THE OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER OF TOWNGATE PLC
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Talk of the Town The Chairmanâ€™s Review We have experienced the same pressures as other businesses during the last few years. Towngate entered the recessionary period in the fortunate position of having good cash reserves and this enabled us to satisfy all requirements to reduce bank borrowing. At the end of 2013 we had completed the round of bank loan renewals and can look forward to a few years spending more time running the business and less worrying about money! In the past years I have commended the property and marketing people for the work they have done in improving occupancy levels. This year, in addition, I give high praise to the financial team for the hard work they have done throughout the recession, particularly in the last three years, and for the way they have dealt with our lenders and in extending the loans periods. Our main banks are Santander, Helaba, Handelsbanken and Co-op. We have lost some tenants and gained others, but over the year the occupancy rate has stayed the same. Enquiries from potential tenants have increased notably and our main challenge for 2014 is to convert these into lettings. In the year to March 2013 the value of our portfolio fell by 4%, but in the current year we have more than recovered this. This change from falling to increasing values bodes well for the business and the wider economy. What is equally important is the growth in our equity, driven by strong cash flow from rental income. The equity of the business has increased well since the lowest point at April 2010, and I expect a further improvement by March 2014.
Also in this issue: Mill Dam Lane, 4 High Court, ABM, Letting Success, Ilkley Beer Festival and much more!
News in brief Gold for Robin
The New Girls in Town!
We would like to congratulate Robin Gallagher on receiving his 50 years certificate from the Institute of Chartered Accountants during 2013.
Amy Jaques Amy joined the Accounts Team on the 17th March 2014, as Accounts Assistant, to replace Julie Tolson, who is retiring at the end of March.
John at Twenty!
Lands End to John O’Groats
Jannine Bromley Jannine has been covering on a part time temporary basis as Receptionist /Secretary since the 10th March 2014 whilst Emma Laverick is on maternity leave. Both ladies have settled in well and we would like to welcome them to Towngate!
The Grand Départ! John Wignall celebrated 20 years at Towngate in 2013 by attending a lunch with all staff at the Grey Ox Inn at Hartshead. To commemorate the occasion, one of his colleagues, Julia Ford, had written him a poem, which was read out at the lunch. Unfortunately, this is probably not suitable for print, however, any old acquaintances of John’s who would like a copy, please contact Julia directly!
This is an exciting year, with the Tour De France visiting our region. Watch out for news of the Towngate influence en route!
Julia Ford’s Dad, Tony Hill, aged 71, completed the Lands End to John O’Groats cycle challenge in the summer of 2013, averaging 80 miles per day! He will be seen marshalling for the Tour De France in the Hebden Bridge area later this summer. Now there is no excuse for you to dodge the 10k run this year team is there!
Twenty at Towngate! Baby news!
World Cup Fever! We are organising another exciting World Cup event this year – watch out for news on the Towngate website!
Steve Forrest, Finance Director, will be celebrating 20 years at Towngate this year. Steve joined the company in 1994 as a Financial Controller and became a Director in 1998. He has responsibility for all day to day financial matters and for raising finance. Here’s to the next 20 Steve!
A big congratulations to Emma, who gave birth to a 7lb 9oz baby boy on Saturday the 4th January 2014. Baby Henry Oscar and Mum are doing fine and we all look forward to meeting him soon.
Letting Success in 2013/2014 Parker International Distribution Co. Had a series of temporary requirements (contract led) and utilised Units 5, 6 and 7 Towngate Business Centre, Everite Road, Widnes during 2012 and 2013, commencing January 2012. They currently remain in Unit 5.
Took a lease of the ground floor of the newly refurbished 4 High Court Office building, Leeds, during May 2013.
Took a lease of Units E1 and E2, Copley Hill Trading Estate, Leeds, during November 2013.
Vapour Media Ltd
Took a lease of the first floor office suite of Woodvale House, Brighouse during July 2013.
