Saturday 25th May 2019
Home Weekly Business<br />E-newsletter ebusiness weekly news 07/03/2019

New sector deal set to make Norfolk and Suffolk centre for UK's offshore wind market

A new government and industry Offshore Wind Sector Deal which involves a central role for East Anglia in plans to invest £250 million was unveiled this week. It aims to boost the share of British electricity produced from offshore power to a third by 2030. Meanwhle, a new Offshore Wind Growth Partnership will be set up to develop the UK supply chain to take advantage of a predicted five-fold increase in global exports in the sector to £2.6 billion and a tripling in the number of jobs to 27,000 by 2030. It also aims to boost the UK content in home offshore wind projects to ensure companies in areas such as East Anglia, Humber and the North East are competitive and international leaders in the sector. Energy & clean growth minister Clare Perry, who is set to visit Gt Yarmouth & Lowestoft to launch the deal, said: “This new sector deal will drive a surge in the clean, green offshore wind revolution that is powering homes and businesses across the UK, bringing investment into coastal communities and ensuring we maintain our position as global leaders in this growing sector.”

Doug Field, chair of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Norfolk and Suffolk’s wind cluster is becoming the centre of gravity for the UK’s market with more capacity than any other UK region. A recent deal has been signed with ScottishPower Renewables which will mean that our area will have one of the biggest offshore wind farms in the UK (East Anglia ONE).”

Opportunities for housing development in resilient land market

A shortage of housing in the region will continue to create development opportunities in the region in 2019 after the land market remained resilient last year, according to a leading agent. Richard Jones , head of development in Savills Cambridge office, said: “Despite an uncertain economic outlook, in 2018 we saw continued interest from the housebuilder market for both immediate and long term development opportunities.” Savills Cambridge development team acted on some £147 million of land sales in the region during 2018 involving 19 sites with land for 2,441 homes. “The results display the resilient land market in which we operate in. In addition to developer demand, there is of course still a shortage of housing coming through across much of our region, which provides the ingredients for development opportunities. While we expect 2019 to be an equally testing market in which to transact, we also expect to see a continuation of such demand,” he added. Notable sales by Savills included 381 units across two parcels at Alconbury Weald, 233 units at Wintringham, part of the St Neots Eastern Expansion and the sale of land at Thurston, near Bury

New distribution centre planned in Ipswich

The 19 acre Harris Business Park in Ipswich has been sold to Headlam Group PLC, Europe’s largest distributor of floor coverings, which is planning to build a new 200,000 sq ft distribution facility on the site, creating 80 jobs. The site was sold by Penn Commercial, acting for Peter Colby Commercials, which originally bought the site on the town’s Hadleigh Road ten years ago from the East of England Development Agency. Managing director Peter Colby, a Norfolk businessman, intended that it should be used for industrial, warehousing, commercial and manufacturing use. Vanessa Penn of Penn Commercial said: “This is one of the largest vacant industrial sites in the town and it is exciting news for Ipswich that a large local company is planning to create 80 job opportunities here.” Peter Colby Commercials worked with Network Rail and Ipswich Borough Council to develop the ‘Bacon Chord’ at one edge of the site.

See Profile Penn Commercial

Briefly...

Scale Up programme for high growth businesses launched

An ambitious programme to help promising businesses with high growth potential in Suffolk and Norfolk accelerate their pace of expansion has been launched by New Anglia LEP and delivered through the New Anglia Growth Hub.  Opening with an event focused on digital marketing in Newmarket in February, The ‘Scale Up New Anglia’ Programme will run over three years with a stated aim to help ‘silver’ companies in the two counties - companies with a propensity to grow. They occupy a sweet spot between ‘bronze’ (start ups) and ‘gold’ (scale ups), defined as growing in terms of turnover or full time employees at 20 per cent pa or more, over a three year period. The next Scale Up event will be on 26th March at Barnham Broom Hotel, Norwich and will focus on manufacturing. If you are a growing company interested in becoming a member of ‘Scale Up New Anglia’, contact Dr Morgan Potter at New Anglia Growth Hub on 0300 333 6536 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

See Profile New Anglia Growth Hub

Insurer launches new apprenticeships

Insurance group AXA UK has launched over a dozen new apprenticeship vacancies at its Ipswich offices as part of National Apprenticeship Week. The vacancies cover customer services and claims roles and are open to new applicants and existing employees, with no age limit. The roles also offer applicants Chartered Insurance Institute IF1 exams and Chartered Insurance Institute Certificates in Insurance. Over the past 12 months, over 100 apprentices have started at AXA across its UK offices. The insurer has also moved away from graduate schemes in favour of apprenticeship programmes.

