Business & Innovation Magazine - Issue 14 July 2019

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JULY / AUGUST 2019 ISSUE14 Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire & The Thames Valley, Worcestershire, Coventry, Warwickshire & North Wiltshire Covering In association with UNDER THE MICROSCOPE


Nicky Godding

Tel: 07966 510401

Commercial Director

Kirsty Muir

Tel: 07971 912020

Chairman, NK Media Ltd

James Palmer

Regional Account & Events Manager

Rosemary Henderson

Tel: 07889 227432

Marketing & Events Co-ordinator

Lizi Clapham

Tel: 07955 855817

Customer Services


Magazine Design

Brace Creative Agency

Magazine Printers

The Manson Group

Chief Photographer

Rob Lacey

Contributing Editor

Anita Syvret

Contributing Columnist

Ian Mean

Sub Editor

Joyce Matthews

The editor’s view

07966 510401 @Nickywritesbiz

I’m fed up with bad news. So here’s some good news. Ambitious UK businesses attract more investment than businesses almost anywhere else in the world. We sit fourth, after the USA, China and India.

We’re also number one in the world in financial technology (FinTech). Investment of £4.5 billion has been made in UK start-ups over the last three years. The world loves and trusts our ideas and ambition.

Europe’s most technologically advanced book distribution centre has opened in Didcot, thanks to multi-million pound investment.

Gloucester now hosts a £400,000 centre for digital retail innovation, and a national cookware retailer, based in the city, is expanding.

A £41 million energy superhub, a model for global cities wanting to cut carbon and improve air quality, is to be built in Oxford.

Companies across the region are celebrating 2019 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise for exporting and innovation, from Thorlux Lighting in Bromsgrove and Leeson Polyurethanes in Warwick to Alvan Blanch in Malmesbury, which manufactures systems for agricultural products and waste materials, and exports across the world.

A specialist supplier of medical and pharmaceutical packaging based in Swindon has developed the world’s first biodegradable plastic blister packs.

And we’ll all be eating more goat meat this year. It’s healthier than other meats and needs less intensive farming.

This issue covers all these stories. And many more. There’s a lot of good stuff going on across this region. Enjoy your summer reading of our jam-packed magazine.

Business & Innovation Magazine is a bi-monthly magazine published by NK Media Ltd. Our readers are business owners, senior executives, key influencers, entrepreneurs, innovators and those working in further and higher education, and government departments. Any opinions expressed by those quoted in this magazine are their own and do not necessarily represent or reflect those of Business & Innovation Magazine, or of NK Media Ltd. No part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any form of advertising or promotion without the written permission of the Editor-in-Chief or Commercial Director.

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& The Thames Valley, Coventry & Warwickshire, Worcestershire, and North Wiltshire
Covering Gloucestershire,Oxfordshire
Visit us online @Bizinnovatemag Follow us Publisher NK Media Ltd 76 Kingsholm Road Gloucester GL1 3BD 01452 203399 Registered office: Glebe Farm House, Daglingworth, Cirencester GL7 7AE Company number 10569394. NEXT ISSUE: SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER ISSUE 14 Kirsty Muir Commercial Director Rosemary Henderson Regional Account & Events Manager VISIT OUR WEBSITE 07971 912020 @Kirstylovesbiz 07889 227432 @Rosielovesbiz

Matt Wright and Jo Westbrook of Hachette UK Distribution


We meet Jonathan Lettin of Corin Group









P107 P117

TECH Centre Stage

ISSUE 14 In the Headlines Goat meat anyone? P6 INTERVIEW Jonathan Lettin of Cirencester-based Corin Group talks hip and knee replacements P12 Regional News Update News from Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, The Thames Valley, Worcestershire, Coventry & Warwickshire P17 The MEAN View Contribute to your local industrial strategy P23 Broadway Uncovered Is this the prettiest town in the Cotswolds? P28 Spotlight on Bicester There’s lots that’s brilliant about Bicester P38 INTERVIEW Matt Wright and Jo Westbrook of Hachette UK Distribution reveal an amazing new book facility at Didcot P44 North Worcestershire Uncovered We reveal the vibrant business landscape across Kidderminster, Bromsgrove and Redditch, P54 Businesses in the Community P65 Spotlight on Leaders P69 Career Ahead P73 Round-table: Financial Directors’ Let’s not talk about money… P76 Spotlight on Cyber P81 Legal and Financial News P82 Research & Development under the microscope Before the innovation, comes the idea…. P87 Spotlight on Manufacturing P101 A celebration of Queen’s Award winners P105 TECH Centre Stage Phenomenal opportunities exist for regional tech P107 A celebration of commercial architecture P117 Commercial property news P120 Let’s Get Social Business & Innovation Magazine Second anniversary drinks P25 Oxfordshire Business Awards 2019 P42 Drinks and networking at Worcestershire County Cricket Club P58 Business lunch at The Lygon Arms, Broadway P64 Strictly Worcestershire 2019 charity competition P66


Long Meadow Goats, a family-run farm in Redditch, has secured a £150,000 loan from HSBC UK to expand its goat farming business.

The funding has provided business partners, John Walley and Charlotte Mercer, with extra space to increase farming capacity after a strong first year of trading.

The business can now rear more oneweek-old billy goat kids before turning them out to graze free range across the farm’s 16 acres.

Long Meadow Goats plans to increase its existing client base outside of London, where the business already supplies meat to high-end restaurants and butcheries.

“Domestically, goat meat is becoming a foodie trend and is finally getting the respect it deserves from chefs across the UK”

Goat meat makes up 60 per cent of red meat consumption globally, but it’s remained unfashionable among consumers in the UK who have tended to

prefer goats’ cheese or milk to its meat. However, consumer demand is rising here as goat is increasingly being seen as a healthier alternative to other red meats and requires less intensive farming.

As a result, goat meat is expected to hit the mainstream market this year.

Charlotte Mercer said: “Domestically, goat meat is becoming a foodie trend and is finally getting the respect it deserves from chefs across the UK.”

Thriving Gloucester Quays celebrates 10 years

Ten years ago, Gloucester Quays, the city’s first outlet centre, opened its doors in the middle of the biggest recession the country had experienced in decades.

Peel Developments had been faced with a dilemma. After years spent securing planning permission to convert Gloucester’s old dock buildings into a major retail hub, the 2007 banking crisis hit. Peel could easily have mothballed the project. Instead it ploughed ahead.

Its determination has been vindicated. Annual footfall has increased from 1.5 million on opening to seven million.

Now operated by Lifestyle Outlets, which is owned by Peel, Gloucester Quays is part of a wider regeneration of the 60-acre site managed by Lifestyle Outlets.

This includes development of a Sainsbury’s superstore, hotels, 500 new homes, commercial space and a dedicated events square – with private sector

Happiness is: A Long Meadow Farm Goat
Gloucester Quays

Service with a smile after Malvern dentist investment

Service with a smile is something Christopher Evanson will be delivering after an £800,000 investment supported by Barclays to acquire and develop the 202 Dental Practice in Malvern.

Christopher said: “The opportunity to really make a difference drove my desire to establish my own practice.”

Greg Herbert, Barclays Business Manager said, “Barclays is committed to using our industry expertise and specialists to support such propositions, which are vital to a prosperous economy. Our relationship with local brokers Sarah Grace Mortgages ensured we were able to create a fast and bespoke financial package for the client.”

Retail investment to breathe new life into The Burges

A project to breathe new life into The Burges in Coventry has secured a £2 million government grant for the regeneration of one of the city’s oldest shopping streets, in time for Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture in 2021.

This is a demonstrator project for the government’s £44 million High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme, and part of an overall £62 million investment in high street heritage.

Plans for The Burges include restoration of building frontages, reinstatement of historic shop fronts and a new public square.

“This part of the city centre is sorely in need of regeneration and our plans will make it an area that will attract visitors and boost the economy”

The Burges, which links the city’s retail core and Coventry Transport Museum, has been neglected for years.

Historic Coventry Trust led the bid, working with Coventry City Council and Coventry BID (Business Improvement District).

Safe Solvents gets more than it bargained for

investment in excess of £300 million. Lifestyle Outlets says it has created 3,500 jobs in the city and it has transformed the waterfront.

Jason Pullen, Managing Director, Lifestyle Outlets, said: “Gloucester Quays is thriving and we focus on providing a mix of outlet retail, restaurants, leisure and entertainment at all our sites.”

Lifestyle Outlets also operates outlet centres in Glasgow and Manchester.

Safe Solvents, which won Best Entrepreneurial Business at last year’s Maidenhead and Windsor Business Awards, has secured more than £1.3 million after asking for £800,000 through the crowd-funding platform Crowd Cube.

The company has developed patent-pending aqueous solvents and parts cleaning machines for the engineering industry. It launched in 2015 to offer safer, greener and

cleaner parts washing. The investment will help the business expand its workforce and scale up.

Safe Solvents Chief Executive Officer, Ben Reeve, said: “Safe Solvents products are aqueous and can wash parts at ambient (room) temperature. This helps companies reduce energy usage, cut down waste removal costs because the products are not hazardous, cut their carbon footprint and cut employees’ workplace risk.”

computer-generated image of what The Burges, Coventry could look like after investment
the headlines
Christopher Evanson, Sarah Grace, Andy Stuart, Barclays Business Development Manager and Greg Herbert Barclays Business Manager, in the chair


The University of Gloucestershire has been granted a licence to deliver a degree in Professional Policing by the College of Policing. It is one of the first universities in the country to be granted a licence as policing is set to become a graduate profession in 2020.

The course, which is currently recruiting students to start in September, is the only licensed Professional Policing course in the South West.

To prepare students for working in the field, the university opened a Crime Scene House earlier this year at its Gloucester campus, where students can learn how to manage a crime scene.

John Clay-Davies, formerly Chief Superintendent at Gloucestershire Constabulary, is the course leader.

He said: “The degree is also an excellent foundation for non-uniformed roles with the police, and careers in border control, prisons and third-sector organisations such as drugs outreach programmes and others who work closely with the police.”

“The degree is also an excellent foundation for non-uniformed roles with the police, and careers in border control, prisons and third-sector organisations such as drugs outreach programmes and others who work closely with the police”

Recording-breaking investment into Oxford-based tech companies

In the headlines

Investment in Oxford-based technology companies broke new records in 2018, totalling £341 million, according to Data Commons, a new national database showing the digital technology economy activity across the entire UK.

The Data Commons database has been set up by Dealroom, which tracks innovative technology companies, and Tech Nation, the national network for technology entrepreneurs.

Across the country, the database revealed record first-half venture capital investment of around £3.79 billion into UK tech companies.

The project has the backing of the government. Digital Secretary Jeremy

Wright said: “International and UKbased investors are pumping record amounts of cash into our thriving technology industry and this new tool will provide them with a rich new data source to inform their decisions.”

“International and UK-based investors are pumping record amounts of cash into our thriving technology industry and this new tool will provide them with a rich new data source to inform their decisions”

The open database – which its backers hope will become an important resource

for those who aspire to start a business, entrepreneurs, investors and policymakers – currently contains information on 33,000 start-ups and 22,000 transactions, with details on thousands of investors.

It includes detailed information on individual technology businesses, founders, investors, venture capital funds, angels, accelerators, universities and service providers to the sector.

The organisation believes this is the most extensive free-to-use tech industry data platform in the UK, but wants to make it even better.

It is calling on new companies to tell them about their start-up or scale-ups.


Communications company “revvd” up for offering web design and optimisation

Gloucestershire communications company 9 Group has launched a brand-new service providing web design, search engine optimisation and pay-per-click support to help businesses boost their digital engagement and drive up revenues.

Be proud. Be different. Be effective…

Phil Cooper was originally introduced to 9 Group as a contractor and helped them to create new websites for the 9 Group’s different divisions. Such was this a success, Phil was then invited by 9 Group’s CEO, James Palmer to establish a new digital marketing division, as part of 9 Group and the revvd brand was created to offer services to 9’s Partners and new business customers.

New websites or re-designs of customers’ existing websites that are created by revvd are designed to draw visitors in with intuitive and easy navigation. Through creativity and design, there aim is to deliver useful content and information to the visitor while providing the company with hard data about who’s visiting and what they want.

inbound marketing campaigns, but these require a website to be as smartly turned out as your most sharp suited salesperson, and that’s where revvd can help.

Revvd offers Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC) and Web Design. SEO and PPC are all about generating inbound enquiries for a business and need creative flair and technical brilliance to achieve results. Revvd will demystify the science and deliver changes that really work. The reality is that creating websites that function correctly is not a generalist skill. Marketers or creative agencies are often, or at least claim to be, very good at design and copywriting, but seldom consider the needs of actual website performance and search engine rankings. The latter require a range of bespoke technical knowledge and creative skills which lie at the core of revvd’s offering.


or SEO?

Just take it from us, revvd’s customers love what we do:

“Working with revvd has helped us take the company to the next level. It’s allowed us to grow and target the clients we want”

“We’ve had a fantastic 6 months working with Revvd. Phil is an absolute pleasure to deal with, precise, very knowledgeable and extremely efficient.Revvd have been superb on the design and SEO side of our website. I would highly recommend this company to anybody looking at design and SEO for their website”

The majority of businesses are looking at ways to increase lead generation. Traditional business development methods, such as cold calling, are increasingly being replaced or complimented by personalised digital

While SEO is important behind the scenes, and produces organic increases in sales enquiries over time, PPC provides more instant and measurable results, which can be scaled according to budget and requirements. Investment in a PPC campaign can ensure that if someone is using search terms relating to your products and services, you can appear at the very top of the first results page and provide one click access to bespoke landing pages, or existing website content.

The selection of the correct search terms, balancing the spend against the likely results, the creation of compelling landing pages and dynamic campaign management, are all key elements of the overall digital marketing benefit that revvd can deliver.

If you would like to talk to one of the team contact about how we can help your business grow visit

Telesis – Communications Provider Bright Money Independent –Mortgage & Protection advice
“Let’s be clear, we’re a digital marketing agency, but we’re plain speaking – no acronyms or techie jargon here. Yes, we’re data geeks and we want results for our clients, but we’re also creative and friendly and we listen to what you want ”
Phil Cooper, Digital Marketing Director revvd


One of the UK’s many world-first medical achievements is the total hip replacement. Now Cirencester-based orthopaedic company Corin is driving innovation to deliver better patient outcomes 12
Corin Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Lettin at Corin Group’s headquarters and manufacturing facility in Cirencester

Fast forward more than five decades and every year around 160,000 total hip and knee replacement procedures are performed across England and Wales, alongside many more hundreds of thousands across the world.

Knighted for his efforts, Professor Sir John Charnley’s procedure has been so effective that a total hip replacement today doesn’t look that dissimilar to one carried out in the 1960s, and it’s not uncommon for a hip replacement to last around 20 years.

What has changed are the materials used in their manufacture (crosslinked polyethylene has replaced original materials which were prone to oxidation and cracking), the coatings used on the metal parts and more recently a heavy investment in pre and post operative analysis to ensure surgeons have increasingly detailed information on individual patients. And the patients themselves are more personally involved in their own recovery.

Much of this innovation is taking place at Corin Group, which manufactures hip, knee and ankle replacements. Founded in Cirencester in 1985, Corin has become a global orthopaedic solutions provider, employing more than 350 people at its headquarters and manufacturing facility in the town, and approaching 800 people worldwide.

Corin’s Chief Operating Officer, Jonathan Lettin, joined the company in 2015. He has spent more than 30 years in the orthopaedic sector and can speak from extensive personal experience, having had a hip replacement some years ago. His mother had two total hip replacements and his father, an orthopaedic surgeon, had one hip and a knee replaced. If anyone can see the benefits from all sides, it’s Jonathan.

Driving improvement in patient outcome


The fundamentals of a total hip replacement procedure haven’t changed that much. But Corin is investing heavily in improving patient outcomes through personalising each procedure for their benefit.

between them have a massive 80 per cent share: Stryker, Zimmer Biomet, Johnson & Johnson and Smith & Nephew. Corin sits in the top quartile of the second tier, as a fast growing, innovative challenger.

Corin’s size is an advantage because the company is able to take a more agile and innovative approach.

In 2014, Corin bought Australian company Optimized Ortho. Developed in conjunction with biomedical engineers and orthopaedic surgeons, Optimized Ortho’s technology uses advanced computational modelling to simulate how a patient’s hip joint moves through a range of daily activities.

“Alongside our clinically-proven implant range, we are developing an eco-system of technology to help the surgeon undertake extensive pre-operative planning and track the patient afterwards,” he said.

The greater the understanding of an individual patient before they enter the operating theatre — their general state of health, how they move their hip, their size and flexibility — the more efficient surgery

Everyone’s pelvis moves differently, said Jonathan. “The data gathered by our software informs the surgeon exactly how their patient’s hip will behave if they follow a particular plan. We now employ around 25 bio-engineers in Australia and the UK who are developing plans for surgeons all over the world.”

Earlier this year, Corin acquired US-based OMNI Orthopaedics, a pioneer in roboticassisted total knee replacement. OMNI has developed the world’s first robotic tool to measure ligament function, resulting in less patient pain and faster

Total hip replacement started to be widely used in the UK when orthopaedic surgeon John Charnley developed and introduced the Charnley hip at Wrightington Hospital near Manchester in 1960.
“Surgeons talk about the forgotten hip, because replacements are so good these days it can be easy to forget you’ve had the surgery, if it’s done well”
“We are developing an eco-system of technology to help the surgeon undertake extensive pre-operative planning and track the patient afterwards”

rehabilitation. The company’s robotic tensioning device is unique.

Jonathan explained “Surgeons talk about the forgotten hip because replacements are so good these days it can be easy to forget you’ve had the surgery, if it’s done well.

“But people tend to know that they have had a total knee replacement. The incidence of discomfort after total knee replacement surgery can be up to 20 per cent. It is believed that this is because the surgeon isn’t always able to balance the knee throughout the range of motion.

“Corin’s OMNIbotics allows the surgeon to pre-programme the robot so that the knee is kept in balance during the operation.

“It’s a much smaller piece of robotic engineering than other systems developed by some of our larger competitors, which can take up a lot of space within an operating theatre and require considerable time to programme, all of which adds to the cost of surgery.”

These innovations are backed up by Corin’s new app called myrecovery which monitors a patient’s health before the operation, including how they are sleeping,

Ambition drives external investment appetite

Corin has ambitious plans for growth over the next five years, which is one of the reasons that private equity company Permira acquired a majority stake in the company last year.

“Permira is engaged with our strategy and likes our ambition,” said Jonathan. “We are making increased headway in the USA, have gained significant market share in Australia, and Japan is a particularly promising market for us. We are there already with plenty of room to grow. We don’t sell into China, but France, Germany and the UK are longstanding European markets and we are expanding into Switzerland.

“We have the technology, we have a really, really good implant range and we are in all the important geographies. We have doubled the business every two to three years over the last six and we manufacture all our products in the UK.”

The biggest threat to Corin, as to practically all other UK manufacturers, is Brexit. Over the last year the company has done everything it can to mitigate the issues if the UK leaves the

which is a good indicator of pain. After the operation the surgeon can track their recovery more efficiently.

The app can also flag up other issues early. This is particularly important in the USA where surgeons only have a short window of opportunity to rectify an operation if problems occur, for health insurance to be valid.

Operating more efficiently

Improved monitoring of a patient before and after an operation means the surgeon has a great deal more information on the

European Union without a deal. “We increased our inventories, product and packaging by a significant margin, but who really knows what will happen as we continue down this road?” said Jonathan.

There are also new global medical device regulations, which could restrict innovation across the entire sector because there will be a requirement for longer-term trials of new products.

For Corin, this is less of an issue because it already has a good range of clinically proven products, and the company is moving towards software development to support the operation.

“We are driving innovation down a different track. From robotics to planning and software design,” said Jonathan.

“The holy grail in any development is to satisfy a clinical need. The proof of our strategy will come through our own clinical trials, and more importantly for wider validation, in the UK’s National Joint Registry, which independently monitors all hip, knee, ankle, elbow and shoulder replacements in the UK, and monitors the effectiveness of different types of surgery.”

patient before undergoing surgery, and less time is spent in the operating theatre. This is a rare win/win situation which delivers a better outcome for the patient while being more cost-effective for the hospital.

In the past, without the pre-operative information now available on an individual patient, the surgeon had to order many sizes of hip and knee replacements from the manufacturer, along with hundreds of instruments to fit them, because they could only select the correct sizes once the patient was on the operating table.

Corin’s Optimized Positioning System (OPS™) gives an accuracy of hip size and movement within 95 per cent, allowing hospitals to order a fraction of the quantity.

“We have the technology, we have a really, really good implant range and we are in all the important geographies. We have doubled the business every two to three years over the last six and we manufacture all our products in the UK”

Dream of Building Your Own Home?

The good news is that new government measures introduced in recent years have made achieving this dream significantly easier as new legislation came into force in 2016 establishing the Right to Build your own home.

Registering for a plot

Under the scheme, all councils in England are required to keep registers containing the details of anyone who has expressed an interest in a self-build project.

Once an individual has been added to the register, the council is then responsible for finding them a suitable build-ready ‘serviced’ plot – with access to a public highway and connections for electricity, water and waste water – within three years, measured from the end of October each year.

Websites such as Plotsearch (https://, Plotfinder ( and PlotBrowser (https://www.plotbrowser. com) list land for sale.

Local estate agent are also worth a try. Even if they don’t have plots for sale they many have properties on their books that are suitable for demolition and redevelopment.

Budgeting for every expense

If managed effectively, building your own home should cost well below what you would pay for an equivalent existing property. Your

However, as ever, careful planning is key. As we’re all aware from Grand Designs, it can be easy for costs to increase (sometimes significantly) if the build faces unexpected hurdles along the way.

Building a ‘buffer‘ into budgets from the start can help ensure any surprises are covered for in advance. Once basics –such as the likely cost of land, architects, builders, surveyors, materials, fixtures and fittings – have been accounted, it can also be helpful to factor in ongoing costs, like rent and mortgage payments, that will be incurred whilst the build is being completed.

Di Pitts, Branch Manager at Handelsbanken Cirencester, says: “Self-build developments can often go over budget so it is a good idea to build flexibility into your calculations.”

Securing finance

Whilst some plots may will come with planning permission already, others will not. In these cases, an application either before or after the land purchase needs to be made. Seeking pre-application advice from local planning authorities can be a good idea.

At Handelsbanken planning permission is usually required to have been approved before advancing a Residential Development Loan to finance a self-build project. However, local branches are happy to help customers and provide guidance.

“An advantage we have over high street banks is that we know the local area,” says Di. “We know the local builders and surveyors and what properties in the area are worth. Our local branches are uniquely placed to point to local contacts.”

Residential Development Loans allow for a development period of up to two years. During that time funds are drawn down at different stages of the build, and a monitoring surveyor oversees the process.

When the development period ends, customers can convert the loan into a standard residential mortgage on a range of available Handelsbanken products.

“The idea is that this isn’t a short-term loan for the build only,” says Di. “We agree two-year minimum lending commitments on our one year development loans and three years on the two-year loans, meaning more flexibility and choice for customers at the end of the initial build period”

If you are interested in understanding more, contact or visit your local branch at findmybranch

do not keep up repayments on
home may be repossessed if you
your mortgage.
As the old adage goes, your home is your castle. And building one’s own ‘castle’ is certainly a dream for many.
Di Pitts, Branch Manager, Handelsbanken Cirencester 301 Cirencester Business Park, Love Lane, Cirencester, GL7 1XD Tel: 01285 650262


Is talent, rather than technology, the answer to successful digital transformation?

Every organisation in the UK, irrespective of industry, location, size or scale of operation, is having to gear up for digital transformation in some form. In delaying the adoption of new technologies organisations risk both inhibiting their productivity growth and remaining trapped by the limitations of an increasingly outmoded business model, which is why it must be earmarked as a key strategic priority.

Reimagining a business in this digital age is not just a kneejerk response to changing market expectations, but a cultural transformation that affects everything from business processes to the nature of the customer experience. It is a process that requires focus, time, investment and perhaps most crucially, the right talent.

Do you encourage a growth mindset?

Getting staff into the right mindset for front-line change, especially in large organisations where processes are very established, can be incredibly difficult. The key to success lies in clear communication and delegation throughout all levels of the business, from senior management to entry level staff. Employees need to feel empowered to take ownership of projects and perceive themselves as key players in the organisational change. The cultural and operational shift will inevitably result in mistakes, in which case the meaning of failure will need to be re-defined, and staff should be encouraged to take risks and be less disheartened by errors and misjudgements.

Where do you find the skills you need for a digital workplace?

New technologies are emerging constantly, and many organisations lack

the level of reactivity needed to keep existing employees equipped with the skills required for maintaining pace with change. Supplanting this skills gap will likely require you to hire new staff, establishing a roster of skills that can be drawn on to deliver your digital transformation objectives.

The right talent, however, can be difficult to find.

How Hays can help

Hays is the UK’s leading technology recruiter, working with numerous organisations to place thousands of candidates each year. We know how to find the best people, engage with them and match them better than any other recruiter.

We recruit for a number of roles within technology including cyber security, data and advanced analytics, development, cloud and infrastructure, enterprise resource planning, leadership, projects and change management, testing and telecoms. By building and maintaining networks around the UK from those with entry level experience through to leadership and CIO level, we are able to engage with niche professionals with relevant skills and experience on a regular basis.

The probability, however, is that time is not likely to be on your side, and specialist contractors may be the best solution. Contractors who have helped to lead digital transformation across a myriad of different organisations and potentially, industry sectors, will have a wealth of skills and diverse experience to draw on in the delivery of your projects. In addition to helping you execute your digital transformation projects, contractors are also a very valuable resource when it comes to upskilling existing teams and managing the resistance to change that may be present within your current workforce.

To receive a copy of the latest Hays Technology Contractor Day Rate Guide or to discuss your permanent, temporary or contractor tech recruitment needs please contact:

IT, Cheltenham

T: 01242 731 235


IT, Cheltenham

T: 01242 731 235


“Research gathered for the 2019 Hays Technology Contractor Day Rate Guide showed that 94% of employers who engaged tech contractors within the past year experienced skills shortages when hiring. So, when it comes to finding the best tech talent in a skills short market, who can you trust with your recruitment needs?”

Can Gloucester drive a high street retail renaissance?



ProCook, the Gloucester-based national kitchenware retailer is expanding further onto the high street, after announcing it will take over 13 former Steamer Trading stores following its purchase of the ailing retailer in January.

The move takes the total number of ProCook stores across the UK to 50, broadening its reach from out-of-town outlets and leisure destinations to town centre locations. It also complements the retailer’s successful eCommerce platform and growing international presence

ProCook owner Daniel O’Neill said: “After almost six months of trying to get the Steamer Trading model to work, and a significant amount of investment, we have been forced draw the brand to a close. We have concluded that our best route to success is to use Steamer Trading’s most profitable sites in expansion plans

for ProCook. It’s sad for the Steamer Trading brand, but even with our best efforts the model is not viable.”

ProCook plans to move into 13 of Steamer Trading’s 21 sites, which will help mitigate job losses, but says it will have to close the remaining stores.

ProCook was founded in 1995 and supplies high quality kitchen and dining ware direct to the customer with no middleman. The company designs and manufactures around 1,200 exclusive products from cookware, kitchen accessories to tableware categories.

Steamer Trading opened its first shop in 1985 in Alfriston, Sussex.

ProCook stores opening in this region will include Cirencester, Thame, Bath and Bristol.

Green light for major retail and leisure scheme at Kingsway

Gloucester city councillors have given the green light to proposals for a new 47,000 sq ft retail and leisure scheme to be occupied by a B&M Home Store with garden centre and Pure Gym at Kingsway in Quedgeley.

Developer Robert Hitchins Ltd is bringing the two national brands to the three-acre brownfield site in Newhaven Road, Gloucester. There will also be 205 parking spaces. Michael Plimmer, Senior Development Manager for Robert Hitchins Ltd, said: “These proposals will

regenerate a derelict site which has been empty for more than a decade.”

Pure Gym is backed by cycling supremo Sir Chris Hoy and has almost one million members at 192 premises nationwide.

Kingsway has emerged on the site of the former 340-acre RAF Quedgeley. The original masterplan included 3,300 homes, a 40-acre employment site, community and leisure facilities, retail, sports area and primary school.

A £400,000 centre for digital innovation has opened in Gloucester.

The UK Digital Retail Innovation Centre, UK:DRIC, will help retailers develop technology answers to the challenges faced by the high street that can be replicated and scaled up across the UK.

The funds came from government via Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership following a number of retail tech firsts for the city. Last year Gloucester’s GL loyalty card won an Association of Town and City Management award for Best Digital High Street Project.

Gloucester was also the first city in the UK to adopt a three-in-one integrated solution with CCTV over IP, free high-speed WiFi across the whole city and 4G being installed simultaneously. The approach has since been adopted by Cardiff, Glasgow, Nottingham, Leicester and Newcastle.

Projects currently being implemented within UK:DRIC are being developed by Rewarding Visits, which was granted £1 million Innovate UK funding, and Maybetech.

Both aim to encourage customers to visit and buy more in physical stores rather than purchasing goods online.

Regional round-up ProCook expands on the high street 17

Cheltenham based Albright IP ranks in top 20 UK Trade Mark filers

The Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA) has once again compiled its list of the top 100 UK-based filers for UK trade mark applications, and Cheltenhambased IP firm Albright IP has ranked at number 20.

Listed above many much larger and longer-established firms and having filed a total of 292 applications in the last calendar year, this achievement is all the more remarkable given the size of this small, local firm. In addition, Albright IP filed 114 EU applications, bringing them in at number 50 for European trade mark filers.

These impressive rankings reflect a period of strong growth for the firm, whose head office is based in Montpellier. With seven new additions to its experienced team of patent and trade mark attorneys since the start of 2019 and an additional office that opened in Cornwall last year, Albright IP has become a leading authority on all matters of intellectual property protection and enforcement in the South West.

To read more on Albright IP and the innovations they work with, take a look at the latest edition of their inhouse magazine, Figure 1, inserted with this issue of Business & Innovation magazine.

From shed to Shire Hall, Quattro celebrates 35 years redesigning Gloucestershire

Lauched in Gloucester from a garden shed, Quattro Design Architects is now celebrating 35 years in business with the shed a distant memory. The practice is now based in the former Gloucester Antiques Centre at Gloucester Quays.

The company, which designed the striking new-look Gloucestershire County Council’s offices, was set up by a quartet of socially-aware architects working for a housing association.


Sundeala Ltd, the largest manufacturer of display and presentation boards in the UK, which is based at Cam, near Dursley has secured a £650,000 investment supported by Barclays to improve and modernise its production process.

The investment in equipment and technology will secure 60 jobs and allow new product development and business growth. The business currently turns over around £7.5 million annually.

mineral pigments before pressing and drying into a robust fibre board. Sundeala takes waste products such as newspapers, cardboard, tea bags and egg boxes and turns them into high-performance, eco-friendly display products.

