Tuesday 16th July 2019
Home Weekly Business<br />E-newsletter ebusiness weekly news 04/07/2019

Call for government to press ahead with devolution of powers

The CBI in the East of England has called for the government to set a plan for devolution for city regions to help re-balance the economy. It comes in a response to a report from Lord Heseltine calling for Britain’s metro mayors to be given greater powers over housing, schools and jobs as a way to transform cities and drive the economy. CBI East of England director Richard Tunnicliffe said: “We've come a long way since the emergence of metro mayors and this report is just the latest step. The government now must publish a devolution framework outlining what powers can be devolved, how and when.”

"But with Westminster fully occupied by Brexit, those of us at the sharp end see the pressing challenges facing communities in Cambridge, Peterborough and throughout the East of England. It is time our communities took charge of our own destiny. Re-balancing the economy so it works for everyone must be at the heart of our ambition. This should ensure no place is left behind and enable every part of the UK to fire on all cylinders.”

The report, Empowering English Cities, was compiled following interviews with mayors of various city regions, including Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

'Big four' firm to open new customs trade facility in Ipswich

Professional services group Deloitte is creating a new customs trade facility with a 30-strong team at Crown House in Ipswich, to provide digital tax services for companies to manage customs compliance and other areas such as customs freight simplified procedures. It will form part of the firm’s global trade bureau and will work alongside the firm’s global trade advisory team. Deloitte global trade bureau lead partner Richard Vitou said: “We’re hugely excited about establishing Global Trade Bureau as a market-leading customs compliance offering here in Ipswich. Being in such close proximity to the Port of Felixstowe, a hugely significant transport hub for the UK and Europe has also provided us with access to the very best talent in customs and international trade in the UK.”

Photo: Richard Vitou, Ipswich tax partner with Paul Schofield, South East East, practice senior partner.

Norwich-based energy storage group secures £5 million investment

Connected Energy, a specialist in energy storage solutions with a technical centre in Norwich’s Hethel Engineering Centre, has secured an investment of over £5 million from Sumitomo Corporation, ENGIE, Macquarie Group and others to pursue its ambitious international growth plans. Connected Energy has developed the world’s only commercially available stationary energy storage system that uses electric vehicle battery packs after they have completed their useful lives on-board vehicles. The firm has links with Renault and other electric vehicle makers and a growing pipeline of blue-chip clients. Matthew Lumsden, CEO of Connected Energy, said: “The time is now right for us to scale up the business and this investment will enable us to do so. We have some exciting times and projects ahead of us and look forward to further capturing the benefits of the circular economy.”

New £12 million innovation centre opens in Colchester

A new £12 million Innovation Centre at the University of Essex’s Knowledge Gateway research and technology park has been officially opened as a new base for early stage and start-up tech companies as well as student entrepreneurs. John Bercow, speaker of the House of Commons and chancellor of the University of Essex helped launch the centre at the Colchester campus. Operated by Oxford Innovation, the centre will house more than 50 businesses and is the base for Studio X, the university’s digital creative collaborative studio and student start-up programme.

Mr Bercow, who graduated from Essex with a first in government in 1985, said: “The Innovation Centre takes this university’s engagement with business to a new level. I’m incredibly excited to see how this community grows and I will be coming back to meet the companies which move in and the students who will be developing their business ideas here.” The 38,000 sq ft centre has over 50 self-contained offices and co-working solutions suitable for one to 11 people.

Photo (l-r): John Bercow, Cllr Tony Ball from Essex County Council, Jo Stevens from Oxford Innovation, University of Essex vice-chancellor Prof. Anthony Forster and chief executive of SELEP Adam Bryan.

New scheme aims to create 400 apprenticeships around Cambridge

The Greater Cambridge Partnership has launched a scheme aimed at creating more than 400 new apprenticeships across the area to plug a skills gap in what is Europe's largest technology cluster. The service says it welcomes students seeking any type of apprenticeship but especially in STEM subjects. Form the Future CIC and Cambridge Regional College will work together to manage the new service for the Greater Cambridge Partnership.  Many schools and parents find it difficult to advise young people on apprenticeships and the service will help students to find, apply for and secure a position.