Took a lease of Unit E3 Copley Hill Trading Estate, Leeds, during November 2013.
Took a lease of local workshop accommodation during July 2013.
Took a lease of Unit 3 Towngate Link, Cross Green Industrial Estate, Leeds, during December 2013.
River Island Took a lease of one of our units in Leeds during January 2013
Troy Corporation Took a lease on Suites 3 and 5, 2nd Floor, Parkview House at the end of January 2013.
OPM Labels Took a lease of the Gelderd 55 property in Leeds during July 2013.
ABM Limited Took a temporary licence on Unit 3 Towngate Business Centre, Widnes in February 2013. They currently remain in occupation.
DX Freight Limited Took a lease of the Warehouse 3 Property at Stourton during July 2013.
ALS Safety Limited
Took a 12 months licence to park wagons at the Towngate Business Centre, Widnes, during February 2013.
Took a lease of Unit 3, M1 Industrial Estate, Hunslet, Leeds, during August 2013.
General All Purpose Plastics Limited
Summerhouse Conservatories Limited
Took a lease of Unit 1A Winsor Street, Bradford, during March 2013.
Took a lease of Unit 8 Ashfield Close, Whitehall Road, Leeds, during October 2013.
Fibrestar Drums Took a lease of the 112,000 sq ft property at Hazel Grove, Stockport during April 2013.
Airedale Air Conditioning Took a lease of Croxley House, Gelderd Lane, Leeds, during January 2014.
Reem Clothing Took a lease of one of our units in Leeds during February 2014.
PJH Limited Took occupation of Units 3, 4C and 4D, Towngate Business Centre, Lester Road, Walkden, M38 0PT in March 2014. The Estate is now fully let..
Pendragon Property Holdings Limited Took occupation of Unit 4C Olympia Trading Estate, Leeds, LS12 6AL in January 2014.
Mill Dam Lane Launch Event
Towngate launched their site at Mill Dam Lane, Pontefract, to West Yorkshire based Industrial Agents on 14th June 2013. All were invited to attend a breakfast at the 100,000 sq ft premises, located on 5.82 acres and tours of the property took place to give everyone the opportunity to view the extent of the site, which includes the following features:• Modern HQ style offices of up to 13,000 sq ft • Additional external yard area of 1.3 acres (0.52 ha)
• Large power supply of 550 KVA • Dock and ground level loading The Mill Dam Lane site has been developed over several years and comprises a number of industrial / warehouse buildings with associated offices situated on either side of Mill Dam Lane on a site of over 5.82 acres. Furthermore, there is a separate car park / storage yard / potential expansion site. The site is well located for local skilled workforce, access to the town centre and benefits from excellent communication links via road and rail.
The site is situated on the northern fringe of Pontefract Town Centre and strategically located just over 2 miles from Junction 32 of the M62 Motorway. It is also located within 3 miles of numerous surrounding towns such as Ferrybridge, Knottingley, Featherstone and Castleford. If you would be interested in receiving further information on the site at Mill Dam Lane, please contact Julia Ford; email@example.com
4 High Court Launch Event
Exciting times for ABM Ltd at Widnes ABM Limited have been occupying Unit 3, Towngate Business Centre, Everite Road, Widnes, WA8 8PT, since February 2013. Early meetings took place with ABM in 2012 in relation to their requirement for a property to carry out a unique process, and Unit 3 suited the criteria for this perfectly. Diageo, the UK drinks giant, has been attempting to break into some of the world’s most difficultto-reach markets with a blending and packaging plant built from shipping containers and ABM had been commissioned to manufacture the fully operational finished product. Diageo, the company behind Smirnoff Vodka and Gilbys Gin said it needed to be “agile” to crack some African countries with poor infrastructure and transport links. The first plant was set up in Ghana, with further plants in Nigeria and Mozambique, all originating from Unit 3 Towngate Business Centre!
