Tuesday 16th July 2019
Home Weekly Business<br />E-newsletter ebusiness weekly news 31/01/2019

Record year for new business start-ups in the region

Undeterred by Brexit and political upheaval, entrepreneurs set up more new businesses in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambs during 2018 than in any previous year. In Norfolk, 4,542 new companies were registered, ( up 3.3% on 2017); in Suffolk it was 4,292 (up 3.5%) and in Cambs, 6,786 (up 6.3%), according to figures from the Inform Direct Review of Company Formations, using Companies House and ONS data. John Korchak (photo), director of operations at Inform Direct, said: "These record high figures for new company formations in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire show a very positive picture for business against a background of political and economic uncertainty. It is clear that these counties continue to provide a supportive environment, both for new business ventures and existing enterprises. It is heartening to see entrepreneurs making their mark with increasing numbers of new businesses being formed. This picture is mirrored elsewhere in the UK, with a number of regions seeing more new formations in 2018 than at any time in their history and the UK as a whole achieving a new record total of registered companies.”

Across the UK as a whole, a record number of new companies were formed– 669,855 compared with 634,116 in 2017. The number of registered companies in the UK also continued to grow, finishing the year with a total of 4,308,022. To see the report visit:  https://www.informdirect.co.uk/company-formations-2018/ Inform Direct is a company secretarial and formation specialist.

Strong interest in ‘mid-tech’ space at speculative Cambridge scheme

Developer Salmon Harvester Properties is seeing strong interest from firms looking for ‘mid-tech’ space at Cambridge South, its recently completed 68,000 sq ft industrial/warehouse scheme in Sawston. Ben Le Coq of joint agent Carter Jonas said: “We are encouraged that this scheme has been completed to service the pent-up demand for high quality space in and around Cambridge with no new industrial distribution hub delivered to the south of the city for several years. We have had substantial interest to date and expect all 13 units to be let or under offer soon. Much of the interest is from science and technology companies looking for hybrid ‘mid-tech’ accommodation for research, development and manufacturing.” Marbank Construction finished the 13-unit build within 9 months and SHP internally funded the project, which is now valued at over £10 million. Carter Jonas and Savills are joint agents. Salmon Harvester Properties is a joint venture company between Salmon Developments Limited and National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Co

Brexit set to boost demand for warehousing on UK's 'logistics highway'

Brexit uncertainty is likely to create more demand for warehousing along the A14, according to Bury-based Century Logistics. “Whatever happens regarding Brexit, the supply chain is going to be extended and slow down. It might only take 2 per cent longer to get cargo through ports, but customers might decide to keep 10 per cent additional stock, perhaps one container. That is a lot of additional space needed,” said managing director Stephen Basey-Fisher. The growth of online shopping was also likely to create demand for more warehousing space. The company says planning consent is now in place for more than six million square feet of warehousing on ten sites in Suffolk and Norfolk within 40 miles of Felixstowe, and 350,000 sq ft has already been completed. “For the first time since I have been in business, there is more opportunity for Century in developing our business between our head office in Bury St Edmunds and the Port of Felixstowe, rather than towards the Midlands. The A14 is now becoming the logistics highway for the UK,” said Mr Basey-Fisher.

Separately, A new intermodal container rail freight service connecting the Port of Felixstowe with the Birch Coppice terminal in the Midlands five days a week has been launched by GB Railfreight. Clemence Cheng, CEO at the port’s owner Hutchison Ports, said: “The Port of Felixstowe already offers a wide array of rail services through our three intermodal terminals and this latest service supports the range of sustainable transport options available to port users.”


January blues hits business confidence

Business confidence in the East fell to its lowest level in more than a year during January, according to a business barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. Overall confidence slid four points to six per cent as companies' confidence in their own business prospects, slipped 10 points to 17 per cent. But East of England firms’ pessimism about the economy lessened slightly, from six per cent to four per cent although a net balance of eight per cent of firms in the region now expect to reduce their headcount during the next year. Steve Elsom, regional director for the East of England at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Firms across the region have started off the year on a cautious footing with hiring intentions, confidence in business prospects and optimism about the wider economy all falling. There’s no doubt that companies across the UK are navigating uncertain times, which makes planning ahead hard.”

