Tuesday 25th June 2019
Home Weekly Business<br />E-newsletter ebusiness weekly news 20/12/2018

£4 million expansion in Gt Yarmouth unlocks site for energy investment

Brineflow Properties and Handling, a liquified fertiliser supplier, is making a £4m expansion at Great Yarmouth Energy Park and freeing up a prime site next to the Outer Harbour for offshore energy investment, thanks to an agreement with Gt Yarmouth Borough Counicil. Brineflow is investing in large shoreside tanks for liquid fertilisers at South Denes and has agreed with the borough council to vacate its base on the Enterprise Zone to a nearby site with a new pipeline to the quayside. This releases a prime five acre site, which will be promoted by the council to businesses in offshore wind farms and gas platform decommissioning. Supported with a £300,000 grant from New Anglia LEP, Brineflow is relocating further north to land it already controls. Cllr Graham Plant, council leader, said: “As England’s offshore energy capital, Great Yarmouth is at the forefront of £39bn of energy investment over the next 20 years and is a growing hub for both offshore wind farms and gas platform decommissioning. This amicable commercial agreement between the council and Brineflow is a win-win for our economy, unlocking a prime development site, adjacent to the Outer Harbour, to attract further investment in these growing areas, in addition to facilitating a £4m private sector investment in the energy park from local families in a growing business.”

House price rises in the East set to lag behind national average

The prospect of fewer Londoners moving to the region means house prices in the East of England are set to rise at slower rate than the national average over coming years, according to forecasts made at a Savills seminar on development in the region. House prices in the East are forecast to increase by 9.3 per cent in the next five years and slower than the national average growth of 14.8 per cent. Lawrence Bowles, of Savills residential research team, said: “The market in the East remains strong, although growth is likely to be a little slower than in recent years – limited by less people selling up and moving out of London. Instead, house price rises across much of the region will likely be dependent on earnings growth in the face of rising interest rates.” He added: “Lower-value markets may also benefit from demand from budget-conscious buyers who want more house for their money. The government target is to build 300,000 new homes a year across the UK. The problem is speed of delivery. A lot of the large housebuilders are already operating close to capacity, so any further activity will likely come from small to medium sized firms, local authorities and social housing providers.”

Kevin Mofid, of Savills commercial research team, added that the East of England was likely to see more demand from retailers who wanted warehouse space along key transport routes such as the A14.

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New £11 million college opens at Stansted Airport

Stansted Airport College has opened its doors to almost 300 students for its first term. The new £11 million technical skills facility is the first purpose-built, on-site college at a major UK airport and was officially opened at a ceremony led by Robert Halfon MP, chair of the education select committee and London Stansted CEO Ken O’Toole.  Constructed on a one-acre site, the project received two separate £3.5 million grants from the South East LEP local growth fund and Essex County Council, £600,000 from Harlow College and a £300,000 grant from Uttlesford District Council.  Robert Halfon said: “This is a very special moment in my life as an MP. I’ve worked very hard with the Government and councils and the SELEP to get the money to help build [the college]. It really is going to transform the lives of thousands of people, it’s one-of-a-kind in the country and will help create good, skilled and well-paid jobs.”

Photo: A college trainee with Ken O'Toole.

Suffolk firms acquired by Cheshire-based group

RSK Group, an engineering and environmental services company, based at Helsby in Cheshire has acquired two Suffolk-based businesses; BTS Group, which provides arboriculture support for utility companies and contracting businesses TBF Traffic and TBF Scaffolding. Both are owned by the same shareholders and have a combined turnover of £22m, 200 staff and 160 subcontractors with offices in Needham Market, Telford, Newark-on-Trent and Elgin. RSK Group has raised funds from Ares Capital Europe which it plans to use to double in size over coming years through new businesses and bolt-on acquisitions. BTS and TBF managing director Halley MacCallum, who will join RSK and continue to lead the businesses, said : “Joining forces with RSK offers us market access to work on HS2 and other contracts which we’re keen to get on tender lists for....This is an exciting opportunity for our staff and our businesses to expand into new fields.”

Entrepreneurs still ‘hungry for funds’

Over half of UK entrepreneurs are expecting to increase their revenues by 50 per cent in 2019 but many face an uphill battle when it comes to funding growth, says EY’s latest fast growth tracker report. Whilst two thirds said they were still hungry for capital  the number of entrepreneurs who said they wanted to raise funds has fallen since last year - down from 71 per cent last year. Of those who wanted to raise funds, four fifths were looking for a minimum of a £5 million cash injection and a fifth up to £10 million. Finding suitable investors is an issue for a third of business owners, and three quarters favoured traditional equity financing via venture capital firms, compared to new pools of capital such as crowdfunding and initial coin offerings.