Towngate held an Agents Launch of the newly refurbished 4 High Court office accommodation in Leeds, on the 18th July 2013. The event was well attended and gave local office agents the opportunity to view the property in its refurbished state. The property comprises 6,104 sq ft, over 3 floors and had been marketed on the basis of either a self contained office, or alternatively, as 3 separate office suites. The ground floor is let to Infoserve and we are now marketing the remaining two floors / office suites, which comprise light, open plan offices, recessed lighting, suspended ceilings, kitchen facilities to each floor and a minimal amount of secure car parking. The property benefits from a refurbished entrance, incorporating a new canopy and is prominently located in the heart of the Calls area of Leeds, fronting the Leeds Inner Loop Road. The popular Calls area is renowned for its association with prestigious restaurants and leisure facilities and as a popular office location. The area is further enhanced by its proximity to Leeds City Centre and central bus and train stations. If you would be interested in receiving further information on the office accommodation available at 4 High Court, please contact Julia Ford; firstname.lastname@example.org
The temporary production facility made out of five metal containers, pieced together in different locations, blends and bottles local whisky and it can be disassembled and moved to a new location as and when required. Unit 3 worked well for ABM, from both a production/engineering angle and a training hub. The configuration of the 28,540 sq ft unit, with easily accessible loading doors and adjoining yard, made circulation of the large container “cubes” a relatively pain free process and ABM are hopeful of further distillery orders later in 2014. The Towngate Business Centre, an established, secure industrial estate, a few yards off the A562, (excellent access to the M62/M57 and M56), comprises refurbished units and yards/ hardstanding and a 24 hour manned gatehouse with remotely monitored CCTV cameras. Current availability is from 15 – 172,000 sq ft and the units can be taken as one (all units can interconnect) or separately. For further information visit www.towngate.plc.uk, or email email@example.com Diageo recently announced that they would be making some awards to certain companies in recognition of the work/commitment given. ABM were given the award “Heroes of Excellence” for innovation.
Goodbye to Jules! Julie Austin, formerly Tolson, has been an invaluable member of the Towngate accounts team since October 1997, when she started working as a temp, moving on to become a permanent member of staff in February 1998. Julie, who turns 65 in October 2014 retired in March, having completed over 16 years loyal service. She stated “I have taken the decision to retire a little earlier than planned to spend time with the man I love”. Julie, known as “Jules”, has an infectious enthusiasm, chat and great sense of humour. She has been our Towngate mum, friend, advisor and colleague and will be missed by all.
One of her highlights during her time at Towngate involved a rather unfortunate incident with the Assistant Managing Director! Julie finished work one evening, approximately 10 years ago and set off to the gym – unknown to her, she had just locked in the Assistant Managing Director, Robin Gallagher, who had been getting changed in the loos ready to attend a dinner where he was to be the speaker, in the Atrium. He was locked in for quite some time and missed most of the evening!
The Works Skatepark Charity, go from strength to strength Towgate Tenants, The Works Skatepark, at the Airedale Industrial Estate, Kitson Road, Hunslet, LS10 1NT (situated in central Leeds and just off the M621 (J4)), boasts professional and bespoke ramps. The skatepark is used for BMXing, Skateboarding, Rollerblading and Scooter Riding and they have complete beginners to pro riders using the park on a daily basis The Works Skatepark works closely with schools, youth groups and extended services where their aim is to help get children back into exercise whilst having fun through learning or improving with different nontraditional sports. The skatepark often plays host to events, demos and film premiers starring the biggest names in BMX, skateboarding, inline skating and scooter riding.
They are now a fully-fledged charity, with thanks to Leeds Community Foundation, Jimbo’s Fund (part of HESCO Bastion) and Social Enterprise Investment Fund (SEIF). The Charity has purchased the shares of The Leeds Skatepark and is now able to operate as a social enterprise. Profits made by the business go back into developing the skatepark and the projects offered across Leeds, benefiting children and young people. The vision of the charity is to make the facilities accessible and affordable to all. They aim to provide a safe environment where children, young people, and adults can engage in nontraditional sport on a regular basis. With emphasis on reducing obesity levels in young people, building community cohesion and targeting disaffected young people through sport.