Mike Gorham, Managing Director at Sundeala said “This investment will bring the production process into the 21st century and allow us to develop new market opportunities.

Last year the company delivered individual projects worth up to £20 million.

Director, Richard Fellows, said: “Our original directors set up as a co-operative with a social ethos. Sustainability was their passion back then. It still is for us now. Sustainability has always been at our core.”

In addition to the major makeover of Gloucestershire County Council’s offices, Quattro has also designed a new development at Black Dog Way along with many other projects around the city and country.

Established in 1898, Sundeala Ltd is the only European manufacturer of a 100 per cent recycled fibre board. The boards, manufactured at its Middle Mill paper mill, have been made the same way for more than 100 years.

Water is drawn from the river Cam, mixed with cellulose fibres and natural

“We are already exploring the possibility of using our reinforced eco-friendly boards in applications as diverse as industrial filtration, fire doors and as an alternative to wood panels in construction.

“When fully developed, these new boards could add up to £3 million per annum to our turnover.”

Coaching company offers free software to not-for-profit sports clubs

Gloucestershire’s not-for-profit sports clubs are being offered the chance of free licences for sports club management software developed by Cheltenham-based company Coacha.

Coacha is a secure, cloud-based software system helping amateur sports coaches monitor attendance, manage club finances and keep member information safe.

Many not-for-profit club coaches are paid purely in job satisfaction, said

Coacha, and some clubs can’t afford to pay for software to safeguard members’ data properly.

Coacha software helps clubs reduce manual paperwork, digitalise systems, applying GDPR and child protection best practice.

Coacha’s Jason Ayers said: “Coaches shouldn’t be using their own money to do something as essential as safeguarding members’ data. We want to help by giving away £3,000 worth of licenses.”

Regional round-up
“Our original directors set up as a cooperative with a big social ethos – sustainability was their driving passion back then. It still is for us now. Sustainability has always been at our core”
Sundeala MD Mike Gorham, Barclays Relationship Director Jason Llewellyn and Sundeala Product Director Wayne Price 19
Quattro’s funky new design for Gloucestershire County Council ‘s outdated headquarters

Growing Bamboo buys

Tech OP Solutions Ltd

Bamboo Technology Group Ltd, the Cheltenham provider of managed ICT services, has bought Tech OP Solutions Ltd, also based in the town.

This is the first acquisition in Bamboo’s buy and build strategy as it plans to become a leading independent managed services provider.

Lorrin White, Bamboo’s Managing Director, said: “We have been partnering with Tech OP for a number of years now, providing their customers with connectivity, while they have supported ours with managed IT services and cyber security consultancy.

“We have some really exciting and ambitious plans for the next few years. The past two years have seen us invest in our internal processes, quality standards, attracting new talent, further digital transformation and automation to enhance our service provision.

“With these elements complete and key new members of the team in place, we are now moving to the next stage of our growth strategy and ramping up activity with an aggressive acquisition trail.”

In the short term, Tech OP will continue operating under current arrangements before becoming fully integrated into the Bamboo group over the coming months.


Sports nutrition brand, NutritionX, which has its headquarters in Gloucester, has entered the Asian market with its first distribution agreement in Hong Kong.

The agreement is with Streamline Sports, a Hong-Kong provider of specialist sports supplies and equipment.

Streamline Sports has agreed exclusive distribution rights with NutritionX.

As part of the agreement, NutritionX products have been taken on by clubs including the Hong Kong Football Association, The Hong Kong Sports Institute and Valley Forte Rugby Club.

David Hannah, General Manager of Streamline Sports, said: “We will benefit greatly from NutritionX’s extensive knowledge, resources and expertise in the area of sports nutrition.

Home-delivery wine merchant raises glass to new offices

Staff at the UK’s leading home-delivery wine merchant are sitting comfortably following a major refurbishment.

Laithwaite’s Wine called in interior design specialist, Cobus, to install a modern, refreshed working environment for the 130 staff at its Gloucester-based offices.

With the wine merchants expected to take

on an extra 90 new members to cover the festive period – an increase in 70 per cent of its workforce – Cobus was asked to allow for the major growth in capacity.

The family-run firm, which is also based in Gloucester, achieved the ambitious project by installing up to 200 work stations, alongside additional desking and boardroom tables.

“Their fantastic range of sports supplements, coupled with their “food first” mantra, will enable Streamline Sports to offer greater support to elite athletes and sports organisations in Hong Kong.”

NutritionX’s Managing Director, James Markey, added: “We’re thrilled to be making our first foray into the Asian market having established some fantastic club partnerships and a solid consumer customer base here in the UK.

“Streamline works with some incredible clubs and athletes and has a real passion for what it does.”

“We will benefit greatly from NutritionX’s extensive knowledge, resources and expertise in the area of sports nutrition”
Nutrition X
Cobus’ new offices for Laithwaite’s Wines


Getting the strategy right means new ideas

Counties across the region are in the middle of gathering evidence for their new Industrial Strategies to present to the government.

It would be easy to dismiss this as just another plan going nowhere.

As Gloucestershire Director of Business West, I believe it is a great opportunity for my county to really get its act together to drive our future.

That doesn’t just mean driving the economy to increase our productivity.

It means putting everything together in a co-ordinated plan that will make our beautiful county a better place to live and work.

But that will only be achieved if our businesses and our councils really do take this new Industrial Strategy seriously and come forward with ideas that will make them living documents.

Not a thick wad of paper with lots of words and, in the case of Gloucestershire, little real relevance to the daily lives of the 630,000 people who live here.

And I think that our young people are very important to these plans for the future.

After all, it is their future we are talking about and this strategy must be designed to have a lifespan of at least 10 years for its implementation.

It is not here today and gone tomorrow.

I welcome GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership’s decision to involve what I hope will be hundreds of responses to a group of young researchers from Young

Gloucestershire and Participation People who want to find out what we should do to make Gloucestershire a “Magnet County” for our young people — because we are haemorrhaging young people at an alarming rate.

They live here, they are educated here and nearly 500 of them are then leaving every year, many never to return.

During Gloucestershire’s 2050 debate over the last two years, I thought our young people were largely ignored.

That is now being put right with the Industrial Strategy placing them at the forefront of the county’s future, where they should be.

And as I wrote at the time of the 2050 project, we ignore the thoughts of young people at our peril.

I well remember 11 years ago, when I was vice-chair of the Gloucester Heritage Urban Regeneration Company, we set up an Urban Youth Forum so that the young people of Gloucester could influence the city’s regeneration.

Young people have great ideas and they must be involved in every facet of making Gloucestershire a “Magnet County”.

After all, if we encourage our young people to stay in the county and develop their careers here, they will bring up their families and help us all to create a vibrant, innovative economy.

Local Industrial Strategies to drive growth across the country

The government announced last December that it wants all regions and counties across the UK to have their own local industrial strategies.

It wants to see each country or region developing long-term plans based on clear evidence and aligned to the UK’s national modern industrial strategy.

The development of Local Industrial Strategies, through extensive local consultation with businesses, public partners and civil society, will build on local strengths.

The government hopes to ensure every community, and the country, reaches their economic potential and creates high quality good jobs.

All local industrial strategies are due to be published this year.

Ian Mean is Gloucestershire Director of Business West, and a former regional newspaper editor.

He is an honorary vice-president of Gloucestershire College and has an honorary doctorate of philosophy from the University of Gloucestershire for supporting business in the county.

Ian is also chairman of the Gloucestershire Hospitals Trust Organ Donation Committee and a board member of Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership, championing small and medium-sized businesses.

Ian Mean

We’re taking a method of making cocktails and simplifying it without compromising quality.

We have developed a draught cocktail tap. That’s right, your favourite tipple on tap.

We’re kegging up the finest ingredients ready to be attached to any bar taps. You can also hire the Pronto Cocktails team to come and provide a cocktail service for your business event or party.

Contact us with your event enquires on 01865 366 276 or email •

Business & Innovation Magazine 2nd anniversary


Nicky Godding and Kirsty Muir invited the Gloucestershire business community to join them in the panoramic suite at Cheltenham Racecourse to celebrate their 2nd anniversary of NK Media Ltd and publishing Business & Innovation Magazine. Guests enjoyed specially brewed beers from Hillside Brewery and Cocktails on tap from Pronto Cocktails.


NK Media Ltd team, Lizi Clapham, Kirsty Muir, Nicky Godding and Rosemary Henderson Business & Innovation Magazine anniversary beer, custom made and brewed especially by Hillside Brewery Roman Cooper from Allcooper with Dorian Wragg from Bruton Knowles and Eamon McGurk from McGurk Group Alfred Bryant and Richard Carter from NFU Mutual Stephen Shortt from Hawkins & Brimble with Paul Fussell from Hazlewoods James Whittaker from Hazlewooods with Nicky Godding, Editor of Business & Innovation Magazine and David Clift from Hazlewoods Cocktails on tap from the fabulous Pronto Cocktails Martin Ellis and David Arthur from Delapena Group Peter and Paul Williamson from Hillside Brewery
Rachel Palmer from RRA Architects with Jo Draper from QuoLux
Sebastian Merritt from Brunsdon Financial Services with Julie Kent from Pied Piper and Matt Baker from We Are Destination Paula Bradshaw from Clarkson Evans and Andrew McKenzie from Commercial Group Jeremy Williamson from Cheltenham Borough Council with Gemma Brindley from Crowe UK and Colin Jones from John Morgan Partnership Sue Daniels from SLG Brands with Kevin Truss from coombes:everett Architects and Richard Buckland from SLG Brands Sally Flower from A J Gallagher with James Whittaker from Hazlewoods and Andrew Bence from Indectron Claire Maddox from Eurolink and Anthony Spackman from Pronto Cocktails Kirsty Muir from Business & Innovation with John Workman from BPE Solicitors Paul Hillis and Nigel Church from First Solution Radek Chanas from Pegasus Group and Owen Acland from Peel Retail Parks Simon Tothill from Robert Hitchins with John Hawkins from Hawkins Watton and Peter Williamson from Hillside Brewery Charlie Ogden-Metherall and Richard Ogden-Metherall from i2i Recruitment Rob Loveday from GE Aviation and Jon Leamon from Cheltenham Chamber Aled Roberts from Roberts Limbrick and Simon Carey from Barnwood Construction
Lindsay Young from Clarkson Evans with Charles Cox from Sutton Cox Architects
George Tatham-Losh from Move Sales & Lettings with Amanda Collins from Croft & Jones, Kirsty Muir from Business & Innovation Magazine and Terry Croft from Croft & Jones Rod Matthews with Joyce Matthews from Business & Innovation Magazine and Anita Syvret from Syvret Media Chrissie Whitaker from Cyber Security Associates and Bernadette Murphy from Cheltenham Festivals Laura-Jayne Roberts from Ivy PR and Myra Billinghurst from Gloucestershire College Sue Waters from GB Solutions with Sally Firth from Tewkesbury Park Hotel and Richard Bach from XQ Cyber John Thornley and Ian Phelps from GBE Converge Jonathan White from Quattro Design Architects with Roman Cooper from Allcooper and Simon McKeag from ASH Chartered Surveyors Di Pitts from Handelsbanken in Cirencester with Angie Petkovic from ATP Marketing and Julie Kent from Pied Piper Rachel von Hossle and Dr Jayne Nation from Wynne Jones IP Nick Bracey from Brace Creative with Emily Hunt from Emily Hunt Design and Neil Brimble from Abbey Business Interiors Ian Mean from Business West and Sarah Bryars from Target PR
Mark Price, Sarah Pridmore and Sean Leach from Vitruvius Management Services


Town boosts its business connections

A new business networking group has launched in Broadway.

Peter Heming, Managing Director of civil engineering company The Heming Group, which is based at Willersey near Broadway, and Ruby Edwards from You Do Better PR Agency, have joined forces with The Swan, Broadway to help boost trade in the area by launching Cotswold Business Connections.

Hosted at The Swan every second Friday of the month, the breakfast meeting aims to introduce local professional contacts to each other in an informal and friendly way. There is no joining fee, no membership, simply a group of local people chatting about business over breakfast.

Businesses like The Lygon Arms, Cotswold Mini and Parkinson Wright meet up regularly to exchange ideas and share advice among the group.

It must be hard being so beautiful, but Broadway’s businesses have risen to the challenge, annually welcoming hundreds of thousands of tourists from across the world.

The Lygon Arms hotel can trace its history back to the 1400s, and gave Oliver Cromwell a bed for the night before the Battle of Worcester in 1651. Three hundred years later, in 1963, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor stayed at the hotel.

From the Broadway Deli delicatessen and café to the art and antiques shops, fashion and interiors stores, Broadway isn’t for those seeking familiar chain stores. You can hop on a train from nearby Toddington to Cheltenham Racecourse and thumb a lift to the town’s John Lewis if you’re so inclined.

The old GWR steam railway runs for 13 miles between Cheltenham Racecourse and Toddington. Volunteers have restored the line together with the platforms, buildings, steam and diesel locomotives

and rolling stock. But don’t miss Broadway’s famous Food Festival, held in the town on Sunday September 15 which hosts artisan producers and offers cooking demonstrations by local chefs.

Overlooking this pretty town on Fish Hill, standing 65 feet high is Broadway Tower, the second highest point in the Cotswolds. The brainchild of Capability Brown, Broadway Tower was built for the Earl of Coventry in 1798 by renowned architect James Wyatt. It now welcomes thousands of visitors to its tea shop every year.

Broadway uncovered
Every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors descend on the exquisite small Cotswold town of Broadway
The Lygon Arms


British farmers are finding new ways to make money, from converting old farm buildings into holiday cottages to making cheese, brewing cider or pressing apples for apple juice. But for two Broadway farmers, the road to income diversification has been through their crops.

Purple reigns across Broadway in July

High on the hills overlooking Broadway and the Vale of Evesham sits Hill Barn Farm at Snowshill, the home of Cotswold Lavender.

The Byrd family have been farming the land for three generations but in 2000, seeking to diversify, Charlie Byrd decided to try his hand at growing lavender.

Now around 80 acres of the farm are dedicated to this beautiful, scented flower, native to areas around the Mediterranean and south west Asia. It also grows well in the free-draining limestone soil on the Cotswold hills, which allows the water to drain away quickly.

Coming from a traditional farming background, Charlie introduced the lavender on to the farm, learning as he went. He bought 300 lavender plants from nearby Batsford Arboretum, planted them and waited. But that was only half the story, he had to learn how to extract the oil.

The lavender is harvested in July and essential oils are extracted, using distilling methods that go back to Egyptian times. It is sold in the farm

shop, in various UK outlets (including St Paul’s Cathedral in London) and across the world, including Germany, America and Japan.

The family hasn’t completely given up on traditional crops and Hill Barn Farm still grows wheat, barley and spring crops, but the business largely revolves around the lavender, which also attracts thousands of visitors every year, adding a further income stream.

More recently, the family has begun growing chamomile, which is distilled in a similar manner to the lavender.

The global essential oils market demand is projected to expand by around nine per cent per annum from 2019 to 2025. Robust growth of industries such as food and beverage, personal care and cosmetics, and aromatherapy has translated into an upswing in the demand for the product.

The growing consumer towards natural and organic products is also leading to the increased use of essential oils in cosmetics, food and drinks.

In 2010, Charlie Beldam, a farmer’s son and self-confessed foodie, set up Cotswold Gold as a diversification venture based around his family’s arable farm near Broadway.

East Lodge Farm at Stanton was already producing high quality rapeseed and Charlie wanted to find other ways to use the crop and make it more profitable.

The result is Cotswold Gold.

“Cotswold Gold is a premium extra virgin rapeseed oil made using traditional cold pressing methods that preserve the health benefits of the seed making the oil naturally high in vitamin E, rich in omega 3, 6 and 9 and low in cholesterol,” he explained.

“We only use crops grown on our family farm and all our oil is grown, harvested, pressed and bottled in the Cotswolds.”

Rapeseed oil is the UK’s third most important crop after wheat and barley, and is the only commonly-used culinary oil that can be widely found both grown and bottled in the UK.

Charlie’s going for gold with rapeseed oil at Stanton
Charlie Beldam, Cotswold Gold
Cotswolds Lavender


One lovely hotel isn’t enough for The Farncombe Estate at Broadway. This 400-acre Cotswold estate now hosts three fabulous such establishments, each offering different experiences and meeting a range of needs, from active family holidays to those wanting relaxed breaks, from spas to fine dining.

And these don’t include the estate’s sumptuous tree houses (with baths on their verandas) and cute shepherd’s huts.

The Dormy House hotel sits at the top of the estate. In 2014, this hotel received a £13 million investment from estate owners, the Philip-Sørensen family, which included the addition of a glorious spa. From the front The Dormy House looks like a lovely Cotswold country house. Inside, however, the building is like a tardis – with rooms and corridors spanning out in all directions.

Further down the hill is Foxhill Manor. The manor house which once offered conference and training facilities for security staff has had a multi-million pound refurbishment by the Farncombe Estate and is now offered as a private guest residence.

And then there’s The Fish Hotel. Built in 2001 as a conference centre, this 63-room

hotel was completely refurbished and reopened as a hotel last year. It has an altogether more relaxed feel about it. With the most wonderful views across to the Malverns and even the Black Mountains in Wales on a clear day, families are encouraged to relax, run free or don wellies and waterproofs and go exploring across the estate. There are even large tin baths and hoses to wash the honest

Foxhill Manor
Melanie Proffitt, Chief Financial Officer at the Farncombe Estate, Emma Fells, Relationship Director at Barclays and Andrew Grahame, Chief Executive at Farncombe Estate

Cotswold earth from your four-legged friend (who is also welcome here), before guests prepare for a fabulous dinner in the Fish Hotel’s funky restaurant, Hook.

The Farncombe Estate has been privately owned by the Philip-Sørensen family for more than 40 years. It was originally a residential training school and headquarters for Group 4 Securitas International, the global security company built up by Jørgen Philip-Sørensen who was chairman and chief executive from 1964-2000.

The estate’s reinvention as a hotel and leisure destination began a decade ago.

The village of Broadway is a short drive, or a healthy walk, away and it certainly benefits from having a luxury hotel close by.

Andrew Grahame has been Chief Executive since 2012 and has brought together a strong team to develop these three award-winning hotels.

“We have three unique hotels that allow guests to choose the price point at which they want to experience our beautiful estate, and more people are now discovering this Cotswold jewel”

He wants to create a destination where guests can enjoy freedom and privacy alongside first-class food and service, and with plenty of activities on offer. He arrived at Farncombe having spent three years at Goodwood, where he was responsible for the Goodwood Hotel, Golf At Goodwood, Goodwood House, The Kennels (Goodwood’s members club) and its motor circuit catering.

“My idea for developing Farncombe grew out of a desire to create a new kind of hospitality which puts the guest at the centre. At Farncombe, we are all about our guests, but some hotels still tend to forget

the reason they exist. They operate for the convenience of the staff and above all they process guests and don’t entertain them.

“We have three unique hotels that allow guests to choose the price point at which they want to experience our beautiful estate, and more people are now discovering this Cotswold jewel.”

The amazing tree house accommodation The Fish Hotel
The Dormy House Spa

How profit extraction requires careful consideration by owner shareholders of SMEs…

If you are an owner / shareholder of an SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) there could be a good argument in favour of making pension contributions in addition to or instead of drawing a dividend.

You will be familiar with the strategy of drawing a low salary of around £8,000 pa and paying additional income as dividends, however if you are in the financial position where you don’t need some or all of the income for day to day living costs extracting some business profits via pension contributions should be strongly considered. Pension contributions can be even more tax efficient than both salary and dividends. This is because an employer Pension Contribution is not subject to Employers and Employee NI and is usually treated as an allowable deduction for Corporation Tax.


Ian Brookes, APFS Financial Planner, Charles Stanley Financial Planning

“I have also advised on scenarios where the SME owner has been able to pay employer contributions in excess of the £40,000 annual allowance, using part or all of their unused carried forward annual allowance from the last 3 tax years.”

Modern pensions allow the fund value to be accessed flexibly with up to 25% of the pension fund value available tax free from age 55, under current rules. There is no immediate requirement to draw any taxable income from

the fund and it could be left to grow until the individual is a basic rather than higher rate income tax payer in the future. Finally, a word of caution, taking drawdown income, in addition to the tax free lump sum, will trigger the Money Purchase Annual Allowance (MPAA), restricting future savings to a maximum of £4,000 per tax year currently.

you are interested in exploring business profit extraction or any other area of financial advice please contact Ian Brookes


You are invited to join the good and the great of the Oxfordshire business & professional community

Special Guest: John Wilkinson, author of ‘Face Cancer’ book

Date: 19th September 2019

Time: 8.00 pm

Venue: Randolph Hotel, Beaumont St, Oxford OX1 2LN

Tickets: £100 per person, including drinks reception, 3-course meal, coffee and petit fours. Tables are of 12.

RSVP: To book tickets please contact Tanja Melling on email:

ALL net proceeds from the charity ball will be going to Maggie’s Centre in Oxford and Oracle Cancer Trust.

John Wilkinson, a deputy area director for HSBC Corporate Banking in Oxfordshire, was approaching 50 years of age, and had everything he could have wished for, a good balance between his loving family and a busy work life, but in 2017, his world was turned upside down. An aggressive, and very rare cancerous tumour had taken residence in his face and John’s future looked extremely bleak. He underwent 30 hours of life-changing maxillofacial surgery across several operations, followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Whilst recovering from the shock of the first operation, John had an epiphany. He wished to help others facing cancer and give something back – a ‘thank you’ to those who had saved him and decided to write a book.

Investment involves risk. Investors may get back less than invested. Charles Stanley & Co. Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Charles Stanley is not a tax adviser. This information is based on our understanding of current HMRC legislation. Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future. | 01865 953515 |
Ian Brookes, Financial Planner Charles Stanley
“I have assisted a number of business owners in the last 10 years to identify where a combination of salary, dividend and employer contribution produces a better outcome for them overall than the traditional salary and dividend model of remuneration.”


Businesses from across Banbury and Bicester celebrated success at the Cherwell Business Awards. More than 240 guests celebrated at Heythrop Park, with 11 finalists crowned winners.

The Overall Cherwell Winner Award 2019, sponsored by Norbar Torque Tools, was awarded to Daniel Geoghegan, Chief Executive of Bicester Heritage. Daniel also won Business Person of the Year.

Other winners on the night included: Assure UK winning the Apprenticeship

and Training Award, Nicholson Nurseries Ltd won the Established Business Award and MH Development Engineering won the Innovation Award.

Bicester Property Services won the Micro Business Award while the New Business Award went to Digital Accounting Enterprises.

Coles Books won Best Retail Business. The Small Business Award went to 9-2-3 Jobs and ACE Training & Consultancy won Sustainable Business.

Business networking is a breath of fresh air

Tear off your tie, kick off your heels and dig out your walking boots.

Two businesswomen with a passion for walking have launched a new wellbeing concept for business people across Oxfordshire and Berkshire.

Graphic and web designer Dawn Lillington from Drayton St Leonard and Jackie Jarvis, The Walking Business Coach from Wallingford, who are both in their fifties, recently started Natural Netwalking to offer networking while enjoying fresh air and exercising regardless of fitness levels.

Both women’s businesses have been successful partly down to generating new clients through networking, and both

Employee engagement company launches fuel card

Peoplevalue, an employee engagement company based in Wheatley, has launched a new fuel card which gives employees access to the wholesale price for fuel at all BP’s UK service stations.

This means that when users pay for fuel using the BP Plus Fuel Card, they are charged a weekly fixed rate, rather than the price per litre displayed at the fuel pump.

Millions of employees spend a significant proportion of their salaries on fuel. Peoplevalue wanted to deliver a benefit to UK businesses that would have a meaningful impact on the lives of their employees and make their salaries go further.

BP operates one of the largest networks of service stations across the UK and is the largest operator of UK motorway service stations. BP Plus Fuel Card users can save up to 20 pence per litre when they fill up.

have experienced the negative effects of stress and chronic overload. Dawn said: “I literally walked myself back to health following treatment for breast cancer. Walking also helps to inspire many of my best creative ideas.”

The walks take place in the early morning, mid-morning or early evening and rotate between Wallingford, Goring and Streatley,

Benson, Abingdon and Ipsden, with new walks planned for Witney, Oxford, Bix, Weston-on-the-Green, Wantage and Princes Risborough.

Jackie said: “Walking and networking together can help build new business connections. It can also facilitate departmental relationships or help integrate new members into a team.”

“I recently literally walked myself back to health following treatment for breast cancer. Walking also helps to inspire many of my best creative ideas”
Regional round-up
Winners of the Cherwell Business Awards
Dawn Lillington and Jackie Jarvis

New aircraft maintenance company sets up at London Oxford Airport


Oxford’s biggest independent car share operator, Co-wheels, has become part of the German-based Oply car sharing network which is rapidly expanding across Europe.

Co-wheels has a fleet of more than 30 cars in Oxford and it also operates in other towns across the UK, including Reading, Swindon and Newbury.

It is now part of Oply UK Ltd, a new joint venture which has investment from ExaMotive the European provider of ondemand mobility, and SAIC Motor, the largest car maker in China which owns the iconic brand MG.

Oxford is clearly an attractive target for car sharing. Zipcar, the world’s largest

pay-as-you-drive car club based in the USA, also has offices in the city.

Co-wheels is a pay-as-you-go car hire scheme, with vehicles available to hire in convenient locations across the UK.

Directors Richard Falconer and Paul Balmont will continue to lead the Co-wheels operation. Richard said: “Mobility is developing at a rapid pace and we are determined to ensure Co-wheels is at the forefront.

“We have been searching for partners who could help us achieve this vision at a pace faster than would be possible on our own and we are delighted to become a part of the Oply network and be working with partners who share our ideals and vision.”

World-first energy superhub to be built in Oxford

A £41 million energy superhub, which will be model for cities around the world seeking to cut carbon and improve air quality, will be built in Oxford. The consortium partners include Oxford City Council, Habitat Energy and the University of Oxford.

The Energy Superhub Oxford project involves the deployment of gridscale energy storage and supports the decarbonisation of transport, power and heat across the city.

Habitat Energy, an Oxford-based firm, will help to facilitate the trading of

battery storage in the power markets. It will also help plan the timing of the electric vehicle charging and heat pump activation to deliver maximum benefit to the grid.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will contribute around £10 million to support the project

The superhub aims to deliver 20,000 tonnes of CO2 per year saving by 2021. The project aims to reduce emissions by accelerating a switch to electric vehicles and decarbonising heating for homes and buildings.

A new aircraft maintenance company, Jet Maintenance International (JMI), has set up at London Oxford Airport.

It is headed by Neil Plumb and Ed Griffith, who have more than 40 years’ combined experience in business aviation. The JMI team wants to tap into the growing demand for personalised customer service on some of the more popular aircraft models in the UK and in the business aviation fleet, where demand for quality technical support is beginning to exceed capacity.

JMI is based at London Oxford Airport’s recently completed facility, Hangar 14, a new £2 million facility with around 16,000 sq ft along with offices and customer parking.

Laundry invests £500k in Banbury facility

A £500,000 investment into its Banbury Laundry by Maidenheadbased national laundry company Clean, has upgraded equipment and will create more jobs, including apprenticeships.

The Banbury laundry opened in 1997 and supplies bedlinen, towels and table linen to businesses in South East England and the Midlands, including Center Parcs, Premier Inn hotels in the region and many others.

Regional round-up 35
Oxford Co-wheels becomes part of the Germany-based Oply car sharing


Venturefest, which draws Oxfordshire’s inventors and innovators closer to investors, is returning to Oxford Brookes University’s Headington Campus on September 11.

The 2019 Venturefest will focus on inward investment and global growth. The event will include special sessions on three areas targeted by the governmentfunded UK Research and Innovation: USA, China and India.

Venturefest’s popular Pitching for Success competition will also return, with two sessions judged by an expert panel including John Holden of Foresight Williams technology investment fund, Adam Workman of Oxford University Innovation, Evie Mulberry, Managing Director of Astia which supports women in high-growth start-ups, Caroline McGuirk of Anjost Investment, Rebecca Todd of Longwall Venture Partners and Tim Colchester of Banbury-based automotive company Prodrive.

An exhibition showcase, sponsored by Oxford tech innovation cluster, TheHill, will feature medtech companies from across the region. Sessions and a technology showcase will also be held on the government’s four grand challenges: artificial intelligence and data, the ageing society, clean growth and the future of mobility.

More details about Venturefest, the competition and how to apply are on the Venturefest website:

Panel sessions offer chance to debate

Mobility Oxford presents The Future of Mobility

The UK is a world leader in shaping the future of mobility, how we move people, goods and services around our towns, cities and the countryside. Companies and individuals in Oxfordshire are driving innovation in engineering, technology and business models to dramatically reduce carbon emissions, other pollutants and congestion. This session will offer an insight on new mobility – from new traffic systems, racing cars to automated vehicles.

Speakers include: Llewelyn Morgan, Head of Innovation at Oxfordshire County Council, Mark Preston (DS Techeetah Formula E Team), Mike Potts (Streetdrone).

Leading in the age of Artificial Intelligence and Data Science

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already helping to address our manufacturing decline and in other sectors.

In healthcare, AI is helping to alleviate pressures on the NHS and can increase productivity, create more jobs and help us develop unique skills that should allow the UK to maintain its global leadership position.

However, AI and data will bring change, which has an impact in many sectors.

This session at will hear how some of the companies at the heart of this AI and data revolution are innovating our world.

Speakers include: Deborah Spencer of the University of Oxford, Nigel Crook of Oxford Brookes University and Jakob Howard of AI development company Latent Logic. More panel speakers will be confirmed during the summer.

Invest for growth and success: how much does venture capital drive the global economy?

Venture capital investment in the UK reached an all-time high in 2018. A special Venturefest panel will put the industry under the microscope and ask some key questions, including what level of returns has venture capital as an asset class returned, and what geographical trends have those working in venture capital witnessed.

The chair of this special investment panel will be Jens Tholstrup, of the Oxford Investment Opportunity Network and confirmed panellists include George Whitehead of Octopus Ventures and Meriwether Beckwith of Oxford Capital Partners. Other international investor panellists will be announced during the summer.




Last year, seven million visitors flocked to Bicester. To be more accurate, most of them headed to Bicester Village, the phenomenally successful designer outlet village, on the edge of the town centre, which generates some of the highest visitor numbers to any shopping centres in the world.

Just 50 minutes from London Marylebone Station, Bicester Village even has its own railway station, so only a very small proportion of global shoppers actually visit the town.

But they should, because Bicester is growing at a phenomenal rate, with millions of pounds of investment being planned over the next decade. The town’s population is set to rise from 30,000 to 50,000, with a further 18,500 jobs on offer and 10,000 new homes.

