Friday 03rd July 2020
Home Weekly Business<br />E-newsletter ebusiness weekly news 06/08/2019

Brexit takes its toll on confidence but firms still plan to hire

Concerns over Brexit are taking a growing toll on business confidence in the East although firms in the region are slightly more optimistic on the outlook for the economy and their hiring intentions remain positive. According to a July business barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, a net balance of 26 per cent of businesses said Brexit was having a negative impact on their expectations for business activity, up nine points on a month ago. Overall, the survey showed business confidence in the East fell four points during July to nine per cent. Companies in the region reported lower confidence in their own business prospects, which fell 11 points to 18 per cent, but higher economic optimism, which rose four points to zero. A net balance of 12 per cent of firms in the East expected to hire more staff during the next year, down 11 points on last month. David Atkinson, regional director for the East of England at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “It can be difficult to plan ahead amid ongoing uncertainty, but many businesses remain confident about their prospects and are prepared to back that by creating new jobs." Across the UK, overall confidence stood steady at 13 per cent.

Former BT site in Ipswich town centre for sale for over £3.75 million

A former BT site in Ipswich town centre covering 4.3 acres and with permission for over 100 new flats and potential for further development has been put up for sale with offers invited over £3.75 million. The former BT office, data storage building and car park in Bibb Way (right) – close to Portman Road – is being sold by Savills on behalf of Telereal Trillium. Permission for 104 apartments, 90 parking spaces and 208 cycle spaces, was granted last year. Thomas Higgins of Savills Chelmsford said: “This is an important site in Ipswich that has significant development and community benefits. It’s a very exciting opportunity and we are expecting lots of interest. It has potential to be sold as a whole or in two separate parcels – with the office and data centre making up one lot and the car park the other." The deadline for offers is noon on Friday, September 13th.

Swiss biotech group expands and relocates in Cambridge

Lonza Pharma & Biotech, a Swiss group which provides contract development and manufacturing services, is expanding and relocating its operations near Cambridge by moving from Granta Park to Chesterford Research Park. The firm has signed a 15-year lease on the 42,000 sq ft Gonville building in a move that will enable it to expand its capabilities to support risk assessment and development of early stage biotherapeutics and vaccines. Rob Sadler, head of Savills Cambridge Office, said: “This is a significant move for Lonza as a major customer within the cluster. The fact that we have been able to pre-let the Gonville Building is testament not only to the strength of the market, but also to the park itself. We are seeing significant interest in Chesterford from a number of sources, as evidenced by this and other recent deals." 

Yvette Stallwood, head of applied protein services, Lonza Pharma & Biotech, added: “Relocating the Cambridge site operations from Granta Park to Chesterford Research Park allows us to continue to expand our operations and services to support our customers.... The refurbishment programme is already underway and we plan to relocate the Cambridge operations in Q1 2020.”

Law firm marks 15 years in Norwich

The Sainsbury Centre at the University of East Anglia recently hosted a reception to mark 15 years since Birketts’ Norwich office opened in 2004. Addressing guests Jeanette Wheeler, partner and head of the employment team at Birketts, said: “Of the legal entrepreneurs who were the founders of the Birketts’ Norwich office in 2004, four in particular deserve mention by name: partners Robert Gibbs, Paul Matthews and Neil Sparrow and associate Francis Berridge. They joined to establish Birketts’ first office outside of Suffolk and were initially based in four rooms over the offices of an estate agent at the corner of Queen Street and Tombland. At the time the firm’s turnover was about £7m. Roll forward 15 years and Birketts is now aiming for a turnover in the coming year of close to £60m and employs nearly 700 staff; 150 of who are based in Kingfisher House in Gilders Way.”

Greg Allan, partner in the corporate finance and banking and finance teams, added: “The Norwich office has continued to evolve in response to the increase in client demand and development of the vibrant Norfolk business centre.” A cheque was presented at the event to Priscilla Bacon Lodge for £20,000 on behalf of the Birketts' Fund (a reserve administered by the Norfolk Community Foundation).

Separately, Birketts's family team is one of the first in the country to have adopted Settify; an online system that uses artificial intelligence to interact with clients in real time. It allows clients to set out, in detail and in response to prompts and questions, their relationship history as well as details of their family and other assets and income and gives Birketts solicitors much of the information they need to the provide the client with more focussed advice when they first meet.

See Profile Birketts

Twenty year anniversary at Glasswells Storage & Distribution Service

Best known for its huge choice of quality home furnishings, Glasswells also offers storage and distribution services to businesses from its purpose built warehouse on the Moreton Hall in Bury St Edmunds. On Wednesday 31st July the commercial storage team celebrated their 20 year anniversary and held an open day to showcase the full range of facilities and services on offer. In 1946 the first Glasswells furniture shop was opened in Bury St Edmunds. The business expanded rapidly across the county and, in 1958, built its first warehouse to take care of the firm’s home removals, distribution and storage needs. Forty years later, in 1999, the family business had outgrown the original site and took the decision to invest in a new larger, purpose-built warehouse on Kempson Way. The extra space gained created a new opportunity for Glasswells, and they began to let it out as third party storage for businesses; a division that has grown from strength to strength over the last twenty years. Further investment was made in 2015, with the addition of an extension and new mezzanine Archive facility, which increased the warehouse to a massive 80,000 sq. ft. and offered its customers even more flexibility.

Paul Glasswell explained: “Whilst we needed somewhere bigger to store our own stock and customer orders, we took the decision to build a warehouse that was much larger than our own needs so that we could rent some of this extra space out to third parties. We were already experts at handling and distributing goods across the country, so it seemed an obvious next step to take. It is an affordable option for businesses with restricted space at their own premises or complicated distribution channels. Our brilliant team provide a bespoke service, working with our clients as though they were a part of their business.”…Read more

Photo: Paul Glasswell and the Commercial Storage Team at Glasswells Distribution Centre, Bury St Edmunds.

Bronze award for green achievements

Meet Cambridge, the conference and events bureau, has been given a bronze in Cambridge University’s Green Impact Awards, in recognition of its environmental achievements – including making meetings more sustainable. Over the last 12 months, the team at Meet Cambridge has continued to focus on issues such as recycling, reducing paper and printing and using sustainable transport. It has also encouraged ‘green meetings’ at member venues; going paperless, providing reusable glass water bottles and using ingredients from local suppliers in refreshments. Leah Gibson (photo, right), events executive at Meet Cambridge who headed up the campaign, said: “In addition to ‘green meetings’, this year we introduced regular team nature walks so we could get some exercise and fresh air during the lunch-break and also take in what is available on our doorstep."

Meet Cambridge’s University of Cambridge Green Impact Auditor said: “Meet Cambridge has clearly taken sustainable and thorough steps to transform its office culture and maintain not only environmentally-friendly habits but an attitude that consistently prioritises green concerns.” Meet Cambridge has also recently signed up to the Meetings Industry Association’s 20PercentLess pledge to reduce single use plastic items.