under the Climate Change Act. Having issued its draft report for consultation in March, the company has now submitted its final report to Defra, a year ahead of the reporting deadline. The water company has also been recognised for its leadership in corporate sustainability by one of the most respected climate research organisations in the world, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), securing a place on its prestigious ‘A List’ for its approach to tackling climate change. Anglian was recognised for its actions to cut emissions, mitigate climate risks and develop the low-carbon economy, based on the data reported by the company through CDP’s 2020 climate change questionnaire. The challenges posed by a rapidly changing climate in the East of England, where Anglian operates, have driven the company to make significant strides on its journey towards becoming a carbon-neutral business over the last decade, and to adapt its operations and infrastructure to address the increasing risks of drought and flood. The adaptation report details the actions Anglian Water has already undertaken to prepare for these challenges and sets out its plans for substantial further investment over the next five and 25 years. These adaptation activities will be delivered alongside Anglian Water’s commitment to become a net zero carbon business by 2030. The report outlines the key risks the water company has identified, including the physical risks from drought and flooding as well as risks to the region’s natural capital, as well as highlighting the importance of working with other organisations and customers to make the East of England resilient to the impacts of drought and flooding. Anglian was the first of around 90 organisations in the UK to publish its draft report. This is the company’s first Adaptation Report to include a description of some of the climate transition risks that arise from the process of adjusting to a lower-carbon economy; in particular, the financial risk and opportunity associated with securing investment and managing its energy and carbon costs. Anglian Water chief executive Peter

Simpson said: “Today is a proud day in our journey in adapting to climate change. Working to ensure resilient water supplies for the communities we serve, and to protect and enhance our environment, has been central to the way we do business for many years. Together with rapid population growth in our region, the climate emergency constitutes Anglian Water’s most acute challenge. “Adapting our operations and infrastructure to reflect the changing climate is critical for our long-term resilience. To be recognised by CDP for this and our wider progress in cutting emissions as we work towards reaching net zero reinforces that we’re on the right track. Plans for the next five years include: • Creating up to 500km of interconnecting pipelines to enable the movement of water to areas where it is most needed. The programme will also make it possible to reduce the amount of water taken from the environment, as well as strengthening resilience by reducing the number of homes and businesses which rely on a single water source to 14 per cent by 2025. • Reducing leakage, already the lowest in the UK, by a further 22% versus a 2017/18 baseline and halve it by 2050 • Beginning to roll out smart meters across the Anglian Water region to help customers manage demand and reduce bills, and to pinpoint leaks • Eliminate the risk of severe water restrictions in a 1:200 drought for all its customers by 2025 • 50 per cent increase in partnership funding for flood protection to £12 million between 2020 and 2025 • Reduce internal sewer flooding incidents for customers by 24 per cent between 2020-2025 • Publish long-term strategic plans for Drainage and Wastewater Management and Water Resources Management, which will include assessments against the potential for 2°C and 4°C temperature rise scenarios Peter added: “Adapting well to climate change will enable us to meet the ambitious goals we have set and deliver the commitments we have made to our customers in a way that keeps bills affordable. Climate change won’t wait for us, the time for action is now in order to secure a resilient future for our region.”

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News Expectations Great

Global giant chooses business park for its HQ Global cooling technologies giant PWR is now fully operational in new HQstyle industrial premises at Silverstone Park as it begins the expansion of its business across Europe.

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WR has completed the fit-out of its 6,500+ sq ft property – the majority of floorspace being used as a warehouse and storage facility. This will soon be home to thousands of cooling components – imported from PWR’s manufacturing plants in Australia and the USA for distribution from Silverstone Park to customers in the UK and Europe. In motorsport this includes teams in F1, MotoGP, World Rally and World Endurance racing… The premises also include a stylish meeting room with full conference/ AV facilities and modern office space. PWR’s European Business Manager Andy Burton said: “Our team is predominantly business development, sales support, finance and logistics and, as we grow, there is scope to increase our office space over a newly installed mezzanine floor.

“We are already at the start of production for a number of hypercar/ supercar programmes in addition to our more traditional markets in motorsport. “The third string to our business from Silverstone Park is really exciting as we look to diversify and take our advanced engineering capabilities into new industry sectors, such as aerospace and defence, within Europe.” Andy added: “All our team feels right at home at Silverstone Park. These new premises were just what we were looking for and they more than live up to expectation. “The look, feel and location are all spot on; there’s a real quality to the place which is important for our image, the impression we make on customers and for the motivation of our employees.”

Businesses have room to grow at innovative park PWR’s property is one of 13 sizeable new industrial premises constructed in the Enterprise Zone at Silverstone Park by developer MEPC.

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ine have swiftly been taken by businesses with growth ambitions – the majority in advanced engineering and manufacturing – meaning just four remain available to let. These range from 6,000 sq ft to 30,000 sq ft in size. Of the nine properties let so far, confirmed occupiers in addition to cooling technologies giant PWR include: • Delta Motorsport, expanding on site to increase development of high its performance battery systems • KW Special Projects with a futuristic, world class Digital Manufacturing Centre • From Switzerland, international drinks and lifestyle brand EIGHTY-ONE, looking to expand into the UK market “These new properties are proving to be very popular,” said MEPC’s Roz Bird, commercial director at Silverstone Park. “Clearly they are meeting market demand from hightech businesses looking for modern R&D and workshop accommodation.

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February 2021

“The specialist facilities being developed at the park by these businesses are really significant and will add to to Silverstone Park’s and the Silverstone Technology Cluster’s appeal as a world class location for advanced engineering and manufacturing.” Extensive landscaping works surrounding the buildings are well underway: appointed contractor, ASA Landscape Architects, is overseeing the planting of some 240 tree saplings, which are either native or beneficial to UK wildlife, plus over 7,000 native hedgerow whips. “Sustainability and the environment have very much been factored in by MEPC,” explained Veronica Flemming, Senior Landscape Architect at ASA. “The native mix is important because the development is adjacent to Forestry Commission woodland. Extending the green infrastructure into Silverstone Park helps to create wildlife corridors, extending opportunities for foraging and the creation of habitat niches.

“Hedgerow species have also been specified with biodegradable protectors, as opposed to plastic guards, which look unsightly and take decades to break down. “These reinforced cardboard protectors have been tested in the Scottish Highlands, where they have been shown to break down within three to four years.” The latest industrial scheme (the 13 properties and landscaping works) is part of MEPC’s Phase 1 and Phase 2 of development at Silverstone Park – on land with Enterprise Zone status which offers qualifying businesses up to five years of significant rates relief. Significantly, MEPC recently gained reserved matters consent for a third phase of development at Silverstone Park. Also in the Enterprise Zone, this will allow for the largest buildings yet constructed by MEPC at the estate, at up to 100,000 sq ft in size. For further information see the website: www.silverstonepark.com

For Northamptonshire’s business news visit www.Business-Times.co.uk


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www.walkerpack.co.uk To feature or comment email: news@business-times.co.uk

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February 2021

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Networking

Free networking Collaboration rather than competition the key to a new for business in North Northants nationwide network alliance

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ntrepreneurs in Northamptonshire have become part of an unlikely countrywide alliance, to help fuel recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. They’re among 13 businesses and one charity, from Kent to Liverpool, which are focussing on collaboration rather than competition – forming a wide-ranging network to generate opportunities for each other. A national networking event will mark the official relaunch of Business Live on February 19th which is the latest success since creating the alliance.

Other ventures include: • The formation of a new company, Bright Stars Group – offering consultancy and specialist services to help established businesses grow further. • Global Business Wellbeing, a not-for-profit online world conference planned for 2021, on the subject of personal and business health following Covid-19. The new Bright Stars Group draws on expertise in the alliance to offer a menu of business-to-business support to clients, including recruitment, growth consultancy, PR and marketing.

Northampton businesswoman Sheila Smith and Vicky Beale from Business Live The alliance is a natural step forward for the Northamptonshire companies involved, whose founders are already strong believers in the idea of businesses working together. The Business Live event follows the recruitment of regional directors to stage networking lunches in a dozen towns and cities, including Northampton, when circumstances allow. Until then, networked opportunities will be provided online. Sheila Smith is a member of Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes chambers of commerce, the founder of the

Northamptonshire Business Expo and new owner of Leicester Business Expo. Sheila, one of the hosts for the Business Live lunches, said: “We all know that business conditions are really challenging. The alliance is a great initiative which I’m happy to be part of. Working together like this has to be the way forward.” Also in the alliance is Desborough creative marketing agency Poppy Design Studio, which specialises in websites and graphic design. Its founder Marie Baker and Marketing Manager Simon Cox were instrumental in setting up the Kettering Business Network which is now part of North Northants Business Network. Simon said: “The alliance is something which has naturally evolved from the business contacts we’ve made. I’m really looking forward to seeing how it progresses.” Victoria Beale, the driving force behind the venture, is a partner in the Bright Stars Group and owner of the Business Live UK brand. Victoria, a single mum of five children, said: “This started out as a group of likeminded business people, but it’s grown way beyond that. We’re diverse organisations, but we all want success for ourselves and each other.” Details of the launch event are available at: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ business-live-online-networking-fordecision-makers-c500k-turnovertickets-134629501463

News from network groups across Northamptonshire

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here is a wealth of networking groups across Northamptonshire who bring business people together. Each has had to adapt to the effects of the pandemic which has meant going online rather than the traditional face-to-face.

Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce

Chamber members can book online for all events at www.northants-chamber.co.uk 10th Feb - Chamber LIVE: Top Employment law queries answered- Online 10:00 – 11:00 11th Feb - Export Procedures & Getting products to Market - Online 09:30 – 13:00 17th Feb - Northants Chamber Speed Networking - Online 10:00 – 11:15 18th Feb - ChamberLIVE: Going Paperless Online 10:00 – 11:00 18th Feb - Import Procedures, Customs & Transport Processes - Online 09:30 – 13:00 23rd Feb - Maximise your Northants Membership - -Online 10:00 – 11:00 25th Feb - Customs Data, Procedures, Check & Financial Audits - Online 09:30 – 13:00 26th Feb- Friday Wind-down Networking Online 15:00 – 16:00

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Federation of Small Businesses, FSB

The FSB has 2,000 members across Northamptonshire and, as well as local campaigning, the team hold regular networking and support events, currently all online and free to attend. These include a monthly FSB Northampton Virtual Networking where all are welcome, you don’t have to be an FSB member to come along and share what you can offer. There is also a regular Northampton Business forum on key business issues, and MP meetings with local members. You can find these and hundreds of other networking, support and webinar events online at www.fsb.org.uk. Upcoming events: FSB Northampton Virtual Networking: February 25th and March 25th at 10-11am. FSB is the UK’s largest grassroots business campaigning group, which ensures the voice of small businesses is heard at the highest level across the UK, as well as providing business services and products to our members. We’re a proudly not-for-profit organisation with the best interests of our self-employed and small business members at the heart of everything we do. Local support, networking, business benefits provided at no extra cost and a powerful voice heard in government are just a few of the reasons why we’re the organisation of choice for small businesses and the self-employed across the UK. Local councils recognise the support which FSB offers its members such as 24 hour legal advice, tax advice and debt recovery as key business to survival, and some such as East Northamptonshire Council are providing the first year of FSB membership free to their local businesses. Check with your own council whether they are offering this scheme.