Law firm wins IP case

Regional law firm Howes Percival has acted successfully for a client on the first-ever case to be heard by the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court outside London. The firm acted for the APT (the Association for Psychological Therapies) Training and Consulting Ltd in a trademark infringement and passing off claim against Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust. Hannah Steggles of Howes Percival said: "The claim was for trade mark infringement and passing off by an NHS Trust, which was likely to lead to confusion within the professional mental health sector.  It is a reminder of the importance of registered trademarks and I'm delighted for our client that the case was heard in their favour."

Award for law firm's transport and logistics team

Law firm Birketts has been named 'Transport Firm of the Year (Outside London)' at The Legal 500 UK Awards 2019. Birketts’ transport and logistics team combines its shipping and international trade team (headed by Nicholas Woo, photo), the regulatory and corporate defence team (headed by Laura Thomas, photo) and other specialists acting for the sector (including employment and commercial property). The team advises international and domestic clients and works closely with the British International Freight Association and is a member of the Road Haulage Association. According to Legal 500, clients said of the international work done by the shipping team that: “The quality of service standard compares to renowned London City shipping law firms.”

The regulatory and corporate defence team was recommended for contentious advice and regulatory matters. Laura Thomas, who sits as a deputy traffic commissioner and was previously a board member for the Freight Transport Association, said: "I’m thrilled that our work has been acknowledged by this national award. Birketts’ multidisciplinary team is committed to understanding our clients’ complex transport and logistics needs to ensure we deliver effective commercial solutions."

Nicholas Woo, added: “Likewise, we are very grateful for this recognition for our efforts and the comments from clients. We are committed to providing high client service standards and technical excellence to owners, charterers, logistics providers, cargo interests, commodities traders, and their respective insurers, from all over the world. In addition, being based outside London, we are also determined to offer good value.”

See Profile Birketts

Solicitors appoint new commercial property partner

Ellisons Solicitors has appointed an experienced professional, Catherine Abbott, as a new partner in its commercial property team. She has an interest in acting for clients in the rural and agricultural sector and will initially be based at the firm’s headquarters in Colchester. Partner and head of commercial property, Philip Roberts said: “I’m pleased to welcome Catherine, to the firm. At Ellisons we are privileged to attract such talent who will help to drive further growth, and continue to deliver strong results for all our clients.”

Catherine Abbott (photo with Philip Roberts) said: “I’m delighted to have joined Ellisons Solicitors’ well-respected and growing commercial property team. I’m looking forward to building new relationships and continuing to do my best for my clients." She joins the firm following its acquisition of new office space in Colchester for its 28-strong insurance litigation team. Ellisons now has 24 partners and over 200 staff, working across its six offices in Colchester, Ipswich, Chelmsford and Tendring.

Growing security firm opens new Cambridge head office

Dardan Security has opened a new three storey head office in Shelford, Cambridge to cater for its expanding client base and range of services and to spearhead national growth. The company has made a  number of recent blue-chip client wins across the country, including Cambridge University Library, Peel Ports, Medway and international law firm, Mishcon de Reya. Dardan's managing director Philip Anthony said: “Continued growth and expansion, both geographically and in terms of the scope of the security services we offer, has seen the company become a major player on a national level. On the back of recent success and with clients located the length and breadth of the country, the requirement for a centrally located head office and control room has become increasingly evident.” The move has created eight new jobs in Cambridge.

Tax manager passes exams with flying colours

Nick Edgley, tax manager at Ensors Chartered Accountants' Cambridgeshire offices, has completed his final Chartered Institute of Taxation (CTA) exam with first time passes and flying colours – receiving a prize and the Avery Jones medal for the best overall marks in the “application and interaction” paper. He joined Ensors in 1998 having started his career at HM Revenue and Customs where he gained a strong grounding in compliance procedures and legislation. He now manages Ensors’ Cambridgeshire personal tax team, based in its Cambridge and Huntingdon offices. James Francis, partner at the Huntingdon office, said: "This is a great achievement for Nick and the firm are very proud of Nick and this accolade. Nick already has a wealth of experience under his belt and passing his CTA exams in such a manner just seals his credibility as one of the top tax advisors in the region."

