Wednesday 19th December 2018
Home Weekly Business<br />E-newsletter ebusiness weekly news 08/08/2018

Cambridge firm to build new full-fibre network to boost broadband speeds

A Cambridge start-up says it is installing a new full-fibre network in Cambridge and Ely that will deliver broadband to local businesses and homes up to 40 times faster and more reliably than existing providers. John McEleney, co-founder of Cambridge Fibre, said: “Existing broadband services in Cambridge and Ely, even those claiming to be “fibre” broadband, are still built on the outdated copper cabling, which is why so many people experience slow and lagging connections despite upgrading their packages. The massive jump in speed and reliability, which Cambridge Fibre is delivering, can only be achieved by building a completely new network.” As a registered supplier, the firm’s upgrade to Gigabit TrueFibre® qualifies for the government’s £67m gigabit broadband voucher scheme, which is designed to help SMEs access faster connections. Businesses can claim up to £3,000 against the installation cost of connection.

Councillor Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire Council, which leads the Connecting Cambridgeshire digital connectivity programme, said: “We want to ensure that our businesses and communities have the fixed and mobile connectivity they need to allow them to compete and thrive, bringing future economic growth to this area."

Housebuilder to recruit 350 new staff as starter & family market “booms”

Weston Homes, which has offices in Stansted and London, says it is launching a campaign to recruit 350 new staff as part of plans to double in size in the next five years and develop its pipeline of 7,500 new homes, worth £2 billion. New roles will be created over the next 18-24 months in all disciplines including engineering, planning and design, technical, commercial and construction. The firm builds across outer London, the Home Counties and the South East focusing on growing hubs such as Cambridge, Peterborough, Reading and Dartford. In November it plans to open a 75,000 sq ft automotive-industry style distribution centre near its head office in Stansted. Chairman and CEO Bob Weston said: “Whilst stamp duty may have slowed the super-prime sector of the housing market, our core business, which focuses on starter and family homes for domestic purchasers is booming. Weston Homes has £297 million of forward sales and we have a 7,500 unit pipeline in order to keep up with demand. For homes priced from £300 to £800 per sqft, which is our operating area, the housing market is buoyant, with demand outstripping supply.”

Norfolk petrol station sold off guide price of £1.15 million

A petrol station near Norwich has been sold off a guide price of £1.15 million. Martin BP Filling Station & Spar Store on the A140 in Alby has been sold through Christie & Co. to Fuel Efficient Ltd, which is operated by Manickavasagan Sritharan. It takes Mr Sritharan's portfolio to three sites across East Anglia and he plans to extend trading to 24 hours. Set on 1.5 acres, the filling station includes a 16 point service area with four pumps and separate Autogas and HGV diesel pumps, parking for 20 vehicles and a 800 sq ft Spar branded store, which has been refitted. The business also has an income from a café and car wash businesses on site. Previous owner Mohammed Majid bought the filling station in 2009 and has invested significantly in modernising the site.

New appointments at expanding Ipswich-based software company

Ipswich-based Inform Direct, which produces company secretarial software used by accountants and business owners, has made two new key appointments – and signed up its 90,000th customer. It has appointed Matthew Clayden (right) as sales manager and Alex Deal (far, right) as client services executive, bringing the total headcount to 14.  In his new role Matthew Clayden’s major responsibilities are business development, lead generation and relationship management and he previously he held sales and customer service positions with AXA and Direct Line. Alex Deal’s previous customer-facing roles were with Ipswich Building Society. The expansion comes as Inform Direct marks the fifth anniversary of the launch of its award-winning company secretarial software. It also recently received the Gold Trusted Service Award by Feefo, the ratings, reviews and customer analytics platform, for the second year running. Inform Direct CEO Henry Catchpole said: “Celebrating our fifth anniversary and a rapidly expanding customer base reflect the efforts of everyone at Inform Direct and our mission to deliver a product that users now find invaluable, backed up by outstanding customer service.”

New appointments support global growth for Norfolk-based group

Diss-based SafeSTS has made three new appointments to support the growing volume of ship-to-ship transfers of oil and gas it is handling in more locations worldwide. Susan Lawrence has joined the company as QHSE Officer responsible for the management and further development of health and safety systems. Gemma Lear (right) has been appointed as HR & corporate support officer and Sarah Barrett has been appointed as accounts assistant on a permanent contract. Managing director, Yvonne Mason said: "The growth of our business operations in countries in South America, Africa and the Far East has already created local overseas employment opportunities, and now that growth has also created new positions at head office, where we have also invested in a new SAP computer system." The firm now has a team of 20 in Diss.

Lawyers join guide’s ‘hall of fame’

Five partners at law firm Birketts, have joined The Legal 500 hall of fame having been recognised by the legal guide for eight of the last 10 years. They are James Allen (corporate and commercial); James Austin (corporate and commercial); Robert Gibbs (commercial property); Max Roessler (commercial litigation) and Andrew Rush (construction). Jonathan Agar, chief executive officer, said : “The Legal 500 hall of fame consists of lawyers who have been recommended as leaders in their respective practice areas for eight of the last ten years, so for five of our lawyers to feature is a fantastic achievement and a great accolade.”