Some of these homes will be in the UK’s largest self-build scheme at Graven Hill (you may have followed the progress of some self-build pioneers on Channel 4 earlier this year). Here, up to 1,900 selfbuild, custom-build and affordable homes are planned.

Eco business centre attracts new companies to the town

Cherwell District Council has appointed Town Square Spaces Ltd to operate its new Perch Eco Business Centre at Elmsbrook, Bicester.

One of two co-working spaces in the town, the Perch Eco Business Centre, will provide office space and support for start-ups and small businesses.

Robert Jolley, Cherwell’s Assistant Director for Planning and Economy, said: “Town Square Spaces has a proven

track record in managing business hubs throughout the UK. We are pleased to be working with them to bring small and medium-sized businesses to the centre providing local employment opportunities for our residents.”

Developed by Cherwell District Council, this is the first non-domestic building in the UK to achieve Passivhaus Plus, a rigorous standard for energy efficiency.

According to Town Square Spaces’

Gareth Jones: “The building is truly unique and we aim to create a brilliant community of businesses.”

The first tenant of the building will be Oxfordshire Greentech, a business network supporting the growth of the low-carbon sector in Oxfordshire.

Oxfordshire Greentech is part of the OxFutures programme, a £3.2 million project to boost low carbon economic development in Oxfordshire.

Bicester Town Centre

London Marylebone Station, Bicester Village even has its own railway station, so only a very small proportion of global shoppers actually visited the town”

Bicester is also home to the country’s most sustainable housing development at Elmsbrook. The UK’s first eco-town is a pioneering project, part of a 6,000 house development in north west Bicester which, when complete, will provide 393 zero carbon homes and a local centre.

Bicester Heritage unveils masterplan for the UK’s first automotive resort

A company based on a 420-acre former Second World War RAF bomber training station has revealed its master plan for the creation of the UK’s first automotive resort.

Bicester Heritage now hosts more than 40 specialist, mainly automotive, businesses with a collective turnover of over £40 million.

Having successfully developed the concept of a centre for excellence for the historic automotive sector, Bicester Heritage (which occupies just five per cent of the site) will become part a

larger landmark development named Bicester Motion.

The new resort hopes to offer culture, tourism and leisure (including a 344-room hotel and conference development) and an additional 770,000 sq ft of operational business and leisure accommodation.

Bicester Motion hopes to become a UK top 20 tourist attraction that offers a destination for one million tourists, many of whom already visit Bicester on day trips.

Dan Geoghegan, Chief Executive of Bicester Motion, said: “We will enable new and existing manufacturers to interact more effectively with their clientele. It will provide an immersive environment that offers a lifestyle experience beyond just cars on tracks or visiting a showroom. The automotive world is changing and we plan to offer a first-of-its-kind resort that will have multi-generational appeal.”

Bicester Uncovered
“Just 50 minutes from
“Bicester Motion will enable both new and existing manufacturers to interact more effectively with their clientele”
CGI of Bicester Motion’s planned Fast Zone Bicester Heritage
The Perch Eco Business Centre, Bicester

I may be new to Bicester but not Whitley Stimpson having been directly involved with the business for over a decade.

Having been made a director of the firm in 2016 taking over the running of the High Wycombe office, I can see similarities in Bicester, particularly with the client base. It’s about working closely with owner-managed businesses and I have some fresh ideas so when Stephen Payne and Penny Parmar decided to retire from Whitley Stimpson, it made sense for me to transfer.

The previous directors all trained within the firm like myself and this is an ethos I very much want to continue. As a director I was lucky to be given the opportunity to learn through Developing Leadership in Practice (DLiP), the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) programme.

It was a brilliant insight into the bigger picture, working with accountants within other firms to hear about what it means to be a partner and it was a stepping stone for me to start thinking differently. A big part of that was about how you work and engage with other people and make a difference.

Training is vital – it is essential for people to have a good understanding of accounting practices. I want to look at how processes are run to ensure continuity across offices and smooth running of workload which will give a better service to clients.

Whitley Stimpson has provided me with some fabulous opportunities and brilliant training technically and personally. We work with Reed Business School to support trainees’ development and

As Bicester grows, we can grow as a business…

recently started running apprenticeship programmes for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) at levels 4 and 7.

I want people to develop and become part of the firm’s future as managers or directors. We are expanding and our team of 92 which includes directors, professional and support personnel and has increased by 16 in the last year. We recruit trainees every year, both school leavers and graduates with 13 now working towards their Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) or Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA) qualifications and six more recently qualifying. We exhibit at careers fairs throughout the year, building relationships with local schools and colleges to offer work experience and trainee positions as well as in-house school sessions to prepare young people for the outside world.

Our overall philosophy is to give maximum support to staff and offer continuous learning. Ongoing development programmes include

leadership development courses and external mentoring. I believe that such a culture generates loyalty with 19 staff serving 20 years or more with the firm. Six directors trained and qualified internally and we were recently named as one of the top 10 employers in the country by Accountancy Age.

It is all about a team effort. Leading an office is not about telling others what to do - staff contribute ideas and have opportunities to develop and progress. I am keen to listen to people about how they see the office developing in future. All of this means we can continue to grow sustainably. Last year the Bicester office took on additional space and we will be looking to recruit more trainees and expand staff and clients.

I can’t wait to get started, meet the people and businesses of Bicester and grow the firm as part of the community. Just pop in for a coffee and we’ll take it from there!

For advice on business or personal accountancy or to book a free consultation, please contact Laura Herbert at Whitley Stimpson.

Stuart Haigh, Marie Morgan and Laura Herbert
Laura Herbert, newly appointed director of Whitley Stimpson’s Bicester office, outlines how she will approach the role and grow the firm through training and development.
T: 01869 252151


A spin-out from Oxford Brookes University is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

Zeta Specialist Lighting, which is based in Bicester and now employs more than 40 people, was formed in 1989 as a spin out of Oxford Brookes University, focusing on high-end intelligent electronics for the automotive market. By the year 2000 it had become the market leader in special purpose vehicle controls and began diversifying into the LED and solar lighting markets.

Last year, Zeta Specialist Lighting completed a £2 million LED upgrade for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, as part of the borough’s “spend to save” initiative. The contract was to replace all existing street lighting with energy-efficient complete electric LED light units. The company also

upgraded the first set of heritage lanterns in the historic city of Bath.

A unique solar-powered heritage-style street light will be launched this year, along with the next generation of Zeta’s SmartScape street and area lighting solutions. It will also launch a new LED road traffic sign lighting system.

Managing Director Adrian Dennis said: “We expect to realise a further 50 per cent uplift in export sales. Solar systems are very much driving growth in this area particularly in the United Arab Emirates where there is, of course, an abundance of sunlight. We are also seeing increased

Cabbages & Condoms gets great reviews

In 2013 a restaurant chain expanded from its native Thailand into the UK, choosing Bicester for its first eatery in the country.

So what’s new? There are lots of Thai restaurants. But this restaurant has a strong social conscience and isn’t backward in showboating it.

Cabbages & Condoms, on the town’s Chapel Street, was the brainchild of Mechai Viravaidya, now 78, a Thai philanthropist and former politician who wanted to improve the lives of his people. He saw that practically every shop around

Thailand sold cabbages and felt that condoms should be as ubiquitous and accessible.

Cabbages & Condoms was established as a restaurant concept on the backbone of a non-governmental organisation in Thailand called Population and Community Development Association (PDA).

Its goal is to reduce poverty through development initiatives and family planning programmes. Originally called the Community-Based Family Planning Service, it was founded by Mechai in 1974.

Cabbages & Condoms opened to promote better understanding and acceptance of family planning and to generate income to support various development activities of the PDA across Thailand.

The restaurant is currently supported by

demand for LED solar signage solutions among sign-makers in Europe.”

Zeta has recorded consistent doubledigit growth year-on-year, most notably achieving a record-breaking 41 per cent growth last year.

Adrian added: “Innovation is at the core of Zeta’s business and we have a sophisticated in-house R&D facility and manufacturing capabilities. Our focus for this milestone year is on further developing our solar technologies and introducing new products which align with the rapidly changing requirements for our client base.”

the London-based FreeDoms shop in conjunction with the NHS in giving out free condoms in both restaurants.

But the best thing about this restaurant is that it’s not only got a proud social conscience, but fantastic food reviews on TripAdvisor too.

Zeta Specialist Lightin installation outside Eton College
The Cabbages & Condoms restaurant in Bicester

Oxfordshire Business Awards 2019 celebrates 25 years

The 2019 Oxfordshire Business Awards (OXBA) annual awards ceremony was held for the second year in a row at Oxford Brookes University. Attended by the great and the good from the Oxfordshire business community, this years awards were compared by the fabulous Rory Bremner, impressionist and comedian. Rory had the audience laughing from his very first word. A special recognition award was presented to Lord Paul Drayson.


The John Henry Brookes Building – Oxford Brookes University Nigel Tipple from OxLEP and Jane Reeve from Knights and Secretary of the Oxfordshire Business Awards Professor Byron Byrne, Emma Palmer Foster and Piers Scrimshaw-Wright from the Oxford Science Park Catherine Hill from Oxford University Press with Steve Wright from Syndicut and Richard Gillingwater from Emotional Branding Daniel Weston from Mathews Comfort and Kate Jewson from Oodle Car Finance Matt Duquenoy from Dyson and Sarah Best from Newton Europe Mark Richards from Ridge and Partners and Mike Hawkins from Hawkins Group Andy Cowie from James Cowper Kreston with Fran Kidd from Shaw Gibbs and Kirsty Muir from Business & Innovation Magazine Simon Smith from Wellers with Rod Watson from RBS
David Engell from David Engell Corporate Council and Simon Bassett from Royds Withy King
Paul Lowe, Chairman of the Oxfordshire Business Awards with Sarah Gardener from Shaw Gibbs, Ellen Moran from Knights and Peter O’Connell from Shaw Gibbs Lord Paul Drayson, Carmelo Velardo, Dr Nick Scott-Ram and Dr. Rabia Khan from Sensyne Health Mary Pierre-Harvey, Director of Estates, Brookes University with Hilary Dale from Brita, Howard Feather from NatWest and Nikki Dale from Brita Sarah Gardener from Shaw Gibbs with Robert Pinheiro from Royds Withy King and Stuart Crook from Wellers Nigel Brooks from Lloyds and Cameron Rathwell from HSBC Michelle Crawford and Toby Crawford from Imaginera Stuart and Danni Adams from B-Line with Tom Gardener from one-eighty Sean Smith from Planet IT and Christina Nawrocki from Wellers Isabel Miao from Grant Thornton with Steve Neal from Shaw Gibbs and Heather Wood from Metro Bank
Debbie Austin from Wellers and Chris Thompson from Wellers


Europe’s most advanced book distribution centre has opened in Didcot following a multi-million pound investment from one of the UK’s biggest book publishers. We meet the team that pulled it off

Research by Kantar Worldwide reveals that nearly 40 per cent of the UK population bought a printed book in the last year. Just 10 per cent purchased an eBook.

Could the traditional book be winning out as the best technology for delivering the printed word? It’s robust, doesn’t need charging up and it’s not the end of the world if you drop it in the bath (you mean you don’t read in the tub?).

But while eBooks do not sell as many as they once did, there is no denying that volumes of printed books are down around 30-40 per cent over the last decade, thanks to the development of online retailing and just-in-time supply.

Matt Wright, Chief Executive at Hachette UK Distribution, part of one of the UK’s biggest publishers Hachette UK, says that bulk supplies are increasingly going direct from printers to bookstores, cutting the distributor out of the supply chain.

So why has Hachette UK spent tens of millions of pounds building a new distribution centre at Didcot?

There are opportunities. Books are now sold in more retailers than before, from supermarkets to fashion stores, albeit in smaller quantities.

Retailers such as ASOS and Urban Outfitters take titles relevant to their market rather than dedicating retail space to a book section, often promoting them as gifts.

But most distributors are hampered by old computer systems, with out-of-date warehousing which doesn’t meet the

demand for smaller orders going out to more customers.

All the big publishers have distribution arms, said Matt. “Our view is that not all of them will be committed long-term because the volume has been taken out of the market and they don’t see distribution as core to their business, which we do.”

“It’s about getting our books to market. We have more than 100,000 unique titles and distribute books published by our parent company, Hachette UK, and also for our growing stable of other publishers”

Jo Westbrook, Chief Operating Officer at Hachette UK Distribution, added: “It’s about getting our books to market. We have more than 100,000 unique titles and distribute books published by our parent company, Hachette UK. We also distribute for a growing stable of other publishers.

“We needed to invest big or not at all and investing small didn’t stack up as a business case. We couldn’t continue as we were, because staying the same wasn’t a cost neutral option.”

Hachette UK Distribution provides comprehensive distribution services to more than 25 publishers, many of which

Not everything is going digital. Printed books are enjoying something of a renaissance.
CEO Matt Wright & COO Jo Westbrook at Hachette UK Distribution, Didcot
Hachette UK’s new distribution centre at Didcot

are outside the Hachette UK group, and its amazing new distribution centre sits in the shadow of Didcot Power Station’s remaining cooling towers.

The new centre (think Heathrow Terminal 5 in size – and the centre’s main distribution system doesn’t look unlike an airport’s luggage conveyor system), can distribute 65 million books a year. The company currently supplies one in four of all books sold in the UK and its ambition is to deliver one in two.

The huge 30-aisle centre has a bulk packing area for 28 million books, two miles of conveyors and shuttles, and the shuttle system can handle four million books. State-of-the-art is a widely overused phrase, but in this case the description is bang on the money.

Sophisticated technology drives seamless delivery

Watching the book crates whizz around on shuttles carrying individual orders, I admire the sophisticated technology which oils the system’s wheels.

Hachette UK Distribution runs on SAP enterprise resource planning software, from book ordering, sorting and delivery right through to paying royalties to authors when their books have been sold.

Implementing the IT system wasn’t easy, admitted Matt. “We could see the warehouse being built and the automation going in. We could test the results. Developing bespoke IT systems was a real challenge.

“However, our key project managers had 100 years of cumulative experience in the book distribution sector. They understood what our systems couldn’t do, what we needed them to do and worked with our consultants to build and rigorously test the technology.”

Having nursed the entire project from the beginning, Matt and Jo watched nervously when the system launched –Jo especially as she is responsible for Didcot’s warehouse operations, client and customer services.

Hachette UK’s fork lift drivers need a head for heights

The 25-metre-high distribution centre covers 242,000 square feet – the size of six football pitches. It has 35,000 bulk locations and can despatch 65 million books. The 150,000 titles in stock are distributed via two miles of conveyors and 118 shuttles.

The distribution centre is light and airy – a lovely environment. That’s been done on purpose, said Jo. Attracting employees is a challenge and having an attractive working environment is really important.

“In the old days people would have walked to collect individual books,” she explained. “Everything here is systemised apart from checking the books in and packing individual orders. The books come to the packer by a conveyor belt.”

Books come in from all over the world (Most highly-coloured printed books come from China, and a few from Italy. Only black and white books are printed in the UK). The Hachette team check, weigh and take a photograph of them to use in the picking process. They are also measured for carton calculations.

“The first day we processed 3,000 books. Today we will process around 160,000,” she said.

Hachette UK Distribution currently has around 10,000 customers, of which Amazon is the largest.

The company employs 350 people at Didcot. Half of them work in the offices, processing and undertaking credit control. That includes non-physical distribution too. Sales of eBooks still have to be processed and their authors paid, and Hachette UK Distribution does this on behalf of all its publishers.

This is the largest capital project in which its parent company, Hachette Livre, has ever invested – outside of acquisition. The French-headquartered publishing behemoth, established in 1826, is the world’s second largest trade and educational publisher, with interests across the world. Hachette UK owns a number of

The books are stored in the centre’s rather epic 13-storey high bulk storage system –the highest racking accessible by a forklift. truck. And the forklift drivers have to have a head for heights as they lean out of their forklift to pick individual books.

Imagine being 13 storeys high to pick a Mary Berry cookbook? Obviously it’s safe, and the drivers get used to it.

Elsewhere, systemised shuttle cars lit up with red LED lights whizz around like a computer game, picking from totes full of books and offloading them carefully on to conveyors.

This is book distribution for the 21st century and beyond.

publishing companies including Headline, Hodder & Stoughton, John Murray Press, Quercus, Little, Brown Book Group, Orion and Hachette Children’s Group.

The future of book sales

Book sales are not likely to rise significantly overall, but sales in niche sectors are rising. There is an increase in children’s book sales and more people are buying books as gifts – and are willing to pay a premium.

Hachette also exports across the world as the appetite for English language books grows. Inspirational books, such as the Steve Jobs biography, and those of international sports stars, sell very well.

Some books don’t even need an author, just a creative idea and good designers to bring them to fruition.

Hachette Hachette
Jo Westbrook showcases the centre’s automated order fulfilment system



Accountancy and advisory company

Deloitte plans to create 350 new jobs in its Reading office over the next few years following the opening of its Tech Foundry, taking the full-time headcount to 1,000 employees.

The Reading office is currently the firm’s largest UK office outside London.

The Deloitte Tech Foundry, which was opened by Margot James MP, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, has been created to allow Deloitte employees and clients to share expertise on how digital transformation can accelerate innovation across business.

Technologies such as 3D-printers, virtual reality devices, robotics and drones can be tested in the Play Zone. Interactive learning helps technology leaders share insights.

The Deloitte Tech Foundry is supported by the Deloitte Cyber Intelligence Centre, which monitors and assesses cyber security threats within organisations to provide swift mitigation and increased security.

Margot James said: “The Deloitte Tech Foundry is another huge boost for the tech industry in Reading and the Thames Valley, which is already a hotbed of innovation.”

Daniel Barlow is ractice Senior Partner for Reading, Southampton and Gatwick at Deloitte.

He said: “The Thames Valley is home to global technology and telecoms leaders, inspirational scaleups and a host of growing start-ups. It is the ideal location for the opening of our Tech Foundry.”

Still time to enter the Maidenhead

Now in their third year, the Maidenhead & Windsor Business Awards give companies the opportunity to showcase their successes to the local community as well as business leaders.

With 16 categories to choose from, entry is free and open to any business or individual with an SL postcode or a

& Windsor Business Awards

member of the Maidenhead & District Chamber of Commerce. Deadline for entries is July 16.

Last year’s winners included Rebellion Beer, Pro Teeth Whitening Co and RMR Homes. The awards dinner takes place on September 27 at the Holiday Inn, Maidenhead.


Swindon is home to first biodegradable for pills and food supplements

A Swindon-based specialist supplier of packaging to the pharmaceutical, medical and healthcare industries has developed the world’s first plastic blister packs that are biodegradable when exposed to water or landfill.

Wasdell Group has also announced they can be supplied at no extra cost to its customers.

A blister pack that maintains the integrity of the pills or food supplements it protects and will biodegrade rapidly after use, has been the Holy Grail for the pharmaceutical and nutritional industries for years.

Heightened awareness of the global threat of non-degradable plastics has made the search for a solution even more pressing, as consumers become more conscious of the long-term detrimental effects that waste plastic is having on the environment.

Wasdell said its blister packs are 100 per cent shelf stable and 96 per cent biodegradable when placed in an aerobic or anaerobic environment, waste water or marine water.

Wasdell group Chairman Martin Tedham said the development is one of the most significant in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries’ drive to reduce production of damaging plastic waste.
Margot James at Deloitte’s Tech Foundry

JMDA wins prestigious Queen’s Award For Enterprise 2019

We are delighted to announce that JMDA Design are winners of the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2019 for International Trade. Honoured to be recognised for our outstanding contribution to child car seat safety globally, winning a Queen’s Award for JMDA Design is the pinnacle of the last 28 years of innovative product design which has resulted in over 95 car seats having been designed by the team to date.

Building a strong reputation for designing child car seats which strive to increase safety and reduce serious injury in road traffic accidents, has enabled JMDA Design to become a global leader in the Child Restraint System (CRS) industry. Demonstrating impressive growth over the last three years, we are an award-winning product design agency with offices in Worcestershire (UK), Shanghai (China) and Badia Polesine (Italy).

“We were all overwhelmed when the news of our Queen’s Award was announced! Our journey started in 1991 when I began the business with my wife Cherril Barker, who is the Marketing and Finance Director at JMDA. Of course, the landscape of child car seat design was very different back then, but our commitment to child safety has never changed and we’re delighted to now be designing our 97th child car seat.”

He adds, “It really is a team effort at JMDA and winning a Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2019 for International Trade makes me

For more information about JMDA Design please contact: | 01386 426100 |

extremely proud of everything we’ve achieved over the years. Our dedication to the industry is now even stronger than ever!”

Representatives from JMDA Design will attend a royal reception for the Queen’s Award winners in the summer, plus the Lord-Lieutenant of the county will visit JMDA’s HQ in Worcestershire and confer the award by a Grant of Appointment which will be symbolised by the presentation of an impressive commemorative trophy.

|    
Derrick Barker, Creative and Managing Director at JMDA Design

Rural opportunities go online thanks to Business Barn

An online resource for farmers needing information on diversification, which also offers help for those starting a rural business, has invested in its online platform.


One of Worcestershire’s leading providers of land-based activities, training, education and work experience has completed its £500,000 relocation to a new site near Hallow, Worcester.

Wildgoose Rural Training, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, will now be able to work with 150 people every year, supporting individuals with learning disabilities, brain injuries, mental health issues and young people who find school a challenge.

The social enterprise secured £85,000 from the Resonance West Midlands Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) fund to make the move possible, with this new form of finance providing the final part of a funding jigsaw that will give it access to 42 acres of land for use as a

dedicated care farm, wide open spaces, settlement ponds and a new modular hub for its large training kitchen and activity centre.

The Board of Trustees and the staff of the charity are hoping the additional 36 acres can be used to support more students in developing skills for independent living, learning valuable trades and future voluntary and employability skills.

This is the latest in a series of investments from the Resonance West Midlands Fund, launched in 2018 with £1.25 million initial investment. It aims to create a £5 million resource to support the growth of social enterprises tackling poverty and disadvantage across the region.

All Electric dealership accelerates into new era

Thursfields Solicitors has helped All Electric Garages Group’s Kidderminster Hyundai dealership launch into a new era with jobs created and three new sites.

A £400,000 investment programme has seen the company move its dealership from its former site in Churchfields and create new facilities for new and used cars, workshops and vehicle preparation along the Worcester Road.

It has also taken on 10 members of staff, increasing the headcount to 25, and hopes five more employees may be needed on the back of business growth.

Jason Pickerill, Managing Director of All Electric, said: “In the first quarter of this year we have seen significant growth in sales of new and used Hyundais and in parts and labour sales.

“This move has put us firmly on the map – some people hadn’t realised we were based here in Kidderminster. Two of our new sites are next door to each other and the third is just a few steps away, so it gives the business a highly visible footprint on the Worcester Road to keep expanding the business into the future.”

The Business Barn was launched in 2017 by Hannah Moule. Based at Hartlebury, she has worked in the agricultural and rural sector for mor than 20 years.

Hannah launched the business because she was so often asked by clients and start-up businesses for help with new business ideas, where to find business resources and how to write certain documents.

She said: “Two-thirds of farmers have already diversified and one-fifth of those who haven’t yet are seriously considering it, with Brexit a big driving force behind this decision.

“It’s these individuals, alongside ruralbased businesses up and down the country, who are potentially entering a new venture requiring a different set of skills, that need an element of support.

“One of the biggest additions to the website which we are really proud of is our Rural Business Network,” added Hannah.

As a free-to-access member only area, the network features a rural business forum, bespoke webinars covering sector and skill specific topics, and online courses.

Regional round-up
Staff and students at the Wildgoose Rural Training Hannah Moule, Founder of The Business Barn (left) with Rosie Hopkins, Business Manager (right)



Commercial kitchen supplier, Sprint Group, is celebrating 25 years in business.

The Pershore company now employs more than 70 staff and turns over £16 million a year.

Sprint Group supplies high performance commercial kitchen, bar, refrigeration and ventilation equipment to some of the UK’s most well-known restaurant brands, including Brasserie Blanc, the Ivy Collection, Tesco and Hotel Chocolat. It also supplies the NHS, schools and colleges nationwide.

Today the company has 15,000 sq ft of warehousing holding more than £750,000 of stock, a fleet of trucks and a team of directly-employed drivers.

“We’re massively proud of the business Dad built. Sprint has a fantastic reputation for designing, installing and maintaining some of the best kitchens in the industry”

The business set up by David Ryan, now has his sons, Ross and Luke, at the helm, supported by co-directors Tom Bartley-Smith, Ian Bryant and Tony Dickinson.

Ross said: “We’re massively proud of the business dad built. Sprint has a fantastic reputation for designing, installing and maintaining some of the best kitchens in the industry.”

Stanbrook Abbey Hotel reveals £4.2m renovation

Stanbrook Abbey Hotel, which sits at the foot of the Malvern Hills, has opened a new restaurant and added 15 new bedrooms as part of an investment programme by owner operator Hand Picked Hotels.

The abbey has a long and significant history. It was home to an order of Benedictine nuns for more than 150 years before becoming a country house hotel. The church was deconsecrated in 2009 when the few remaining nuns relocated to North Yorkshire to a new Stanbrook Abbey.

In 2015, the new owners re-opened the original Stanbrook Abbey as a hotel prior to Hand Picked Hotels adding the property to its collection two years’ later.

Droitwich is smokin’ for the Macneil’s award-winning business

A fish smokery set up just four years ago in Droitwich has been quietly winning some of the UK’s highest food awards.

Tony and Bee Macneil launched Macneil’s Smokery four years ago after years of international travel working in the catering industry. Tony, a chef by trade, is the driving force behind the business.

The smokehouse is based around a vintage Norwegian smoker that was gifted to Tony by the owner of the largest

privately owned salmon farm in Norway where he used to work.

During his time in Norway, Tony served his smoked fish to the queen of Norway and Russian oligarchs, among others, before he returned to the UK to join his young family in Worcestershire where Bee grew up.

Bee said: “In the short time since we started the business we have won many national food awards, we’ve been awarded

bursaries to show at the Good Food Show and featured on television as part of our work contract smoking Droitwich Salt.

“We’ve also built up an impressive customer base including Selfridges and many food halls, delicatessens and farm shops.”

The company has recently begun a project with local traditional breed pig farmers, where the smokehouse is developing products that use the whole pig.

Regional round-up Tony Dickinson (Projects Director) Luke Ryan (Director) Ross Ryan (Operations Director) Tom Bartley-Smith (MD) and Ian Bryant (Sales Director) 53
Stanbrook Abbey


Combining old and new urban settlements, green landscapes and villages full of history and culture, North Worcestershire is full of business innovation and a heritage of national and international significance.

Ostap Paparega is the new head of North Worcestershire Economic Development and Regeneration (NWedR), a shared service between Bromsgrove, Redditch and Wyre Forest local authorities tasked with putting these assets to use in boosting the area’s economic growth.

“North Worcestershire has long been defined by a constant drive to innovate, progress and excel,” he said.

“From Sir Rowland Hill, the Kidderminster man who originated the penny postage system and the world’s modern postal service, to Stourport-onSevern, the “pioneer town of the canal

“This entrepreneurial spirit continues today thanks to many of the 17,500 businesses based in North Worcestershire, accounting for more than half of all businesses in Worcestershire”

age”, this area has played a major role in the world’s manufacturing and developing technologies, including contributing to the world’s first jet engine in Redditch.

“This entrepreneurial spirit continues today thanks to many of the 17,500 businesses based across North Worcestershire, accounting for more than half of all businesses in the county.”

Key examples include Redditchbased Thorlux Lighting and SEADA Technologies, 2019 winners of the Queen’s

Award for Enterprise in the Innovation and International Trade categories respectively. Also based in Redditch is Mettis Aerospace, which is hosting the world’s first WiFi 6 industrial enterprise and Internet of Things (IoT) trial in collaboration with the Wireless Broadband Alliance. Kidderminster-based Victoria Plc is an international manufacturer and distributor of carpets and innovative flooring products.

These are not isolated examples; the 2018 Worcestershire Business Growth Barometer, published by accountants BDO, revealed that half of the county’s top 50 fastest-growing companies are from North Worcestershire — seven of them in the top 10.

Innovation and entrepreneurship are not limited to one sector or company size. The creative industries in North Worcestershire have achieved significant growth too, with Bromsgrove recording the fastest growth

Wyre Forest District Council Offices

Harris brushes up on company success

LG Harris & Co, or Harris Brushes as the company is more widely known, has been in Bromsgrove for more than 80 years, and part of the nation’s decorating toolbox for longer than that.

In 1928, Leslie Harris founded the business when he was just 23 years old and began manufacturing paintbrushes from small premises in Birmingham. He moved the business to Stoke Prior near Bromsgrove in 1938 and by 1961, he’d launched his tonguein-cheek “Harris-tocracy” advertising campaign, using the slogan: “The paint brush with the name to its handle”.

His sense of humour clearly went down well in upper

in creative industries jobs (25 per cent) in the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP area.

Kidderminster College-based Mas Records combines music industry expertise with conventional training and education. This award-winning, nonprofit music development programme, which has expanded to 16 centres nationally since its 2001 launch, was founded by Kevyn Gammond (formerly with Band of Joy).

Ricky Wilson (Kaiser Chiefs/The Voice), Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) and Karl Hyde (Underworld) are patrons. The label supports music development in the UK and gives emerging artists a bridge to the wider industry.

Bromsgrove School’s education is worldrenowned, with 300 of its 1,600 pupils coming from 35 nations. The school is ranked in the top ten of British coeducational boarding and day schools.

class circles, as Harris was awarded the Royal Warrant by the Queen, as the preferred manufacturer of decorating tools, paintbrushes and rollers to the Royal Sandringham Estate. The company continues to hold the Royal Warrant.

By 2007, Harris had vastly extended its range of products, so much so that it opened a new manufacturing facility in the southern Chinese city of Yantian.

The company was on a roll. In 2015 Harris was named the UK’s number one paintbrush and roller brand.

The following year, Norwegian company Orkla, a leading supplier of branded consumer goods and interests across the globe, bought the business. At the time of acquisition, Bjørn Drabløs, Chief Executive of Orkla House Care, said: “With well-

North Worcestershire: a region of innovation

 The Anglepoise lamp was based on a new spring and lever mechanism invented in 1932 by automotive engineer George Carwardine. It allowed a lamp to remain in position after being moved in every direction. Carwardine licensed it to Herbert Terry & Sons, a manufacturer based in Redditch that supplied springs to industry.

 The gates at Buckingham Palace were made by the Bromsgrove Guild of Applied Arts and are stamped with their coat of arms.

 At one point, 90 per cent of the world’s needles were manufactured in Redditch.

established brands and solid customer relations, Harris holds a leading market position in the UK. With the acquisition of Harris, Orkla House Care is significantly strengthening its presence in the UK and expanding its portfolio in the DIY market.”