The Works Skatepark works with the NHS and schools delivering a range of activities to children and young people, including sessions run in school time, after school and in the holidays. They work with a variety of children and young people who are both in full-time education and those who are not. They hope to build more partnerships across Leeds and beyond and for more information on their great work, visit their website at www.theworksskatepark.co.uk, or email firstname.lastname@example.org Oct 2013 saw The Works Skatepark, play host to Europe’s biggest skateboard event, The VANS Shop Riot. Teams from across Europe descended to battle it out in one of the UK’s premier parks, and snatch the £3000 prize money!
Too Many Cooks? In November 2013 the Towngate staff undertook a Masterchef type cookery challenge at the Dean Clough Cookery School in Halifax. They were split into 4 teams and given the task of making a Thai meal, starting with a Tom Yum Soup, followed by a Green Thai Chicken Curry and Coconut Custard for desert.
Robin Plans a Clean Sweep
Robin Gallagher stepped down from his Deputy Chairman role in June 2013, although he remains at Towngate on a part time basis in his capacity as a Consultant. We always knew Robin has a passion for ancient buildings, but we didnâ€™t know what he got up to in them! Taken in November 2013, this photograph shows him after he came down to earth after examining the inside of an old chimney. Some say it is good luck to touch a sweep, but weâ€™ll pass on that!
Ilkley Beer Festival 2014
It was great fun and a resounding success, with Team 4 achieving first place (David Smith, Fiona Robson, John Wignall) followed by Team 1 in second place (Andrew Smith, Merys Liall and Julia Ford), Team 3 in 3rd place (Steve Forrest, Julie Austin, Alan Smith, Robin Gallagher) and Team 2 in 4th place (Robert Smith, Nick Yates, Philip Caspell). Well done to all!
Once again, we were silver sponsors of the Ilkley Beer Festival, which took place on the 7th February 2014. Every penny raised at the beer festival goes towards assisting local good causes and is a fantastic and enjoyable event.
Lecturn and Library of Remembrance Liverpool played a vital part in both World Wars as the control centre for the Atlantic convoys. The Cathedral holds Books of Remembrance containing the names of seafarers and soldiers from the Liverpool Regiment who died in those wars, and more recently in the Falklands War.
On the initiative of the Merseyside Master Mariners’ Club, the Cathedral authorities agreed the Books were not displayed adequately. As a result the Cathedral agreed to design a new lectern for them, and to provide improved lighting and to display them in a more prominent position. The Books are now housed in greater safety and are more easily accessible.
A Towngate Wedding and Half a Century Young!
Register your details online at www. towngate.plc.uk/competition to enter a prize draw to win an iPad Mini (winner will be drawn on Friday 27th June 2014). Employees of Towngate PLC and family members may not apply.
Fiona Robson, Accounts Assistant, will marry Dale Harrison on the 30th August 2014 at the Cedar Court Hotel in Harrogate. Dale is a Maintenance Supervisor at the Blue Dolphin Camp Site in Filey, which is where the couple met (Fiona has a static holiday caravan there). The colour theme for the wedding is pink!
Charity football sponsorship Towngate once again, were sponsors of the Agency Team at the Yorkshire Property Charity Football match, held to raise money for the childrens charity; Barnardos, which took place on the 12th September 2013. The match was played on the purpose built, full sized football pitch at Wellington Place, Leeds.
Towngate PLC is proud to have been a party to this improvement and to have had the opportunity to contribute towards the cost of the work.
Fiona’s “Hen Do” is taking place in Whitby on the infamous Goth Weekend. The Towngate girls will be attending in full costume! (watch out for the images later in the year!). It is non stop celebrations for Fiona this year as she also celebrated her 50th birthday in March. Congratulations Fiona!
The event was very well attended and was followed by a dinner at the Queens Hotel, which helped compensate for the Agents defeat!