Tuesday 28th January 2020
Home Weekly Business<br />E-newsletter ebusiness weekly news 16/07/2019

Suffolk businesses back campaign for £150 million investment in A14

The campaign to secure £150 million of government investment in the A14 in Suffolk is making its concluding case – ahead of an expected announcement later in the year. The Suffolk Chamber -led campaign No More A14 Delays in Suffolk, which is seeking funds from the second roads investment strategy to tackle seven ’pinch points’, has secured the backing of 150 businesses along the route. Mark Pendlington, chair of the A14 Strategy Board, has written to transport secretary Chris Grayling highlighting the support for the campaign and the boost to jobs which the investment would bring. He said: “We have demonstrated how an investment of £150m could be transformational, with a return on that investment to the national economy of £1.5bn. Which is why we see the A14 in Suffolk as the ‘golden thread’ running through our economy that has the potential to further boost business growth, and to attract and secure more jobs and inward investment in our growing economy.” The campaign received a boost last year when Highways England designated the road as a ‘current, planned and potential expressway’.

First Cambridge homes set to be connected in £20m high capacity network

The first homes in north Cambridge are set to connect to a high capacity gigabit full fibre network which is being built by CityFibre this autumn. Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner recently visited a site in Chesterton where construction is underway on the city’s £20m digital transformation which is set to bring the new technology within reach of almost every home and business in the city. The build programme is set to continue for the next two years and when complete, Cambridge will be one of the first UK cities to have full fibre access. Charles Kitchin (photo, right), city manager for Cambridge at CityFibre, said: “The digital age is transforming the way we live and work, and research shows that full fibre infrastructure could generate millions of pounds in economic benefits in Cambridge over the next 15 years. This will be transformational for the city and its residents.”

Daniel Zeichner (left) said: “Cambridge has a well established reputation for science and technology and now, with CityFibre, is on-track to become one of the best-connected cities in Britain.” John Henry Group is delivering the project for CtyFibre’s and Arbury and Kings Hedges are set to be the next areas to be connected.

Separately, the Cambridge tech sector has been twinned with Istanbul and Prague as two areas with tech clusters developing along similar lines. The findings from Tech Nation’s, ‘UK tech on the global stage’ report will be discussed at 10 major cities across the UK in a roadshow sponsored by RSM.

Stansted passenger numbers boosted by travellers to Turkey

London Stansted is set for its busiest-ever summer after a record 2.65 million passengers used the airport in June, due partly to growing traffic to Turkey. The total was boosted by ten new routes from Stansted to destinations including Venice, Murcia, Kyiv, Nantes, Paris, Lvov, Rijeka, Kristiansand, Rodez and Hurghada. The top three destination countries which saw the strongest growth in passenger volumes in June were Turkey (+31%), Portugal (+19%) and France (+14%). Passenger numbers in the year to June rose by 6.3% to 28.49 million. London Stansted chief operating officer Steve Griffiths said: “June was another very busy month for the airport, and the start of what we anticipate will be our busiest ever summer at London Stansted. Last week we opened our first on-site multi-storey car park that provides 2,700 new spaces and offers passengers even more parking options, and this week we will open eight new check-in desks in the latest phase of our terminal transformation programme.” Growing number of holidaymakers are visiting Turkey, partly attracted by the weakess of the country's currency.

Law firm grows property litigation team

Ashtons Legal has appointed Tim Kirkconel and Claire Smith to its property litigation team. Both join from London practices and they join existing team members senior associate Nigel Maguire and associate Annabel Mayer. Nigel Maguire said: “I am very pleased to welcome Tim and Claire to the firm and their arrival demonstrates our commitment to provide the resources and skills clients require in this area of law. This allows us to deliver specialist strategist advice to help protect client’s property assets and interests.”  Ashtons’ property litigation team deal with all manner of disputes relating to boundaries, terms of sale, notices to complete and rescission, freehold title disputes, mortgage possession claims, restrictive covenants, easements and rights of way and rights of light.

Photo(l-r): Tim Kirkconel, Annabel Mayer, Nigel Maguire and Claire Smith.