Harris continues to be a market leader for painting tools in the UK’s DIY market, with well-known brands such as Harris, Lynwood, Harris Victory, Artisan and T-Class.

The majority of the company’s sales are made in the UK, but there is also some export business. The company employs around 1,000 people.

“With well-established brands and solid customer relations, Harris holds a leading market position in the UK”
 The Flying Flea, a motorbike that could be dropped by parachute, was manufactured in Redditch during the Second World War.

Thorlux wins 2019 Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Innovation

Redditch-based Thorlux Lighting has won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation for its SmartScan wireless lighting management system.

Luminaires (devices that contain an electric lamp that provides illumination) have been manufactured at Thorlux since 1936, the year Frederick William Thorpe founded the business.

The company now operates from a modern 16,882 sq metre factory in Redditch, and provides professional lighting and control systems for many applications.

For the last 25 years, Thorlux has developed many high technology products, including electronic energysaving lighting control systems.

The Queen’s Award recognises Thorlux’s SmartScan system, which allows users to monitor energy performance data and complete operational status information. This information is displayed on the SmartScan website which can be accessed from anywhere using a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Thorlux Managing Director, Mike Allcock, said: “This is a most welcome recognition of our commitment to supporting technological innovation in the UK and of our contribution to the manufacturing sector. It is a reflection of the tremendous energy and commitment of our staff as well as their pursuit of the very best in product innovation.”

Established in 1965, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are recognised as one of the most prestigious business awards in the country.


In a tough flooring market, Victoria Carpets, based in Kidderminster, has reported solid trading for the last financial year, as like-for-like revenue gains across the group continues to be above three per cent.

Founded in Scotland in 1895, Victoria Carpets has now grown into an international designer, manufacturer and distributor of innovative flooring products. It moved operations to Kidderminster in 1905 and now employs around 200 people at its headquarters in the town.

direct to retailers, from independents to distributors and large chains like John Lewis and Carpetright.

It is the UK’s largest manufacturer of carpets, the second largest in Australia and the largest manufacturer of underlay in both.

Over the last few years Victoria has significantly widened its range of products through organic and acquisition-led growth. Since 2012, it has bought 13 companies across the UK, Europe and Australia, including Spanish tile firm Keraben in 2017 in a major deal worth £246.5 million.

The company now designs and manufactures carpet, ceramic and porcelain tiles, underlay, luxury vinyl tiles, artificial grass and flooring accessories. With more than 3,000 customers in the UK, Victoria sells primarily

Prospects for the floor and wall tile market remain relatively optimistic, with the sector forecast to grow by around seven per cent to 2021. The market has benefited from returning confidence in the housing market and the “improve not move” trend, with householders often trading up to higher value products, particularly for floor tiles.

In 2013 Victoria Carpets was granted a Royal Warrant. It has been carpeting the royal households for a number of years and supplied the red carpet for the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton in April 2011. The company (via Westex) has also carpeted Harrods in London, fashion designer Tom Ford’s office and home, and the Shangri La Hotel in The Shard, London.

“With more than 3,000 customers in the UK, Victoria sells primarily direct to retailers, ranging from independents to distributors and large chains like John Lewis and Carpetright”
North Worcestershire uncovered
Victoria Carpets

North Worcestershire launches first Business Awards

Nominations are open for the first North Worcestershire Business Awards, organised by North Worcestershire Economic Development and Regeneration (NWedR) and North Worcestershire Business Leaders (NWBL).

Sponsored by Eureka Financial Solutions, with associate sponsor Hartlebury-based DRP Group, the awards evening is being held at Hogarths Stone Manor Hotel near Kidderminster on November 28.

The categories are:

 Contribution to the community (CSR) award, sponsored by OGL Computers.

 Best business start–up of the year, sponsored by Invoco Telecom.

 Best customer service in retail, sponsored by Lloyds Bank.


 Outstanding entrepreneur of the year, sponsored by BizSmart

 Employer of the year, sponsored by HR Dept Worcestershire

 North Worcestershire innovation of the year award, sponsored by Worcestershire Innovation (WINN)

Jane Doyle from NWedR said: “There is real appetite for this event in North Worcestershire where there are more than 17,500 businesses.”

Melanie Hawkett from NWBL, added: “We will celebrate North Worcestershire’s rising stars and showcase the area’s fabulous businesses.”

Businesses can nominate themselves or others until September 12.

Group extends Redditch training centre

Coventry-based Midland Group Training Services (MGTS), which provides thousands of apprenticeships and qualifications to more than 30 multisite national companies, will officially open the extension to its Redditch training centre this month.

MGTS is a leading specialist training provider for the engineering food maintenance and food process manufacturing industries and has doubled its capacity in delivering apprenticeships in this sector.

The company already trains 800 apprentices at any one time and the investment in its Redditch facility has doubled the space devoted to apprenticeship training for the food industry by 355 square metres.

Already working with the cream of the food and drink industry, including Müller, Arla, Ferrero, Dairy Crest, Morrisons and Heineken, the expansion will help with the recruitment of skilled engineers.

David Bridgens, Chief Executive of MGTS, said: “The country needs skilled engineers, particularly in the food and drink industry. We are playing our part by increasing the numbers of apprentices. This would mean that our yearly intake capacity would be 100, around 50 at each site. This is a fantastic time to build a career in food process manufacturing and we can help individuals develop the necessary skills and businesses recruit a trained workforce. It’s a winwin for everyone involved.”

Get lost for fun in the Wyre Forest

The Wyre Forest is one of the largest, most ecologically significant oak woodlands in England. Straddling Worcestershire and Shropshire, the forest covers more than 10 square miles and offers many leisure activities, from walking, cycling and horse riding to adventure play, with high wire activities from Tarzan swings to zip wires.

The extent of woodland three centuries ago was probably similar to that seen today.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the forest was intensively managed to provide cordwood for the production of charcoal, used to forge iron for sale across the Black Country. Charcoal burning continued into the 20th century.

Become an ambassador for North Worcestershire

Across North Worcestershire, there are nearly 80 ambassadors promoting the benefits of working and living in the region. Highlighting what’s great about North Worcestershire through the tagline, “a natural environment for business”, the ambassadors spread the word through events, social media, news stories and networking.

The campaign seeks to inspire businesses thinking of relocating to the area and learn what it’s really like to be based in the region. It also encourages businesses that are already benefiting from the great environment.

The scheme is free to join and ambassadors can choose how involved they’d like to be. For more information visit

North Worcestershire uncovered

Business & Innovation

Magazine and C2S Worcester Business Drinks

Held in collaboration with Circle2Success and Worcestershire County Cricket Club, business leaders enjoyed drinks and networking in beautiful surroundings at one of the most iconic cricket grounds in the world before hearing from Matt Rawnsley, CEO at Worcestershire County Cricket Club about the season, updates and insights on the club.


Sarah Diston and Martyn Wells from Macmillan with Matt Rownsley, CEO, Worcestershire County Cricket Club Sarah Radley and Louise Grant from Inksmoor Finance Group James Holroyd from Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management and Chris Ammonds from Sanctuary Housing Lisa Nicholson from GMS Security with Andra Borwell-Fox from Circle2Success Phil Redgate from Bishops Fleming LLP with Ellen Haplin-Barnett from Luxury Hampers & Gifts Cllr Peter Tomlinson from Worcestershire County Council and Muff Murfin from Murfin Media Stuart Laverick from Heart of Worcestershire College and Oliver Limpkin from Red-Penguin Phoebe Dawson from Worcester Bid and Jon Frazer from Worcestershire County Council Andrew Bence from Indectron and Richard Lane from EBC Group Phil Fowler from Worcester Ambassadors and Dr David Bozward from Worcester Business School
John Dillon from GJS Dillon and Andrew James from Harrison Clark Rickerbys
Carl Gurney from Jelf with Karen Cottrill from Parham Associates and Peter Hemming from Hemming Group Mick Hurst from Areca Design with Michael Newnham from Quantum Tax and Robert Burns Beaufort Financial Jim Stevenson and Teagan McKernon from Jelf Peter Williamson from Hillside Brewery with Nicky Godding from Business & Innovation Magazine Simon and Sue Hollingshead from Top Utility Solutions Kirsty Muir and Rosie Henderson from Business & Innovation Magazine Mike Goode from GB Solutions with Jack Barnett from Worcester LEP Ruth Parry from Simple Design Works with Sarah Brooks and Rose Padmore from Opening Doors Jonathan Brew from Harrison Clark Rickerbys with Andrew Lavoipierre from Action Coach and Mark Hanson from Droitwich Design & Print Ostap Paparega from NWedR with Robin Jackson from Red-Penguin
Angela Edwards from Circle2Sucess with Nick Baxter and Kate Munro from Baxter Williams

Find Out If You Qualify for R&D Tax Credits

Date: 30th Oct 2019

Venue: Stratford College

Show Opens 9am-3pm

Pre show FREE networking breakfast 8:00 - 9:00


Innovation Networks ERDF Project delivered by Coventry University Enterprises Limited

Are you a SME based in Coventry & Warwickshire looking for grant in order to support and develop a new innovative product, process or service?

Induction Technology Group (ITG) Limited, are a company located in Coventry, specializing in air filter and air intake system design and manufacture for road and competition cars. Established as the world’s leading high performance foam air filter manufacturer, currently supplying champions at the highest levels of motorsport. Operating all over the world with 45 distributors in 29 territories covering over 200 accounts in the UK.

The Project

Despite leading the way in original equipment of manufacturer style induction systems for the aftermarket tuning industry, ITG accepted the challenge of designing a very special set of parts to penetrate the American market. A unique solution offering the buyer an

Delivering Innovation and Growth

opportunity to release power and in some cases gain fuel efficiency.


The Innovation Networks European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) project, delivered by Coventry University Enterprises Business Solutions were able to provide grant assistance to ITG Ltd. The support on offer would release funding to allow ITG Ltd to buy tooling to produce injection moulded parts necessary for this particular product and market sector. It aims to give the appearance and feel of a ‘factory fitted’ component as well as the enhanced performance that the air box and filter delivers.


With the grant support ITG Ltd had the confidence to invest in this new venture. The

innovative idea offers a new exciting high quality part to the industry and places them firmly on the map in the USA, a market not previously fully explored.

Grants up to £12,000 are available to SMEs in Coventry & Warwickshire to support prototypes development, testing, IPR and marketing.

To find out more or to discuss your ideas, please get in touch: | 02476 236406 |

We offer a FREE service to see if you qualify for R&D Tax Credits Call Us Now To Find Out Our fixed price approach helps companies save money when applying for their R&D tax credits T: 0121 389 5053 | E:
CUE Business Solutions

StadiumTM celebrates 10 years in business

A Coventry events and security firm reaffirmed its ambition to remain a world leader in event safety and training during 10th anniversary celebrations at its new head office.



A leading UK entrepreneur has praised CU Coventry, part of Coventry University Group, for providing gamechanging education for its students.

CU Coventry opened its new campus in Mile Lane to students, after transforming the former BT building.

The project was praised in a keynote speech at the grand opening by Priya Lakhani OBE.

Priya, an entrepreneur, set up her Asian fresh food brand Masala Masala in 2008. from her own kitchen.

She now runs CENTURY Tech, a learning platform which uses artificial intelligence to provide students with an education tailored to individual needs.

Priya told the audience it was crucial to challenge outdated ideas to improve people’s lives. She said: “CU Coventry is leading the way in changing student outcomes thanks to its new ideas around how education is delivered.”

Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor of CU Coventry, Jackie Mathers, said: “Priya’s whole career has been devoted to challenging established models and really making a difference.

“Our education model is completely different. It’s about being flexible and accessible – our students can start a course at several different times in the year rather than just September, and students can study in the morning or the afternoon, meaning they have time for work or care.”

StadiumTM welcomed around 50 clients, employees and suppliers along to the event at its Bodmin Road headquarters to share in its success.

The firm is a specialist supplier of traffic management, stewarding, security and training services to the events industry, both nationally and internationally. It also supplies awardwinning temporary Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) barriers helping protect visitors at events against potential vehicle-ramming attacks.

David McAtamney, Managing Director of Stadium, said: “The success of our services has led to officials from Qatar engaging us to train them in event safety and management ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Korea.”

Coventry company wins major military vehicle support contract

The MOD has awarded a contract worth £63 million to NP Aerospace, formerly part of Morgan Advanced Materials, to maintain the army’s fleet of armoured vehicles.

These vehicles offer soldiers, medics and other army personnel protection from mine and ballistic threats as they navigate rough terrain on the battlefield.

NP Aerospace secured the contract for the upkeep, update and upgrade of more than

2,200 protected mobility vehicles based in the UK and on operations.

The contract will support approximately 100 jobs in Coventry and 250 jobs across the UK supply chain until 2024. A further 50 jobs will be created at NP Aerospace’s HQ in Foleshill.

Defence Minister Stuart Andrew said: “Armoured vehicles save lives on the battlefield and this contract will ensure they are repaired, upgraded and returned

to the frontline as quickly as possible. This vital contract demonstrates how the MOD benefits every region of the UK by providing hundreds of skilled jobs and multi-million-pound investment to the West Midlands.”

Other protected mobility vehicles to benefit from the contract include Mastiff, Wolfhound, Ridgeback, RODET, Jackal, Coyote and Husky vehicles. These are currently being used by the army for UK and overseas training and operations.

Student Ambassador Pooja Rathod, Vice Chancellor of Coventry University John Latham, Pro-Vice Chancellor and CEO of CU Coventry John Dishman, Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor of CU Coventry Jackie Mathers, Priya Lakhani OBE, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Coventry University Ian Dunn, Student Ambassador Safia Alizadeh Stadium staff and guests with Stadium’s owner and Managing Director David McAtamney 61


A Coventry company that launched six years ago has been chosen as a national champion for exporting.

Body Care Brand Development was established in Foleshill in 2013 by Hamzah Islam and Abrar Hussain, creating toiletry products to sell locally.

But when the company was approached by Premier League football club West Ham United to create branded products to be sold in the club’s retail store, it led to the firm trading nationally and internationally too.

The firm has now been named as one of the Department for International Trade’s Export Champions.

It has been supported by Parminder Hayer of the Department for


products are now exported and the aim is to increase that with massive potential in the USA and also in other countries too”

International Trade team, based at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, and now has products in European football club stores including Olympique Lyonnais, AS Monaco and Feyenoord.

The company is also in advanced talks in the USA where some of the country’s big sports clubs are considering stocking its Body Care Brand Development products, which now includes toiletries, branded grooming sets and even jigsaws.

Hamzah said: “Around 60 per cent of our products are now exported and the aim is to increase that with massive potential in the USA and also in other countries too.”

The company has launched its new Pom Baby Organic product range, due to be sold in 60 pharmacies in Dubai.

Warwick science park gives businesses wings Funding of £4 million secures major acquisition

Two businesses supported by the University of Warwick Science Park are moving on after experiencing major growth.

Evolyst and We Are Digital have been based at the Innovation Centre on Gallows Hill since they launched.

The companies have been helped thanks to programmes run by the Innovation centre.

Jane Talbot, Centre Manager at the

Innovation Centre, said both companies are examples of what can be achieved through hard work and support from the science park.

“We are sad to see Evolyst and We Are Digital leave the park, but pleased that they are so successful,” she said.

We Are Digital launched in 2012 to provide home computer training for the over-50s. It now provides courses for housing associations, providing tutoring for those in the community that experience digital exclusion. The firm employs more than 50 people, which is expected to increase with its move to Coventry city centre.

Evolyst provides mental health and wellbeing software apps and has also been supported by the Science Park’s business support programmes.

A Rugby-based environmental services company has secured a £4 million funding package from HSBC UK to make a significant acquisition.

Filta Group Holdings, which provides restaurants and food establishments with cooking oil filtration fryer management services, has acquired Essex-based firm Watbio Holdings. Watbio offers complimentary services including wastewater pumping and treatment.

The acquisition took place following Filta’s admission to the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market.

Jason Sayes, Chief Executive Office of Filta, said: “The two businesses combine services, experience and opportunities and we look forward to driving Filta forward in its strengthened position in the UK.”

Louise Wall, Ajay Desai and Louise Bennett (Chamber of Commerce), with Hamzah Islam and Abrar Hussain
60 per cent of our
Jane Talbot, University of Warwick Science Park’s Innovation Centre, James and Matthew Adam from We Are Digital, Evolyst’s Ben Skirth and Chris Golby, with Dirk Schafer, Business Adviser

Corporate Lunch Hosted by The Lygon Arms

On Wednesday 29th May, an invited group of 25 guests joined The Lygon Arms in Broadway for their monthly lunch series. The afternoon of peer-to-peer networking brought together likeminded businesses from the community. Special guest Jason Leonard OBE, former English rugby union player, spoke of his 14-year international career including his recent time as President of the RFU, followed by a Q&A session.

Would you like to feature your business event, launch or party in our business events section?

64 or visit
Please contact:
The Lygon Arms, Broadway Jason Adams from The Lygon Arms with Phil Jones from Kanes Foods Terry Croft from Logical Living with Jason Leonard OBE, President of RFU and Roger Hart from Jonjo O’Neill Racing Adam Walder from Walder Events with Warwick Partington from MTM Leadership & Management Development and Jayne Walder from Walder Events Lee Moulson from Cheltenham Racecourse and Louise Holmes from John Lewis Kayleigh Hending from Cheltenham Racecourse with Darren Stevens from Prestbury Marketing and Erika Steward from The Lygon Arms Laura Cole from UpTech with Rosemary Henderson from Business & Innovation Magazine Dale Williams from BPE Solicitors with John Search from AP Facilities Bridget Rosser from Jonjo O’Neill Racing and Emma Wharfe from Superstars Event Management Elaine Jarvis and Neil Brimble from Abbey Business Interiors
Jason Adams, General Manager of The Lygon Arms and Joe Aspey from Broadway Business Association with Erika Steward from The Lygon Arms

No hassle for Wright Hassell as they get down and dirty

A team of lawyers got their hands dirty working to help boost tree growth at a major forest charity.

Staff from Wright Hassall volunteered at the Heart of England Forest in Warwickshire.


John Wilkinson, a deputy area director for HSBC Corporate Banking in Oxfordshire and the Thames Valley, had everything he could have wished for, a loving family and busy work life. But in 2017, his world turned upside down.

An aggressive, cancerous tumour had appeared on his face. He underwent 30 hours of life-changing maxillofacial surgery involving several operations, almost 400 stitches, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. His family, friends and medical team were amazed at his resolve and wanted to bottle some of his mindset.

Recovering from the shock of the first operation, John wanted to help others facing cancer and give something back to those who saved him. He decided to write a book, which has now been published, supported across the region and beyond by Banbury-based White Commercial Surveyors have bought three new industrial units at the Glenmore Business Park in Oxford for the registered charity Banbury Charities.

HSBC colleagues, friends and business associates.

Matt Povey, Deputy Head of Corporate Banking in Oxfordshire said “We were delighted to support John’s book and it was great to see the Oxfordshire business community join us at the Oxford Retreat. John is a true inspiration.”

All net proceeds will go to cancer fighting charities such as Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Support and The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. All three charities have endorsed its publication.

John will be the special guest at a charity ball in aid of Maggie’s cancer charity. The ball is open to Oxford professionals and will be held on September 19 at the city’s Randolph Hotel. Further information from Tanja Melling at Santander.

Charity purchase creates funds for good causes

educational establishments, and help the less privileged and sick people within the region.

The team removed birch and pine trees ahead of the planting season to help oak and sweet chestnut trees to grow at the new Coughton Park site.

It is hoped that The Heart of England Forest project will eventually stretch across 30,000 acres with 17 million trees.

At present around 3,000 acres of woodland have been created in a bid to bring the UK closer to the likes of France, Germany and Italy in terms of tree cover.

Jonathan Saunders, Volunteer Manager at the Heart of England Forest, said: “Despite some rather nasty weather the group ploughed on with enthusiasm to get the work done.

“We really appreciate the time and effort put in and I hope that they thoroughly enjoyed their day with us.”

The Wright Hassall group was led by HR director Paul Gregson, who was joined by lawyers, legal secretaries, and support staff to volunteer their time.

He said: “We are glad to have been able to offer our support to such a unique and inspiring project and look forward to returning in the future.”

The charity wants to create income from its investment to help students and

Once leased, the modern industrial accommodation will produce a total income in the region of £45,000 per annum for the charity to distribute.

The Wright Hassall team getting their hands dirty at the Heart of England Forest Businesses in the community 65
John Wilkinson with HSBC collegues Hayley Dicks, Roger Mould and Matt Povey

VIP Drinks, Strictly Worcestershire 2019

Once again held at the Chateau Impney in Droitwich. Strictly Worcestershire, the county’s annual dance spectacular raised £36,000 for county charities including St Paul’s Hostel and Worcester Community Trust. Winners of the contest were Elaine and Stuart Watt, whose The Greatest Showman themed Latin showdance and quickstep impressed the judging panel comprising Lord Digby Jones, broadcaster Bob Warman, dancer/choreographer Katie Love and choreographer Jennifer Bennett Price.


Would you like to feature your business event, launch or party in our business events section?


contact: or visit
Miss Susan Humes and Lord Richard Faulkner with Rosemary Henderson from Business & Innovation Magazine Teresa and Chris Green from Chris Green Media Julia Williams from Worcestershire Ambassadors with Sue Crow from Jess Antley from Worcestershire County Council Laura Osborne from Head Turner Research and James Osborne from Harrison Clark Rickerbys Donna Collins with Katie and Chris Chesterman from Andrew Grant Hannah Keeley-Jaynes and Nicky Beasley from NFU Mutual Martin Rae from Family Fostercare with James Green and Kevin Powell from Worcestershire Ambassadors Tracy Lowe from Lowe’s Solicitors with Lord Digby Jones and Julia Williams from Worcestershire Ambassadors Sue and Geoff Adams from DSS Ltd Alex and Dale Parmenter from drpG
Chris and Jane Jones from Witley Jones Furniture


A cycling team from Redditch-based transport business Oakland International took part in the Velo Birmingham and Midlands 100-mile cycling event. The team raised £3,687 for The Jordon Wilson Tribute Fund – Missing Limb to Cancer charity.

Jordon Wilson died in 2018 from a rare bone cancer called Ewing Sarcoma.

Those cycling to raise money included Oakland International CEO and CoGloucestershire race runner and medal winner, Charlie Denman, has been appointed as the Pied Piper Appeal’s new ambassador for its Wish Holidays.

Founder Dean Attwell, Managing Director Shaun Foley, HR Director Cory Winstanley, Business Unit Director Lee Whiting and supplier partners Chris Shuker from Central IT Systems together with his brother Pat, and Stuart Starkey from Starkey Electrical.

Pied Piper appoints new ambassador for Wish Holidays

families, with a holiday in the UK or overseas. Currently one holiday per month is offered to a child.

Jordon’s father Paul Wilson is an Oakland International employee and the funds raised will now be donated to the Bone Cancer Research Trust, which provides research into this rare disease and Reach Charity Limited, which helps children with upper limb differences.

The Gloucestershire children’s charity presented a new look for its special holidays at an event held with travel firm Thomas Cook in Gloucester. The occasion was held to increase awareness and extend the reach for more families to apply for funding.

Pied Piper provides children with terminal or life-limiting illnesses, and their caring

Charlie is a world champion race runner, picking up two bronze, one silver and one gold at the Cerebral Palsy World Games in Barcelona.

Last year, she secured four gold medals in the National Cerebral Palsy Sport Series and won Disability Sports Performer of the Year award and the Gloucestershire Sports Personality of Year.

Indegu, an e-learning development company based in Worcester, has created a “Know the Signs of Childhood Cancer” awareness card for The Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust.

The Trust aims to educate parents, and it hopes to reach more families and childcare workers through Indegu’s new interactive online version of the signs and symptoms card.

Tracey Marlow Jones, Director of Indegu said: “We hope that the resource will help the Trust reach a wider audience and get the message to as many people as possible.”

Cancer is the number one cause of death of children in the UK. Teaching parents the signs to look out for can help save lives through early diagnosis.

“Know the signs of cancer” card developed by e-learning company
Dean Attwell, Cory Winstanley, Shaun Foley, Chris Shuker, Stuart Starkey and Lee Whiting Charlie Denman with the Pied Piper team 67
Businesses in the community


Collaboration is one of the best ways to get the most out of learning, at whatever stage of your career. We meet two leaders who have understood the power of communication in driving business success through EduTech

Gamifying sales and marketing

The e-learning market has transformed conventional learning methods. After all, what could be more enjoyable than learning serious stuff through gamification?

The Global Education Gamification Market 2016-2020 report, published in May, reveals that traditional learning, using books, articles and lectures to deliver knowledge in educational settings, which was being overtaken by learning opportunities offering minimal challenges for learners, is now being superseded again by experiential learning to bring to life difficult concepts through using games and scenario simulations.

Market2Win is an online game designed to help students and business executives win more business. Designed and developed by Ed Bradford, who is based in Redditch, the inspiration came a few years ago while working with an American engineering firm with business interests across the world. “Part of my work was to run marketing planning workshops for their sales teams, helping them understand and write strategic marketing plans. But I knew that when they headed home with their flip charts, that would be it for another year.”

“Our training courses include face-to-face workshops, purely online courses and blended learning solutions that combine both”

He’d seen examples of the traditional board game format adapted to sales training, and it looked a lot more fun.

Using his two decades of marketing sales strategy experience gained from working with blue chip companies across the world, Ed developed Market2Win, an online game where teams of five or six are pitched against each other. It is now used by universities and businesses across the UK and has recently been adopted by leadership development company QuoLux for executive training.

The game can be stretched out over a term – or a day, but obviously students gain significantly more benefits over a longer period of time.

There are five decision rounds, and each round has four tasks. Every team begins at the same starting position so that when they complete the game, they can’t complain that another team had greater advantages.

“Most people who play the game are often trained to think about needs, but have little thinking about how to beat the competition through sustained, superior value propositions,” explained

Ed. “We talk about understanding customer needs, predicting how they are likely to change, and try to anticipate a competitor’s future moves.”

The first round is a situation audit, adapted from the age-old SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats). Teams then decide their individual sales strategies — this can be done off-line, or in social media groups, such as Facebook or WhatsApp.

The teams then update their plans and begin executing their strategies online. “The more time is allocated to the game, the greater the opportunity each team has to delve deeper into marketing and analysis techniques,” explains Ed. “And while it is a game, it is facilitated — there are real pairs of eyes reviewing how the game is going and participants are given guidance where necessary.

“Each team also receives feedback when the game has been completed.”

Market2Win’s simulations bring the learning to life. “Our training courses include face-to-face workshops, purely online courses and blended learning that combine both.”

69 SPOTLIGHT ON LEADERS Ed Bradford of Market2Win


Whether you work in the corporate and private sector, or for a charity and not-for-profit organisation, sound commercial knowledge is essential to make the business viable and sustainable.

Emma Griffiths is Chief Executive of the Gloucestershire Counselling Service. After 15 years on the front line of care, where she worked with some of the most disturbed children in the UK, she retrained as a teacher. Four years ago, she took a third major career step into her current role.

She has recently completed QuoLux’s GOLD course, having previously gone through the leadership management company’s LEAD course. GOLD focuses on business planning, strategic leadership, decision making and culture change.

“A charity such as ours would not normally have the funds to do this course,

but we were fortunate enough for me to be sponsored,” she said.

“I wanted help shaping my leadership skills and my commercial view. In the charity sector, being commercially minded can be frowned upon, but if that’s the case, our viability is likely to suffer. I am not losing sight of our core offering and values, but I want to develop our business understanding to make the counselling service’s future more sustainable.”

Knowledge sharing in a safe space

For Emma, one of the most important parts of the training was through QuoLux’s online portal where she and other members of the cohort could share their thoughts and views as they progressed.

“I come from a social care background where reflection is usual, but for

“I wanted help shaping my leadership skills and my commercial view. In the charity sector, being commercially minded can be frowned upon, but if that’s the case, our viability is likely to suffer”

some of the others it was a new way of communicating. The online portal was great, and so was the way QuoLux launched the course, bringing us all together over two days and one night where we could build the trust and confidence which could be safely developed online outside of the activities and masterclasses.”

Leadership can be isolating, but talking helps

While an organisation’s leaders are always on show, they can feel isolated at the top of an organisation. As such it can

Emma Griffiths, Chief Executive of the Gloucestershire Counselling Service

be difficult to have the confidence to reveal a lack of knowledge or ask what might be interpreted as a silly question.

For Emma, this is now less of an issue, thanks to QuoLux’s online community. “After every step of the course, we were asked to go on to the group portal and reflect on our experiences. It’s a structured process and because you have got to know each other, you can quickly drop the mask. By reading what others have written, you see things from a different perspective, and when I read back on my written reflections, and the responses from my fellow cohort, I could see how my thinking had developed. The key thing is that such a process forces you to take the time and space to step back and think. This will lead to better informed choices and decisions.”

QuoLux has developed an app to further support students. “It’s a real community of learning,” said Emma, “and it holds a lot of resources I draw on. If I’m going into a potentially difficult meeting, I can access relevant course information and the shared thoughts from my fellow students.”

Surprisingly, Emma says that there is much that is translatable from her previous career working with children. “We all need a safe environment, and that includes having a clarity of role and structure.

knowledge and experience, but it was tacit. QuoLux helped me bring it out into the open and discuss a wide variety of topics with my peer group. Our online forum has allowed me to safely explore many aspects of my learning and apply them to different situations”

“I had a great deal of relevant knowledge and experience, but it was tacit. QuoLux helped me bring it out into the open and discuss a wide variety of topics with my peer group. Our online forum has allowed me to safely explore many aspects of my learning and apply them to different situations.”

Can tech create time to lead?

Rachael Ramos, Director, QuoLux

Do you think you’re too busy to spend time on leadership development?

It’s not uncommon for owner-managers and directors to acknowledge the benefits of developing their leadership skills, but still worry about how they will find the time to take part in one of our programmes. This may be a sign that they’ve become too immersed working “in” the business, rather than being able to step back sufficiently to work “on” the business. Developing as a leader means shifting this balance towards the latter. When it comes to using time more profitably, technology may have a role to play. Advances in tech are often geared towards creating efficiencies, helping us to be faster, better connected, more in control of how we choose to spend our time.

EduTech is no exception. At QuoLux, we’ve been developing a set of digital tools and platforms to offer the flexibility, personalisation and security that suits the busy lifestyles of leaders keen to learn when, where and how it suits them.

When weighing up the practicalities of embarking upon leadership learning, here’s how the digital world can help.

1. Get mobile

Reflecting on new ideas, shared experiences or strategies is the process where we root everything in our specific context and consider what we will do with this knowledge. We designed the QuoLux portal as a safe place for delegates to capture reflections and share them among their trusted cohort, securely, via an app on phone or tablet.

2. Experiment risk-free

Where do you get to practise the skills of leadership or experiment with new strategies? One answer lies in ‘gamification’, so we’ve created a test-bed where leaders can face authentic challenges with virtual assets and compete to gain profitable, sustained advantage.