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new and exciting business network launches in early February with a strong focus on the North part of Northamptonshire. The North Northants Business Network is launching to help North Northamptonshire and both established and start up networks in the community and businesses to engage with other voluntary sector so we have a businesses within Kettering, stronger future in the northern Corby, East Northants and part of the county. Wellingborough. Founder Simon Cox said The network will also “With the changes in the local be working closely with authority structures taking place other business support and as from April 2021, it was only membership organisations to right for a new business network ensure businesses in the north to be launched for the businesses part of the county are kept up within North Northamptonshire. to date with support, event “Last year proved the value to information and opportunities being involved in a local business for business engagement within network for small businesses North Northamptonshire. and this year will prove equally The network is also free to important as we transition through changes in join for all businesses local government and will work with The new business leaders in and focus on North Kettering, Corby, network is free Northamptonshire to join for all following the Covid East Northants and We l l i n g b o r o u g h disruption in 2020 business to hold a monthly and now impact of network meeting for Brexit changes.” small businesses, the North Northamptonshire Social For more information visit: Enterprise network, Shire www.northnorthants Sounds Radio, the sound of businessnetwork.co.uk

BNI

Free to attend for start-up and established businesses and run from 9.30am to 10.30am, Visit the website for join up details: www.northnorthantsbusinessnetwork.co.uk Northampton – Wednesday, February 3rd Wellingborough - Monday, February 8th Kettering – Wednesday, February 10th Corby – Tuesday, February 16th East Northants – Thursday, February 25th.

What makes the Business Room different? Attendees maximise their time out of the office and in the room, by ensuring all the attendee information is shared in advance. Allowing attendees to plan their networking session in advance, gives them the opportunity to get more out of each meeting, therefore making it as profitable as possible Each session involves a training session. Northants Groups are in Kettering, Wellingborough, Northampton and South Northants. We also have groups in Leicester and Lincs. Meet 12-2pm when face to face. Online 11.30 – 1.30pm The Connections Club - Northants Open to business owners, influencers and decision makers only The Connections Club is a structured and professional group, which gives you the opportunity to connect with other business owners who are serious about growth. It allows you to take away a valuable skill, learning or insight – at every single meeting and meet valuable contacts. It is not lock out but we limited it to a maximum of three business areas. We look for businesses who can collaborate with each other. Meet 11.45 - 2pm when face to face. Online 11.45 – 1.45pm Contact details: Barbara 07504 946 585/ 01933 652884 Email barbara@yourbusinessmatters.co www.yourbusinessmatters.co

Your Business Matters

The Business Community

Tuesday’s BNI (Temporary Online) Meeting 6:45-8:30, Ignite BNI, Holiday Inn Northampton West M1, Jct 6 (NN7 4LP). Thursday’s BNI (Temporary Online) Meetings 6:45-8:30, Pavilion BNI, Collingtree Park Golf Club (NN4 0XN); 6:45-8:30, Prosperity BNI, Kettering Rugby Club (NN15 6NT); 11:30-13:30, Sterling BNI, Delapre Golf Club (NN4 7DU). Friday’s BNI (Temporary Online) Meeting 6:45-8:30, Lighthouse BNI, Franklin’s Gardens (NN5 5BG); 6:45-8:30, Unity BNI, Gt Doddington Club (NN29 7TL). Contact Duncan Webster for all events, email: Duncan@BNIBreakfast.co.uk, tel: 07977 422220.

North Northants Business Networking

This provides practical support to help businesses grow their business. We offer two types of regular face to face connection events. The Business Room is a one business area group for business owners, those in employed positions, MLMs and franchised businesses. Networking requires an investment of time and money. But it doesn’t always deliver an ROI. The Business Room is proudly different, providing a time-efficient and cost-effective way to build your contacts and collaborators and access new opportunities.

We believe that, with the right support at the right price - any small business can succeed. With our positive attitude of mutual collaboration and a desire to share our collective wisdom and experience, we all have so much to gain: • Connections & contacts • Business advice and tips • Encouragement and support through the dark days • A pat on the back when things go well For more information see www.buscomm.co.uk book on to any event you wish to attend using the relevant booking link.

For Northamptonshire’s business news visit www.Business-Times.co.uk


News

To feature or comment email: news@business-times.co.uk

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Marketing & PR

Print, merchandise, signage, packaging: work with specialists who deliver

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e have all seen the headlines: The world is changing. Everyone is getting used to the ‘new normal’. It is no surprise that everyone wanted to see the back of 2020. One of the stories of the year came in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic when businesses across the globe grappled with sweeping changes to how they work — and how they work with customers. We have had to adapt and during 2020 we decided to move our sister company Brunel Signs in with KANDA PRINT MIDLANDS that totally changed the dynamics of both companies, enabling us both to draw on our vast knowledge of PRINT : MERCHANDISE : SIGNAGE : PACKAGING And somehow together take on the biggest ride of our lives and try to do the best we could for our customers, in this ever-changing world. Kanda Print Midlands and Brunel Signs understands that you want to know exactly what a project will cost before you go ahead, with no hidden costs. We can provide a quick quote for all your project requirements. This way you can discover which options meet your budget immediately. We are always here to help you with the very first concept right through to the final printed project. With our wealth of knowledge, we always provide you with our best advice, whether it is the design or the material to use, to fit your budget and help create the vision that you have in mind. Once you decide to go ahead, we promise a quick and efficient service. We can meet the needs of both small companies and larger businesses, on time and within budget. If you need stunning printed products, you have come to the right place. As an experienced business of over 30

years both Kanda Print and her sister company Brunel Signs take pride in the finished results of all our products. Kanda and Brunel cover all aspects of the printing process, including graphic design for those who need help with their artwork. Our quick and efficient service wants to make every printing job much easier for you. We appreciate and handle the tightest of deadlines, at highly affordable prices, we are always willing to listen to our customers’ needs and discuss their budgets. We always listen to our customers’ requirements and take great pride and dedication to producing the best work possible for them. With our team checking your files and job quality at every stage. We offer you a reliable, friendly and professional experience, across a wide variety of products and their material and finishing permutations. With a huge range of products and services to choose from, we offer an unbeatable choice for your printed collateral.

If you need stunning printed products, you have come to the right place

Global virus forces change of direction to create virtual business exhibitions

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online. Many business people were faced with difficult decisions when the pandemic hit and individuals were forced to rethink their futures. For some it would be the end of the road for their business while others, like business owner Sheila Smith, took the decision to change direction. She shares her story about the challenges of thriving through a pandemic. Years spent networking and running business exhibitions meant Sheila Smith valued her hard-earned reputation. But, like thousands of other business people, her work came to a grinding halt when the pandemic arrived in March, 2020. Her national business exhibitions company,

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which began in Northamptonshire and most recently Leicestershire regularly attracted hundreds of visitors and her networking group, Breakfast@Beckworth had been running successfully for nearly ten years. “It was a shock when we were faced with the implications of the pandemic,” said Sheila. “I had spent years building a business and overnight it had to be put on hold. There was nothing happening, but it would cost a lot to simply close the business.” Sheila’s solution was to take her business operations online. She teamed up with Milton Keynesbased Big Media House and the Virtual Expo platform was born. The first exhibition in October attracted 960 plus visitors from eight different countries, and the next Leicester Business Virtual Expo is planned for 20th-26th April, followed by Northamptonshire Business

February 2021

With Covid dominating the headlines – and our lives – businesses may be wondering if now is the right time to continue with PR and marketing communications activities. their service offering? How could they get hold of someone to talk to? How had their industry and business been impacted? It turns out that PR and communications were more important than ever during a pandemic! At a time when people were clueless and hungry for information and looking for guidance, we pitched our clients for several thought leadership and opinion pieces in their trade press. They were simply sharing their experiences of how they had been impacted, sharing knowledge and advice, and what they thought could possibly happen going forward. The benefits of doing PR like this are: • It shows you are an authority or expert in your field or industry • It gives you content to share on social media • What you have to say could genuinely help someone else in your industry • If you appear in an article online answering questions your target market will be asking search engines, it puts you in front of them (SEO) Emma Speirs of Ballyhoo PR - As customers, In a fast-changing world, we need answers. brand followers and potential referrers we need to know what a business is up to and As customers, brand followers and potential crucially, how we can support them. referrers we need to know what a business is up to and crucially, how we can support them. his time last year nobody could have If you are working from home or offering a predicted what lay ahead for Northants delivery-only service, people need to know. businesses. When we all have to stay in, getting yourself When we went into the first lockdown out there – whether that be in the local press, on in March 2020, I don’t mind admitting we social media, through Google My Business, lost some business at Ballyhoo PR. or through having blogs or articles When faced with a sudden closure published on high ranking websites PR and so you come up in search results – of their business, some clients comms have ensures you remain visible to your naturally looked at their outgoings and questioned where they could never been so target audience. save money and either cut what they During the pandemic, we have important helped were doing with us or put a freeze our clients get published in on all activity. the national and local media, in trade magazines and websites, and on TV and We completely understood. We had never been in a situation like this before and had no radio. We also worked with them to create and idea how long it would last. publish their own content on social media and We checked in with the clients who stayed in regular blogs and emails so people are kept with us and revised and adapted our 2020 PR up to date with their activity. We even entered and communications plans. What was a priority clients into awards to create a buzz about them in January either wasn’t anymore, or the plans online when the finalists were announced. we had could no longer go ahead. PR and comms have never been so important. We thought about what customers and Are you using them effectively in your business potential customers would be eager to learn right now? from our clients and/or searching the internet Contact Emma on 01536 261666 or emma. for – were they still open? Had they changed speirs@ballyhoo-pr.co.uk.

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DESIGN : PRINT : MERCHANDISE : SIGNAGE : PACKAGING

fter business came to a grinding halt one business owner took decision to meet challenges and go

Does PR have a place in a pandemic?

Virtual Expo on 11th/12th/13th May. Sheila said: “To create an online platform does not come cheap but I realised something had to be done or I would lose everything I’d worked so hard to build. It was a definitive moment when I created the change and implemented a shift in my thinking. “To begin with there were a number of exploratory Zoom calls with Big Media House, but not being a technical person, it was a time to trust the science here! We set a date for the first expo in October, which happily, was a roaring success! All credit to the 35 plus exhibitors and five speakers for getting behind the initiative and bravely trying something new with us.” Malcolm Stewart, Principal Architect at Big Media House, said: “From an initial discussion with Sheila in June about the state of the events industry since lockdown, we saw there could be a

tremendous opportunity to leverage our knowledge in online training platforms to create an engaging virtual exhibition experience.” For the future, it is hoped that many more organisations will come forward to use the platform to run their own events, on their own terms. At the time of writing Sheila is in advanced talks with a number of Chamber of Commerce offices, a national events company and an international business institute. There are no limits in the virtual world. The key features are: ■ Individual Exhibitor Stands ■ Instant Live Chat ■ 1-2-1 Business Chat Rooms ■ Sell products/services via your stand Business Card Dropbox ■ Video Wall to showcase your company videos Gamification/ Live Prize Draws To find out more see the website at www.yourbusinessexpo.co.uk

Sheila Smith - “To create an online platform does not come cheap but I realised something had to be done or I would lose everything.”