Work to start on new building for Cambridge biotech cluster

Construction on the Newnham Building on Chesterford Research Park will start in January and run for an estimated 16 months. It will provide up to 37,500 sq ft of fully-fitted laboratory and write up space for the Cambridge biotech cluster. Julian Cobourne, senior asset manager, Aviva Investors, which jointly owns the park, said: “There is a clear requirement within the cluster for additional grow-on space and the Newnham Building will offer that next step up for companies looking to expand. Bringing forward the Newnham Building at this stage responds to the needs of a growing market and clearly bridges the gap between pure start-up space and the larger, more established life-science ventures.”

Agency wins funding for support programme for female entrepreneurs

Colchester Business Enterprise Agency (Colbea) has won £32,740 of funding from NatWest funding to re-launch a business support programme, ‘In the Market for Success’ (IM4S) which will offer places to a further 100 businesswomen. Colbea won a public vote run by the NatWest Skills and Opportunities Fund, The first run of IM4S provided a platform for over 100 aspiring entrepreneurs and assisted in the creation of 83 new businesses from 2017 to 2018. Last month, Colbea won the ‘Enterprise Engagement’ prize at the 2018 National Enterprise Network awards for its work on the project. Ashleigh Seymour-Rutherford, Colbea chief executive, said: “Winning the Skills & Opportunities Fund for the Midlands and East region is a game-changer. We can now run In the Market for Success 2, which will provide extensive support for 100 aspiring female entrepreneurs who want to explore self-employment. We can't wait to get started.”

Photo: Susannah Trangmar-Ward with IM4S trainer Mandy Holgate at the launch of the IM4S Fenwick competition

Building society appoints new non-executive director

Ipswich Building Society has appointed a senior media executive, Fiona Ryder, as non-executive director. A Fellow of the RSA, she has over twenty-five years’ experience in  developing creative content. She was the founding CEO of instore marketing and communications company, The Cube Group and more recently managing director of Mustard TV, Archant’s local tv station for the Norwich area. Alongside her new position she will continue as president of the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, honorary treasurer of the Royal Television Society East and managing director of TCD Media. Richard Norrington, chief executive of Ipswich Building Society, said : “… I am confident that Fiona’s experience will bring complementary skills to our non-executive director team, strengthening our board for the future.”

Regional meetings venues secure quality standard

Meet Cambridge, the conference and events bureau, has helped 30 of its member venues gain accreditation through group membership of the Meetings Indusry Association. Members benefit from sales opportunities, industry networking, preferential rates for training and professional development events and access to data and industry insight. Venues are required to meet a minimum standard to achieve the mia’s AIM accreditation, the UK’s only recognised quality standard for venues and service providers. Judith Sloane, deputy manager at Meet Cambridge, said: “Part of our commitment to our member venues is helping them to maximise their potential for holding a wide range of meetings and conferences and increase business revenue. By providing a way to partner with the mia, through our group membership offer, we hope that they will benefit from the wide range of activities available, including training and networking opportunities.”

The latest venues to join the mia’s Meet Cambridge group membership are: Babraham Bioscience Technologies, Hughes Hall, King’s College, Lucy Cavendish College, Murray Edwards College, Peterhouse, Queen’s College, Selwyn College, St Catharine’s College, The Cambridge Union Society, The Granary Estates, The Moller Centre and Wolfson College, Newmarket Racecourses.

Photo: Meet Cambridge venues now signed up to the Meetings Industry Association Group

Law firms teams take up walking challenge

Teams from law firm Birketts are again taking-up the annual walking challenge and Walking Home For Christmas. The charity walk, organised by Norfolk-based Walking With The Wounded, raises funds to reintegrate homeless and other vulnerable veterans into society and lead an independent life through employment. More than 2,000 people are taking part with walks ranging from 1-100 miles all over the UK. This is the fourth year that Birketts’ staff have supported the charity and walkers from the Cambridge, Chelmsford, Ipswich and Norwich offices are all taking part. Paul Palik, senior associate at Birketts, who has taken part every year, said: “Over the last three years my colleagues at Birketts have taken part in fourteen walks and raised over £4,500. I’m delighted to say that this year we have more walkers than ever before! The funds raised provide specially trained employment advisors who help ex-service people to move back into long-term employment and gain independence. We hope that the money raised will enable more ex-servicemen and women to move closer to having a home next Christmas.” To donate, go to www.walkinghomeforchristmas.com/teams/birketts-llp

Photo: The team's walk in Ipswich