3. Cut out the travel

While developing our unique work-based learning MBA, we realised that time away from businesses— and families — for intensive study can be challenging. Our 100 per cent online MBA is available in the UK as a two or three year programme, cutting out any need for travel. That’s reducing time and carbon emissions from travel, while still providing access to some of the world’s best experts in leadership.

“I had a great deal of relevant

The famous five divisions of GB Solutions recruitment consultants

The Gloucestershire based recruitment specialists have added GB Commerce as its sixth division headed up by Lucy Dowie.

Having started her career in London Lucy returned home to raise her family. Accomplishments include project managing the staffing of a greenfield site for a major manufacturing business and rising through the ranks to become Recruitment Director for Omega Resource Group.

Lucy has worked on resourcing across a range of industry sectors, starting in the media sector in London and then covering roles within construction and technical & engineering across the South West. She has delivered resourcing campaigns for blue chip businesses as well as conducting tailored searches to hire senior candidates for smaller SMEs and enjoys a very consultative approach to recruitment, able to see the big picture but also drill down to understand the needs of specific hiring managers.

The new GB Commerce Division groups some of the roles GB Solutions have been covering for a while such as Ecommerce, Buying, Supply Chain Management, Operational Management, Production Planning, Land Buying and Bid Writing. This expansion will broaden GB

Solutions existing offer as well as attract new businesses across Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, South West and Wales.

With the advent of ecommerce the market is under pressure for these types of roles.

“Procurement is at the heart of business operations with equal importance being placed on managing the external supplier base and maintaining long term relationships with suppliers. I appreciate the importance of working with hiring managers to find those people who are going to have an impact on the bottom line of their business and a strategic influence on their supply chain in the future”

“There is an ongoing shortage of talented supply chain professionals with the necessary skills and competencies to manage increasingly complex supply chain

processes. Organisations can spend more than two thirds of revenue on procurement so hiring effective managers who can bring about significant cost savings will have a huge impact on a business.”

Lucy enjoys researching the specialist skillset required for each particular role and recruit the right blend of experience, including good business sense, technical competency and a flair for communication and negotiation.

With over 65% of employers now requesting MCIPS or candidates who are studying towards this, the onus is also on businesses to invest in the professional development of their people to sustain the skill base in the industry.

If you would like to discuss how we can support your recruitment Lucy would be pleased to hear from you.

0333 241 2900 Head Office: Unit B8, Elmbridge Court, Gloucester, GL3 1JZ gbhr + legal gbtech gbfinance gbsales gbmarketing gbcommerce Gloucestershire based recruitment with a regional reach Permanent, temporary and contract recruitment
have now become six!
Dowie – Senior Consultant DD: 01452 429909


Oxfordshire law firm Brethertons has appointed Alison McCormack to Chief Executive. Formerly Director of Legal Services, Alison succeeds Shaun Jardine in the post. She joined Brethertons 10 years ago, after 14 years at DHL International.


Simon Holdsworth has been reappointed as Thrings’ Managing Partner following a unanimous vote at its annual partners’ meeting. Simon, who joined the Swindon law firm in 1997, first became Managing Partner in 2013.


Worcestershire commercial property consultancy GJS Dillon has expanded with the appointment of a new Director of Asset Management. Adam Jones joins from a privately-owned property company in the West Midlands.

Jo Bewley has been promoted to Equity Partner at Cheltenham-based BPE Solicitors. She will take up the position in October. Jo joined the law firm in 2011 as part of BPE’s Commercial Property Team, with a particular specialism in healthcare.





Kidderminster business M&M Timber, part of the Forest Garden Group, has appointed Ben Wyatt as Head of Design and Commercials. With a degree in industrial design, Ben previously worked for playground provider Playforce.

Richard Taylor has joined Gloucester battery automation group, TBS, as Group Operations Director. He will be responsible for UK manufacturing operations. He joins after 27 years at international manufacturer Halliburton.

Dave Manning has been appointed Chief Operating Officer of Reading-based IT services provider Invenio Business Solutions. Dave has decades of experience delivering major business change programmes. Previously he held senior leadership positions in Tesco Bank, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett Packard.

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Christina Nawrocki is the new Managing Partner at Wellers Accountants in Oxford. Born in Jamaica and raised in Ireland, she has travelled across the world. Christina brings an extensive knowledge of the markets and finance to the role.


Thames Valley accountants

James Cowper Kreston has promoted director Jon Baillie to Partner. Jon joined the company in 2007 based in the Newbury office. He works mainly with owner-managed and private equitybacked businesses.


Kohler Mira Ltd, parent company of Mira Showers, has announced Craig Baker as its new Managing Director. Previously Deputy Managing Director, Craig began his career at Mira Showers as a design engineer over 20 years ago.


Leamington Spa law firm Wright Hassall has boosted its commercial litigation team after recruiting Israr Manawer to a tax consultancy role. Israr previously took a leading role in helping HMRC tackle a number of high profile disguised remuneration schemes.


Brewin Dolphin, a leading wealth management company, has boosted the team at its Cheltenham office with the promotion of James Badham to the position of Divisional Director.


Harrison Clark Rickerbys and sister company Medical Accident Group have welcomed three new partners. They are Alan Meiklejohn, restructuring and insolvency expert in Worcester and Birmingham, real estate specialist Anthony Goodfellow, in Hereford and the Wye Valley, and Charlotte Measures, a clinical negligence expert in Birmingham.


Ian Parker has been made director at chartered accountants and business advisers Whitley Stimpson. Ian will continue to be based at the Banbury office but will also work at the firms Bicester office.

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Oxford BioDynamics Plc, a biotechnology company focused on regulatory genome architecture, has appointed Dr Bartu Ahiska as Senior Vice President (Commercial), to spearhead the commercialisation of the Group’s EpiSwitch™ technology platform.


Quattro Design has appointed Jonathan White as senior associate in its Gloucester Quays office. Jonathan was also recently elected as Vice-chair of the Constructing Excellence Gloucestershire Committee. Photo shows Quattro’s Mike Court welcoming Jonathan.


Gateley Plc has announced its latest promotions in Reading as the company continues to invest and develop the region’s top legal talent. Mark Metcalfe is promoted to partner and Sarah Souter is promoted to senior associate. Both specialise in private company mergers and acquisitions, and private equity investments.


Cheltenham-based Bamboo Technology Group Ltd, a leading provider of managed ICT services, has appointed Raymond Kay in the new role of Director of IoT. Raymond has more than 40 years’ experience in communications and connectivity, including 23 years at Vodafone Global Enterprise.



Andrew Sharman has joined HSBC’s Corporate team based in Oxford. He joins from KPMG where he led their business development team in the Thames Valley. Andrew lives in South Oxfordshire and will be working with businesses with a turnover of between £6.5 and £350 million.


WM5G Ltd, a new organisation set up to deliver UK’s first region-wide 5G testbed in the West Midlands, has appointed Igor Leprince, a telecoms market executive with more than 25 years’ experience, as chair of WM5G board. Igor previously held the position of President of Nokia Global Services.

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Finance directors are naturally discreet (one with a disregard for confidentiality won’t last long), and anyway there’s so much else to discuss. Depending on their company’s size, their role can cover pretty much every aspect of a business, from IT and human resources to marketing and operations.

We invited financial directors representing a range of sizes and types of business to air their views on the role they hold and the issues they face.

They came from a wide range of businesses, from a globally successful FTSE100 engineering company to one which designs and makes equipment for the elderly or those with disabilities.

Around the table were also two financial directors of family businesses, one recently sold to a national security company, and the financial director of a major provider of further and higher education.

Round table participants

Chief Financial Officer at Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc, a thermal energy management and niche pumping specialist. Based in Cheltenham, where it employs around 1,000 people, the company is made up of three world‐leading businesses: Steam Specialties (Spirax Sarco and Gestra), for the control and management of steam, Chromalox, for electrical thermal energy solutions; and Watson-Marlow, for peristaltic pumping and associated fluid path technologies.

The company has manufacturing plants around the world and employs more than 7,500 people globally. Last year it celebrated 130 years in business. Spirax-Sarco Engineering has a turnover of around £1.2 billion. Listed on the London Stock Exchange it is a member of the FTSE 100 Index.

Chief Financial Officer at Gloucestershire College, which turns over around £35 million annually and employs around 900 staff. The college’s core remit is educating young people from 16-18 years old. It also offers business training in higher-level qualifications and owns Betaris, a national training organisation.

Financial Director at Prima Dental, the second biggest designer and manufacturer of dental burs in the world. A dental bur is the tiny drill piece in a dentist’s handpiece. It can be made of steel, tungsten carbide and diamond grit. With its headquarters in Quedgeley, Gloucester, the company has a workforce of around 250, a turnover in excess of £25 million and makes more

Get six financial directors around a table and they’ll talk about a lot more than their company’s finances. In fact, they don’t talk about those at all

than 25 million burs a year, exporting to around 90 countries. It has joint ventures in Brazil, China and a subsidiary in India.


of Finance and Operations

at The Astor-Bannerman Ltd Group based in Cheltenham. The company was established in 1993 when two friends from Oxfordshire with a passion for technology made a heightadjustable kitchen table for Muscular Dystrophy UK. The business now designs and manufactures bathing and care equipment to improve the lives of disabled people and their carers.

The Astor-Bannerman Ltd Group, through AVESO, co-sponsors Changing Places which campaigns on behalf of more than a quarter of a million people who cannot use standard accessible toilets. It encourage venues to install an “accessible to all” Changing Places toilet.

This includes people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, as well as older people. Astor-Bannerman was involved in installing accessible facilities at Pittville Park, Cheltenham and is currently working on a major project for Tesco. The company turns over around £5 million with a subsidiary in Germany.

Mark Robinson

Business consultant at BPE Solicitors, and formerly a Relationship Director in the Lloyd’s Bank Corporate Banking Team. Mark joined BPE last year after four decades in the banking sector. He brings his extensive knowledge of the region and businesses to help BPE engage with company owners and directors about the challenges they face at every stage of the business lifecycle, from start-up and high growth businesses, to the long-established success stories.


Finance Director at Cheltenham-based property company Robert Hitchins Group. The company specialises in the acquisition and delivery of consented land to housebuilders and in the investment and development of land and properties for the commercial property market. A long-established family-owned business, it operates across the South West and South Wales.

Financial and Operations Director at Allcooper Group. The company was founded in 1987 and specialises in the installation, maintenance and monitoring of security and fire systems. It operates from bases in Gloucestershire, the West Midlands and London, and employs around 100 people. In April, the company announced it been bought out by national security company Securitas.

Helen Laird Jonathan Dunley Dave Phillips Kevin Boyd Andy Bates Helen Laird Dave Phillips Alun Jones Mark Robinson Jonathan Dunley

A financial director’s experience will deliver company results

A Financial Director can make a considerable difference when a business is looking for investment.

Mark Robinson spent years in corporate banking before joining BPE Solicitors. He explained that the quality and knowledge of a company’s financial director would have a major bearing on whether his bank would commit to lending. “Following the financial crisis in 2008, more than 50 per cent of the decision whether we would lend money was down to the competence of the board, not just the numbers.”

Marry that with how the figures are presented, which is down to the financial director, and it becomes clear how fundamental the financial director is to the future of a business.

But it can be frustrating if the business owner doesn’t realise the quality and experience of his senior team.

Jonathan Dunley’s first job as a financial director was for an ownermanaged business. “I spent two years trying to help him develop his strategy and improve the company’s financial direction, but he didn’t want to know.

“He felt that as the owner of the business, he should make all the decisions. His financial controller handled the day-to-day finances brilliantly, so I moved to where I was able to contribute more fully.”

Such a blinkered approach by the business owner would not have been helpful if he had needed to raise money.

Mark said: “A lender needs to see a good team around the boss and will often advise a company to “up tier” –improve the quality of their advisers, from a book-keeper or a financial controller to employing a financial director.”


Andy Bates’ role at Gloucestershire College has expanded significantly. “My responsibilities now include IT, estates, risk management, project management, legal and commercial. I also run the business units for our international business and our B2B training. I am also involved with our wholly-owned training subsidiary, Betaris Training, which has the national training contract for Wincanton.

Having worked on the sale of Allcooper over the last six months, David Phillips’ role hasn’t so much changed as disappeared. “At Allcooper I had two directors, one is the innovator, the other the networker and aside from my day-today work within the business, I helped bind everything together. I had to do my day-job and work on the sale of the business, a lot of which was done outside normal working hours. It’s great to see the business set up for future success.”

Since joining The Astor-Bannerman Ltd Group Helen Laird has been promoted to financial director from financial controller. Working at a senior level in a relatively small business, she finds herself responsible for anything that isn’t engineering or sales-related. “From IT to human resources and implementing GDPR, it has all landed on my desk.

“Astor-Bannerman has been successful because of our entrepreneurial founders.

They designed great products and sold them to as many people as possible. But that’s not really a sustainable strategy. We are implementing systems and processes, training staff to think about the profitability of our product range. We have welcomed a new managing director who is also keen to set the business on a course for growth.”

For Kevin Boyd at Spirax Sarco, the fundamental responsibilities of being a financial director haven’t changed much. Kevin spent 10 years as Chief Financial Officer at Oxford Instruments before moving to his present role. “The Finance Director is generally number two to the managing director or CEO. One of our main roles is to challenge them on their strategic thinking and decisions. I find it a stimulating and enjoyable job.”

Alun Jones agrees: “I’ve worked in SMEs for most of my life and have always had to deal with varied responsibilities from IT and legal to human resources. Most professional accountancy qualifications will arm you with enough information to be able to deal with such issues and have sufficient knowledge to manage those processes. For me personally, especially in the last few years, a lot of my professional development has come from learning on the job. When we decided to set up a joint venture in Brazil, it fell on me to make it happen, so the first thing I did was to call our professional advisers.”

Andy Bates and Alun Jones


Financial directors increasing influence at board level

Companies are increasingly employing more non-executive directors to their boards and sometimes the finance director, CEO or managing director are the company’s only employees sitting at the boardroom table. Does this mean they wield more influence within the business because they are the only route to influencing company strategy.

Alun Jones’ managing director wants every board decision to be based around the financial impact on the business. “What is the investment required and the likely return? Is it budgeted? Can we justify the spend? How I present the figures can influence the board’s decision. Does that mean I wield a lot of power? I guess the answer’s yes because colleagues will want to know whether their idea will fly before they consider it’s worth putting it forward to the board.”

Kevin Boyd added: “At Spirax Sarco we have four executive directors on the main board, but non-executive directors form the majority and the trend in listed companies seems to be moving to just having the CEO and CFO as the only executive directors on the board, increasing the influence of the CFO.”

The Robert Hitchins Group board structure is multi-layered. At Group level Jonathan Dunley acts more in an advisory capacity where the longer-term strategic decisions are made by the family.

If you could give just one piece of advice to the Chancellor?

Jonathan: “Simplify the tax system.”

Kevin, Dave and Helen: “Sort out Brexit, one way or the other. Business needs certainty, tell us what the decision is and we will make the best of it, whatever it is.”

Andy: “Sort out the higher education sector, including the loans that will never

be repaid. That’s a massive concern.”

Alun: “Offer tax breaks for exporters. Research and development attract tax breaks, so why not some form of relief on exports and the profits a company derives from them? Exports generate income for UK PLC. I accept that there could be an issue about how this is policed, but it’s no different to R&D tax credits.”

With the operational subsidiary directors it’s about working collaboratively to achieve the company’s strategic goals, challenging proposals as necessary and ensuring financial integrity.

Every decision a business takes has a financial impact, said Dave Phillips. “That is surprisingly difficult to get across to the board sometimes. Financial directors are not risk averse, a company can’t grow without taking calculated risks, but they are risk aware and that’s an essential quality at board level.”

Malmaison Cheltenham

The Financial Director’s Round Table was hosted by Malmaison in Cheltenham. This attractive town centre hotel boasts a lovely glass conservatory, courtyard, terrace, newly refurbished Chez Mal Brasserie and three meeting and private dining rooms. Its meeting and event spaces have the flexibility to cater for a wide variety of occasions.

The catering and refreshments are as inspiring as the venue, something to energise a meeting. And all the event spaces are as flexible as they are beautiful, with a wide range of layout options.

For more information: events.

Financial directors Jonathan Dunley, Alun Jones and Helen Laird Kevin Boyd 79
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BetaDen, Worcestershire’s tech accelerator helping young businesses develop next-generation technologies, has showcased its first six BetaDen members.

The event took place at Mazak, one of Worcestershire’s biggest manufacturing companies, with the Betaden members each presenting to a 100-strong audience.

The ideas ranged across machine learning, blockchain, sensors, next generation cyber and security technologies, and virtual reality for the gaming industries.

Betaden’s first cohort included David Sidaway of Sidaway Technolgies, a machine learning company, David Lowe of blockchain technology business Syndial, Luke Hopkins of gaming developer Shedeo, Kully Johal and Neil

Cooke of encryption software GBR14, Ian Whiting of cyber security company Titania, and Jon Wills, Greg Ashley and Steve Hunt of Worcester Scientific, which develops nano sensors.

Linda Smith, founder and Chief Executive of BetaDen said: “Our first cohort are testament to how far businesses can develop when working in partnership with an accelerator.”

The first cohort launched as a ninemonth programme last October.

BetaDen, which offers proof of concept funding, investment coaching, business mentors and marketing funding to young entrepreneurs and technology businesses, is now recruiting for its second cohort.

Wiltshire security firm scoops

Queen’s Award for Enterprise

A Marlborough cyber security firm has picked up a Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Foregenix received the award for international trade.

It is the first cyber security consultancy with a focus on protecting the payment and finance industries to receive the honour.

The specialist firm generated around 60 per cent of its revenue from international sales over the past four years, helped by new offices in Boston, North America, Sydney, Frankfurt and São Paulo, Brazil. It plans to open a new base in Singapore this year.

Work begins on new £9 million centre for cyber security

Construction has begun on a £9 million Centre for Cyber Security in Hereford. The shared facilities will allow up to 16 private sector businesses to make use of the centre’s specialist training rooms and laboratory spaces.

The centre, a joint venture between the University of Wolverhampton and

Herefordshire County Council, is being built at Skylon Park in the Hereford Enterprise Zone.

The centre, which is being built by Malvern-based Speller Metcalfe, will provide specific laboratory equipment, testing facilities, innovation workspace and collaborative R&D units enabling private

sector businesses to use the university’s expertise and extended networks.

The Marches region, which covers Herefordshire and south Shropshire, has been singled out as having a major part to play in ambitious plans for a huge growth in high tech cyber sector jobs over the next seven years.

Up to 10,000 people will be employed in this sector under the plans outlined by the Cyber Resilience Alliance (CRA) – a consortium of more than 100 commercial, private, public and voluntary organisations from across the Marches, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire.

“It is the first cyber security consultancy with a focus on protecting the payment and finance industries to receive the honour”
CGI of the Centre for Cyber Security being built at Skylon Park
Cohort members: David Lowe, Syndial, Ian Whiting, Titania, Kully Johal, GBR14, Luke Hopkins, Shedeo, Steve Hunt and Gregory Ashley of Worcester Scientific, David Sidaway, Sidaway Technologies and Neil Cooke of GBR14


Gemma Brindley, Corporate Tax Director in the Cheltenham office of national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm, Crowe, says that the Patent Box regime is still a very generous tax relief for qualifying companies involved in Research and Development (R&D).

The Patent Box regime is a tax incentive which enables companies to apply a lower rate of corporation tax to profits earned after April 1,2013 from its patented inventions. While the Patent Box system saw changes made from July 1, 2016, it is important to stress that Patent Box remains a very generous tax relief alongside R&D.

The changes effectively made it a requirement for companies to demonstrate that they are actively doing something with their patents (i.e. R&D). Before 2016, it was sufficient to show that you had qualifying patents or IP, but since the 2016 changes, it has become a necessity to show that your R&D is active.

The most recent HMRC statistics show that, while manufacturing claimed the lion’s share of Patent Box relief (more than 50 per cent), second was a category called “Wholesale & Retail Trade, Repairs” at 18 per cent.

Other sectors qualify and your business may be eligible to apply.

To check if you qualify, you need to consider whether your UK company owns, or has an exclusive right to exploit, a patent granted by the UK Intellectual

Patent Office, the European Patent Office or one of the 13 accredited European jurisdictions. This needs to be checked carefully as not all European countries are accredited jurisdictions – interestingly France and Italy are not.

In addition, your UK company, or a group company if it is part of a wider group, needs to have been actively involved in developing the relevant Intellectual Property (IP) that has been patented. This may include R&D.

One other factor to consider is which company has undertaken the R&D. If the relevant R&D has been undertaken by a group company, other than the company that owns the IP, then you may need to consider a slight restructure of the business or consider putting a formal licence in place.

The changes introduced in 2016 added a layer of complexity to an already complex system. However, in 2015-16, 1,160 companies claimed relief under Patent Box with a total value of £754.3 million. In 2016-17, 1,025 companies claimed £942.5 million in relief.

A company may choose to elect into Patent Box for profits earned in a particular accounting period within two years of the end of that period. If a company elects into the regime, the profits generated from its patents will be subject to the Patent Box regime. If a company opts to elect out of the Patent Box regime, it is barred from re-entering for five years.

If you are thinking of registering a patent, consider how long the process will take. The full process usually takes around two and a half years to complete, but it could realistically take anywhere between one to four years.

The most important step is to file the initial application. From that point, no one else can apply for a patent covering your invention. You then have 12 months to decide whether to take the application forward.

If you proceed and are granted a full patent, this can be maintained for up to 20 years from the initial filing date.

It is important to work hand in hand with your tax adviser and your patent agent, if using one, as everyone involved in both the application process and claiming under Patent Box needs to be aware of the steps taken and where you are in the process.

If your business is involved in research and development, and you want to find out if you qualify for Patent Box, ensure you have specialist advisers on board to make a complex process as pain-free as possible.

Patent Box enables UK companies to apply a lower rate of corporation tax of 10 per cent to profits earned after April 1, 2013 from their patented inventions and other qualifying IP. This compares to the current rate of 19 per cent, which will drop to 17 per cent from April 1, 2020.
Gemma Brindley, Tax Director at Crowe UK

Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Report 2019

The top 50 fastest growing companies in Coventry and Warwickshire created more than 3,600 jobs last year and generated an extra £1.2 billion of combined turnover, according to a new report.

The latest Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Barometer Report was published by accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP. Coleshillbased RS Connect came out on top after achieving an average growth of 76.3 per cent over the last three years.


Cheltenham-based traffic signal and monitoring design and manufacturer, AGD Systems Limited, has bought Hampshire-based Radix Traffic Limited, which manufactures specialist traffic equipment to help visuallyimpaired pedestrians.

Pete Hutchinson, Managing Director of AGD, said: “As one of the largest manufacturers of nearside signal equipment in the UK market, AGD has been a very satisfied customer of Radix for many years.

Total turnover boost for the top 50 companies based on three-year growth rates came to £4.5 billion.

Manufacturing companies appear most frequently in the top 50, with Coventry-based Impetus Automotive the sector’s highest-placed representative in fourth place.

Paul Fenner, a partner at BDO, said: “Coventry and Warwickshire’s growth story is set to continue thanks to highprofile developments such as the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, and let’s not forget that in 2021, Coventry will take on the mantle of UK City of Culture.”

Private equity investment has also boosted revenues in Midlands businesses by 44 per cent in the last five years.

The 169 PE-backed firms in the region analysed by BDO have generated close to an additional £1 billion in revenues since 2013, representing an increase in turnover to nearly £3.1 billion.

These businesses employed an additional 14,886 people over the same five-year period, increasing employment levels by 67 per cent.

Accountants’ Hazlewoods corporate finance team, led by Paul Fussell, advised AGD.

The Radix tactile indicator, when fitted to the familiar nearside signals, allows visually-impaired people to hold a cone which protrudes from the signal. When it is safe to cross, the cone starts rotating as the green man appears. This acquisition broadens AGD’s product offering.

There’s a natural fit between our product ranges and this acquisition comes at an exciting time for us, allowing us to build on the Radix brand with AGD knowhow. Putting it all together makes sense because it means customers can continue to benefit from the Radix best-in-class product but now as part of the bigger AGD portfolio.

“This is the fourth successful deal Hazlewoods has negotiated for us, totalling nearly £20 million investment.”

Oxford college acquired by International Education Group

Oxford International Education Group (OIEG), the private education provider backed by Bowmark Capital, has acquired Oxford International College. Oxford-based accountant James Cowper Kreston’s corporate finance team provided transaction support services to OIEG.

Oxford International Education Group has an extensive portfolio of schools with an international range. The addition of Oxford International College, the third Oxford College now owned by the group, gives parents

and students more options to suit their specific educational needs, whether based domestically or overseas.

Brad McAvoy, Corporate Finance Director at James Cowper Kreston said: “This is the first time we have worked with OIEG and Bowmark Capital and we were pleased to be involved in their growth strategy. Our work provided insight to OIEG as to how Oxford International College would function financially alongside the existing OIEG colleges. We are thrilled the acquisition was a success and hope to work with OIEG again in the future.”

The Radix tactile indicator
“Total turnover boost for the top 50 companies based on three-year growth rates came to £4.5 billion”


Wynne-Jones has long been a pioneer of doing things differently, from its no-jargon, no-nonsense approach working with clients, through to its unique management structure, bold brand identity and even employment of staff from outside the traditional legal sector.


A move from Cheltenham to Valiant Court at Gloucester Business Park meant an increase in more than double the size of

operational space. Fifty plus staff had been used to working in a regency building with multiple small rooms that were broken out into teams. The new offices meant a big shift in working practice for everyone into an open plan working environment of more than 6,000sq feet. The open working space and hot desk zone is surrounded by a kitchen-dining-chill-out room, a quiet room, large reception area, four meeting rooms of which two are inter-connecting, and five closed offices for three of the Directors plus staff working in operations, finance & HR.


It’s a well-documented fact that law firms tend to work in very traditional ways. IP Attorneys traditionally worked in ‘silo’ teams, sitting in their own offices, with support staff and PAs working with individual attorneys. Since 2017 Wynne-Jones has been an entirely teambased structure, with both business development and client service/customer experience management expertise serving as integral members of the IP teams. This

involvement of non-IP professionals in the direct, hands-on, commercial management of the clients’ work certainly isn’t the norm across the profession and mixing up staff of all disciplines into open plan working zones, separated only by technical expertise, is even more unusual.


Within the space of less than a month there was a noticeable shift in staff to staff engagement. People who only knew each other via email dialogue talked. People moved around the office space more frequently than they had done so when seated inside rooms with closed doors and there was definitely more ‘productive noise’ rather than a team of 35 working in a building which resembled a hushed library environment. And conversation isn’t just for people in the same room; the technology in place in all meeting rooms at Valiant Court allows multi-way, highquality, face to face conference calls.

Talking is good; it saves time, gets staff away from their screens and creates

Leading IP law firm, Wynne-Jones IP, has moved its headquarters from the heart of Cheltenham town centre to a thriving new business park on the edge of Gloucester as part of its ongoing growth plans and its vision to be considered as a firm that strives to do things “differently”…

heightened positivity. The new ‘outgoing’ and ‘engaged’ WJ team are more aligned with the bold brand identity that WynneJones has established over the last three years in an effort to grow, attract new client sectors and deliver strong partnerships. Wynne-Jones is not about simply providing an IP service, but delivering a strategic offering and great results.


If you’re an innovator in your field and have a team of quality and highly-skilled staff working within the business, it’s no surprise that their wellbeing is high on the list of priorities at Wynne-Jones IP. The fact that staff can work across any of its four offices in Gloucester, London, Cardiff or Telford (and also at home) doesn’t hamper team spirit or staff engagement. Visitors to the new Gloucester office can either work at one of six hotdesks, or in their relevant team zone. Staff needing thinking time or on a telephone call with no ambient noise can tuck themselves away in the quiet room without being disturbed. But if lunchtime beckons and it’s raining or cold outside, the kitchen zone includes a pool table, extra-large TV screen and high-bench seating.

Charity and social activities now have the space to be even more fun. Booze Club Friday, the monthly Book Club, Walking Club, external speakers, monthly massages and fundraising initiatives all add to an inspiring working environment away from the desk, creating positivity & productivity. It’s known as doing things “the WynneJones way.”


The company achieved double digit growth for the fourth year running, in 2018 across all areas of its business and has already had some significant brand wins in the first half of this year. It has created three new attorney roles in its London & Cardiff offices, expanded both its Commercial team and Formalities department, as well as invested further in the in-house Training Academy which will celebrate its first year of fully-qualified graduates later in 2019.

“Moving your HQ is no mean feat and we wanted to meet four key objectives: to create a new environment for staff in line with today’s ways of working; to remain within relatively close proximity to our previous offices & within easy reach of excellent road and transport networks, and lastly to give ourselves space for continued staff growth.“
Ian Lambert, Director Wynne-Jones IP



If investment in research and development (R&D) continues at its current sluggish rate, the UK will not reach the government’s 2.4 per cent target of investment in R&D until 2053. That’s 26 years too late, according to a new report from the Confederation of British Industry.

This matters, says the Confederation, because knowledge gained through research and development will help us tackle the most pressing issues facing society, from solving climate change to feeding and housing the population.

Investment in UK research and development lags behind top performing European countries such as Germany, which recently announced an extra £17 billion boost to funding in the next decade.

But there are some fantastic collaborations going on across the region. Some are publicly funded, others driven by private investment.

What became apparent as we listened to those responsible for research and development, is that successful outcomes from R&D projects are more likely if those leading them have a positive outlook.

“Currently, the UK’s research and development investment levels lag behind top performing European countries like Germany, which recently announced an extra £17 billion boost to research and development funding in the next decade”

A team won’t be inspired to think creatively if their leader is critical and puts heavy time pressures on them. Equally, if an idea isn’t going anywhere, then the team needs to refocus quickly and move on to the next idea. The message is “think positive to drive change”.

Investment in ideas and technology boosts the economy with new products and services, and success is more likely with a positive outlook


But it’s not blind, They simply put all their enthusiasm behind an idea for as long as it takes to explore every possible avenue to make it a success.

It’s this “let’s have a go, and another go and another, let’s do whatever it takes to see if this idea will fly,” that sets apart innovators and those leading research and development teams, from those who simply have hope.

Stewart Barnes, the CEO of leadership development company QuoLux, came to this conclusion after interviewing a raft of successful business innovators.

“Innovators are venture champions. They are prepared to own an idea, and to stay with it as long as it takes. Time isn’t a boundary. They get involved, listen to anyone within the business who can contribute and mine information from anywhere to drive an idea to fruition.”

But what if an idea doesn’t work? How long do you invest in research and development before admitting defeat?