For Northamptonshire’s business news visit www.Business-Times.co.uk


Marketing & PR

Brand position and direction to maximise opportunity The world doesn’t stand still and neither should a brand. In fact, things change so fast nowadays that brands simply can’t do enough to keep up with the times and often miss major opportunities that can be exploited by a real shift in direction. This month’s article is about how your brand should evolve not only to survive but to prosper.

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et’s remember first exactly what ‘brand’ means. Your logo is not your brand, it is only a part of your brand, often referred to as your ‘branding’ or ‘brand identity’. The brand itself is every aspect of how you do you what you; the very fabric of your business, the values and beliefs that drive things from the inside and how every detail of the experience feels like for customers on the outside.

Where to start and what to consider A good place to start is usually your website. Why? Because your website is your window to the world and it houses most aspects of the way you communicate your brand; your identity, your proposition (what you offer), what you look like, your philosophy and your values. Revisit every page of your website and ask yourself the following questions as you do so:

Why your brand must never be static Brands succeed over time when companies do two things: They adapt to reflect the changing business landscape and they evolve the brand style and messaging accordingly. To give this some context, think about huge brands like BP moved away from British Petroleum to be a broader, greener energy brand. Or how McDonalds has spent the last 20 years changing it’s garish, oily burger joints to be meeting places with salads on the menu. None of this was part of the plan, it was reactive in response to changing lifestyles and markets. BP still sells petrol and McDonalds still sells burgers, but they do it very differently to the way they did 20 years ago; they are moving away from being an ‘oil’ business and a ‘burger’ business towards being an ‘energy’ business and an ‘eat and speak easy’ business. When you look at things this way you will see how important it is to be constantly evolving. So, every year, you should take time out to look at your entire business, from the ground up, and ask yourself ‘what needs to change?’ At the very least, I recommend a company refreshes its brand image and messaging every 4-5 years. The key is to remember that change is not necessarily substantial and that continuous, smaller changes generally negate the need for big and costly ones later on. It’s at that point companies become resistant to any change at all as all they see is the financial cost of it – that is a slippery slope that has to be avoided because it’s when a brand starts to gather dust and fall behind.

➤ Does my logo look strong in today’s market? ➤ Does the text and imagery accurately reflect the business as is stands today? ➤ Does everything look current and in keeping with the times? ➤ Am I communicating everything we do effectively? ➤ Does it stand up against my competitors? ➤ What has changed in the market or to customers needs that it fails to take into consideration? ➤ What can I add or improve that would help to advance my business in this market? Take notes for every page to each of the above questions and you will find that you end up with a powerful list of things you need to work on, starting with the website. As you make changes to the visuals and your wording you will also find this naturally redefines who you are, as a brand, and that will then influence all other aspects of your business. Your website is your brand and your brand should drive how you operate as a business so see it as your bible – get that right, keep it right through these reviews and updates and then live by it.

just 13 years in business, operates their own bars, restaurants and hotels and has product listings in every supermarket. It goes without saying that the impact of Covid has decimated their entire hospitality business and that they are largely surviving off their retail products. Their response to this has been nothing short of brave and inspired, the very two values they have built their whole empire on. The owner of BrewDog drew on the fact it is the spirit of their brand that their customers bought into rather than the product itself and that is how they have been able to steal large slices of market share from brands that have been around 50, 100 years or more. They decided to open up a beer delivery service and, at the same time, to give every person in the country not only their beers for free but also the recipes for all their beers for free. They have given away all of their intellectual properties without blinking. Why such a crazy move? Well, what we can take from this is that they know people buy their brand and not their beer so it will never taste the same made at home. And they know their product is great so inviting people to try it for free, by registering online, means they will probably bond with the brand and buy more.

Darren Isaac Director, TFA

It is far lower risk than it may seem and, though costly to do, gives people something emotional to buy into – and this is exactly how they got to where they are today. What’s the big question I need to ask myself? What can we all learn from these examples? That, in hard times, we have to be bold, creative, innovative and take a chance to win the hearts and minds of customers. We have to take stock, look at who we are and what we are doing and be a brand that does things which will set it apart and emotionally resonate with people. Brands that touch people’s emotions are brands that really fly when everyone else is grounded. If you need any advice or assistance with how you can evolve your brand to be better than your competitors, get in touch with TFA. We have helped many clients to see their brands and their businesses in a completely different way and to accomplish great new things. Call 01908 263950 or visit www.t-f-a.co.uk

Brands succeed over time

Reacting at the right time and in the right way I saw an excellent example recently of a business that was in a difficult situation turning it to their advantage. You probably will have heard of the brand ‘BrewDog’; a rebellious Scottish brewery that has had nothing short of astonishing growth and who now, after

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MOULTON C

PARK

There is a wealth of industrial estates across Northamptonshire which are home to a diverse range of businesses. Moulton Park in Northampton is a prime example of a business hub which works for an extensive range of enterprises working side by side. Ongoing investment in Moulton Park means it retains its appeal to investors and businesses from small and medium enterprises to global companies. The estate’s central Northampton location and a well-educated workforce on its doorstep are vital with enviable links to the A43, A45 and M1. For insight into businesses who have made Moulton Park their home, read about the services and products on offer.

ollege students who achieve the certificate will evidence the extensive skill, knowledge and practical experience acquired in agricultural technologies, to present to employers on entering industry. Louise Fletcher, head of school for land-based and equine subjects at Moulton said: “Technology plays an important part in the agriculture industry, and this certificate will demonstrate the new and emerging ways the industry is optimising this. For students with a keen interest in technology, this is a great opportunity to learn more about this evolving field within agriculture and stand out to prospective employers.” Farol Ltd established as a family business in the 1970s, and its technology department is the best in industry. The Company work closely with agricultural manufacturers including the renowned John Deere on the latest technological innovations, with this insight and experience included in the certificate course content. Alongside developing this Certificate, Farol Ltd and Moulton College has also

Ongoing investment for Henderson Fabrications

College grows opportunities for agricultural students Moulton College has been working alongside Farol Ltd to develop a new certificate in agricultural technology for students to complete alongside their studies. created a comprehensive plan to enhance the opportunities for agriculture students, and provide experiences to prepare them for industry. Activities will include live demonstrations, visits to Farol Ltd and training on John Deere technology. Dylan Roberts, director at Farol Ltd said: “It’s great to be working with Moulton College to strengthen the

skills in agriculture that will help secure the future of the sector. At Farol Ltd, amongst other specialities in the landbased sector, we have a wealth of experience in technology. Working with such a passionate team at Moulton to share this experience and knowledge, will absolutely influence the calibre of talent entering industry in the near future. It’s exciting for us to be a part of this journey.”

Louise added: “As a college we’re excited to continue working together with Farol Ltd, and see where this partnership takes our course, and students. “The industry is getting more technologically advanced and as a college it is vitally important that we keep up to date with the latest developments and Farol Ltd will play a key part in this for us.”

As a college it is vitally important that we keep up to date with the latest developments

The installation of the latest hi-spec machinery at the start of 2021 will ensure Henderson Fabrications continues to stay at the top of its game.

PR

MD Steve O’Looney - “We’ve been able to continue our policy of ongoing investment”

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he sheet metal firm’s services have been in demand throughout the pandemic which is positive news for Managing Director Steve O’Looney and the skilled workforce. The arrival of the new Trumpf CNC, brings the total to five at the recently extended Moulton Park site. These machines are capable of not just punching but forming and shearing, giving Henderson Fabrications the ability to offer new solutions. The firm’s ongoing investment has also seen installation of a CNC multi-axis folding machine – the fastest on the market. This comes complete with quick release tooling that makes set-up times shorter and speeds up production by around 25 per cent. Steve said: “The last year has been a challenging time for us all but our services have been in

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constant demand which is positive news for all of us at Henderson Fabrications. “We’ve been able to continue our policy of ongoing investment and with technology moving at such a fast pace we’re now updating equipment on a regular basis. “Production times have been cut, while the more efficient machinery keeps energy costs down, leading to benefits across the board.” The equipment can handle sheet metal up to 3000mm by 1500mm and up to 6mm thick on mild steel, aluminium and copper with accuracy within 0.02mm so are most effective on parts with many holes, including countersunk holes, threaded and embossed holes. The laser cutter can cut up to 12mm mild steel, 4mm thick aluminium and 8mm thick stainless steel.

February 2021

Overall, the technology has increased the firm’s capacity to provide design, punching, folding, welding and laser cutting services for a range of sheet metals. Henderson Fabrications offer a concept to completion service, designing and creating prototypes where required, and seeing them through to production, with volumes ranging from a one-off product to a large batch runs. Steve added: “Despite all the uncertainty, we have had a busy year and the order book has remained healthy. This, in turn, leads us to feel confident about continuing to invest both in the machinery and the people working with it.” For further details, contact Henderson Fabrications, Kings Park Road, Moulton Park Industrial Estate, on 01604 499200, email info@hendfab. com or visit www.hendfab.com

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News

NEW INDUSTRIAL / WAREHOUSE / TRADE UNITS 3,560 – 18,865 SQ FT FOR SALE / TO LET PRACTICAL COMPLETION Q3 2021

020 7198 2000


Moulton Park

A year quite like no other... Moulton College, like all other education providers, has faced unprecedented changes over the past year due to Covid-19. However, this did not stop our ambitions to increase student numbers and achievement rates and to provide our students with the highest possible standard of education. LOCKDOWN - MARCH 2020... Following the announcement of ‘lockdown’ in March, our IT Department much to their credit, were prepared and ready to move the college to remote working and learning. Laptops provided to staff and students meant that no one from our community was disadvantaged due to the pandemic. Training and ongoing technical support was available to everyone at the college and was invaluable to our many staff who were teaching and carrying out their administrative duties remotely. THE TRANSITION TO ONLINE LEARNING... Moulton College is a vocational provider, and whilst online lessons were working exceptionally well, a large cohort of students still needed to undertake practical assignments to complete their course. We worked hard to reopen the college in June to a limited number of students, ensuring those nearing the end of their course could complete their practical exams. THE TRANSITION TO ONLINE EVENTS... Spring/summer is an important time for recruitment, and with our inability to host any open events on campus, we were keen to organise an event online to showcase the college. Our marketing department worked

By Corrie Harris Principal and Chief Executive, Moulton College

tirelessly to create our very first virtual open event, allowing prospective students to hear from course lecturers, take tours around our state-of-the-art facilities, and pose questions. We witnessed outstanding engagement levels with prospective students asking lots of questions via the live Q&A. The event was such a success that the marketing department has received an award for this project in the College Marketing Network’s national FE First Awards! TERM START, SEPTEMBER 2020... With the Government’s commitment to reopen the doors of educational institutions in September, we devised a rigorous plan to allow all students and staff back safely onto campus. Our estates team installed screens and sanitiser points throughout the college, mask-wearing was made compulsory indoors, and students were separated into different ‘bubbles’ to reduce cross-contamination. All staff also received safety inductions on their first day back in college. With these safety measures in place, we were able to deliver all classes face to face, ensuring that students could learn the practical skills they needed. OUR SUCCESS... A return to full-time teaching was not our only success. We have also seen substantial growth in student numbers, student achievement

Students from Moulton College

rates and student retention, with this momentum carrying forward into this academic year.

helping schools stay connected to their former students. This initiative will be a fantastic way for the college to reach out to ex-students who can inspire the next generation.