Law firm expands business services team

Barker Gotelee Solicitors is continuing to expand its business service offering with the appointment of solicitor Liz Gifford. She joins from a leading City law firm and will be working with partner and corporate law specialist, Clare Richards, providing corporate and commercial advice to a range of clients. Liz’s Gifford’s experience advising charities and philanthropists also adds to the not-for-profit expertise in the firm, an area where specialist advice is increasingly sought. Managing partner Andrew Nicholson said : “We are delighted to welcome Liz to the Barker Gotelee Business Services team. Her knowledge and expertise, particularly of the charities sector, will I am sure prove invaluable to the legal services we can offer to the business community, both locally and further afield.”

Lawyer wins shipping & transport award

Alex Davey, partner at law firm Birketts, has won the shipping & transport category for the UK at the Client Choice Awards 2019, run by the International Law Office and Lexology. Established in 2005,  nominations for the award can only be made by in-house counsel. Alex Davey specialises in all aspects of shipping, transport and international trade work. He said: “I am delighted to receive this award which is a credit to and was only possible due to the hard work and efforts of the whole shipping and transport team here at Birketts. We are committed to providing excellent service standards and technical expertise for our clients. With the team having also been named 'Transport Firm of the Year (Outside London)' at The Legal 500 UK Awards 2019, it is great to see that this effort is being recognised."

Separately, Birketts has advised Imogen Woolhouse, a former Google industry head, on the purchase of Cotswold Eggs, a wholesale business which supplies eggs sourced from local farms in the area to retailers, including large supermarkets as well as farm shops, hotels, pubs, guest houses and restaurants.  Ed Savory, legal director in Birketts’ corporate team and head of food, led the deal.

See Profile Birketts

Supply chain firm moves to new offices to expand

Supply chain management firm Fleet Assist has taken a new 10-year lease for office space of 4,346 sq ft at Sovereign Court on Ermine Business Park in Huntingdon to accommodate its expansion. It was originally located in Perry, Huntingdon. Savills let the space for a private client. Edward Gee, associate director in the business space team at Savills Peterborough, said : “Sovereign Court offers good quality office accommodation in a popular business park location in Huntingdon making it the ideal place for Fleet Assist.”

Expanding Suffolk company appoints new MD

Suffolk-based Portable Space has promoted one its senior team, Mark Dolman, to managing director to lead its next phase of development. The company, based in Bacton, has expanded rapidly to become a sector leader in cabin hire, cabin sales, shipping container sales and conversions and modular building sales and is planning to double in size by 2026. In his new role, Mark Dolman is responsible for the daily management of the business, working with department managers and the team of 40 people. He said: Mark said: “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to lead such a talented team of people into the next phase of our company’s exciting development and growth.”  Portable Space was established in 2002 by Mark Black who becomes chairman, focusing on supporting and developing the senior management team to enable the business to grow sustainably and meet its strategic objectives.

He added: “This is an exciting time in the history of Portable Space and Mark Dolman is absolutely the right person to lead the team into the next phase of development. Since joining us in a commercial role he has demonstrated his excellent managerial skills in all aspects of our operation and I look forward very much to working with him as we pursue our vision.”

Photo (l to r): Mark Dolman with chairman Mark Black.

Management changes at Abacus Hotels

After 26 years service at Knights Hill Hotel & Spa in King’s Lynn general manager Bernard Ducker (photo, right) has taken on new challenges at Abacus Hotel’s sister hotel, Le Strange Arms in Old Hunstanton. Meanwhile, Nicholas Searle (far right) has been promoted from operations manager to general manager at Knights Hill Hotel & Spa and Joanne Rayner, previously front of house manager, has taken the position of deputy general manager. Bernard Ducker said: “When I joined Knights Hill in 1992 with just under 50 bedrooms, the directors had a vision to develop and grow the business and I have enjoyed being part of this. Our focus on delivering a quality stay with a professional and friendly service earned us the Best Western Large Hotel of the year award two years running. Now a thriving hotel with 79 bedrooms, on-site spa and pub, the complex is a popular choice with both holiday makers, corporate guests and locals…. I am looking forward to further developing the Le Strange Arms to meet emerging challenges in the industry and will ensure that the hotel continues to offer a quality experience to all who stay or visit”