“The difference between someone with passionate optimism and another who has hope, is that if an idea really can’t be made to fly, the optimist will drop it quickly and move on, taking all the knowledge gained to use in the next project, so nothing is wasted,” says Stewart.

The hopeful person will keep on going, wasting time and resources on an idea which just can’t be brought to market. Can you teach optimism? Yes, says Stewart. “Perseverance can also be

learned. We have been coaching and supporting people in positive psychology and self-belief for years, helping them understand innovation, and how it differentiates from continuous improvement and also from change.

“If a research and development project must be pulled, as long as you take the key learnings from it and don’t assign responsibility for its lack of success to any individual, you will take the team along with you. You need to create an environment where people can and are prepared to take risks. And if the project isn’t going anywhere, then trap the good learnings and apply them elsewhere.”

This attitude is certainly true of the newly reinstalled chief executive of Cheltenham-based global fashion brand Superdry, Julian Dunkerton. Having won back his empire in April, against all

the odds, after a turbulent year when the company’s stock market valuation tanked, he appears in super-optimistic mood.

In an interview in the UK’s leading fashion publication, Drapers, he said: “There’s a multitude of priorities but the first thing is to make sure that we have a happy, positive team here.”

Stewart says that the best innovators surround themselves with people who can take their ideas forward.

“I can only imagine that Julian Dunkerton is burning with optimism and he will be absolutely motivated to make it work for the business.

“He electrified Superdry before, and with that attitude he’s got a pretty good chance of doing it again.”

“The difference between someone with passionate optimism and another who has hope, is that if an idea really can’t be made to fly, the optimist will drop it quickly and move on, taking all the knowledge gained to use in the next project, so nothing is wasted”
Julian Dunkerton, Superdry’s super-positive CEO
There’s one personality trait that all successful innovators possess: optimism.


A £6 million collaborative research and development project aimed at industrialising new build homes has been launched.

Called AIMCH (Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Homes), the project aims to understand how to boost the off-site manufacture of houses, modernise housing building practices and bring down costs.

It is driven by a consortium led by one of the UK’s leading independent house

builders and offsite timber build systems manufacturers, Stewart Milne Group based in Witney, Oxfordshire.

This major UK research and development project, funded through Innovate UK, is being led by Stewart Milne Group’s Director of Product Development, Stewart Dalgarno.

The project’s industry partners include national housebuilder, Barratt Developments, social housing developer London and Quadrant Housing Trust,

“It is driven by a consortium led by one of the UK’s leading independent housebuilders and offsite timber build systems manufacturers, Stewart Milne Group based in Witney, Oxfordshire”

The Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry, Tarmac Trading, Forster Roofing and Construction Scotland Innovation Centre.

Meeting the challenge of building more homes

The UK needs an additional 120,000 homes each year. The housing sector faces many challenges, including an ageing workforce and poor productivity. Housing quality, customer satisfaction and building performance must improve says the government, which wants the housing industry to become a digitally integrated, manufacturing and assemblybased industrialised sector.

AIMCH represents the UK’s largest private, rented and social housing providers, offsite manufacturers and UK researchers and the three-year project will develop concepts, prototype and trial solutions on live projects, driving wider

adoption. The project’s learnings will be shared across the housing sector.

UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive Sir Mark Walport said: “Technologies being developed in the UK provide a significant opportunity to transform the way we build, such as the use of augmented reality to improve design or robotics to aid complex building assembly.

“Through such projects, the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund allows us to catalyse innovation across the UK’s vital construction industry improving productivity, sustainability and safety.”

accommodation at the University of Plymouth
Timber roofing in the factory

Bringing construction out of the Dark Ages

Research & Development

Much of the construction sector has been slow to embrace existing technology such as building management, offsite panelised systems and lean processes that could costeffectively speed up the number of homes built across the UK every year.

Processes are still largely paper-based, but digital technology would reduce errors and increase efficiency.

Such technology is hardly cutting edge, so why hasn’t it been adopted by the construction industry before? According to Stewart Dalgarno at the Stewart Milne Group in Witney, it should have been. “We want to get digitally connected, from architect’s drawings through to finished homes. This is where our project consortium research partner, the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry, can apply its expertise.

“The government needs more houses built, and to do that new ways of working are needed. We need to industrialise building rather than relying on craft-led skills. We need to embrace new ways of working. Industrialising means doing things smarter and more cost-effectively.”

“Doing more in a factory rather than on site makes sense. In a factory it can be done more efficiently, requiring fewer skills. The more you can do cost-effectively in the factory, especially by using

automation and robotics, the better the quality, output and cost will be.”

Currently it takes two skilled people on site around 25 minutes to fit a window. “In the factory, a window could be fitted every two to three minutes before the system is shipped to the site.”

Project consortium member, Forster Roofing is an ambitious SME (small or medium-sized enterprise), wanting to expand across the UK by manufacturing a kit of parts.

To do that it needs to develop design software, factory and installation processes to reduce site labour cost by up to 30 per cent.

“The investment by Innovate UK is helping the consortium work together to overcome challenges and accelerate mainstream solutions that would otherwise not happen,” added Stewart.

This project is a three year flagship project for the housing industry. AIMCH is part of the government’s £170 million construction sector deal and the biggest grant awarded to the sector so far.

The main ambition is to deliver offsite panelised housing construction for the same cost or less than is currently the case.

The consortium will develop and trial a range of panelised offsite construction systems. Extensive monitoring of several UK residential developments will take place later this year to gather data on current and future practice, identifying opportunities, benchmarking and building the case for change.

Stewart says this project isn’t about invention. “It’s about innovation, looking at what already exists which can be made to work better and brought into mainstream construction practice in a viable and deliverable way.”

He’s not talking about fully modular development either, which involves constructing an entire building offsite and installing prefabricated sections onsite. “We are talking near-to-market mainstream offsite panelised solutions. Fully mainstream modular houses remain a future ambition. We are not there yet.”

He added: “We want to accelerate innovation through new manufacturing techniques, bringing UK manufacturing back and creating high value jobs throughout the supply chain.”

Can construction companies build more houses for less?
“The investment by Innovate UK is helping the consortium work together to overcome challenges and accelerate mainstream solutions that would otherwise not happen”
Timber frames being assembled in the factory
Stewart Dalgarno of the Stewart Milne Group


Gloucestershire-based Renishaw, the global high-precision metrology and healthcare technology group, is widely praised for its high levels of investment in research and development (up to 18 per cent of sales turnover) to maintain its leadership in various technologies.

Geoff McFarland, Group Engineering Director, explained why Renishaw has been able to sustain innovation for so long.

“When my daughter first started cooking as a seven-year-old she had no fear of the outcome. Renishaw also has that inbuilt confidence that we can make things work, that we can always find a solution.

“It is also because we know that behind every problem lies an opportunity.

“This was always in Renishaw’s culture. Lots of people, especially engineers, have great ideas about how to solve a problem, but it never gets any further because they don’t know how they are going to put the back-end together; they haven’t a clue how they are going to make it.

“That was a real eye-opener to me when I first joined Renishaw. When someone suggested a great technical idea, but then said: “How are we going to make this?”, the answer was always go and find out, see what knowledge we already have within the business and then let’s have a go.

“The front-end idea is the easy bit. Renishaw’s advantage is that we have the core knowledge of how it might be made, whether it’s electronics, optics, software, machining, fabrication or additive layer manufacturing – knowledge built up over decades. I think that we

really underrate our process technology innovation.”

Ideas for new products come from inside and outside the business, he said.

“Many come from the market bringing us a problem, but they are also generated internally –what issues do we face in our own manufacturing and what would we like to solve?

“A key differentiator is that part of Renishaw’s culture is saying if you solve that problem, what is the next problem –are they connected and where do you want to jump to?

“Quite often customers ask us for a solution, at the same time asking other suppliers exactly the same question, and often they are also suggesting a solution.

“We really need to understand the fundamental problem – we can then create a solution that is well beyond what other suppliers will conceive, and which gives rise to the potential for the creation of valuable intellectual property.”

Deciding which ideas should go forward is a challenge, said Geoff.

“Saying no is difficult, but the sooner we can say no, if it’s necessary, the more productive we can be. We also get many approaches from differing sectors. But a lot of those ideas are knocked out quickly by considering the application of the suggested products – whether querying

how they will work in a difficult environment or, in the case of healthcare products, how it can be easily adapted, as each patient is different.

“You really have to turn the decisionmaking around and find out reasons why you can say yes to an idea – if it’s a reason to say no then it can overwhelm your decision-making.”

The product that has given Geoff the most satisfaction is the Revo measuring system, which uses synchronised motion and fiveaxis measurement technology to minimise the dynamic effects of motion at ultra-high measurement speeds.

“I spent a lot of my early design career working on that project. It gives me the most satisfaction and it also gives me the most frustration – it was such a breakthrough product, but manufacturing is quite a conservative industry and the adoption of something that is such a breakthrough is so difficult, because you have to create the market.”

Geoff McFarland, Group Engineering Director at Renishaw
Renishaw’s Revo measuring system



In 1997, marine engineer Bob Griffin changed the life of his profoundly disabled stepson for the better. He designed and built a trike that offered the young boy a sense of freedom and independence, experiences denied him because of his disability.

Thomas had Angelman’s syndrome, typified by severe learning difficulties, sleep disturbance and poor co-ordination.

“Riding the Tomcat allowed Thomas to exercise, and just as importantly gave him the feeling of freedom, while his mum could keep firm control of the trike from behind”

If Tom could exercise more, Bob thought, he would sleep better. A pedal bike seemed one answer. But at the time there were no trikes on the market safe for him to ride, and if there were, he would need to solve Tom’s lack of co-ordination for him to be able to ride, while allowing his mother to maintain control over her disabled son’s cycling.

Never underestimate the determination of an engineer faced with an apparently unsolvable problem. Bob invented

an entirely new kind of trike which he named the Tomcat that cleverly overcame these difficulties.

Riding the Tomcat allowed Thomas to exercise, and just as importantly gave him the feeling of freedom, while his mum could keep firm control of the trike from behind.

The Tomcat Trike’s main feature was Carer Control™, a rear steering and braking innovation that puts the carer in control of every aspect of the child’s safety. More than 20 years on, the Tomcat patented system remains the gold standard by which all others are judged worldwide.

The company won a Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2013 and now designs trikes and specialist seating for disabled adults and children across the world, from a very unassuming factory in Gloucester.

Bob Griffin, the visionary behind Tomcat Trikes

Never let a good idea go to waste

Tomcat’s custom building of every trike to meet the individual needs of disabled children, has led to a raft of new ideas and inventions.

“Each child has their own problems which need to be overcome,” explained Bob. “Eventually we had enough research based on individual needs to be able to help almost any child that came our way; eventually applying the customising philosophy to whole groups, such as those with cerebral palsy, blindness or autism. We try to fit the trike to the family’s social needs such as transport, or the terrain where the trike will be used, be it hilly or flat. In this way we have opened up cycling to whole new sectors of the disabled community.”

There have been research and development dead ends, but no idea ever goes to waste. Such as when his team worked on a design for a wheelchair/ trailer that offered everything in one product, from wheelchair to sleeping or feeding chair to bicycle, all of which could fit in a suitcase for transportation. The product didn’t sell as well as anticipated, but the innovations discovered in its development have been applied to other designs.

“It taught me to do more research,” he said. “But bit by bit along the way we were able to apply all the small innovations we made in response to individual commissions into new models.

Expanding the product range widens appeal

You don’t go from a horse and cart to a Maserati in one leap, but over 20 years we have always led the field.”

There is no more creative mind than that of an engineer. When Bob was asked to design a trike for disabled twins, he found the answer in the natural world. The family’s situation meant the husband spent six weeks out of every 12 working on an oil rig in the North Sea, while his wife was at home responsible for the children.

With disabled twins, it was a huge challenge getting them out and about. Bob’s lightbulb moment came when he remembered how elephants travel trunk to tail in the wild. He applied this to building twin trikes linked to the parent bicycle.

But leading the field can be fraught with danger. Like the time when the Tomcat was being exhibited at an international trade show. Two visitors from China started taking photographs of the trikes, despite large notices warning photography was not allowed. It wasn’t a great surprise, therefore, when a year or so later Bob made the unpleasant discovery that infant and toddler trikes with rear steering were emerging from China and that the substantial financial investment in research and development appeared to have been purloined by unscrupulous competitors.

Designing bespoke trikes for disabled children remains the bedrock on which Tomcat Trikes is built, but the financial investment in research and development is immense, time-consuming and commercially challenging, so to help sustain the company’s future, Tomcat Trikes has widened its product range to offer trikes for older teenagers and adults.

The result is the Bullet, Tomcat’s new low-sitting trike. There are five models, for sport and leisure use to mild mobility issues, and trikes suitable for those with profound learning and physical challenges. There’s also an electric Bullet with power assist technology — a sporty, lightweight electric trike designed for anyone to use anywhere.

“We can pretty much get any child riding a trike; they don’t need good strength or co-ordination; as long as they have just a little bit of strength in one limb. We can work with that”

The Bullet is light, made out of steel, but the frame weight is only around four to five kilos and is the lightest adult trike on the market.

Tomcat Trikes are designed, prototyped and manufactured in Gloucester. “I am a British business and I like to support other British businesses,” said Bob. “We do have some components manufactured abroad, but not many.”

Tomcat now manufactures around 600 trikes a year and has distributors across Europe and Russia.

“We can pretty much get any child riding a trike; they don’t need good strength or co-ordination; as long as they have just a little bit of strength in one limb. We can work with that.”

& Development

Funding to start or grow a business

You’ve had a great idea for a new product, so what do you do next?

Vicki Strachan, Head of the recently opened Oxford office of leading intellectual property firm Mathys & Squire, alongside Su Copeland of Priddey Marketing, provide some top tips on raising funding in order to develop your business.

Some degree of product design is likely to be needed and you would expect the result of that, in the first instance, to be a minimum viable product (MVP) or working prototype that can be tested and ‘tweaked’ before the design is finalised for manufacture. This is, of course, a very simple description of what can often be a rather lengthy and complex journey which doesn’t end there, and, somehow, needs to be funded until sales revenue starts to cover the overheads.

In general, a new or growing business may (potentially) go through several rounds of funding to raise capital as it progresses along the road from concept to market, and these funding rounds can be broken into three broad categories, namely:

 Pre-seed

 Seed

 Series A (and even B, C, D, etc)

Raising capital can, in itself, be an arduous and frustrating process, but pre-seed funding, in particular can be exceptionally difficult, because this is the capital you need for early stage product development of a MVP, testing and finalising the product design. Not only that, you may need to pay for intellectual property registrations, market research, branding, etc. out of this capital, and yet you may not yet have anything viable for potential investors to buy into, nor anything tangible to borrow against.

There are a number of different ways to raise pre-seed funding, and although they

are not all covered here, broadly speaking, many start-up and scale-up ventures raise their pre-seed capital by one (or a combination) of:

 crowdfunding;

 grant funding;

 private (angel or personal) investment; and

 R&D tax credits.

With the exception of R&D tax credits, all successful bids for investment/funding are likely to have one thing in common: getting the message right.

So how do you go about getting your message across and attracting the right investors?

It is rarely possible to effectively do everything that needs to be done yourself, and it is crucial to have an effective core team and good relationships with at least a couple of credible service providers, such as an intellectual property attorney, product designer, branding specialist and marketing expert. It is this network of people that you want an investor to recognise as credible and sufficiently effective to take the business to the next stage.

Su Copeland of Priddey Marketing tells me: “It isn’t easy to find the right investors, and doing so requires knowing where to find them and then having an attractive pitch.”

There is no doubt that the start-up journey is long and often complex. It almost always takes longer and costs more than

Top 10 tips for attracting investors:

 Convey your story

 Make yourself attractive

 Do your investor homework

 Do your financial homework

 Don’t just dive in

 Tap into the government’s tax incentives and funding

 Use well-targeted networking to find the right investor

 Keep the conversation going

 Tap into online funding platforms

 Draw on your wider team

you probably expected, but with the right people around you, and the right advice at the right time, you are much more likely to succeed in the end. Su has provided her top 10 tips (summarised above).

Vicki and Su, along with other STEM business advisers, will be exhibiting at the STEM Advisers Hub at Venturefest Oxford on 11th September 2019, so come and have a chat and let us help you move your business forward together.

For more information on how Mathys & Squire can help your business take off, contact Vicki Strachan on

Milton Park Innovation Centre 174 Brook Drive, Milton Park, Oxfordshire OX14 4SE T: 01865 546 155 |
Vicki Strachan



By 2027, the government wants to see 2.4 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) invested in research and development.

But in 2017, it only achieved an investment of £34.8 billion in R&D across all sectors, the equivalent to just 1.7 per cent GDP. To achieve the government target, investment will need to increase to around £70 billion. If R&D investment continues at the current rate of growth the UK would not reach the 2.4 per cent target until 2053, according to a new CBI report.

The government’s Industrial Strategy sets out an additional £7 billion to be spent on research and development by 2022, that is the largest increase in the UK for nearly 40 years and the route to funding is through Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, a nondepartmental public body funded by grants from the UK government.

Simon Edmonds is Innovate UK’s Chief Business Officer and Director of Manufacturing, Materials & Mobility for Innovate UK. He explains Innovate UK’s strategy for awarding funding for R&D projects.

“We award funding on a competitive basis and we have a sizeable budget, although of course we could also use more. We do everything by open competition, and it is understandably pretty fierce. But those that don’t succeed can enter the next time around. We try to give everyone feedback, so they are well prepared for a future attempt.

“We also offer Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs). This is a UKwide programme that has been helping businesses for the past 40 years to harness knowledge and skills to improve their competitiveness.

“It links businesses with an academic or research organisation and a graduate.

“A KTP enables a business to bring in the latest academic thinking to deliver a specific innovation project. Working with an academic organisation such as a university, the business will be matched with a suitable graduate. They will employ the graduate for between one to three years, depending on what the project is and the needs of the business.”

Innovate UK is also running a pilot programme of loan competitions over two years, which finishes at the end of 2019. It believes loans are most useful for innovations near to market, whereas grants are more suitable for earlier stage, riskier projects.

“We use our regional networks LEPs and chambers of commerce to make sure we try to reach people. We are doing a lot on social media. We do have to stretch our muscles”

It allocated £50 million for business innovation projects. So far it has lent half and funding remains available for companies which think this might be the right route for them.

“The loan must be related to an R&D project,” says Simon. “We are not competing with banks, and the loan won’t cover working capital, or capital equipment unless it’s related to research and development.”

One criticism of Innovate UK is that it often seems to favour the same companies. Simon defends his organisation but admits that the route to small and medium-sized enterprises can be difficult.

“We do have a regional network of managers as well as sector specialists who get out and about to events and meet business. We are trying to make it easier for SMEs to engage with Innovate UK. You can apply for grants online now – that’s relatively new. And 70 per cent of our funding goes to SMEs and micro businesses.

“We use our regional networks, Local Enterprise Partnerships and Chambers of Commerce to try to reach people. We are doing a lot on social media. We do have to stretch our muscles.”

Simon would also like to do more to help innovators network. “In our Women in Innovation campaign, each of the women innovators have agreed to go back to their school to talk to the children. We are also working with the Prince’s Trust through its campaign Ideas mean Business, supporting 18-30-year-olds from a wide range of backgrounds, who are simply looking to take their ideas to the next level. We want to help inspire them to have the confidence to build a business.”

PILLARS OF THE UK’S INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY 04 Harnessing the potential of data and artificial intelligence Moving to clean growth to combat climate change Transforming how people, goods and services move Adapting to the new reality that many people around the world will start living beyond 100 01 02 04 03

Proposed cap on R&D tax relief…

Since their inception, R&D tax credits have provided a vital source of funding for scientific and technological exploits in a company. Unfortunately, in recent years, HMRC has identified a number of fraudulent attempts to claim the relief which has prompted government action.

On 1 April 2020 HMRC and HM Treasury will introduce a cap on the amount of R&D tax credit that can be refunded in any period. The cap will limit any cash refund to 3 times a company’s total NIC and PAYE costs.

The cap won’t affect everybody. Most likely to be affected are those lossmaking companies with a low headcount that outsource R&D such as:

 Smaller family-owned businesses where the R&D element is subcontracted and the majority of payments to the owners are through dividends rather than salaries;

 University spinouts that, in their early stages, often subcontract work back to the University or another research institution;

 Early stage drug-development companies, who often subcontract clinical trials to hospitals or Contract Research Organisations (CROs).

In early 2019, HMRC published a consultation document inviting comment as to how to mitigate the effect of the cap for genuine R&D claims.

The broad areas for consideration included the following suggestions:

 Bringing in a threshold below which

the cap does not apply, so the smallest claims are unaffected;

 In a group situation allowing the group’s PAYE/NIC liability to be counted (thereby increasing the size of the cap);

 Allowing qualifying amounts in excess of the cap to be carried forward for use in a subsequent period when the situation reverses.

James Cowper Kreston invited clients, whose businesses operate within the technology sector, to a round table event headed by Head of Technology, Sue Staunton and Tax Director, Margaret Savory, to provide feedback and discussion on the consultation document. Policy advisors from both HMRC and HM Treasury were in attendance by telephone conference to listen in to the debate.

There were lively discussions but some typical themes emerged from clients. These included the observation that the typical early-stage university spinout model - very small headcount initially and outsource the R&D project work back to the university - might continue for several years, if not a decade (particularly in the case of drug-discovery companies) before employee numbers increase.

Additionally, in certain technical areas, such as design engineering, there is a skills shortage and it is not possible to

find enough suitably-qualified candidates for a position. So, the only alternative to progress the R&D project is to outsource the activity to a third party.

The discussions also covered the effect on companies who operate within a group structure, and also considered whether the cap incentivised companies to employ more staff.

Margaret Savory, an R&D specialist, commented: “We were delighted that our clients and the policymakers were so engaged in the discussion and learned from each other. Whilst no overall solution was provided, the discussions made clear the need for mechanisms to ensure that the UK’s science and technological sector should not unduly suffer from the cap.

“The UK’s R&D relief offering has to remain competitive with other countries’ R&D policies, otherwise there is a risk that innovative and technological companies will set up overseas instead.”

The government will now consider all the formal responses received to the consultation (including the one submitted by James Cowper Kreston). In the coming months HMRC will issue their responses and recommendations which will, in turn, form part of the revised law and/or guidance on the cap when it comes into force on 1 April 2020.

For more information contact us on 01865 861 166 or by visiting our website PROMOTIONAL BUSINESS FEATURE
James Cowper Kreston’s R&D specialists will ensure that their clients are kept up to date on all developments as they are announced. The team would be delighted to hear from anyone who thinks that they might be affected by the cap.
Margaret Savory, Business Tax Director, Oxford and The Thames Valley Sue Staunton, Partner and Head of Technology Team, Oxford and The Thames Valley


almost a done deal now. I dread to think what the impact would have been on the business had we not seen this coming, and hadn’t invested in R&D early to mitigate it.

Why is R&D investment so important to Snow Business?

Never stand still or your competitors or circumstances will overtake you. Good enough is never good enough, and you will never be good enough. Sustainability is not a “nice to have”, it’s essential because without it neither we as a species or our business has a long-term future.

The world is changing fast and technology is moving at a pace. When I started at Snow Business eight years ago, our machines had an on/off switch and a knob you turned to make the snowflake effects bigger or smaller.

The latest machine I am working on has GPS location and global communications capability. Half a dozen microprocessors work together to monitor and communicate all its vital functions in real time and transmit them using GSM. If I was in Hong Kong and a machine went down in New York I would know what was wrong with it before the person standing next to it in the Big Apple.

Stonehouse-based Snow Business has been transforming Hollywood film sets, creating adverts and turning corporate events into winter wonderlands for more than 30 years. We caught up with the company’s Head of Research and Development, Paul Denney. Q Q Q Q

But it’s not just machinery that’s changing, materials are moving even faster. Since the BBC’s Blue Planet series our customers are becoming very particular about what they use –particularly plastic. We have been phasing out plastic for a long time and in fact it’s

How do you select the projects and ideas to invest in?

We take a holistic approach. Customer needs and feedback play a big part, as does futurology. Market monitoring and occasionally just spotting interesting tech coming out of left field and adapting it to solve problems and add to our portfolio. It’s important to acknowledge that a good idea is a good idea — where it comes from doesn’t matter.

How long do you give an R&D project to decide whether it will fly?

Being an SME, we can’t throw money at R&D in the way that, say, Dyson might do. We like to think through a project before we start spending money. It’s very rare for a project, once started, to completely fall by the wayside, although it may change as it goes along. Even if it doesn’t work out there is no such thing as failure. Knowledge gained is never a waste of money. The board is very open to innovation, though, and that’s key.

Do you work with outside agencies?

We work with suppliers and many of them will do R&D for us. We work with research bodies in the UK and Europe and we have had a very good relationship with Bristol University’s school of chemistry.

Ground-breaking energy project launched in Oxfordshire

EDF Energy, which has a major base in Gloucester, has launched a ground-breaking energy project in Oxfordshire.

Local Energy Oxfordshire will test the county’s local energy market allowing more integration of local renewable energies to support the distribution network infrastructure, and develop innovative and flexible energy systems for heat, transport and electricity uses.

It is one of the largest-funded projects involving EDF Energy’s UK research and development teams, totalling more than £40 million through a public grant of £14 million and private sector funding. The project will run until 2021.

This first trial will benefit up to 27,000 homes and 35,000 businesses, as well as five science parks.

Director of EDF Energy R&D, Xavier Mamo, said: “Local energy platforms are well positioned to deliver value for local communities and grid operators, while ensuring the transition to a low carbon electric future.”

Show Business helps the Pirates of the Caribbean film set

A no-nonsense guide to R&D

Britain is a nation of tinkerers…

in garden sheds, by strip lights in factory halls; we’ve built the technology that makes the world go round. Light bulbs, telephones, steam engines and televisions all started life on these isles. And Gloucestershire is no exception. We powered up the lawnmower, the vacuum cleaner, the UK’s first jet aircraft and even modern vaccination.

But the UK has never managed to bag the Global Innovation Index top spot. We came 3rd in 2013, climbed to 2nd, slipped to 3rd, up to 5th and recovered slightly to 4th last year. By contrast, Switzerland have been 1st this entire time, and Sweden have been on the podium throughout. Our flipflopping is part of the reason why the UK Government introduced R&D tax credits. We should be up there.

What are R&D Tax Credits?

To nurture our heritage of innovation, and help us continue punching above our plucky weight, in 2000 the Government introduced a series of tax breaks for UK companies pursuing innovative projects.

To successfully claim, you need to explain how your project:

□ sought an advance in science or technology,

□ which required you to overcome

technical uncertainty, and □ could not be easily worked out by a competent professional in your field.

How much am I likely to get?

If your project involved genuine innovation, and you spent money to develop it, then you’ve probably got a case to claim for some of the costs back. And remember, you can still recover costs on failed projects, or if you’re not making a profit.

If your company has less than 500 staff and a turnover of less than 100m, you can:

Deduct an extra 130% of qualifying costs from your yearly profit, as well as the normal 100% deduction, to make a total 230% deduction. This means that you could claim back up to 32p per £1 spent on the development work. You can even claim this a cash payment if you have not paid any corporation tax.

And if you’re a larger company, or you’ve been subcontracted by one, you can:

Claim a tax credit, referred to as an RDEC, of 12% of your qualifying R&D expenditure. This means that you can claim back up to 9p per £1 spent on the

We’ve been working with The Growth Hub to identify Gloucestershire businesses with a record of innovation. Each year we help our clients claim millions in tax savings under the R&D tax relief and patent box schemes. This has undoubtedly led to further growth and the creation of new jobs in the county. Remember, you don’t need to have a laboratory full of technicians to claim tax relief. We’ve helped business in a wide variety of sectors including manufacturing, engineering, agriculture, food technology, product design and software development businesses.

development work. In some cases, you can also claim a cash payment if you have not paid corporation tax. You’ve got up to 3 years to claim, as the application includes your last 2 complete financial years. AND, when you factor in the Government’s ‘Patent Box’ scheme, which can halve your Corporation Tax bill, innovation starts to look all-the-more inviting.

How do I make a claim?

R&D claims can be complicated, as can Patent Box applications, so we strongly recommend working with a qualified partner to explore and submit a case. They’ll help you decide which of your projects are likely to result in cash back, and guide you through the process.

The Growth Hub is here to tackle the challenges in your business, prepare you for what’s coming next, and we won’t charge a penny for any of it. Along with helping you find the right R&D partner, we can help with a whole host of other finance, strategy, marketing and skills projects.

Our work with The Growth Hub and Crowther’s Chartered Accountants has led to a successful R&D claim of £24,447. With the money we’ve recalimed, we’ve invested it into a cooling tunnel and it has helped our company continue its growth.

Stewart Golf joins export champion community

Gloucester-based golf trolley manufacturer Stewart Golf has joined forces with the Department for International Trade (DIT), becoming an Export Advocate for its Exporting is GREAT campaign.


Iconic UK motorcycle brand Triumph has announced a unique two year collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering of Didcot, WMG at the University of Warwick, Milton Keynesbased Integral Powertrain Ltd and Innovate UK to develop specialist electric motorcycle technology.

This new collaboration will combine Triumph’s motorcycle expertise with advanced automotive-based capabilities to generate technological innovation for future electric motorcycles.

“This collaboration is an opportunity for Triumph and its partners to lead the technology to enable motorcycle electrification, driven by customers striving to reduce their environmental impact, combined with the desire for more economical transportation, and changing legislation,” said Triumph CEO Nick Bloor.

Called Project Triumph TE-1, Hinckleybased Triumph Motorcycles will lead the project.

Williams will provide battery design and integration capability, Integral Powertrain’s e-Drive Division will lead the development of power-dense electric motors. WMG will provide electrification expertise.

Innovate UK, the government agency that promotes science and technology programmes to grow the UK economy, will support the partners and administer funds.

Craig Wilson, Managing Director of Williams Advanced Engineering, said: “Williams has powered a number of world-renowned electric vehicles already and this will be a significant further step in our work by taking that knowledge on to two wheels.”

Mazak celebrates 10 years of success with European Technology Centre

Yamazaki Mazak is celebrating a decade of success for its European Technology Centre (ETC) this year.

The facility, based at its European manufacturing plant in Worcester, opened in 2009, and has welcomed more than 33,000 visitors.

The 2,900 sq metre facility is home to a regularly-changing line-up of CNC machine tools and laser processing

machines from Mazak’s extensive portfolio.

It has also hosted a number of UK manufacturing events.

Richard Smith, European Group Managing Director, said: “The ETC is one of the biggest assets Mazak has in the UK, and it has played a significant role in growing both our UK and European customer base over the last decade.”

Stewart Golf has been exporting for years and in 2018 the company became a net exporter for the first time, with more than 50 per cent of the company’s production shipped to 30 countries including Canada, Taiwan, the USA and into Europe.