New £4 million unit completed at Norfolk hospital

Needham Market-based Mixbrow Construction has completed a new £4 million unit for the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust for new mothers with serious mental health problems at The Kingfisher Mother and Baby Unit at Hellesdon Hospital. Mixbrow has spent the last 11 months carrying out the construction work to renovate Kingfisher House and turn it into an eight-bed mother and baby unit for the region. The internal decoration has been designed in partnership with staff and service users and local artists Toby Rampton and Bev Coraldean have created bespoke works for the unit. Darren Webb, managing director at Mixbrow Construction, said: “It has been great to play such an important part in ensuring this facility is ready and able to help new mothers in providing them with the care they need, so that they can develop a strong bond with their baby and go on to enjoy a healthy future.”

Work starts on new library at academy

SEH French has started work on the construction of a new library at Newmarket Academy designed by Wincer Kievenaar Architects and funded by a gift from Godolphin founder Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. At a sod-cutting ceremony last week, headteacher Nick Froy said: “This building will make a huge difference to our students and staff and also help to enhance the career opportunities of young people in this community. Sheikh Mohammed’s continued and considerable contribution to this school will make a significant difference to the lives of every student who attends our academy.” Work is due to be completed late August 2019 with students set to use the library from the start of the new school year.

Academies ‘at risk’ from financial uncertainty

A new survey has warned that financial uncertainty risks hampering academies in Cambridge. The eighth Kreston Academies Benchmark report shows that academy trusts remain in deficit, with 50 per cent showing an in-year deficit before depreciation, down from 55 per cent in 2017. After depreciation, 85 per cent of academies are in deficit, up from 80 per cent in 2017. Although significant progress has been made in cutting the size of deficits overall and deficits per school have fallen, the report warns that further spending cuts will be hard to achieve and future funding uncertainty could start to hit the way education is provided. The average primary school deficit fell to £17,544 in 2018 from £155,765 in 2017 and the average secondary school deficit fell to £145,889 in 2018 from £252,982 in 2017. Pam Tuckett, chair of the Kreston Academies Group, said: “Against a backdrop of financial uncertainty and reducing budgets, it is difficult for academies to guarantee like-for-like education models in the long term. Our clients across England are telling us that the ‘easy savings’ have already been made.”

Industrial space in demand in Soham

Motor Parts Direct a nationwide retailer of car parts and accessories, has taken a ten year lease, with no breaks, on a trade counter unit at Northfield Business Park, Soham. Barker Storey Matthews acted for the landlord. Northfield Business Park is north of Soham, near to the A142 by-pass and six miles from Ely. Motor Parts Direct will occupy Unit 20, a 3,144 sq ft space with 12 parking spaces.

Agency working on multi-arts festival in Suffolk

Brand communications agency Yellobelly is working with FlipSide and HemingwayDesign on the PR for First Light Festival a 24-hour, multi-arts festival taking place over the summer solstice and Suffolk Day weekend on Lowestoft’s South Beach in June. The festival is the idea of a team with wide experience in creating and delivering events, including designer and urban regeneration specialist Wayne Hemingway. The full programme will be announced in March. Mary Graham of Yellobelly said: “Working with such an experienced and creative team on this fabulous new festival is terrific for Yellobelly. It’s going to be amazing, and the response from both the regional and national media already has been remarkable.”

Hot weather boosts Ipswich Waterfront visitor numbers

Last year's hot summer increased the number of visitors to the Ipswich Wet Dock and Waterfront in 2018, according to ABP. It was a busy year for visiting yachts to the two marinas on Ipswich Waterfront, which attracted nearly 15,000 visitors an increase of 20 per cent on the previous year. Combined with trip boat visits, the numbers of passengers or visitors to the Waterfront in 2018 totalled some 30,000 visitors. Andrew Harston, ABP short sea ports director, said: “We hope that the year ahead will bring even more visitors who will enjoy trips on the beautiful River Orwell and the many bars and restaurants on the Waterfront as well as the many attractions that our historic county town can offer.”