OUR PLANS FOR 2021... This year marks the one hundred year anniversary of the establishment of the A COMMITMENT TO INCREASE Institute for Agriculture, THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS which later became Moulton STUDYING LAND-BASED 100-year College. SUBJECTS - There is a anniversary We have lots planned national need to increase celebrations for this anniversary year the number of students on and we are determined to courses such as agriculture, planned celebrate in style! arboriculture, countryside management to name but THE LAUNCH OF A MOULTON a few. We will be focussing on ALUMNI ASSOCIATION - We’ve raising awareness of the exciting partnered with Future First, a national opportunities available in these sectors, education charity that specialises in aiming to fill this key skills gap.

DEVELOPING STRONG LINKS WITH EMPLOYERS - This is a key agenda item for next year and will ensure our students continue to develop the workplace skills they require. Whilst work experience has been a challenge this academic year, we are working on alternative ways for students to gain the practical workplace skills they need to secure employment. Following the latest government announcement, we know that there will be challenges ahead in 2021, yet we’ve already proven our resilience and our ability to exceed expectations. We’re ready as ever for whatever this year throws our way.

Are you an ex-student of Moulton College? Visit www.moulton.ac.uk to register for our Alumni Association

Demand for new commercial space prompts developer to seal site deal

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GLP’s programme also includes the he 133,000 sq ft unit at G-Park Northampton is just following units: • Three distribution units of one of one million square foot of warehouse space in 126,000 sq ft, 161,000 sq ft and 249,000 sq ft at G-Park Bedford the project by GLP, a leading investor Wixams and developer of logistics warehouses • Two units comprising 117,000 and and distribution parks. The development programme has 140,000 sq ft at its new G-Park been launched to satisfy the significant Milton Keynes development • A 88,000 sq ft unit, Magnitude 88, demand in an increasingly supplyconstrained logistics real estate at GLP’s flagship logistics park market in the UK. It follows GLP’s Magna Park Milton Keynes completion of 1.25 million square feet The developments are expected to of speculative development at Magna be available for occupancy in summer Park South, Lutterworth in December 2021, while Magnitude 88 will be 2020. available at the end of Q1 2021. Demand for larger warehouses has As part GLP’s ongoing commitment significantly expanded in recent to sustainability, the sites will years, particularly among all benefit from a range of leading sustainability e-commerce occupiers Sales in features including in need of more storage December rainwater harvesting, space. According to were 51% Savills, online sales in energy monitoring, LED higher YOY December 2020 were 51 lighting technology and reduced embodied carbon per cent higher year-on-year, with this growth trajectory in the construction process. expected to continue. As a result, Bruce Topley, Managing Director, warehouse take-up was 50.1 million GLP UK, said: “The growth of SQ FT in 2020 – by far the strongest ecommerce in the UK has been year on record. accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic

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given the increased importance of home deliveries. As a result, we have seen a surge in demand for logistics real estate in the right locations. “Customers are also seeking to reinforce their supply chains and increasingly require higher specification buildings and cuttingedge sustainability credentials. In response to this, we are excited to be bringing 1 million sq ft of highquality logistics space to the market which reaffirms our confidence in the continued strength of the UK and follows the completion of over 1.5 million sq ft of speculative development last year. “All developments are in carefully selected locations with excellent transport links to key areas of the UK. Each unit will be developed with flexibility at the forefront of both the design and construction processes, enabling customers to tailor the space to individual requirements. We look forward to discussions with new and existing customers, working alongside them to meet their specific operational requirements and helping them grow their business.”

For Northamptonshire’s business news visit www.Business-Times.co.uk


Moulton Park

Specialist developer announces new speculative industrial scheme in Northampton A specialist in the development of industrial and distribution units has announced its acquisition of a 2.5 acre site in Northampton for the construction of a new speculative scheme.

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a r m f l a m e Developments completed its purchase of the site on Deer Park Road on the Moulton Park Industrial Estate last year, where neighbouring occupiers include Screwfix, Great Bear Distribution, City Electrical Factors, Greencore Group and Brandon Hire Station. The proposed 58,020 sq ft scheme will see the development of 12 units ranging from 3,560 sq ft to 18,865 sq ft. Managing director of Warmflame Developments, Paul Hodge said: “We are committed to delivering developments throughout the Midlands area and this scheme will undoubtedly deliver much needed freehold industrial and warehousing stock to Northampton and the surrounding area, that it has been starved of for a number of years. “This is our first land purchase in the County for our WD.BOXHUB model and we are confident that our development will meet the

increasing demand for new, well specified units in the wider Northampton area.” Development director of Warmflame Developments, Stuart Mair added, “There is clear demand for new commercial space in the Northampton market and especially for units of this size where there has been a lack of new development. We expect to see a good deal of interest from within the logistics and industrial sectors.” Prop-Search (01604 492000) and Lambert Smith Hampton (0207 198 2000) will be retained as joint selling agents. Solihull-based Warmflame Developments was established in 2018 to offer the industrial and distribution market a specialist developer in the mid-box sector. Elsewhere in Northamptonshire they have recently sold a 23-acre site off Curver Way, Corby to NewCold for the development of a stateof-the-art deep freeze facility. The land on the Willowbrook East Industrial Estate forms part of the former Tata Steel site.

CGI image of the proposed development on Moulton Park

Trust recycling specialists Step out in style with a new wardrobe this year to dispose of data Deer Park Road, Moulton Park

Proposed Aerial View

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Businesses across Northamptonshire are making use of an invaluable recycling service which specialises in handling electrical and electronic equipment.

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he lockdown has forced PC Supplies to close its retail operation but the complete WEEE recycling service is still continuing to operate alongside a repairs service. The Moulton Park based team handle a complete WEEE recycling service across Northamptonshire which can meet the needs of customers looking to dispose of office equipment, batteries, power tools, medical devices, toys, laptops, computers and appliances. This includes the secure recycling of laptops which involves the hard drive being repeatedly drilled to destroy any data. Other components are then refurbished and reused, or else recycled safely and in compliance with legislation. Owner Paul Evans said: “Many of us recognise the value of recycling but we can struggle to find available services which is why we work hard to meet demand and listen to the needs of our customers.”

PC Supplies is at 51 Tenter Road, Moulton Park Industrial Estate, Northampton, NN3 6AX, telephone 01604 642182 or visit www. pcsuppliesrecycling.co.uk or to order products - www.pcsuppliesuk.com

Insight for students into college courses

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oulton College will be launching its first ever Career Live talks; a live panel discussion involving the Heads of School, a local employer and current students. Our Business Studies Lecturer, Sarah Blenkinsop will host the event, asking questions to the panel and keeping the discussion going. Prospective students can register to watch each session and will be able to ask questions that Sarah will then put to the panel. The sessions will also be recorded so that people can also watch them after the event.

The following sessions are available to book on the website: • Wednesday 3 February 6pm – 7pm Sport • Wednesday 10 February 6pm – 7.00pm Animal Welfare • Wednesday 24 February 2021 6pm – 7pm Agriculture & Countryside Management Events in Supported Learning, Construction, Equine and Business Studies will be scheduled in due course. To register see the website at www. moulton.ac.uk

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In the community

Healthy meals to protect vulnerable BAME community from dangers of Covid-19

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lderly residents in Northampton are being offered free healthy food parcels by a county charity to help protect vulnerable members of the community from Covid-19 . The Centre for Policy, Promotion and Prevention (CPPP) is a non-governmental organisation which works on projects across the UK promoting improved cohesion between marginal communities and the wider society. With latest research revealing the BAME community is particularly susceptible to Covid-19 , the charity has launched a series of nutritious meal packs and recipe cards in a drive to improve the health and diet of those most at risk. The meals have been designed in conjunction with nutritionist Sheena Rose and chefs from the award-winning Saffron restaurant in Castilian Street, Northampton. Ingredients have been sponsored by the Al Hamra supermarket in Kettering Road. Dishes include spinach and asparagus, chapatti and chana masala. CPPP founder Imran Chowdhury, who was awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours list for his efforts to promote community cohesion, said: “It is vital we fight this virus together as a community. If we all do our bit to look out for each other and support the most vulnerable members of our society then we can really make a difference. “ Covid-19 has been a body blow to our community, we have lost countless lives with

Curry house donates meals to hard-working care home staff

A Nutritionist Sheena Rose (pictured) has helped to design the healthy meals the BAME community particularly badly hit due in part to the increased prevalence of several underlying health conditions such as type 2 diabetes. “We need to change lifestyles, moving away from being sedentary into a much more active way of life with a focus on healthy eating. These meal packs are designed to give vulnerable people access to free, healthy food which can help them both in the short term and for many years to come.”

The charity, based in Northampton, has a focus on allowing migrant communities to thrive within British culture, helping minority groups to improve their English and communication skills and develop their vocational skills, so that they can achieve their employment potential.   For more information or to book a delivery, please call 07932 484632 or email hello@c-ppp.org

n award-winning curry house has donated meals to staff working at two care homes in Northampton to say thank you for their efforts in tackling Covid-19 . Staff from Saffron, in Castilian Street, delivered portions of chicken tikka masala and pilau rice to staff at Cliftonville Care Home and Spencer House Care Home on New Year’s Day. The restaurant also donated 150 face masks to each care home to help keep staff and residents safe. The donation follows the restaurant’s decision to extend its 50 per cent discount offer to all frontline NHS and emergency services workers throughout January, with Northamptonshire placed under Tier 4 restrictions. Owner Naz Islam, who was honoured for his own efforts during the pandemic at the British Curry Awards, said:

“Those fighting on the frontline of coronavirus deserve our unwavering support and we want to do all we can to say thank you for their efforts. “It’s tough out there, they are doing an incredible job and while this is only a small gesture hopefully it can put a smile on their faces at such a difficult time.” Saffron previously donated more than 1,000 meals to doctors and nurses at Northampton General Hospital during the first wave of the pandemic and fed hundreds of teachers at schools across the county during the November lockdown. The half price promotion for all frontline NHS and emergency services workers is available seven days a week on all collections, with orders placed over the phone. Valid ID must be shown on collection. For more details call Saffron on 01604 630800.

learn to sing and University wins award for help raise money for supporting pandemic-hit community Prostate Cancer UK

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edicated colleagues at the University of Northampton have been officially recognised for the way they have supported communities during the pandemic. The Estates and Campus Services team at the University has been instrumental in the University’s response to the pandemic, ensuring students, staff and the local community have been kept safe and supported since the first lockdown in March 2020. The team’s work has been held up as a shining example of best practice, after winning a Rose of Northamptonshire Award. The initiative, which was launched by the Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, The High Sheriff of Northamptonshire and Northamptonshire County Council, invites the public to nominate individuals or organisations deserving of recognition. The team has worked tirelessly to implement government guidelines on campus, often at very short notice. This has included setting up of a Covid testing centre; adapting buildings and teaching spaces so they are Covid-secure; and providing support to students, including coordinating the delivery of hundreds of food parcels for self-isolators, welcome packs for international students and provided a welcome listening ear. The wider Northampton community has also benefited from the team’s support, managing halls of residence so they could be used to house rough sleepers, key health workers and those escaping domestic violence.