DIT’s Exporting is GREAT campaign encourages more UK companies to trade internationally (or expand their current reach) by promoting export successes.

CEO, Mark Stewart, said: “Great Britain is our home but innovative products draw interest from golfers across the planet.”

Stewart Golf recently delivered a fleet of X9 Follow models to a golf club in Taiwan. The company has also set up a US subsidiary to work alongside its existing distributor.

UK manufacturer commits to Coventry investment

USA-based IPG Photonics, a manufacturer of high-performance amplifiers, has revealed plans to build its new UK base at Ansty Park, Coventry, also home to the UK’s Manufacturing Technology Centre. The £15 million facility is expected to open in 2020.

David Goodwin, Managing Director of IPG Photonics UK, said: “We believe the region will play a leading role in driving the UK’s productivity and wider industrial strategy. For us, there isn’t a better placed location to accelerate the industrialisation of laser-based manufacturing.”

Triumph Motorcycles
“Williams has powered a number of worldrenowned electric vehicles already and this will be a significant further step in our work by taking that knowledge on to two wheels”



From water-treatment to science companies, businesses from across the region have secured prestigious Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, now in its 53rd year, is considered one of the most prestigious awards programmes for UK businesses.

Applications for the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise 2020 are now open and close on September 10. They are free to enter, and it is a self-nominating process.

Queen’s Award for International Trade

Auger Torque, Cheltenham

Manufacture of earth drill and trenching attachments for construction equipment.

Avon Specialty Metals, Gloucester

Ethical recycling and trading of nickel and cobalt aerospace alloys and exotic metals.

Customer Thermometer

One-click email surveys for businesses that want real-time feedback.

Oxford Programs

Trading as Oxford Royale Academy, offering residential educational courses for overseas students.

Kohler Mira, Cheltenham

Innovation in instantaneous electric showers through air induction.

HT2 Labs, Chipping Norton

Learning Record Store providing data management and analytics for big learning data.

Oxford Biodynamics Plc, Oxford

Novel epigemetic biomarker technology to deliver personalised medicine. (Epigenics is the study of biological mechanisms that will switch geneds on or off)

Oxford Instruments, Abingdon

Extreme, a high spatial resolution detector for low energy x-rays.

Thorlux Lighting, Redditch

A wireless web-based lighting management system to control interior, exterior and emergency lighting.

Qualasept Pharmaxo Holdings, Corsham

Innovation in stability research to increase the shelf lives of many critical biological cancer drugs.

Meech International, Witney

Electrostatic and contamination control systems for plastics, packaging, printing, automotive, food and drink and medical sectors.

Oxford PharmaGenesis, Tubney

Health science communications services.

Oxford Technical Solutions, Middleton Stoney

The manufacture of precision satelliteaided inertial navigation measurement systems for automotive and surveying.

Oxford Technologies, Abingdon

Trading as Veolia Nuclear Solutions UK, the manufacture of remote handling systems for hazardous environments.

JMDA, Pershore

Design engineering, product development and compliance management, manufacturing support, child car seat vehicle compatibility service.

Seada Technology, Redditch

Video wall controllers with custom software.

Leeson Polyurethanes, Warwick

Manufacture of formulated polyurethane adhesives, coatings, waterproofing and binders.

REPL Group Worldwide, Henley-in-Arden

Workforce management, supply chain, point-of-sale and in-store digital solutions for retail.

Lawton Tubes, Coventry

Manufacture of copper tubes and associated products for the construction and medical industries.

Alvan Blanch Development, Malmesbury

Design and manufacturer of drying and processing systems for agricultural products and waste materials.

Clarendon Specialty Fasteners, Swindon

Distribution of aerospace grade fasteners and components into aerospace, motorsport, defence and industrial markets.

Foregenix, Marlborough

Foregenix is the first cyber security consultancy with a focus on protecting the payment and finance industries to receive the honour.

Rotech (Swindon)

Technology for kegging breweries worldwide for hygiene and product quality.

Berkeley Engineering, Reading

Specialist engineering and project management consultancy, focused in the oil and gas, and petrochemical sectors.

Trace2Go, Thatcham

Manufacture of testing equipment for drinking and waste water quality.

The Helping Hand Company

Contract manufacturing company specialising in independent living at home, including pressure ulcer management. It is also a litter management consultancy including manufacturing litter-picking equipment.

Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development

ClimateCare Oxford

Delivers world-leading climate, environment and development programmes.

Queen’s Award for Innovation


Investment in high-growth digital tech firms grew 61 per cent in the UK between 2017 and 2018.

The London Stock Exchange says that 2019 will be the year of one technology sector in particular.

The UK has been named the best in the world for financial technology (FinTech) with start-ups receiving more than £4.5 billion of investment over the last three years.

FinTech is leveraging technology to make financial services cheaper, more efficient and accessible.

It is a key driver of financial inclusion and will make financial services more accessible to more of the population, according to the trade association Innovate Finance.

There are phenomenal opportunities in these sectors, but there is also wider ambition that technology companies shouldn’t be purely about money and profit – that’s so 1980s. The new vibe is that they should also be a force for social good.

Tech Nation says that the UK is already a global centre for Tech for Good, with social technology companies valued at £2.3 billion last year.

The government is also backing an investment fund being set up by The Oxford-based Social Tech Trust.

Established in 2008 by Nominet, the UK’s official registry for domain names, the Social Tech Trust became fully independent in 2018.

It has supported almost 800 social initiatives in the UK, providing more than £31 million in funding to help transform lives with technology.

The government is now backing this Trust in setting up a £30 million investment fund to provide ventures with capital to develop their ideas in three key areas of social transformation: health, wealth and communities.

Oxford University Innovation is following this trend.

Since 1987 the organisation, which spins out ideas and technology from the university into the commercial world, has successfully launched more than160 companies.

It is now offering support to academics seeking to create businesses around ideas that don’t necessarily have a clear path to a commercial return.

Solving the productivity puzzle

The UK lags behind much of the world in terms of productivity, (output produced per worker hour). Acknowledged to be the main driver of long-term economic growth, our productivity just can’t seem to compete with France, Germany, the USA – or even countries across Eastern Europe.

Harnessing technology will improve our competitiveness. Mark Stansfeld, Chair of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and also Chair of the UK’s fastest growing mobile network, Giffgaff, is leading a project to increase industrial productivity using robotics, big data analytics and augmented reality over 5G networks.

Worcestershire’s 5G testbed has already shown productivity improvement of two per cent in some areas.

Tech Nation is the UK network for ambitious tech entrepreneurs. The organisation, which receives over £5 million of government funding, runs an expanding network of growth programmes, events and data resources across the UK.

Technology, the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, is fundamental to everyone’s daily lives. We look at the difference it can make, especially in financial services

The facts and figures

 The UK leads the rest of the world in FinTech –investment in high-growth FinTech firms achieved £4.5 billion between 2015 and 2018

 Scale-up tech investment is 2.5 times higher than expected based on the relative size of the UK economy

 Total 2018 venture capital investment in UK tech topped £6 billion, more than any other European country

 The UK remains a hotbed for tech talent, employing five per cent of all highgrowth tech workers globally, placing the UK ahead of Japan, France and India

 To date, 35 per cent of Europe and Israel’s tech unicorns (business valued at one billion dollars) have been created in the UK.

Source: Tech Nation


The 5G network is a huge leap forward in the world’s connectivity, akin to moving from the horse and cart to the automobile.

It will underpin the entire global digital economy, offering speeds up to 20 times faster and capable of supporting billions of digital devices with much greater reliability and security.

Global political debate continues about whether the Chinese telecoms firm Huawei should have a role in building the wider world’s 5G network because of Western security concerns, but there is no debate that the power of 5G will soon be driving the world’s economies.

The UK is well positioned to create major economic advantages from this through new jobs, boosting the productivity of existing businesses and facilitating the creation of new industries, products and services, says the government.

Mark Stansfeld is Chair of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership. He has had a career steeped in digital firsts – from being part of the team which persuaded Apple to adopt the O2 network as its exclusive UK carrier for the revolutionary new iPhone in 2008, to setting up the UK’s fastest growing new mobile phone network, GiffGaff, a year later, where he is now Chairman.

Mark said: “Every generation of humanity has faced the fear of technology and how it could be used,

has faced the fear of technology and how it could be used, right from the arrow and the cannon ball. But we have to believe in the strength of humanity otherwise we’d never move forward”

right from the arrow and the cannon ball. But we have to believe in the strength of humanity otherwise we’d never move forward. We should continue to embrace new technological developments. The big thing for UK plc is to keep on being curious and moving forward under the umbrella of good.”

Last year, The Worcestershire 5G Consortium, which Mark chairs, launched the country’s most comprehensive industrial 5G Testbed trial and this year it began the UK’s first live 5G factory trials, working with Mazak and Worcester Bosch, among other manufacturers, marking the first time that British industry has deployed this next generation technology.

“Every generation of humanity
Mark Stansfeld, Chair of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, GiffGaff and The Worcestershire 5G Consortium 106

In a huge step on the UK’s journey towards Industry 4.0 (where computers communicate with one another to ultimately make decisions without human involvement), the process allows manufacturers to test the potential of 5G investments – from factory floor production, reconfiguration and real-time analysis, to steering a machine’s movements from a remote location.

World-leading engineering company Worcester Bosch is testing 5G for improved factory output, exploring preventive maintenance using Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and data analytics to predict failure. Meanwhile multinational defence company QinetiQ, which has a major site at Malvern, has been designing security into the network and applications.

Carl Arntzen, CEO at Worcester Bosch, said: “We are delighted to have switched 5G on in our factory and look forward to measuring the productivity gains that will follow.

“It’s important to our business to have the real time element 5G brings so that we can react immediately in the factory environment to mitigate any losses in output and protect and grow our business bottom line.”

Leading global manufacturer Yamazaki Mazak, based in Worcester, is using 5G to demonstrate how it enhances factory productivity. The technology will be used for two troubleshooting applications, one of which allows senior engineers to remotely guide onsite engineers, via augmented reality, through machine maintenance.

It’s not all about 5G… please welcome WiFi 6

While 5G is a game-changer, there are alternatives, and the answer for successfully boosting productivity will involve a patchwork of technologies. Another of these,WiFi 6, is also being trialled by Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.

“A business has to choose the right technology for the right job,” said Mark. “Mettis Aerospace in Redditch is testing a WiFi 6 network in conjunction with the Wireless Broadband Alliance and Cisco.”

Mettis Aerospace designs and manufacturers precision-machined and sub-assembled components, primarily for aerospace and defence. This busy factory has a lot of interference so 5G may not be the solution.

WiFi 6 will have higher data rates, increased capacity, better performance in environments with many connected devices and improved power efficiency.

The trial at Mettis, the first of a series of global trials, will enable the use of augmented reality, real-time monitoring of equipment and other applications designed to digitise Mettis’ production line. The company supplies organisations like Airbus, Boeing and Rolls-Royce.

The real value from all these tests will come for the 95 per cent of UK companies which are small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

“We have noticed a gap in the knowledge and language between SME manufacturers and those who understand the new technologies,” explained Mark. “We have visited their factories interpreting their needs and explaining the capabilities of 5G and other technologies.

“I want Worcestershire to be the home for Industry 4.0 and 5G. We are already talking to West Midlands 5G and will be running their 5G testbed.

“We will apply local learnings regionally, nationally and internationally,” he added. “We are also running 5G skills courses at the Heart of Worcestershire College, because alongside the new technology, we need skilled people to implement and operate it.

“If you productise these solutions, the SMEs can almost plug and play, and that would really drive their productivity,” he added. “And if we achieve even a one per cent increase in productivity (and we’ve already proved in our trials that we can lift that to two per cent), that could potentially deliver £2 billion of gross value-added benefit to UK plc.”

May the “G” force be with you

1G Voice-only calls. Just walking and talking (oh how simple life was then).

2G Voice and text message. The world’s first text message was sent by Neil Papworth, a 22-year-old test engineer from Reading. He was part of the team developing a Short Message Service Centre (SMSC) for Newbury-based Vodafone UK. Since mobile phones didn’t yet have keyboards, he typed “Merry Christmas” on a PC and sent it to Richard Jarvis of Vodafone, who was enjoying his office Christmas party.

3G 1998 brought faster datatransmission speeds to allow video calling and mobile internet access. The term “mobile broadband” was first applied to 3G cellular technology.

4G Released in 2008, 4G supports mobile streaming. Now you can wander through the streets watching Love Island. What joy.

5G Will be up to 20 times faster and capable of supporting billions of digital devices reliably and securely.

The Worcester Bosch Factory is taking part in 5G trials

Operation management made seamless…

With the majority of companies continuing to use a variety of tools, software or systems to maintain their dayto-day activities, businesses are starting to realise the benefits of combining data sets and/or processes into one central hub – often as a business portal.

Portals work by allowing set data or functions to be controlled from one place. When implemented appropriately, these can often become the backbone of operations; ultimately providing companies with improved data accuracy, increased productivity and real-time data visibility and can in some instances form the core aspect of business processes. Even small elements such as providing a single view of all customer data rather than being held in multiple disparate formats throughout the business, by tying together CRM elements into portals, customer information is easier to keep up to date and cross reference with enquiries, sales etc which provides a much quicker experience for the customer and with significant ease for the business.

A recent example of this is the advanced, streamlined portal which 16i built for Grant UK, an award-winning leader in the heating industry.

Creating a seamless user experience for businesses

Grant UK approached 16i with a need for a more advanced, streamlined installer portal, to enable their 1,000+ G1 installers to register products quickly and easily.

Built with user experience in mind, the G1 Portal (and corresponding app) is both technologically advanced, yet (as a result of great UI design) easy-to-use; enabling over 1,000 installers to register products quickly and easily.

Exclusively available to G1 installers, the portal comprises a number of user-focused features including a bespoke summary dashboard (displaying recent registrations, service reminders and due dates), as well as the ability to view, draft, and/or complete new product registrations.

The portal also syncs with the corresponding G1 Click app (also developed by 16i), ensuring a seamless user experience between the two systems; ultimately allowing installers to complete registrations on the move, whilst providing Grant UK with the ability to effectively manage registrations from one central place.

“16i are a very approachable business and have been very easy to work with throughout the planning and development stages of our project – you feel that you are their number one priority and that your project is as important to them as it is to us as a business. Feedback from our G1 installers on the new digital platform has also been incredibly positive. We’ve had fewer calls in to the office for product registrations which frees up our time, and is allowing our installers to complete product registrations on site there and then with their customers.”

A range of project disciplines were used within this project including, Digital responsive design, iOS and Android mobile app development, Bespoke development, Umbraco. Read more on how we helped Grant UK at


Effective, feedback systems or portals are becoming increasingly important within the technical industry.
Discover | Develop | Design | Deliver 6 Rockfield Business Park, Old Station Drive, Cheltenham, GL53 0AN
T: 01242 654

Purplebricks disrupts the estate agency market

It’s a story of fast and furious for Solihull-based online estate agency Purplebricks.


PropTech is fast emerging as a driver for commercial property or in fact any real estate transactions.

At its most basic, think property portals such as Rightmove and Prime Location, or online estate agents such as Solihull-based Purple Bricks.

In short, according to Oxford’s Said Business School, PropTech is about information, transactions and management.

It’s not just online property companies which are harnessing the power of technology to better tailor their offer to the market, forward-thinking traditional agents are doing it too.

Behind the enticing photographs of desirable properties will be smart software and artificial intelligence to analyse and assess prospective buyers and renters and present them with relevant property opportunities, be it commercial or residential.

PropTech software can also cut the time it takes for a transaction to go through legal processes, scanning complicated leases, rental or purchase agreements. and is increasingly being used in asset management.

Vik Tara is a PropTech entrepreneur based in Leamington Spa. Last year he won a Lifetime Achievement award at the UK PropTech Association awards.

“It’s not just online property companies which are harnessing the power of technology to better tailor their offer to the market, forward-thinking traditional agents are doing it too.”

He holds a number of roles, including Managing Director of Technology Blueprint and developer and marketer of PropCo, a property management solution used by companies including Countrywide.

He is also the Founder and Managing Director of Tech Blue Software, a fast-growth Indian software company.

Vik, who began his career in the property lettings sector, founded the innovative PropTech mobile app Rentr, a comprehensive lettings app designed for landlords and tenants.

He also introduced CheckDocs to help landlords conduct “right-to-rent” checks on prospective tenants.

The CheckDocs platform has now implemented artificial intelligence to help customers solve the problems in managing houses of multiple occupation (HMO) licencing across large nationwide property portfolios.

This property industry disruptor launched in April 2014 with 30 local property experts. Just one year later, it floated on the London Stock Exchange and in July 2018, expanded into Australia and the USA.

The story began in 2011, when Michael and Kenny Bruce, who ran a traditional estate agency, began wondering why millions were being spent helping buyers know what is on the market, but there was nothing for sellers, when they’re the ones who pay the fees.

They spent more than two years researching their idea and designed a model blending people and technology.

Purplebricks’ technology platform enables buyers and sellers to book valuations instantly, schedule viewings, give feedback, make offers, negotiate sales and instruct lawyers or talk through their transaction at any time.

It sounds a great idea, but it’s not all been plain sailing for the business.

The company is quitting the Australian market. The USA, too, is proving a harder nut to crack and Purplebricks is cutting investment there ahead of a strategic review of its operations in the country.

While online estate agents are here to stay, and Purplebricks remains the most dominant online firm, analysis shows that online estate agents continue to have under a five per cent market share.

Vik Tara Purplebricks winning Innovative Business of the Year 2015 at the Startup Tech awards
Could you benefit from existing training content going digital? If you would like further information please get in touch. | | 07792 652211 Indegu help customers get the most out of their training material for staff or customers, producing innovative e-learning experiences and inspiring people to develop their skills. E-Learning Flexible Learning Management System Consultancy Designed to meet your needs and objectives Created using your branding Built to complement or replace your existing face-to-face solution An affordable and scalable way to offer your staff or customers training Full trackability, communication and reporting available in one package All the tools to support learners undertaking fully online or blended learning programmes Education professionals using industry knowledge to create a solution that’s right for you Client involvement from start to finish to ensure they have a product to be proud of Flexible pricing structure, R&D tax credits may be available


An idea dreamed up by an academic some years ago is being taken to market by his sons who were quick to see that the market needed alternatives to the widespread use of herbicides such as RoundUp, which is now subject to lawsuits. The brothers have set up RootWave, to commercialise their father’s idea and benefit agriculture across the world.

Dr Mike Diprose has more than 35 years of experience of electrical weed control having led research throughout his career at Sheffield University. He came up with an innovative way to kill weeds without the use of herbicides by using electricity. But he didn’t have the resources to take his idea forward.

RootWave is based at Kineton in Warwickshire. Its technology uses electricity to boil weeds inside out from the root upwards. In future it could drastically reduce the need for harmful herbicides.

Founded in 2012, the company has secured more £2 million in funding

from InnovateUK, and further European and Horizon 2020 funding. In April the company shipped the first of several bulk orders to the Netherlands where there is huge interest in its award-winning professional hand-weeder designed for growers, gardeners and groundskeepers to spot weeds, and treat invasive species.

It is also being used by major organisations such as the National Trust and English Heritage.

The new Exmoor Non-Native Invasives Species (ENNIS) project – a partnership between Exmoor National Park Authority, The Environment Agency, National Trust, Natural England and Nicky Green Associates – will allow work to control invasive species in the National Park to be

radically scaled up and extended to new species.

After an extended trial on Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed, the ENNIS team selected RootWave Pro as their preferred product.

Andrew Diprose, Chief Executive at RootWave, said: “With the herbicide market under pressure, there is now the demand for innovations such as RootWave to tackle the growing problem of killing invasive species, some of which are now becoming resistant to glyphosates.”

There is huge potential in the technology. “Anywhere where chemicals are being used to kill weeds, we are looking to create a machine that offers an alternative.”

Farmbots that grow crops autonomously — coming to a field near you

Robotics experts from the Coventry-based Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) have been working with a farming robotics company to develop robots and artificial intelligence which could revolutionise farming and the way food is produced.

MTC engineers and scientists worked with the Hampshire-based Small Robot Company to develop a new generation of agricultural technology which will bring the power and precision of robots to farming, potentially replacing tractors for many jobs.

The small digitally-controlled robots are able to plant, feed and weed arable crops autonomously with minimum waste. They are able to plant seeds,

apply fertiliser and herbicides, and weed crops with precision. The company says that the “farmbots” improve the way food is produced, minimising chemical use, making farms more profitable and increasing yield and efficiency.

Robot prototypes are carrying out field trials on 20 farms across the UK including the Waitrose Leckford Estate Farm and the National Trust’s Wimpole Estate.

Funding for the project has come from Innovate UK and the MTC, boosted by £1.2 million in crowdfunding.

The Small Robot Company was established as an agri-tech start-up by Ben Scott-Robinson and fourth generation

farmer Sam Watson Jones, inspired by work at the National Centre for Precision Farming at Harper Adams agricultural college. This suggested that some work done by tractors could be done by highly accurate, smart, lightweight robots.

Jeremy Hadall, Chief Engineer for intelligent automation at the MTC, said the technology had the potential to make significant improvements in farm productivity and profitability.

“With growing populations and increasing challenges in farming, using ideas and technologies from other sectors will bring about real innovation and transform the way we feed ourselves in the future.”

English Heritage has adopted RootWave Pro as the main method of weed control at Audley End House & Gardens after two years of successful trials in the organic kitchen garden

UK welcomes a biotech boom

There has been a 65 per cent growth in UK biotechnology research and development companies since 2016 as the sector attracts record investment.

Analysis of official data from the Companies House register by investment manager Downing LLP, indicates that 3,456 active companies are currently involved in biotechnology research and development (R&D) activities.

“This core sector alone increased turnover by £3.3 billion and created 47 new businesses between 2016 and 2017, the report reveals”

A new report published by the Medicines Discovery Catapult and the BioIndustry Association provides new insights into the UK’s growing medicines discovery industry.

The 2019 State of the Discovery Nation report reveals a thriving service and supply sector for the UK in addition to its R&D biotechs. It also highlights two breakthrough technologies set to influence the future of medicines discovery and maintain the UK’s global competitiveness.

The research found that service and supply companies account for 80 per cent of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in UK medicines discovery, and 90 per cent of employment. While 20 per cent of companies are actively focused on therapeutic product development.

With SMEs at the heart, UK medicines discovery is a large, diverse, vibrant and growing sector. This core sector alone increased turnover by £3.3 billion and created 47 new businesses between 2016 and 2017, the report reveals.


Oxford Nanopore has entered into a non-binding agreement with a leading Chinese sequencing company in support of its plan to build genome medicine services at an affordable price accessible to anyone, anywhere.

GrandOmics is undertaking a major project to sequence 20,000 human genomes in 2019, with a goal of 50,000 by the end of 2020 and total of 100,000 by the end of 2021.

The project uses high-throughput nanopore sequencing on Oxford Nanopore’s PromethION, its DNA and RNA sequencing technology.

This research project aims to gain a complete understanding of genetic variations associated with human health and disease.

To date, GrandOmics has sequenced more than 1,000 human genome samples and several hundreds of plants, animals, and microbial genomes using nanopore technology, servicing a network of more than 1,000 customers

“We are glad to form a strategic and ongoing collaboration with GrandOmics to support genomic medicine and personalised medicine for China”

throughout the world. It says this has resulted in new discoveries in genome science and genomic medicine.

Dr Gordon Sanghera, CEO of Oxford Nanopore said: “We are glad to form a strategic and ongoing collaboration with GrandOmics to support genomic medicine and personalised medicine for China.

“This is so far the largest high-throughput nanopore sequencing project in the world and is the outcome of extensive effort between two parties in developing a strategic alliance over the last several months. This is achieved by a shared vision to create an opportunity to revolutionise genome medicine in the UK, China and the rest of the world.”

Tech Centre Stage
Gordon Sanghera, CEO at Oxford Nanopore (second right) with representatives of GrandOmics

OrganOx signs research collaboration with US transplant organisations

Tech Centre Stage

Oxford-based biotech company, OrganOx, has announced a major research collaboration with two leading US organ transplant organisations, with the objective of increasing the supply of donor livers available for transplant in the USA.

Around 15 per cent of donor livers recovered in the US are not transplanted, primarily due to concerns over organ quality.

Evidence from the UK, using OrganOx technology, has suggested that many of these, around 1,000 declined organs, may be viable for transplantation.

Mid-America Transplant and Washington University School of Medicine, both based in St Louis, will collaborate with OrganOx to evaluate whether the company’s normothermic machine perfusion (NMP) device can reduce the number of livers discarded due to quality issues.

The machine is designed to supply donated livers with oxygenated blood, clot-busting drugs and nutrients. Currently, donated livers are stored on

ice, making them prone to a type of injury that occurs when blood flows through the organ for the first time after a transplant.

Diane Brockmeier, Chief Executive of Mid-America Transplant, said: “We take pride in seeking out new, novel approaches that align with our vision that organs and tissues are always available to those in need. We are delighted to work with OrganOx and Washington University to assess the impact NMP can make in our commitment to save lives through organ and tissue donation.”

Craig Marshall, CEO of OrganOx added: “Improving the utilisation of donor organs is exactly what our proprietary technology has been developed for. I am confident OrganOx can play a crucial role in expanding the number of donor livers available for transplant to enable more recipients to benefit from lifesaving transplantation. This is great news for the growing number of US patients with end-stage liver disease.”

£10 million initiative launches to accelerate growth of early stage science companies

The UK Innovation and Science Seed Fund (UKI2S) and Innovate UK have launched a £10 million initiative to boost some of the UK’s most exciting young companies.

The UKI2S Innovate Accelerator combines the technology assessment and grant funding capabilities of Innovate UK with equity funding from UKI2S, a leading UK seed-stage investor.

It will help companies accelerate their innovation, product development and intellectual property value faster than might be possible with equity investment alone. The Accelerator is intended to run for an initial two years and aims to back around 25 companies across a wide range of technologies and sectors. The initial cohort of companies, spanning healthcare, energy and smart city technologies, are now embarking on research and expansion projects funded through the new Accelerator.

One recipient, Tokamak Energy, based at Milton Park, Oxfordshire, is one of the leading private companies racing to deliver energy from nuclear fusion; it recently met its initial target of a plasma temperature of 15 million degrees centigrade, hotter than the centre of the sun.

The funding will enable Tokamak to accelerate development of improved ultra-high field magnets to contain the plasma and to explore non-energy applications such as manufacturing radio isotopes for medical use.

“The Accelerator funding will enable Tokamak to accelerate the development of improved ultra-high field magnets to contain the plasma”
OrganOx helping liver transplantation


To achieve fast and significant growth is challenging, but there is a small seam of such scale-ups throughout the UK. The Scaleup Institute defines a scale-up as an SME which has reported turnover growth of more than 20 per cent over three consecutive years.

Dynamic young firms may grab the headlines, but established businesses shouldn’t be ignored. The Scaleup Institute found that 43 per cent of scaleups are more than 20 years old, and the fastest growth rates (more than 80 per cent a year) tend to be among those in the 10-15 year age bracket.

At BPE we refer to these as ‘Seasoned Scale-ups’. These stalwarts of our economy tend to approach growth in a different way to younger SMEs, which means the advice we give and how we work with them differs too. Having advised clients at every stage of their life-cycle, here are five observations that aspiring scale-ups may find useful, whatever the age of the business.

1) Track Records Build Trust

To achieve scale-up businesses will, in the vast majority of cases, need funding. This will drive growth, either organically or by acquisition. Bank finance can be harder to achieve for start-ups and younger businesses so they will frequently look at angel investors (using the EIS tax break in many instances).

Private equity investment or low-level bank finance, or a mixture of the two, will also be considered but to a lesser extent. This takes time, as whoever is lending money will want to go through a form of due diligence to make sure they are happy that the initial impression of the business is a true reflection of its situation. Younger businesses often discover that fundraising takes longer than they had anticipated.

Delays can cause issues for a rapidly growing business. Anticipating that can head-off some potential problems. Angel investors, private equity investors and, to a lesser extent, finance institutions, buy into the individuals as much as the businesses so it takes time for them to become comfortable with the people, their drive and skillset.

One reason crowdfunding has become popular in recent years is that it is seen as a way of bypassing that process, albeit it’s not guaranteed to be fast.

Seasoned scale-ups will typically secure funding through bank finance, or through larger private equity injections of cash. Banks will normally look for some form of security against property, or debt finance whereas private equity will often look for an equity stake in the business itself. This means the sources of finance are significantly different. Private equity will tend to have a three to five year window in which the investor wishes to exit (either through the sale of a business as a whole, or by re-finance of private equity interest out of the business), whereas bank finance is paid off over time, or can be rolled over.

Rapid growth is impressive, not least because it can be hard to sustain.
Dale Williams, Partner BPE Solicitors
Dale Williams, Partner at BPE Solicitors, looks at the kind of support scale-ups might need for ongoing success.
“One of the reasons crowdfunding has become popular in recent years is that it is seen as a way of bypassing that process, albeit it’s not guaranteed to be fast”
Track records build trust

Crowdfunding remains a potential possibility in this instance as well, although it’s less common for more seasoned businesses to use it. Angel investment or further investment from existing shareholders can be other options.

As solicitors, our role for both newer businesses and seasoned scale-ups is to advise on the various finance documents and to assist a client through the due diligence process. Frequently we will do this hand-in-hand with the corporate finance accountants who are an important part of the jigsaw. The due diligence process involves lawyers with various different skillsets from corporate to commercial, employment and property, ensuring all the necessary information and risk is understood, cross-referenced and reported accurately to potential investors.

2) The Cultural Impact of Growth

Any business experiencing rapid growth, needs to give careful consideration to the impact on everyone who interacts with the business. This include employees, suppliers and sub-contractors. A strong culture is hugely important to provide reassurance and focus as the business accelerates forward.

Keeping hold of talent is part of this. Key people must be retained and the money invested in training recouped by the retention of those people, rather than being tempted away by a competitor. A positive culture plays a big part in the retention of staff – some analysts say more so than pay. This can also make third parties who interact with the business more willing to engage on favourable terms or, at least, their view of the business will be positive.

3) Taking Stock

After any period of rapid growth, it is often worth pausing to look back and assess where the business is. It’s vital that the correct infrastructure is in place behind the growth, so that it is built on a solid, sustainable foundation. Sometimes rapid growth can hide potential issues, but these can be addressed if appreciated in time. While confidence can be high in the short-term, the edges can start to fray unless care is taken.

But rapid growth is not for everyone. Some businesses are content to grow more steadily.

4) Strengthening your Negotiating Position

One issue that can arise with rapid growth is property; as the business grows, it requires more space.

Younger businesses will usually be required to give more in terms of security than a more established business which has a stronger financial covenant with which a landlord might feel more comfortable. Younger businesses can also find the owners/directors having to give personal guarantees or being asked for a deposit deed. As lawyers, we can assist clients by discussing the various alternatives and the risks involved with each of them.