See Profile Ashtons Legal

Firms urged to prepare for new tax rules on contract workers

As legislation to combat tax avoidance by freelance workers in the private sector receives the rubber stamp, Grant Thornton says the region’s businesses should ensure they have the right processes in place well before the April 2020 introduction to avoid falling foul of HMRC. IR35, the ‘Off-Payroll Workers’ rules were first introduced in 2000 and initially placed responsibility on the worker to determine their employment status. But following concerns from HMRC that only a small percentage were complying, in April 2017 the regulations changed for the public sector and the onus shifted to the employer. From April 2020, the same rule will be applied to all medium and large organisations in the private sector and, based on lessons learned across the public sector, Grant Thornton says it is vital for employers to prepare now. Bethan Gill (right), associate director at Grant Thornton, said: “Post 2008, the ‘gig’ economy has continued to boom as businesses look to adopt more flexible workforces to cost effectively manage peaks in activity. The number of freelancers in the UK rose by 18% in 2018 alone and there are now an estimated two million OPW operating across the country, so it’s likely many private companies across all sectors will be impacted by the new IR35 regulations.” HMRC has introduced an online tool to help determine the employment status of workers but this has been found unreliable at employment tribunals. Grant Thornton has developed its own status assessment platform to support businesses with IR35.

High flying client win for Norwich-based agency

Norwich-based agency Creative Sponge has been appointed by British Parachute Association as strategic partner for its coming rebrand to British Skydiving. It followed an open tender process involving 25 tenders and a shortlist of five. The association said: “Creative Sponge clearly demonstrated a high level of expertise along with an understanding of who we are as an organisation. Most importantly they provided us with the confidence they can develop a brand personality that encourages participation and continued engagement within the sport.”

Creative Sponge founder and CEO Alex Tosh said: “Our research and understanding of the sport, and how we can help it reach its strategic objectives, was crucial in being given the chance to lead on the creative. This is another great win for the agency and shows, once again, the team’s work is of an excellent standard and highly regarded by clients.” British Skydiving joins Warner Bros; Eat Natural; University of East Anglia; AST; BeWILDerwood; Jarrold; and global crop-protection product manufacturer Rotam as Creative Sponge clients.

See Profile Creative Sponge

Work starts on £3.8 million building at Cambridge college

Members of the project team recently joined the principal and bursar of Homerton College, Cambridge recently to mark the start of construction of a new accommodation and auditorium wing. Designed by Ingleton Wood Martindales and being built by Barnes Construction, the new £3.8 million four-storey building will provide an auditorium, two music rooms and 18 en-suite guest bedrooms when it is completed next Spring. Bursar Deborah Griffin said: “It is great to see construction finally underway on a building that will enhance student life at Homerton. The auditorium will have retractable seating, so it will be a space that can be adapted for a number of uses, from lectures and conferences, to musical performances.” Heating will be supplied by a  ground source heat pump. Meanwhile, an accommodation building will also undergo a £430,000 refurbishment over the summer.

Mark Hart, joint MD of Barnes Construction, said: “We are proud of the part we are playing in leaving a mark in one of the most historic cities in the UK.” The structural design was by Morrish and M & E design by Max Fordham. Cambridge-based, Bremner Partnership is the cost consultant.

Photo: Deborah Griffin, bursar of Homerton College, Deborah Griffin, principal Geoffrey Ward and Mark Hart, joint MD for Barnes Construction.

See Profile Ingleton Wood

Growing biotech firm relocates on research park

Biotech firm Isomerase will take up occupancy in Suite 4 of the Newnham Building at Chesterford Research Park on its completion in mid 2020. The Newnham Building is currently being re-configured to create a detached two storey lab/R&D building situated in a prominent position on the park. Isomerase has been on Chesterford Research Park since 2013, initially taking a single laboratory inthe multi-let Science Village building. Since then it has grown and taken additional space to house its enlarged team of 30 people. The firm is one of the UK’s leading service providers to the global healthcare and biotechnology sectors, particularly in microbial natural products. Dr Matt Gregory, co-founder and CEO, Isomerase, said: “We have now reached the point in our development where we feel that a re-location to a larger, custom-fitted facility will really benefit and help facilitate our future growth. This move will enable us to further expand our capabilities, bring in new equipment and additional, highly skilled staff; guaranteeing our stability for the next decade.”

Strong interest expected for Newmarket employment site

Property consultacy Carter Jonas has brought a 13.5 site near Newmarket in Suffolk to market; a vacant greenfield site on Snailwell Road that has been allocated as employment land, capable of delivering around 200,000 sq ft of light industrial, warehouse or manufacturing space. The site is also suited to a part office and laboratory scheme. Ben Le Coq, associate, Carter Jonas, said: “The site is an opportunity to create a sustainable extension to the Snailwell Road business cluster, which is a well-established local employment hub. We expect strong interest from local developers looking to capitalise on the high demand for good quality business space in strategically connected locations around Cambridge.”

Separately, Carter Jonas has been instructed to sell a  site currently being used as a household waste recycling centre in Rougham Hill, Bury St Edmunds, as a development opportunity. The 3.59-acre site is currently owned by West Suffolk Council and let to Suffolk County Council. The site is expected to be vacant in Spring 2020 at the latest.