New EV charging points installed at Suffolk Business Park

Electric vehicle charging points are to be installed at Suffolk Business Park in Bury St Edmunds which is under construction. It will explore ways of working with Plug In Suffolk, the UK’s first fully open public electric vehicle fast charging network.  Plug in Suffolk is a project run in partnership with Suffolk County Council, Stowmarket-based EO Charging and renewable energy provider, Bulb. It aims to install up to 400 EV charging points across the county at 100 business premises, car parks, hotels and anywhere that EVs could park for a short amount of time. Matt Cloke, development director of the park’s developer, The Churchmanor Estates Company PLC, said: “As a long-standing commercial developer in the eastern region it is important to us that we create sustainable built environments for generations to come. Suffolk Business Park is a key new development in Suffolk and as part of the leisure area of the park we feel strongly that investing in initiatives such as electric vehicle charging points is essential and will benefit all users of the park.”

Online vintage clothing retailer expands in Ipswich

Ipswich-based Messina Hembry Clothing has bought two new containers and storage facilities to support its expanding business and create local jobs with support from Barclays. The business sells vintage and second hand designer clothing and one-off garments on its website and through on-line outlets such as EBay and ASOS. Entrepreneur Zac Hembry first set up the business at university and formed the company with his brother Joshua. The expansion has enabled the company to take on three new staff and create further job opportunities in coming months. CEO Zac Hembry said: “The new storage space has enabled us to almost double our processing capacity. We’re excited to now be able to offer our customers even more range and give thousands of extra garments a new lease of life.”

Allen Fulcher, Barclays business manager, Anglia South, said: “This is a great example of how an entrepreneur has taken a small idea and made it become a successful company employing local people.”

Photo (l-r): Allen Fulcher (Barclays) and Zac Hembry

Separately, Barclays is working with Suffolk Libraries to offer basic banking services at Aldeburgh Library. The service is available each Monday from 9:00 am – 13:00 pm, will run as a three-month trial.  A Barclays’ moment banker who will be available in a private office in the library to maintain customer confidentiality.

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Law firm handles over £100m of property deals

Ellisons Solicitors has dealt with over £100m worth of commercial property deals in the year to March. The firm’s commercial Property team acted on over 1,800 transactions in East Anglia as well as in London, Newquay, Manchester, the Midlands and Southampton. One recent deal in Colchester - a purchase and onward sale involved a legal restructure led by partner, Philip Roberts – was worth more than £50 million and resulted in cost savings of over £250,000 for the client. Ellisons’ commercial property team was ranked as Tier 1 in the Legal 500 2019 and has recently expanded with the arrival of partner, Catherine Abbott and solicitors, Joanna McKenna, Antony Mao and Anna Mullholland. Kevin Wilsher, one of Ellisons’ equity partners, recently retired from the firm after 25 years’ service, but will be acting as a part-time consultant at the Ellisons Colchester office. During his time at the firm he chaired the management committee was a managing partner and led the commercial property department.

Philip Roberts will succeed him and head the commercial property team after acting as joint head of the department for three years. He said: “Currently we are undergoing a period of great growth and transformation and I’m delighted to be leading a fantastic team that is committed to delivering excellent client service from start to finish.“

Photo (l-r):Kevin Wilsher, Guy Longhurst and Philip Roberts.

New appointments at law firm's Cambridge office

Regional law firm, Howes Percival has expanded its Cambridge office with the two new appointments. Matthew Darmon has joined the commercial property team with experience dealing with a wide range of commercial property transactions. He was previously with Adams Harrison Solicitors in Essex. Jonathan Mumby has been appointed to the employment law team. He advises on a range of employment issues and has acted for family agricultural businesses, nationwide charities, independent retailers and financial services firms. He was previously with Greenwoods GRM LLP.

Howes Percival recently reported a turnover of over £21m in the year ending May 2019, up 5.1% on the previous year and increased its profit by 4%. The firm expects to increase its turnover to £25 million by 2020. Howes Percival chairman Tessa Haskey said: "This is another really good set of results for the firm and I'm delighted with the progress we are making."

Photo (l-r): Howe's Percival's Matthew Potter, Jonathan Mumby, Matthew Darmon, Michaela Henson.

Law firm to sponsor asbestos charity

Ashtons Legal is supporting Mesothelioma UK as a bronze sponsor on the back of a close working relationship with the charity. Ashtons has been acting for people – and won compensation for many -with asbestos-related problems for over 20 years. The firm has also been involved in forming the Anglia Asbestos Disease Support Group, which works with the charity. Phoebe Osborne (photo, right) from Ashtons’ asbestos disease team said: “I’m really proud of all that we are working towards in supporting Mesothelioma UK, their amazing nurses and we are grateful to them in return for supporting our campaign in East Anglia – it is a real privilege to work with the team there”.

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