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Colleagues at the University of Northampton have had their efforts recognised Colleagues also organised the housing of a temporary assessment clinic at Waterside, which saw around 200 patients with Covid-19 symptoms safely assessed, and, more recently, co-ordinated the installation of an NHS Covid-19 drive-thru centre on campus. The team also supported the Red Cross, when it needed a base in the town to store food before it was delivered to vulnerable people across the county, providing space and helping to pack food parcels. Becky Bradshaw, Director of Estates and Campus Services, said: “I recognise

February 2021

that we all worked, and continue to work, incredibly hard to support our students, staff and wider community throughout this pandemic and our Estates & Campus Service colleagues are no exception. I am in constant awe and surprise at their positive ‘can do’ attitude which hasn’t faltered since the pandemic began, even when the odds were quite clearly stacked against them. I talk frequently about how honoured I feel to lead this department and their receipt of this award has only intensified that feeling of pride and gratitude.”

orthampton Male Voice Choir is challenging the men of Northamptonshire to join them and the wonderful soprano, Emily Haig and ‘The Tenor’ Joshua Daniel in a concert in Northampton to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK. To launch this challenge, the choir is holding two online open evenings on 15th and 22nd February 2021. You will be invited to learn to sing two songs over an 8-week period with the help of training by our charismatic Musical Director, Stephen Bell. At the end of the 8 weeks you will be ready to take to the stage with Northampton Male Voice Choir and perform these songs at one of our highprofile concerts, by which time we hope to have raised in excess of £20,000 in aid of Prostate Cancer UK. Northampton Male Voice Choir is a registered charity with a long tradition of raising money for local charities, over £100,000 in the last 5 years, so it is very appropriate that a male voice choir should be raising money for Prostate Cancer UK. Singing in a choir is great for your health with many

Raise money and learn to sing

benefits and positive effects including reducing the risk of heart disease, improved breathing, a positive effect on your immune system plus the mental benefits gained through the wonderful camaraderie that can be enjoyed through the training and beyond. If you think you might be interested, why not register for one of our online open evenings on 15th or 22nd February 2021 to meet Stephen Bell and members of the choir via Zoom, where you can find out more about this fantastic opportunity. To secure your place at the open evening of your choice get in touch with our project coordinator Marc Bentley on 07999942390 or marc.bentley23@gmail.com

For Northamptonshire’s business news visit www.Business-Times.co.uk


In the community

Business support is vital in battle to improve mental health

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usinesses from across the area have been supporting Northamptonshire Mind as it continues to provide services to help people throughout the pandemic. A host of different organisations – from supermarkets to estate agents – have pledged their support, with O’Riordan Bond one of the latest to help. Communications and fundraising officer Nick Tite said: “The generosity of both individuals and businesses has been amazing. “I joined Northamptonshire Mind at the time the pandemic

first hit home - and I’ve been astonished at the way people have rallied round and helped. “So many big events they had planned have been put on hold but so many companies have continued to hold online events and staff events to help fundraise. “I would like to thank them on behalf of Mind – their support is much appreciated.” Nick said Mind has continued to provide services and developed many of them online, so people can still access support when needed. For further information visit northamptonmind.org.uk

ORiordan Bond fundraising for Northamptonshire Mind

Cransley Hospice launch their newsletter for businesses

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ransley Hospice Time to is celebrating the launch of release your the first edition of the Hospice Herald, inner hero for a newsletter designed Hospice specifically for businesses. The Hospice Herald shines a The Hospice Herald spotlight on corporate heroes; the ordinary people within The fundraising experts at business who do extraordinary Cransley Hospice work with things to raise money and make their charity partners and are a difference by supporting always on hand to support the the hospice. Corporate Heroes with their Readers will be able to see fundraising journey. what the charity partners and Ashley Davies, community corporate supporters have been fundraiser at Cransley Hospice up to and how they have been says: “If you’ve got people making a difference, having fun in your business who seem and fundraising to support the ordinary but just need a reason essential end of life care and to release their inner hero and services provided at the hospice. become extraordinary, don’t Partnering with the hospice can wait, get in touch, we have provide a host of benefits to local the capes and masks to make businesses and the individuals, it it happen!” Each year Cransley Hospice encompasses so much more than just the financial support. There needs to raise around £1.4m are many ways to get involved, to provide the specialist end whether it’s holding a one-off of life care needed to support fundraiser, offering services or patients and their families in expertise, volunteering time, North Northamptonshire. This helping at an event, taking on year the hospice’s fundraising a Team Challenge or choosing income has been badly affected Cransley as Charity of the Year. by Covid-19 and similar to Stuart Branch, group people businesses, the charity has and IT director at Weetabix, reacted to this by taking their said: “Giving back to the local events online, but this will still Northamptonshire community leave the charity income down is an important part of our by around £500k. charity ethos here at Weetabix Contact louise.preedy@ and we’re very proud to have cransleyhospice.org.uk and worked with Cransley Hospice. begin your journey to becoming The staff have had a lot of fun a Cransley Hospice Hero. raising the money, especially The Hospice Herald is throwing wet sponges at each available to download at other during the Summer www.cransleyhospice.org. Fundraising Day!” uk/hospice-herald-download

To feature or comment email: news@business-times.co.uk

Founder of Brook Farm Animal Sanctuary, Clive Richardson

Leading homebuilder supports Northamptonshire charity dedicated to caring for animals

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arratt Homes has donated £1,000 to a Northamptonshire charity that rescues animals from cruelty, hardship, and neglect by ensuring they live their lives in optimal comfort. Northamptonshire- based Brook Farm Animal Sanctuary was formed in 2005 after locals would turn to Founder, Clive Richardson for help with the knowledge of his love for animals. Before long, Clive and his wife Rosie found their home full of animals and decided it was time to take on the role full time. They bought a farm from a local farmer in Raunds, which is where the charity now operates from. The family run charity works with a variety of animals including cats, dogs, cows, sheep, pigs and horses. Many of the animals are rescued after suffering horrendous cruelty. The charity looks after the animals and rehomes them to new loving and caring owners.

Clive Richardson, Founder of Brook Farm Animal Sanctuary, said: “We were over the moon to hear that Barratt Homes had chosen to support our charity. The donation truly came at a needed time for our small charity. “The pandemic has been difficult for us. We normally host open days throughout the years for people to come and visit the animals, but of course this has not been able to go ahead. Similarly, we host a small music festival to raise money for the charity, which also was cancelled. “So the donation from Barratt Homes was very timely, and will help to take some of the weight off of our shoulders. We will put the donation towards purchasing some new hay, which of course is extremely necessary for the sanctuary. “We would like to say how much we appreciate this donation. It was a big relief for us and will help us to continue the work we do for the immediate future.

The charity is continually busy during the lockdown as many of the volunteers are unable to leave their homes. Clive and Rosie have recruited their daughters of four and eleven to help out on the farm. Andrew Swindell, Regional Managing Director at Barratt Homes Northampton, said: “We are so pleased to be able to support Brook Farm Animal Sanctuary and the fantastic work they are doing. “The pandemic has been tough for many charities and organisations so it is important to us to support them. It is fantastic to know that our donation is going to help the family run charity and supply the sanctuary with some well needed hay.” To find out more about Brook Farm Animal Sanctuary, visit www.bfas.org.uk. For more information about any of the Barratt Homes developments in the area, visit the website at www.barratthomes.co.uk or call the sales line on 033 3355 8481.

School fundraising efforts for Pancreatic Cancer UK approach £6,000

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Northamptonshire school have raised close to £6,000 in support of Pancreatic Cancer UK and their Junior School Head Teacher, Chris Bailey, by holding their first ever ‘Purple Day’. November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, and Northampton High School in Hardingstone have been undertaking various fundraising activities by tackling the charities ‘Challenge 24’ initiative. In the UK, 24 people die from Pancreatic Cancer every day, and Challenge 24 inspires participants to complete 24 activities you love for 24 days. Starting on the 1 November, the school has seen members of its community make and sell face masks, run 24 minutes every day, sell 24 homemade preserves, play 24 different songs on the flute and lots more. On Thursday 19 November, the school took this one step further by holding ‘Purple Day’, a day in which the school turned purple and came together to enjoy fun tasks, take on gruelling challenges, and ultimately raise awareness and show support. The 19th is World Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day, and the day of challenges began early with

the school’s Director of Sport running 24 miles around the school playing field! After completing the exhausting run, Mrs Emma Blake continued on to complete a full marathon – completing the task in 4 hours and 4 minutes – a PB! Students of all ages of the school community, ranging from aged 2 in the Nursery to aged 18 in the Sixth Form, undertook their own set of Year 7 Pupils dressed in purple enjoy ‘Purple Day challenges, which included the Year 6 students taking on 24 physical and to come together in support of their Junior School Head. With the fundraising fun activities ranging from ‘hook a duck’ total standing at £5,937 at time of writing to ‘netball shots’. It wasn’t just the school’s current students who got involved during the – smashing the school’s original goal of day, with Northampton High’s 2020 Year £1,000 – Northampton High are looking to finish Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month 13 Leavers gathering for an online Zoom call to catch up, but to also discuss cancer, strongly and help this amazing charity as and how they can raise awareness and help much as they can. educate those around them. To visit the school’s fundraising team page, please visit: With fundraising efforts and Challenge www.pcam.pancreaticcancer.org.uk/ 24 activities sent to continue throughout fundraisers/NorthamptonHighSchool the month, the school community continues

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Property Portfolio

Wellingborough GSS Architecture achieves Investors development set in People Gold accreditation to create huge opportunity G Leading architects celebrate golden start to new year which is testament to the hard work from teams who continue to build on the firm’s success

A major new mixed-use industrial development which is part of a £1billion plan to transform the landscape near Wellingborough is set to attract vast interest.