5) Attitudes to Risk

The most common factor in any business growth journey is risk. The business owner’s appetite for risk dictates, in most circumstances, the speed of growth. Rapid growth is frequently associated with higher risk, primarily for the reasons of the right foundations being in place, as referenced above. Older businesses tend to be more focused and aware of potential pitfalls, but that is not always the case.

While the growth journey for every business will differ, there are key patterns that we can observe from young and seasoned scale-ups. It’s this rich experience that we aim to bring to every client, as legal advisers for enterprising and ambitious organisations.

The cultural impact of growth
Strengthening your negitiating position

Better Projects

According to a recent industry survey, the use of Building Information Modelling (BiM) has risen in construction projects from 13% in 2010 to 73% this year*. With over 10 years working on BiM projects, Kevin Truss, Senior Architectural Technician at Cheltenham based architects coombes: everitt talks about why BiM is on the rise and why it’s not just for the public sector…

In all sectors the use of BiM allows for more efficient methods of designing, delivering and maintaining buildings throughout their lifetime. Because of these benefits, it is a project delivery management process well worth considering for all sizes and types of projects. The process is completely scalable to suit the client’s requirements.

The majority of projects that have adopted BiM to date have been in sectors such as education, healthcare and mixed use. However, due to the potential for significant operational and maintenance savings it brings, we are now seeing BiM being used across a range of commercial, retail and residential projects.

The benefits for clients, the design team and contractors are the 3D modelling and the ability to review the designs as they develop in both aesthetic and buildability terms. The starting point is to have

dialogue with a client to discuss how their buildings, existing or new, are managed and to agree how information will need to be organised and delivered for their new projects. During the design phase of a building, data is captured about a building’s geometry and space which can be reviewed against client requirements as the design evolves. 3D model viewers allow clients and the design team to explore the building design in real time, which helps all parties fully understand the design as it develops.

During the technical design phase of a project, the design model develops into a construction model used collaboratively by the whole project team. Architectural, Structural and Mechanical and Electrical models are brought together into a shared environment, allowing the model to be checked, reviewed and commented on. Clash detection tools then greatly reduce the instances of error due to poorly coordinated design information from separate consultants.

Most importantly, throughout the design and construction process, information from everyone working on the building is collected and co-ordinated. This information is then collated in a previously agreed format before being passed across to the building owner. It

can then be used by the building owner/ occupier to help them manage and maintain the building in the future.

So while BiM has the potential to save cost and time in the design and construction process, before a spade hits the ground, it also helps clients to manage the lifetime costs of the building. After all, the operational expenditure often far outweighs its initial capital expenditure.

As the well-known quote says, ‘Knowledge is Power’, and that’s why it really is so important. Put simply, BiM gives you more information which in turn allows you to make more informed decisions, reduce errors, save time and ultimately deliver and manage a more profitable building.

To find out more about using BiM on your next project contact Kevin

architects on:

T: 01242 807727


*NBS 2018 BiM Report


It’s all at the Co-0p, now

Construction under way on boutique development at Little Windrush

An architectural blot on the Windrush Valley landscape is finally being transformed into homes, a farm shop and café.

Four miles from Burford on the A40 in the Windrush Valley is a new development. It includes the transformation of an abandoned, part-built hotel, which thousands of commuters have passed every day.

Windrush Heights hotel development, which has blighted the area for well over a decade.

The development is being undertaken by luxury housing developer Westfields Homes, with the construction being undertaken in two phases.

The first phase includes eight cottages, four apartments and a farm shop and café.

The second phase will see the conversion and extension of the partially-built hotel into 20 apartments, with views across open countryside and river valley.

Little Windrush is progressing rapidly and the derelict buildings will be transformed in phase two of this boutique housing development, which sits in a designated area of outstanding natural beauty.

Designed by Cotswold architects coombes:everitt, the development will see a new community replace the abandoned

The architects designed the homes, taking inspiration from the local farmsteads and villages that are common to this part of the Cotswolds and, as a local practice, were proud to have the opportunity to regenerate the site for the local area.

A farm shop and bistro, The Cotswolds Outpost, will be run by the owners of nearby Sherborne Tea Rooms.

Coventry’s former Co-0perative store has been transformed by architects Corstorphine & Wright to provide63 new homes and apartments, a private residents’ lounge and sky terrace.

The former Co-op is known and loved by the local population, having served the city for more than half a century. Locally listed as a product of the postwar bombing, it continues to be an integral part of the city’s fabric.

Good architecture is important. Consider how uplifted you feel in a well designed building where light and air seem to carry you through. And how miserable a building seems when it sits meanly in the space. We celebrate some of the region’s most inspiring architecture
“An eyesore which has blotted the landscape of the Windrush Valley for years is finally being transformed into homes, a farm shop and café”
A computer generated image of the new Little Windrush The original, failed Windrush Hotel development
The Co-op building before and after


Three prominent Oxford buildings have won Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) South Awards this year

The Beecroft Building

The Beecroft Building, designed by architects Hawkins\Brown for the University of Oxford, won the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA} South Award 2019 and RIBA South Building of the Year Award 2019.

The £50 million building, sits above the deepest basement in Oxford.

Located in the university’s science area on Oxford’s Parks Road, this 16 metre-deep complex of laboratories is intended to house environmentally sensitive atomic-level experiments which will advance the university’s research into areas such as quantum science and technology.

Greenland Library

The library was designed by Lee/ Fitzgerald Architects for Brasenose College, Oxford. It won the RIBA South Project Architect of the Year 2019 and RIBA South Conservation Award 2019. The project included the stripping out, rediscovery and subsequent restoration of the College’s Grade I Listed cloisters, following extensive archaeological investigations.

Westgate Oxford Shopping Centre

Westgate Oxford Shopping Centre, opened in 2017, was designed by BDP with Glenn Howells Architects, Allies and Morrison, Dixon Jones and Panter Hudspith. It won a RIBA South Award.

This innovative, mixed-use, collaborative development is the first of its kind in Oxford. Designed and developed by a team of well-known architects, this collective approach has certainly paid dividends, said the RIBA citation.

The Beecroft Building
Greenland Library Westgate Shopping Centre Stunning city view from the roof terrace at the Westgate Shopping Centre, Oxford

Arkell’s Grape and Grain

An old two-storey warehouse has been turned into a shop, with a museum above at one of the UK’s oldest steam breweries. The Arkell family, which still owns and runs a gorgeous, 176-yearold brewery on the edge of Swindon wanted visitors to better understand the brewing process and discover Arkell’s inextricable link with the town’s steam and rail history.

The first-floor museum hosts a clever display of the brewing process alongside some priceless documents detailing the brewery’s illustrious history. Designed by Concorde BGW, a restaurant, hotel, military base and office refurbishment contractor, it has since won awards.

Malvern College

The refurbished Rogers Theatre at Malvern College, transformed by the architectural firm, Squires Brown, has secured a Malvern Civic Society Award for architectural design, an annual accolade given to a new or renovated building which adds something special to Malvern’s town environment.

The panel of judges commented on the excellent reconfiguration and craftsmanship of the work done at the Rogers Theatre and Lyall Foyer and how well these buildings related to their surroundings.

Rogers Theatre at Malvern College Arkell’s Grape and Grain
Malvern College


Leading property investment and development company MEPC has unveiled emerging 2040 plans which could more than double the working population at Milton Park to 20,000. Milton Park, near Didcot, is one of the UK’s largest business parks.

It is currently home to more than 250 companies employing 9,000 people, including fast-growing Oxford University spin-outs such as biotech unicorn Immunucore, and fusion energy pioneer Tokamak Energy, which was spun out of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy.

The plans will eventually take space at Milton Park to more than four million sq ft, all within its existing Local Development Order (LDO) planning boundary.

Milton Park’s LDO streamlines the planning permission process, allowing applications within certain parameters to be approved within 10 days.

The 2040 Vision Masterplan will make more efficient use of the existing 300-acre site, with 41 per cent of new space dedicated to labs. Walkable neighbourhoods will prioritise accessibility, connectivity and wellbeing.

Philip Campbell, Commercial Director at MEPC said: “We’re looking forward to working through the connectivity and development phases over the coming months and years, to creating a place for businesses to thrive and be enjoyed by the local community.

Peter Baird, Associate at master planning experts Perkins and Will, which worked on the vision with MEPC, said: “Business parks need to evolve to keep up with demographic, economic and social changes. MEPC’s desire to overhaul outdated perceptions has allowed us to rethink everything and masterplan a new district that can encourage innovation and wellness; acting as a hub for worldleading talent.”

Dr David Kingham, co-founder at Tokamak Energy and member of Milton Park 2040 Vision advisory group, said: “We have gone from six people to 100 in six years and are looking to more than double our headcount over the next two years.

“Just as MEPC has developed a 20-year vision for growth, so too do many of the spin-outs and high-growth businesses here. The critical thing is having a plan that enables occupiers to grow and move easily on the Park as their businesses accelerate.”

Perkins and Will focused on six key design principles to establish the 2040 Vision over the next 20-25 years.


Creating new connections through the park to support more pedestrian and cycle traffic, while planning for the introduction of autonomous vehicles and future mobility choices.


Milton Park’s green space has been voted its most popular feature by three quarters of people taking part in the engagement survey. Maintaining the natural beauty and extending the green space was a design priority.


Creating a series of walkable neighbourhoods throughout Milton Park, making it a more communityfocused and interactive space for people and businesses.


Companies, employees and visitors should enjoy their time at Milton Park. This requires legible wayfinding, pedestrian routes and travel connections within the park and the wider region.


The design of the park must anticipate the growth of companies, the type of companies and how they will use future office and lab space.


Guidelines setting out how each phase can be brought to fruition, while respecting incumbent businesses and their business requirements. Engagement with the community and working groups will also continue.

Milton Park

Octopus healthcare snaps up former college campus

Acting on behalf of the Warwickshire College Group, Bromwich Hardy has sold the freehold of the former Henley-in-Arden College to a major healthcare provider.

The site consists of around 14 acres which includes Arden House, a Grade II Listed building, and a functional 1990s teaching block.

The purchaser is Octopus Healthcare Developments which has obtained planning permission for a scheme that includes 30 new-build apartments and a 64-bed care home, retaining the Grade II Listed house which will be converted into assisted living apartments.

Richard Hardy from Bromwich Hardy said: “We were appointed to advise on how best to maximise value. Planning was always going to be challenging as the site is in greenbelt and care had to be taken to respect the environment of the Listed building.”

The college announced the closure of its Henley-in-Arden campus in 2015.

Smokery reveals major plans for Forest of Dean eel farm and tourism hotspot

Proposals to build the UK’s first eel farm and create a major new tourist attraction on the site of the old aircraft factory in Lydney have been submitted to Forest of Dean District Council.

The outline proposals from Severn and Wye Smokery include a purpose-built 20,885 sq metre salmon processing plant, an 8,000 sq metre eel farm with a restaurant, visitor centre, staff accommodation and parking for 400 cars at the derelict Pine End Works near Lydney Harbour.

The company would close its centres in Grimsby and Salisbury. The recently built Barn Restaurant, shop and smokery at Chaxhill would be retained. Everything else would be located at the new site

which would become a tourist destination in its own right. It would also create a centralised hub from which the company can serve its global client base and embrace new technologies.

The smokery, founded by Richard Cook in Minsterworth in 1989, began with two flagship products: smoked wild salmon and smoked eel. The business has since grown to produce a range of smoked fish products which it exports all over the world. It has 240 staff and an annual turnover of £50 million.

The planning application says the split of the Severn and Wye operation over four sites is inefficient and the operation at Chaxhill is at full capacity.

In order to diversify the business and make it more resilient, it is proposed to set up an eel farm which will rear eels both for human consumption and conservation re-stocking.

Old snooker club gets new lease of life

Developer Formal Investments has won an award for the restoration and transformation of Formal House in Cheltenham into office space.

The building in St George’s Place was originally a Victorian depository for removal and storage company Barnby Bendall & Co. Since the 1980s it has been divided into self-storage units and was also home to Pockets Snooker Club.

It has now been transformed into contemporary office space with a new glass-fronted extension, meeting rooms, a secure cycle store, changing facilities and breakout areas. A landscaped courtyard doubles as an event space.

The Civic Awards are made by Cheltenham Borough Council and Cheltenham Civic Society to recognise excellence in the restoration of historic buildings.

Bruce Buchanan, Convenor of Civic Awards, said he was impressed by the quality of detailing and the retention of existing features. “It is obviously an attractive place to work,” he said.

The Managing Director of Formal Investments, Nicholas King, said: “We are delighted to receive this award and that our goal of creating desirable and efficient workspace while retaining the soul and character of this historic building has been recognised.”

The Henley-in-Arden College site includes Arden House, a Grade II Listed building
Severn and Wye Smokery

Work has begun on an extension to the Magdalen Centre at Oxford Science Park, one of the UK’s leading parks for science and technology companies.

The extension is being named the Bellhouse Building in honour of academic entrepreneur and Magdalen College Fellow, Professor Brian Bellhouse.

The turf-cutting ceremony, which included the burying of a time capsule, was performed by his son-in-law and business partner Lord Paul Drayson, and one of his daughters Lady Elspeth Drayson.

On completion, the 100,000 sq ft Magdalen Centre designed by Bogle Architects will be one of the largest innovation centres in the UK.

Professor Brian Bellhouse went to Magdalen College in 1957 to read mathematics. He became a lecturer and

National Star teams up with Barnwood Construction

Work has begun on new long-term living accommodation in Hereford for young people with disabilities and learning difficulties.

Cheltenham-based charity National Star, which bought 1 Ledbury Road from the Wye Valley NHS Trust, says that the refurbishment should be completed by October.

The £680,000 contract was won by Gloucester-based Barnwood General Works, part of the Barnwood Construction Group. Director Guy Cook said: “We are delighted to be included in a project to support young people with disabilities who already face difficult challenges.”

National Star, the college for young people with disabilities based at Ullenwood in Cheltenham, is raising £2.2 million to fund the purchase and conversion.


was elected as a Tutorial Fellow at Magdalen in 1966. He was appointed Professor of Engineering Science in 1998 and was one of the university’s earliest entrepreneurs. He died in 2017.

Piers Scrimshaw-Wright, Managing Director of The Oxford Science

Greenford wins contract for new weir in Maidenhead regeneration scheme

Civil engineering firm Greenford Ltd has been appointed principal contractor for the construction of a new weir in Maidenhead.

The waterway scheme is being built in stages in conjunction with the town centre regeneration project. It was initiated in 2006 by Maidenhead Waterways Group, a local charity. Planning consent was granted in 2012 and the project adopted by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in 2014.

The new weir will lift surface water levels and increase water depths throughout the town centre channel, easing the passage for boats. Greenford will also create a fish and eel pass.

Richard Davenport, Chair of the Trustees for Maidenhead Waterways

Park, said: “As part of the Magdalen Centre, the Bellhouse Building will house innovative science and technology companies developing the products and services of the future. It provides around 30,000 sq ft of much-needed laboratory and office space for SMEs who will doubtless be inspired by the achievements of Professor Bellhouse.”

Group, said: “Completing the weir stage will help transform the outlook for large areas of the town centre and create an amenity that can be enjoyed by all. The inclusion of a fish and eel pass will allow fish passage and two old weirs can then be removed.”

Robert Hutton, Director at Greenford, based in Wheatley, Oxfordshire, said: “We are extremely pleased to form part of such an aspirational project. Much of what we do at Greenford involves working in the community to create and design solutions which blend seamlessly into the environment and this is no exception.”

Architect’s impression of the Bellhouse Building DEVELOPMENT AND CONSTRUCTION COMMERCIAL PROPERTY 124
Greenford constructed a footbridge in Maidenhead as part of the first phase

The Warwickshire office of a global project, engineering and environmental services company has a new home.

Wood has signed a 10-year lease on 7,854 sq ft offices in Nicholls House, Tachbrook Park, Warwick after moving from Gables House in Leamington.

Around 85 employees now occupy the first and second floors of the building, owned by property development and investment company AC Lloyd, whose HQ is on the ground floor.

Adrian Shields, VP Operations for the E&IS (environmental and infrastructure) business in the UK, said the new base was well-matched to the growing needs of the business.

He said: “Wood operates in more than 60 countries, employing around 60,000 people with worldwide revenues of 11 billion dollars. In Warwickshire our work is focused on environmental consultancy, development planning and design. Nicholls House provides the capacity for us to grow.”

Mark Edwards, Managing Director at AC Lloyd Commercial, said: “We are certain that Wood will find their new home to be a springboard for further success.”

Wood, formed by the merger of Wood Group and Amec Foster Wheeler Group in 2017, specialises in oil and gas, power and process, environment and infrastructure, clean energy, mining, nuclear and general industrial sectors.

Quantity surveyors Adams Fletcher & Partners have expanded into new offices at Bond’s Mill in Stonehouse, owned by Robert Hitchins.

The practice, established in 1973 and with an office in Hereford, has just moved from Gloucester to take up a three-year lease on a 497 sq ft office suite at The Wheelhouse on the business estate near Stroud.

“We undertake work throughout England and Wales and Bond’s Mill offers good accessibility to our clients who represent all sectors of the construction industry, including healthcare and education, housing and leisure,” said David Ridout, Director of



Adams Fletcher & Partners.

Helen Hawke, Asset and Administration Manager for Robert Hitchins Ltd, welcomed Adams Fletcher to Bond’s Mill which is sits alongside the Stroudwater Canal in a mix of refurbished Victorian mill buildings and modern commercial premises.

“Being so close to Junction 13 of the M5 means that Bond’s Mill offers a good alternative to city business parks. We have a great variety of office sizes with good parking, all within a pleasant working environment in a canalside location.”

The agent was John Hawkins, of Hawkins Watton Stroud.

Refurbishment pays off for real estate investors

Communications software provider Metaswitch Networks Ltd has agreed a five-year lease on 3,250 sq ft premises at Brandon Court near Coventry.

The premises, near Binley Business Park and next to the A46 Coventry eastern bypass, were recently refurbished by Real Estate Investors based in Birmingham.

Ian Clark, Asset Management Director at REI, said: “We’re delighted that our investment into the refurbishment of Brandon Court has paid off.

“The deal means that the whole of Brandon Court is now full which reflects the strength of the rental market for such properties.

“To meet this demand we have recently achieved planning permission for a new build at the scheme which will be going ahead in the next few months.”

Metaswitch Networks has its UK headquarters in Enfield and worldwide offices in the USA, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. Drake Howard acted for REI.

Wood signs 10-year lease at Tachbrook Park PROPERTY
Nick Denman, Leuan Lavender, David Ridout and Andrew Mckenzie from Adams Fletcher with Helen Hawke from Robert Hitchins
Mark Edwards, Managing Director at AC Lloyd Commercial Commercial Property 125

Making better use of your assets to create long term value

National property consultancy

Bruton Knowles is working with private investors and major funds across the county to help them apply effective management and forward planning to better sweat their assets to maximise and protect returns.

Dorian Wragg, is Head of Commercial, based at Bruton Knowles’ Gloucester office. He said: “Applying the right strategy can significantly enhance an asset’s performance and maximise the value of a portfolio or property.

“Bruton Knowles combines an exemplary property management service with the capability to identify and create strategic opportunities. Acting as trusted advisors, we completely immerse ourselves in our clients’ property investments, managing the portfolio as if it’s our own. That critical local knowledge, combined with an understanding of broader market dynamics, allows us to identify opportunities for properties at an early stage and to deliver our clients’ aspirations.”

How best to ‘sweat’ an asset

Consider motivation and drivers

Central to a strong asset management strategy is really understanding the clients’ motivations and their risk and reward profile. Bruton Knowles will go “back to basics’ with property owners to understand the ultimate aims for their portfolio such as capital or income growth.

Put in place building blocks

Identifying opportunities at an early stage is vital. When first instructed Bruton Knowles undertakes a thorough review of the occupational leases, income streams and holding costs to identify opportunities for change. These are the basis for effective asset management.

Cooperation not conflict

Traditionally, relationships between tenants and landlords or their agents have often been hostile. But avoiding confrontation is an important part of an effective asset management strategy, reducing conflict and its associated costs, such as legal fees. Enhancing assets is

simpler and less costly if tenants have bought into improvements. Bruton Knowles seeks positive outcomes with tenants wherever possible.

Adding value

A good asset management strategy seeks to add value and reduce risks and costs. Key dates in leases such as rent reviews, lease terminations and break dates provide opportunities to do so. Buildings kept in good repair ensure that values aren’t undermined and identifying development opportunities early gives time to work up proposals to meet lease timeframes.

Simple wins

Simple, low cost ideas can often have a surprisingly large impact. Installing the latest fibre broadband will improve lettability and rental values. Satisfying the increased appetite of tenants to enhance green credentials, can allow you to install solar energy and generate new income by selling the power generated back to the building via the service charge or directly to tenants.

Commercial property owners are having to be more creative in finding ways to use their assets to maximise profits.
Dorian Wragg, Head of Commercial


Dorian Wragg MRICS RPR FNARA Head of Commercial Property

Dorian specialises in the strategic management of property assets including retail, office, industrial, residential, road side and leisure properties throughout the UK.

Dorian brings over twenty years of UK real estate experience to Bruton Knowles. Dorian identifies and implements opportunities to maximise returns through re-gearing, lease renewals, rental uplifts and lettings/disposals on the individual assets.

Dorian is experienced at coordinating specialist professional advisors to deliver complex strategies, driving income and capital growth. Recent projects have included work for Gloucestershire College, the Royal British Legion, London and Cambridge Properties Limited, IPIF and West Somerset and Taunton Council.

John Williams FRICS, MCIArb, MEWI Lease Advisory

John deals with rent reviews and lease renewals. With over two decades of experience, principally in the retail sector, John is a certified Expert Witness and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Robert Smith, MRICS Agency

Robert advises clients on acquisitions, sales and lettings and has over 25 years’ experience. He can provide detailed advice on all types of commercial property from industrial and office to retail and development.

Richard Brogden MRICS, FAAV, RICS Registered Valuer Planning & Development

Richard specialises in unlocking potential development sites and matching sites to individual developers. Richard acts as Expert for Arbitrations, Court Proceedings and Planning Appeals and he is an Independent Expert on the Presidents Panel.

Angus Jackson MRICS RICS Registered Valuer Rating

Angus has a strong track record advising commercial clients using his local market knowledge and understanding of property issues. He has dealt with a wide range of rating cases, from individual assessments to large portfolio management.

Angus Taylor FRICS

FCABE MAPM Building Consultancy

Angus delivers Building Consultancy, advising occupiers and investors from manufacturing to service industries as well as carrying out development monitoring on behalf of financial institutions. Angus provides expert witness in the Construction Courts and is a Historic Buildings Consultant.

James Pullin MRICS, RICS Registered Valuer Valuation

James specialises in asset valuations. He has extensive market knowledge of a wide variety of property types.

Peter Hadley MRICS Management

Peter is leading Bruton Knowles’ initiative as a market leader in asset management services for owners, occupiers and investors. His wide sector experience enables him to provide a full management service from strategy formulation to implementation.

Ahead of the curve

In-depth knowledge of market dynamics on a national and regional level is essential to stay ahead of the curve. Bruton Knowles continues to look at ways to integrate new technology into buildings, introducing smart metering as well as the latest technology to analyse customer habits. For example, apps can be used to track footfall to a unit, or

even monitor customer sentiment. This data promotes greater understanding of customer demographics, helping tenants enhance their business which in turn improves the rents and performance of the landlord’s asset.

In today’s market, an effective asset management strategy should be an integral part of all commercial property planning.

For more information about how Bruton Knowles can create a bespoke asset management strategy for your property portfolio, contact:

Dorian Wragg

| 01452 880000

Our aim is to offer a professional, personalised service to our clients and ensure the maintenance of your property and its services is undertaken in the most cost efficient manner.

ASH Chartered Surveyors – expert local Commercial and Residential Property Management. Trusted professionals in a changing world  RENT AND SERVICE CHARGE COLLECTION  SERVICE CHARGE MANAGEMENT  PREPARATION OF COMPANY ACCOUNTS  PLANNED AND PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE  EMERGENCY REPAIRS ANDINSURANCE CLAIMS  REGULAR INSPECTIONS AND LIAISON WITH TENANTS  HEALTH & SAFETY AND STATUTORY ADVICE Gloucester – 01452 300433 Cheltenham – 01242 237274 Management services tailored to your requirements including:
Richard Smith BSc (Hons) MIRPM Neil Jones ASSOCRICS Sarah Bird BA Hons AIRPM Harry Pontifex BSc (Hons) Alastair Mylechreest BSc MRICS Sarah Cameron BSc Estate Management

Lawyers move to Coombs Wood as business grows

Thursfields Solicitors have expanded into new office premises at the Coombs Wood Business Park in Halesowen.

Worcestershire commercial property consultancy GJS Dillon advised Thursfields on a new 10-year lease on 4,833 sq ft on the ground floor of Neville House. Fisher German acted for the landlord.

Neville House is a stand-alone, twostorey, modern office building a mile north of Halesowen town centre.

GJS Dillon managing director John Dillon carried out a search for suitable office accommodation which would provide Thursfields with more space for its Halesowen office and negotiated terms with the landlord’s agents.

“This is the second acquisition we have made for Thursfields in the last six months. Last year we advised on the acquisition of the freehold of their Worcester office building,” he said.

Thursfields’ Managing Director Nick O’Hara said: “We have worked closely with GJS Dillon for a number of years so I know they understand the local commercial property market intimately and were the right firm to appoint when we needed a new Halesowen office.”

The law firm has more than 155 staff in seven offices across Worcestershire and the West Midlands. It provides a full range of legal services for business and for individuals.


St Modwen has started work on the first phase of its 935,000 sq ft industrial and logistics development at Junction 12 of the M5 in Gloucestershire.

A groundbreaking ceremony was attended by Senior Construction Manager for St Modwen, Richard Bailey, as well a team from the principal contractor Winvic Construction.

The first phase, comprising three units totalling 173,413 sq ft, should be complete by December and could support up to 230 jobs when occupied.

In addition, St Modwen will deliver a rolling programme of development to reflect market conditions and can deliver build-to-suit facilities of up to 400,000 sq ft, offering flexible warehousing space.

“Demand for high-quality logistics space with excellent links to the M5 is the driving force behind this building programme which will allow us to bring significant jobs and inward investment to Gloucestershire”

Pete Davies, Development Director for St Modwen West and Wales, said: “Demand for high-quality logistics space with excellent links to the M5 is the driving force behind this building programme which will allow us to bring significant jobs and inward investment to Gloucestershire.”

St Modwen Park, Gloucester is one of three St Modwen sites in Gloucestershire alongside the £22 million Gateway 12 Business Park and £150 million mixeduse scheme at Littlecombe in Dursley.

Specialists in LED screens, infiLED, have agreed a new lease at Bowerhill Industrial Estate in Melksham, Wiltshire.

The company, which designs, manufactures and installs LED screens, will occupy the whole of Datum House, a 9,500 sq ft purpose-built office and warehouse unit.

Established in 2009, it is one of the fastest growing LED manufacturers in the world and has operation facilities in the UK, the Netherlands, Australia, China, USA and the UAE.

Carter Jonas, the national property consultancy, jointly with GVA, agreed the new lease on behalf of a private investor.

Alison Williams, Associate Partner at Carter Jonas, said: “Units offering a blend of both office and warehouse accommodation are increasingly in demand. Bowerhill Industrial Estate is becoming increasingly popular given the new link road and improvements to the A350 as well as the new take-out facilities offered by Starbucks and Greggs.”

Senior Construction Manager at St Modwen, Richard Bailey, with the team from Winvic Construction at the groundbreaking ceremony 129
LED screen supremos take new lease at popular Bowerhill estate

GJS Dillon secures three sales at Saxon Business Park, Bromsgrove

Chartered surveyors GJS Dillon have secured three sales at the Saxon Business Park in Bromsgrove.

Acting on behalf of a private investor, GJSD’s commercial negotiator Charlie Green sold Abberley View, a 5,500sq ft detached, modern office building at a guide price of £625,000.

The buyer was Gateway2Lease, a credit brokerage firm from Droitwich which specialises in car, pick-up and van leasing finance.

The freehold interest in three other units at Saxon Business Park have also been sold.

Units A&B were acquired by a private investor. The industrial premises consist of 5,366 sq ft, let on a new 10-year lease to HME Technology which supplies design technology and science equipment for schools.

The freehold of Unit C (Priory House), a vacant 2,208 sq ft industrial warehouse unit with first floor offices, was acquired for a quoting price of £250,000 by Agriline Products Holdings Ltd from Bromsgrove which supplies vintage and classic tractor spare parts.

Charlie Green said: “Buyers can acquire commercial property at lower rates than the cost of renting, so freehold office accommodation throughout Worcestershire remains highly soughtafter by companies looking to acquire their own premises, often via a directors’ pension scheme.

“With interest rates remaining low and banks’ willingness to lend, this trend will continue, although freehold prices remain under upwards pressure as a result of the shortage of available stock and high demand which benefits sellers.”


Commercial property agency KWB has bought more than 11,000 sq ft of refurbished office space at the Middlemarch Business Park in Coventry for its clients.

Acting on behalf of international IT business consultants Itelligence Business Solutions, KWB acquired 6,744 sq ft on the ground floor of 2M Middlemarch, a refurbished, HQ-style office suite.

It also acquired 4,772 sq ft in building 4M, a self-contained office suite over two floors, for a leading medical charity.

Both offices were acquired on 10-year leases at headline rents of around £15 per square foot. JLL and Knight Frank acted for the landlord, Bridges Fund Management.

“The shortage of available office space in and around Coventry and along the M42 corridor makes it even more important for organisations searching for new office accommodation to use an acquiring agent”

KWB Director John Bryce said: “The shortage of available office space in and around Coventry and along the M42 corridor makes it even more important for organisations searching for new office accommodation to use an acquiring agent.

Middlemarch Business Park is close to the A45, A46, Eastern Bypass and Coventry Airport.

College invests £1.5 million in new engineering centre

Heart of Worcestershire College has invested £1.5 million in a new commercial building in Worcester which it intends to transform into a new engineering and plumbing centre.

The 15,000 sq ft premises on Midland Road were built speculatively on behalf of housing provider Fortis Living at the same time as it built its new HQ.

The £4.8 million contract was completed in April after a 14-month build process.

The building project and sale were managed by commercial agent Harris

Lamb. Director Neil Harris said: “We won a tender two years ago to identify a site for a new office for Fortis.

“We oversaw a planning application to build a new HQ and this commercial building on the understanding that Fortis Living would then place it on the market.”

Nicki Williams, Deputy CEO for Heart of Worcestershire College, said:

“A new engineering centre supported by Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership will support the increased demand from employers to tackle a shortage of engineering skills in the area.”

The Middlemarch Business Estate near Coventry Commercial Property 130
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