Separately, Birketts, has again been ranked ‘band 1’ in the ‘private wealth law’ category in Cambridge, Ipswich and Essex and ‘band 2’ in Norwich in Chambers High Net Worth 2018 Guide. The firm is recognised as a national leader (outside London) for its private wealth offering.

See Profile Birketts

Law firm shortlisted for product safety app

Suffolk-based Gotelee Solicitors has been shortlisted for the Law Society’s excellence awards, the highest accolade for law firms in England and Wales. The firm has been shortlisted in the excellence in technology and innovation category for its “Gotelee Guardian” product safety due diligence app. It has been developed to assist those in e-commerce distribution determine whether goods they handle meet product safety requirements and is available to download from the App Store and Google Play. Law Society president Christina Blacklaws said: “There are more than 9,000 firms and 140,000 solicitors in England and Wales, so to be shortlisted for an excellence award is to be recognised as being among the best of the best.”

See Profile Gotelee Solicitors

Law firm shortlisted for two awards

Fisher Jones Greenwood had been shortlisted for two Law Society awards; for law firm of the year – medium sized and for excellence in marketing and communications. The first is in recognition of its commitment to continual improvement both in practice and with staff and progress over the last year with initiatives such as the FJG Equality & Diversity group working with RAD and Stonewall, investing and ‘growing our own’ talent and ongoing training across the firm. The shortlisting for the marketing and communications award was in particular, for its #whatsonyourlist campaign, which stressed the importance of making a will early in life. “At Fisher Jones Greenwood the client journey is very important to us and we have boosted our presence in front of a wider audience by blogging, posting and responding to social media comments." The firm has also re-branded its private client department. The winners are announced at the Law Society’s Excellence Awards ceremony in London on 17 October.

Financial services firm recruits

Financial services firm Scrutton Bland has appointed Ryan Pearcy as a director in the firm’s business advisory and cloud accounting team following the recent recruitment of Sarah Healey Pearce as a director. He has over 12 years’ experience advising SMEs on strategic tax planning, financial and business advice and will specialise in developing cloud accounting strategies and software packages for the firm’s clients. Managing partner Jason Fayers said: “We are experiencing a sustained and robust period of growth and his appointment underpins our commitment to meeting our clients changing needs.” The firm is growing its presence in the south and west of the region has recently signed a  sponsorship deal with Essex County Cricket, based in Chelmsford.

See Profile Scrutton Bland

PR firm shortlisted for industry awards

Regional agency Genesis PR has been shortlisted in six categories at the CIPR PRide Awards including outstanding public relations consultancy. It has also been nominated for corporate and business communications campaign, not-for-profit campaign, integrated campaign and regional campaign of the year, while Genesis account manager Annabelle Rennie is a finalist in the outstanding young communicator category. The 16-strong firm is the only PR agency in the East of England to feature in PR Week's top 40 outside London listing. Penny Arbuthnot, director, Genesis, said: “I am delighted we have been shortlisted across such a wide range of categories. This reflects the breadth of expertise we offer and the strong results our fully integrated campaigns deliver for clients.

See Profile Genesis PR

Skydive raises funds for local charities

Six employees at Ipswich-based Concertus Design & Property Consultants have raised £2,600 for local charities by completing a skydive. Commercial director Matthew Self was joined by Beth Wade, Kamil Kalembkiewicz, Sophie Lissauer, Sophia Nicklin and Steven Ryles on their first dive, jumping under the name 'Splat Self and his Self-Destructors’. Colleague Paul Smith, a seasoned skydiver, joined the group and filmed them on the dive. Concertus’ chosen charities for 2018, Selig Suffolk and Nick Fayers Amend Fund, will benefit. Matthew Self said: “I was very nervous beforehand and daunted by the prospect of jumping out of a plane at 11,000 feet. However, we all supported each other, and the experience was absolutely brilliant; made even more worthwhile was that it was all for a good cause.”

Law firm offers discounted Wills

Ellisons Solicitors is offering residents of Ipswich and the surrounding area, discounted Wills between 24-28 September. During Ellisons Will Week, the firm will prepare a simple will at a reduced price of £75 plus VAT at its Ipswich branch. The firm has also recently been offering drop-in surgeries to residents who would like to join its private client team to discuss any legal matters including Wills, trust administration, powers of attorney, probate, funding of care fees and court protection. Tim Logan, senior partner & head of private client services at Ellisons, said: “During our Wills Week we are offering Wills discounted by more than 50% of our normal fee, in the hope that we can drive home the message that it is vital to protect your loved ones in the event of your death.   Ellisons is proud of the excellent Will service it offers to its clients, and its commitment to building the firm’s specialism and expertise in Ipswich.” The law firm has recently secured the national Law Society's law management quality mark, Lexcel, for the fourth year running.

Photo (l-r): Jennie Kingham, Laura Jacobs, Katie Mayes and Catherine Frost