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tation Island is part of the ambitious Stanton Cross scheme which will create more than 3,000 new jobs, open up over 1.5 million sq ft of commercial space and see the building of 3,750 new homes and new community facilities. The Station Island scheme will also include a new platform for the town’s railway station, making it a regionallysignificant transport hub. Bromwich Hardy, based in Coventry, are marketing the site jointly with Drake Commercial for Vistry Homes. Bromwich Hardy partner Michelle Mills said: “Station Island would be a flagship development offering parcels of land from 0.84 acres to 8.31 acres, with potential to combine plots. “Outline planning permission has already been obtained for a wide variety of commercial and residential uses at Station Island, which will undoubtedly be the premier development of its kind in the region,” Michelle said. “The location, transport links and infrastructure will all be first class – St Pancras is less than an hour away on the train - and the development will create an unrivalled business environment which will be a beacon of excellence. “The development will see the creation of a vibrant station commercial hub with the opportunity to convert the existing Round House, a former engine workshop, into a truly stunning office or leisure facility. “Station Island provides the key link between Wellingborough town centre

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and Stanton Cross and provides a range of exciting development opportunities for both retail and employment uses. “An incredible amount of work has already gone into getting these plans to this stage and the potential of the site is truly enormous. We are delighted to finally be able to offer the site to market and expect a huge interest.” The site is split into four areas – the Station District, Mill Lane Quarter, Northern Neighbourhood and Employment Village, with each having its own identity. Station District will be a diverse development with a rich mix of complementary uses concentrated around Wellingborough Station and its new facilities and parking, whilst the Mill Lane Quarter will be an inspiring mixeduse area drawing upon the rich cultural heritage of Mill Lane and distinctive character of the Round House Building. The Northern Neighbourhood will be a flourishing community of starter, family, and later living homes, with opportunities for serviced offices and co-working hubs, local commercial services and leisure facilities to be integrated within the fabric of the development. Meanwhile the Employment Village will be a thriving place to work, conveniently situated close to bus and rail links, within walking distance of Wellingborough and Stanton Cross, and benefitting from the country park on its doorstep. Outline planning permission has been granted for a range of uses. For further details see www.bromwichhardy.com

February 2021

SS first gained recognition in 1997, being one of the first architectural practices in the UK to be awarded this accolade. The practice has been re-assessed every three years to prove ongoing compliance with the standard. The detailed assessment involved individual interviews with the team, as well as members of senior management and a number of partners. GSSArchitecture achieved 100% participation from their team for the online survey assessments, which is above the national average (the national average being between 75%-77%). William Assheton, Partner at GSS, said: “The Investors in People standard helps to link people development and skills acquisition to the specific aims and objectives of a business. By assessing and improving the performance of employees, Investors in People provides a framework to help businesses manage change and enhance success. “We typically find that clients regard our Investors in People status as a very important indicator that we run our business in the most effective and efficient way, and that we really support the development and wellbeing of everyone at GSS. “We are delighted with the outstanding

Mary Lally, practice administrator and William Assheton, partner at GSSArchitecture

level of participation from our team, which shows a real willingness from everyone to help the Practice perform at its best.” As recognised Investors in People, GSS are continuing to offer educational and training opportunities to all staff. A total of nine members of staff are currently undertaking student year-out placements, studying part-time to become fully qualified or on apprenticeship schemes or work experience, working within Architecture, Architectural Technology, Quantity Surveying, Project Management,

Milestone for logistics hub with promise of 7,500 jobs After extensive work to prepare the site, the developers of a hub next to the M1 have been able to get construction work underway.

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key milestone has been reached with construction works beginning at SEGRO Logistics Park Northampton Gateway. Since summer 2020, SEGRO has been conducting enabling works, which include ecology, archaeology and ground investigations to prepare the site - which is strategically located next to junction 15 on the M1 motorway - ahead of construction. Once developed, the 450-acre site will become a multi-modal logistics hub in the UK Midlands, with five million square feet of modern, highly sustainable warehousing and logistics facilities, including a dedicated 35 acre Strategic Rail Freight Interchange that will have the capacity for up to 16 trains a day.

SEGRO is investing £190 million into infrastructures works, including new rail connections and significant improvements to the strategic road network, incorporating major upgrades to Junctions 15 and 15a on the M1, a new bridge over the West Coast Mainline, and building a bypass around Roade, and safer junctions along the A508. This work will be delivered in partnership with Highways England, Network Rail and local authorities. In addition to delivering road and rail improvements for the region, the scheme will create around 7500 direct jobs, with around 120 created during the infrastructure construction phase. Working alongside the local council and community partners, SEGRO is set to deliver an employment

Graphics Design, ICT and Business Administration. The practice has a very long history of providing opportunities, training and support in the profession, and has recently celebrated several successes, including three members of the team who, supported by GSS, have recently completed their Part III qualification, making them fully qualified Chartered Architects. To keep up to date with the latest news stories from GSSArchitecture, or to see their extensive portfolio of work, please visit www.gssarchitecture.com

skills programme that will provide training for members of the community, enabling them to become active members of the workforces created by the scheme. The scheme will include more than 80 acres of parkland and amenity grassland, with 18km of foot paths, 20km of hedgerows and the planting of 60,000 new trees. The first plots are expected to be available for buildings in late 2021, with the completion of the infrastructure works anticipated by the end of 2023. Andrew Pilsworth, SEGRO’s Managing Director, National Logistics, said:“The start of construction at SEGRO Logistics Park Northampton Gateway is an exciting and positive milestone. “Now more than ever are we witnessing the vital role logistics is playing in supporting the UK economy and it’s clear that businesses are relying on well located, sustainable facilities from which they can meet their customers’ demands. “SEGRO Park Northampton Gateway is excellently located with easy access to key road networks and with the new rail links and Strategic Rail Freight Interchange, will present great opportunities for businesses to flourish.”

For Northamptonshire’s business news visit www.Business-Times.co.uk


01604 620 616 enquiries@drakecommercial.co.uk www.drakecommercial.co.uk

RW64 RAVENS WAY NORTHAMPTON

SIGNAL PARK DAVENTRY

BRACKMILLS GATEWAY NORTHAMPTON

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FOR SALE / TO LET 2,261 – 29,209 SQ FT

TO LET 19,280 - 38,560 SQ FT

THE VIEW WATERSIDE WAY NORTHAMPTON

MARCONI COURTYARD CORBY

FOR SALE 11,421 SQ FT

TO LET 9,604 SQ FT

Rare freehold Detached industrial unit with large yard Located on Drayton Fields employment estate

Prime new Grade A detached office building 70 on site car parking spaces Available immediately

TO LET 3,661 – 7,396 SQ FT

GALLOWHILL ROAD NORTHAMPTON

4&5 COTTESBROOK PARK DAVENTRY

QUARRY PARK COURT NORTHAMPTON

WION NERUCT

WEN NELOPM

TO LET 63,695 SQ FT To be fully refurbished Available from Q1 2021 2 new docks to be installed

SOPWITH WAY DAVENTRY

Brand new high quality development Units available individually or in combination Available from summer 2021

Detached modern industrial unit Available individually or as a whole M1 Jct 15 4 miles

WION NSTERUCT

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Terraced industrial/warehouse units Newly refurbished accommodation Popular courtyard location

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TO LET 4,945 - 9,890 SQ FT

FOR SALE 1,500 – 3,700 SQ FT

TO LET 1,507 – 9,100 SQ FT

Two adjacent warehouse units Available as a whole or separately To be fully refurbished

Rare freehold Good quality offices Suitable for occupiers and investors

6 brand new light industrial units Can be taken individually or in combination Available Q2 2021

NEWNHAM DRIVE DAVENTRY

WESTGATE 8 NORTHAMPTON

BAIRD CLOSE DAVENTRY

TO LET 12,636 SQ FT

TO LET 54,167 SQ FT

TO LET 3,190 SQ FT

Brand new high quality business premises High specification and modern finishes Large fenced yard and car parking area

Modern cross-loading warehouse unit 3 dock and 2 ground level loading doors Undergoing substantial refurbishment

Mid terrace warehouse / industrial unit 2 ground level loading doors Forecourt car parking

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• Sales, Lettings & Acquisitions • Rent Reviews • Lease Renewals • Valuations • Development • Investment To feature or comment email: news@business-times.co.uk

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Property Portfolio

Swift response helps firm continue to build

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his time last year Parkway were anticipating a busy 2020, they had secured a number of projects for their clients and had a full order book . The year started well, but then the global pandemic, Covid-19 struck, turning the whole world on its head and plunging all industries into turmoil and the unknown. Parkway recognised the severity of this unprecedented situation, they paused to take stock, then adapted swiftly to the virus. Through following the Government’s express advice that construction should remain open, they developed new systems and procedures by adopting new guidance set out in the Construction Leadership Councils, Site Operating Procedures and, by doing so, they have managed to overcome the difficulties Covid-19 has inflicted on the industry. This success isn’t down to just one thing, it has in fact been a combination of the diligence, understanding and dedication of all their staff, clients, professionals, subcontractors and suppliers, all in order to keep those involved in their projects both safe and well.

During 2020 Parkway successfully completed a number of interesting and diverse projects, whilst commencing several new contracts, some of which are listed below, others can of course be seen at www. parkwaymk.com Bicester Axis J9 - Albion Land (2013) - £18m 230,000ft2 Industrial Park, comprising of 12 individual units. Bicester Link 9 – Albion Land (2013) - £28.5m 526,000ft2 Industrial Park, comprising of 11 individual units. BP Chargemaster, Milton Keynes – Milton Keynes Development Partnership - £5.8m 47,000ft2 office building, fronting a state-of-the-art production facility. Westcott Innovation Centre – Catapult Satellite Applications - £1.8m 13,000ft2 office building, fronting a state-of-the-art production facility. Haverhill, Epi-Centre – Jaynic Properties Limited - £4.6m 32,000ft, 4 storey office building plus roof plant deck. SATCOL, Kettering – Buccleuch Property - £4.8m

Haverhill, Epi-Centre - Jaynic Properties Limited - £4.6m

55,000ft2 sortation facility complete with 1st floor offices and warehousing. Plot 200, Newmarket – Willie Snaith Road Limited - £1.7m

18,000ft2 2 storey industrial unit. Aerial Park, Chesham – Chancerygate (Witham) Limited - £6m 114,000ft2 Industrial

units, sub-divided into 12 light industrial/warehouse/ distribution units. Jewers Doors, Biggleswade – Jewers Doors Limited £5.2m

27,000ft2 industrial unit and ancillary office facilities to accommodate the manufacturing and development requirements for Jewers Doors.

STATION ISLAND, STANTON CROSS, WELLINGBOROUGH

FOR SALE Commercial development plots from 0.4 ACRES (0.16 HECTARES) Sites available suitable for a range of commercial uses including industrial/warehouse, office, retail and leisure (subject to planning). 42

Business Times

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February 2021

Contact the joint agents

www.bromwichhardy.com

www.drakecommercial.co.uk

For Northamptonshire’s business news visit www.Business-Times.co.uk


Kettering

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2, 3 & 8 Brooklands Court Price on application 2,739 ft² - 5538 ft² (Approx) Generous parking

Orion Way Kettering

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£495,000 exclusive

76 parking spaces

3,324 ft² (Approx)

On-site Parking

• Located on popular office business park. • Prior notification approval for 5 residential flats. • A new lease will be considered.

30a Rockingham Road Kettering

£15,000 per annum exclusive 654 ft² (Approx)

• Prominent ground floor retail. • Large retail window.

£16,000 per annum exclusive 1,409 ft² (Approx)

9 Parking spaces

• Modern office in established business park.

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• Detached warehouse facility within secure site. • Incorporates 7,224 ft² of office space plus workshop and canteen.

Greens Norton

Milton Keynes

Price on application 56,210 ft² (Approx)

Unit 5 Selby Barns

34 Walker Ave

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• Modern open plan office space ranging from 2,739 ft² - 5538 ft² split between 2 adjoining units. • Additional unit of 1,170 ft².

186 Watling Street Towcester

4 Towbury Lane Towcester

£25,000 per annum exclusive

£9,000 per annum exclusive

3,494 ft² (Approx)

660 ft² (Approx)

6 parking spaces

• Modern light industrial unit. 5.1m eaves height. • Front loading roller shutter door.

On-site Parking

• Towcester town centre. • Gas heating.

For more information please visit berrys.uk.com or call: Kettering: Kevin O’Dell 01536 517777 Towcester: Duncan Batty 01327 356140


Property Portfolio

A busy start to the year

Signs point to rejuvenation for historic town centre

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en Coleman Associates report a busy end to 2020 and the start of the New Year seems to have continued that trend. During the last three months we have been involved in transactions for commercial property assets totalling in excess of £7 million. The largest of these was Sol House, a major office building in Northampton town centre comprising approximately 30,000 sq. ft. The property is almost fully let and provides an income approaching £400,000 per annum. We have acted on behalf of the owners, Zurich Assurance Ltd for many years and were instructed by them to sell the property at offers in excess of £3.75M. Contracts were signed shortly before Christmas for an undisclosed figure. The practice was also successful in disposing of an attractive period office building 40 Billing Road. Comprising approximately 3,600 sq. ft. with 18 car

K 40 Billing Road was sold to an owner/occupier

Sol House sold for an undisclosed figure

spaces, the high profile Victorian office was marketed at £695,000 and attracted interest from a variety of potential buyers including residential developers and medical users and was eventually sold to an owner/occupier. We have recently been instructed in respect of the adjoining property. 41

Billing Road comprises 3,650 sq. ft. and is let to Oasis Dental Care Ltd (trading as BUPA Dental Care) for a term of ten years from March 2018 at a rent of £50,000 pax. The property has been fully fitted out as a dental surgery and the tenant has been in occupation for some time. We are instructed to seek offers over

£775,000 and, bearing in mind the level of interest in the property we have now been instructed to seek ‘best offers’. Elsewhere in Northampton we have received instructions to dispose of a prominent town centre property at 10/15 Notre Dame Mews. The property is a modern three storey office building which would lend itself to a number of uses and would make an ideal residential conversion. Comprising 8,300 sq. ft. with 20 car spaces the property was marketed at £1.3M and was placed under offer within two weeks of going to market. Looking ahead, it’s clear COVID-19 will continue to have an effect on all commercial property and it’s more important than ever to seek advice from your property professional to make ensure you are kept aware of trends. For example. whilst demand for some sectors in the office market are subdued, low interest rates mean finance has never been cheaper and demand for small/medium sized offices is stronger than ever. Likewise, many offices which are beyond their useful economic life are being converted to residential use to cope with the ever-growing demand for housing. Ben Coleman Associates are happy to provide free initial advice on any commercial property matters.

ettering’s cultural- is working very closely with led regeneration the HSHAZ project and plans are set to therefore the new signage rejuvenate the town will have a heritage look centre over the next four and feel. years, creating a vibrant, Rochelle Mathieson, welcoming place for the Head of Commercial community to enjoy for Development at Kettering years to come. Borough Council, said: This year, Kettering “This £8million investment Borough Council has will act as a catalyst for secured investment worth change, supporting our local more than £8million to economy to thrive, and for deliver key cultural capital our residents and visitors projects which will act as to enjoy an improved the catalyst for this change. built environment which The existing Kettering celebrates Kettering’s High Street Heritage Action historical buildings and Zone (HSHAZ) project, cultural heritage. To keep up worth over £4m, which to date, visit: thisiskettering. secured funding from com/culture.” Historic England, Cllr Scott Local Edwards, is set to breathe new life into portfolio holder investment the historical for community of more buildings on and leisure the high street at Kettering than £8m that are rich in B o r o u g h Council, said: heritage. A new consultation “Kettering town centre has now launched to help will see some fantastic shape design plans for developments over the public spaces within the coming months, and we town centre. To have your are delighted that these say and take the survey, changes will provide a visit: www.thisiskettering. fresh, rejuvenated visitor com/hshaz-survey destination. Please ensure From late last year a you have your say on the new wayfinding system, look and feel of the town displaying maps and key centre by taking the HSHAZ features started to appear in survey at: thisiskettering. the town centre. This project com/hshaz-survey.”

Resurgence in mid box shed market By Tom Drake, Partner Drake Commercial

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t has been a testing period for the commercial property market in 2020, for the obvious reasons. Office, retail and hospitality sectors have suffered from the impact of Covid-19 and ever-changing government restrictions. The industrial and logistics sector has however proved extremely resilient throughout, which is hopefully a positive sign for the market and the economy. The success of the big box market (warehouses in excess of 100,000 sq ft) has been well publicised and is probably the only sector to have actually benefitted from the upheaval of Covid-19, as a result of the

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significant increase in online retail sales. Statistics suggest a UK wide vacancy rate of less than 5%, which has pushed rents on significantly. The smaller end of the industrial sector also got going quickly after the first lockdown period, as their operations are more naturally spread out. In recent months we are also pleased to report that the mid box sector has also picked up, comprising circa 30,000 to 80,000 sq ft. This market generally has growing local and regional operators, or larger UK/world businesses that prefer ‘hubs’. Despite everything that is going on in the world, particularly Covid 19 and Brexit, this sector

February 2021

is starting to grow in confidence, as we appear to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There are some good examples of this in Northants. In a search and acquisition role, we have recently acted for MCC Labels in acquiring circa 50,000 sq ft of space on Heartlands in Daventry. MCC are expanding their operation in the town. Another example is the letting of 40,000 sq ft at Round Spinney in Northampton, where acting for the landlord we have let space to Keen & Able, a Northampton based company that have taken the building as additional space to their existing operation. We have also let circa 25,000 sq ft to Ubbink, part of Centrotec SE Group, who are relocating from an existing facility in Northampton to underpin the company’s growth strategy. So not just positive thinking but genuine examples of increasing occupier confidence in both the market, as well as Northamptonshire and the wider region. To discuss your business requirements, either as tenant or landlord, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01604 620616.

For Northamptonshire’s business news visit www.Business-Times.co.uk


Property Portfolio

Has Brexit impacted the property market or lost its crown to Covid? As the UK embraces its future outside the European Union, what impact has Brexit had on UK property and what impact is it likely to have as we move forward in 2021, asks commercial property consultants Prop-Search.

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hile the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020, under the agreement on the UK’s withdrawal it continued in most respects to be treated as if it were still part of the EU until 31 December 2020. Now that this transition period has ended, the full effects of this change in UK law and regulation apply. The key impact of Brexit, both before and after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and the end of the transition period - has been and will continue to be commercial rather than legal. The laws underpinning property ownership, letting and conveyancing in England, Wales and Scotland are largely domestic in origin and so have been relatively unaffected by Brexit. Simon Toseland, a Director of PropSearch, said: “Commercially, however, the UK property market is not insulated from Europe - or indeed the rest of the world - and is susceptible to political changes. It does not generally respond well to uncertainty. The

2016 EU referendum result and subsequent political wrangling did have an impact on confidence within the UK property market although some sectors, notably logistics, showed great resilience and continued to perform well.”

to be one of the factors being taken into account in commercial decisions to take on, retain or dispose of premises but it is unlikely to be the main driving force. Instead, demographic and behavioural trends, such as internet shopping and flexible working, will have a much more pronounced impact, particularly in areas such as logistics and retail. Covid-19 has fuelled these trends but has also encouraged a degree of ‘onshoring’, especially in connection with supply chains.

Brexit has had limited legal impact

However, concerns around the impact of Brexit on the UK property market have now largely been subsumed by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Both have been catalysts for change, accelerating trends, such as the rise in online shopping and home-working. The key difference is that Covid-19 is a global rather than domestic issue, meaning all property markets around the world face similar challenges around the repurposing, rethinking and redesign of space. While there have been some exits from the UK market due to Brexit, it did not trigger the exodus that many had predicted. The UK’s departure from the EU will continue

In 2019, there was one significant Brexit legal development relating to occupiers. In the case of Canary Wharf Limited v. European Medicines Agency, the High Court ruled that the EMA’s lease of premises in London would not be frustrated - i.e. brought to an early end - by Brexit and the EMA’s consequential relocation to Amsterdam. This provided comfort to the market that Brexit

By Simon Toseland Prop-Search

could not easily, if at all, be used by occupiers to terminate their lease arrangements. Simon Toseland adds: “Whilst this ruling by the High Court may see an end to Brexit lease frustration arguments, we could see them reappear in the courts in 2021, but this time in relation to the impact on occupiers of Government restrictions to control the spread of Covid-19.” Brexit has had a limited legal impact on commercial property in the UK. Commercially, its effects have now largely been subsumed by the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic, placing the UK in a similar position to other markets around the world. As we move through 2021, the focus will be on how the UK market adjusts to the challenges presented by Covid-19 and, as it does, identifying when and where new opportunities are likely to arise.

Retail Office Industrial Chartered Surveyors and commercial property consultants

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• Self contained office building • On site parking • 1,165 Sq.Ft.

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• Suite B 2,879 sq ft (267.55 sq m) • High quality office space • Car parking

6 SCIROCCO CLOSE MOULTON PARK

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SUITE B, FRANCIS CRICK HOUSE MOULTON PARK

£37,500 PA

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77 KING EDWARD ROAD ABINGTON • Well presented shop/ showroom • On site parking • 1045 Sq.Ft.

£15,000 PA

£12,000 PA

For enquiries please call 01604 604050 or email

info@chowncommercial.co.uk

www.chowncommercial.co.uk 24 Bridge Street, Northampton NN1 1NT

To feature or comment email: news@business-times.co.uk

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Property Portfolio

Global firms find room Major project secured by Briggs & Forrester to grow in region By Simon Parsons Berrys

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e all wish and look forward to a world where we can socialise and carry on our lives as we envisaged before Covid-19. The business world too wants a steady ship and the ability to plan and manage investment and development of their companies. Brexit planning and concerns of its impact created significant pent-up demand over the last few years which was ready to be released in 2020. Covid-19 has impacted that growth and in certain cases, taken away the growth for several years to come. Despite all of this, certain commercial property markets have continued their growth in particular the industrial and warehouse market. Demand outstripped supply in 2020, with over 50 million sq ft take-up across the UK. The East Midlands fared well benefitting from its strategic location and communications to the rest of the country. Berrys have been part of this growth and working with our clients to secure larger and more modern buildings. On behalf of international occupiers, we have secured the future growth of a business in the south west, with an acquisition of a 185,000sq ft warehouse

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illions of leaseholders will be given the right to extend their lease by a maximum term of 990 years at zero ground rent as part of the biggest reforms to English property law for forty years. What the changes mean for ground rent payments According to the NAEA, the professional body for estate agents, under the current law, many people face high ground rents, which combined with a mortgage, can make it feel like they are paying rent on a property they own. Freeholders can increase the amount of ground rent with little or no benefit seen to those faced with extra charges. It can also lengthen and lead to increased costs when buying or selling the property. These changes will mean that any leaseholder who chooses to extend their lease on their home will no longer pay any ground rent to the freeholder, enabling those who dream of fully owning their home to do so without unnecessary and unfair expenses – saving them thousands to tens of thousands of pounds. A cap will also be introduced on ground rent payable when a leaseholder chooses to either extend their lease or become the freeholder. The Government will soon be introducing an online calculator to make it simpler for leaseholders to find out how much it will cost them to buy their freehold or extend their lease. What the changes mean for the lease length Leaseholders of houses can only currently extend their lease once for 50 years with ground

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unit. We continue to work with our other national and international occupiers in their investment programme to deliver new operations across the UK. We expect to see these transactions complete in 2021 with some being subject to development processes. The investment market has also been extremely active and at Berrys we have worked with landlords and investors in both disposal and acquisition projects. In 2020, during lockdown, we successfully disposed on an industrial investment, located in the heart of Corby’s employment area, which was sold to a private investor from outside the region. We have also acquired new opportunities on the A1 corridor for clients who seek modern light industrial units, with the view of securing income by way of letting. In St Ives, we have recently acquired on behalf of investor clients a brand-new unit, located on The Lakes Business Park. The property is now under offer to a tenant who have been looking for a new unit in the area. Our clients have worked with us on many projects and most recently, we have completed in the sale of a multi-let retail investment in Loughborough. The purchaser is already progressing their work to add value in the future by converting the upper floors. If you have property assets or seek new premises and would like any advice on matters relating to the disposal and acquisition of property, please contact Simon Parsons, BS(c) Hons MRICS. Email simon.parsons@berrys. uk.com or telephone 01536 517 777.

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orthampton-based Briggs & Forrester Engineering Services are delighted to have secured the MEP contract on the Globe & Simpson innovation building as part of the St. John’s redevelopment in Manchester. St. John’s is a diverse mixed use development that will establish the area as a new neighbourhood and cultural community for Manchester. After an extensive selection process, Briggs & Forrester were selected as one of the successful framework partners on the St. John’s redevelopment of the former Granada studio site in Manchester City Centre. The Globe & Simpson building will be the gateway building to the development, a state of the art workspace which is purpose built to be the city headquarters. Briggs & Forrester will deliver the shell & core M&E design & build services on the project. The innovative design of the Globe & Simpson building combines sophisticated architecture with cutting edge technological systems. The building will be “future proofed to sustain modern businesses and provide a platform for enterprise, innovation and growth.”

New lease extension rights for leaseholders rent. This compares to leaseholders of flats who can extend as often as they wish at a zero ‘peppercorn’ ground rent for 90 years. These changes mean both house and flat leaseholders will now be able to extend their lease to a new standard of 990 years with a ground rent at zero. Retirement leasehold property changes Further measures will be introduced to protect the elderly. The Government has previously committed to restricting ground rents to zero for new leases to make the process fairer for leaseholders. This will also now apply to retirement leasehold properties (homes built specifically for older people), so purchasers of these homes have the same rights as other homeowners and are protected from uncertain and rip-off practices. Leaseholders will also be able to voluntarily agree to a restriction on the future development of their property to avoid paying ‘development value’. Housing minister Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “We want to reinforce the security that home ownership brings by changing forever the way we own homes and end some of the worst practices faced by homeowners.

These reforms provide fairness for 4.5 million leaseholders and chart a course to a new system altogether.” Joined up approach for the future of leasehold The Government is now establishing a Commonhold Council (a partnership of leasehold groups, industry, and Government) that will prepare homeowners and the market for the widespread take-up of commonhold. The Government is abolishing prohibitive costs like ‘marriage value’ and set the calculation rates to ensure this is fairer, cheaper, and more transparent. An online calculator will be introduced to make it simpler for leaseholders to find out how much it will cost them to buy their freehold or extend their lease. When will legislation be introduced? The legislation will be brought forward in the upcoming session of Parliament, to set future ground rents to zero. This is the first part of seminal two-part reforming legislation in this Parliament. To find out more including the report ‘Leasehold: A Life Sentence?’ report see the website at www.naea.co.uk

The Globe & Simpson building in Manchester Elizabeth Peckett, Head of Asset Management at Allied London, commented: “St. John’s is a new city centre neighbourhood in the heart of Manchester. It will be a place for enterprise, culture and living, and is focused upon community, innovation and opportunity. It will be home to The Factory, a world-class cultural space and a year-round home for Manchester International Festival, Enterprise City, a new district filled with exceptional workspaces, and bespoke city centre living, including a new co-living development”.

The project aims to achieve BREEAM excellent, with extensive consideration being taken to ensure that sustainable and energy saving services are being utilised on the project. Martin Broughton, regional director said: “Briggs & Forrester are proud to deliver the MEP services on this ambitious scheme. We are committed to delivering excellence at every level and look forward to working in collaboration with Allied London and Lendlease for the successful completion of this prestigious project.”

Industrial development signals jobs boost for Daventry Work is underway at Signal Park – the first industrial development of its size in the Northamptonshire town of Daventry for nearly a decade.

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evelopment of more than 56,500 sq. ft of industrial space got underway late last year with a finish target of this summer. Fifteen units are set to be built to support growth in the town and the development will bring six acres of urban land into use. This is expected to accommodate over 112 new jobs in the medium term, in addition to the significant indirect economic activity generated by its design and construction. In 2019, Claymore Investments were awarded project awarded a £3.2million grant from the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), via its Local Growth Fund, to cover abnormal land preparation costs, enabling the project to proceed. Neal Shegog, Claymore Investment Manager, said: “Daventry is growing from strength to strength and as a locally based developer we are committed to supporting that growth and excited to be developing this prestigious project. “Land available to build on is scarce in Daventry, which is inhibiting business growth. Our six-acre plot is located in

one of the main industrial areas in the town. Until recently, the plot was considered unusable because the cost of levelling the hill meant it was considered impossible to profitably develop.” Peter Horrocks CBE, SEMLEP Chair, said: “Daventry has lots of premises which cater for large warehouses and logistics operations, but the town lacks smaller industrial units which are essential if growing businesses are to remain in the town and Daventry is to attract national and regional businesses. “The groundworks at Signal Park commenced on 15 September, the official ground-breaking ceremony took place on 8 October 2020 and the scheme is due to be completed by July 2021. The development has been branded ‘Signal Park’ – in recognition of Daventry’s history with radio. The Daventry Transmitter, which opened nearby on 27 July 1925, was the world’s first Long Wave transmitting station and the phrase ‘Daventry Calling’ was renowned across the world, thanks to the BBC’s fledgeling World Service.

For Northamptonshire’s business news visit www.Business-Times.co.uk


Property Portfolio

Park’s prime location

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-Park Northampton sits in a prime strategic location for logistics within the successful and established Moulton Park industrial estate, just a few miles north of the town and within ten miles of J15 of the M1, via dual carriageway. This is one of the most successful industrial estates in Northamptonshire and is already home to a wide range of successful regional and national businesses. Occupiers continue to be attracted to the areas exceptional transport links, access to national markets and suitably skilled workforce.

The site, which has been developed by GLP a leading investor, developer and operator of logistics real estate, has three units and one built to suit distribution/logistics warehouse ranging in size from 50,658 up to 155,227 sq ft. Unit 2, comprising 90,000 sq ft, has been let to SF Express whilst Unit 3 was most recently let to Whistl the UK’s leading delivery management company. This brings the park to 55 per cent occupancy. Unit 1, a 50,658 sq ft logistics distribution facility, is immediately available to let. This highly specified Grade ‘A’ rated facility has

An aerial view of G-Park Northampton situated within Moulton Park industrial estate

achieved the BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating and is suitable for a range of occupiers including last mile logistics, 3PLs, retail/FMCG and manufacturers. A further and final unit – Unit 4, of 132,698 sq ft is being developed speculatively and under construction with completion expected by the spring. The unit has a 15-metre clear internal height, 50-metre-wide yard, 21 HGV parking spaces, 12 dock doors and one level access. It offers 9,558 sq ft of office accommodation over two storeys together with 124 car parking spaces. The unit is being developed to the BREEAM Very Good certification. For further information please visit: www.glp.com/eu

Unit 1 which is immediately available to let

01604 660014

ben@bencolemanassociates.co.uk

Specialist Advice On All Aspects Of Commercial Property 10/15 NOTRE DAME MEWS

UNDER OFFER

Northampton

41 BILLING ROAD NEW INSTRUCTION

Northampton

TOWN CENTRE OFFICES FOR SALE/TO LET • • • • • •

1430 Kettering Parkway

MODERN TWO-STOREY OFFICE TO LET

8,300 sq ft (771 sq m) approx.

Excellent specification

20 car spaces

Approx 7,592 sq ft

53 car spaces

Perimeter trunking

Available Immediately

8 person (630kg) passenger lift

TO LET AT A RENTAL OF £100,000 PAX

Central heating with air cooling Suspended ceilings with fluorescent lighting

WELL LOCATED INVESTMENT FOR SALE • • • •

ADAMS TINGLE HOUSE

3,649 sq ft (339 sq m) approx. 12 on site car spaces Fitted out as a dentist surgery The property is let to Oasis Dental Care (Central) Ltd (trading as Bupa Dental Care) for a term of 10 years from 25 March 2018 at a rent of £50,000 pax.

WE ARE INSTRUCTED TO SEEK OFFERS OVER £775,000 SUBJECT TO CONTRACT AND EXCLUSIVE OF VAT.

URGENT REQUIREMENT

INVESTMENT UP TO £1M We are instructed by clients to seek commercial property investments from £200,000 to £1M. All sectors considered.

www.bencolemanassociates.co.uk To feature or comment email: news@business-times.co.uk

Business Times

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February 2021

47


Case Study I Magnitude 314

News

G-Park Northampton

glp.com/eu

Unit 1 To Let Now

Unit 4 Under

construction 50,658 SQ FT

Clear height Clear height 10m19m

132,698 SQ FT

Unit 1

Clear height Clear height 15m19m

To Let Now

G-Park Northampton Unit 1

G-Park Northampton sits in a prime location within Moulton Park, just north of the town and within 10 miles of J15 of the M1, via dual carriageway.

NN3 6WD

Joe Garwood Development Director, GLP joe.garwood@glp.com +44 (0)7583 118 543

To Let Now

CGI image

Unit 1

Unit 4

Franco Capella franco.capella@burbagerealty.com +44 (0)7834 197 403

Nick Redwood nickredwood@gmail.com +44 (0)7881 826 005

Unit 1 is a 50,658 sq ft logistics distribution facility and is immediately available to let. The highly specified Grade ‘A’ rated facility has achieved the BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating and is suitable for a range of occupiers including last mile logistics, 3PLs, retail/FMCG and manufacturers.

Tom Kimbell tom.kimbell@burbagerealty.com +44 (0)7920 005 471

Speculative build 132,698 sq ft Unit 4 offers the chance to occupy the last unit to be built on one of the most successful industrial estates in Northamptonshire — units 2 and 3 already leased to SF Express and Whistl respectively.