Saturday 19th October 2019
Home Weekly Business<br />E-newsletter ebusiness weekly news 18/09/2019

Heritage high streets set to benefit from new investment in buildings

Seven historic centres in the region - Great Yarmouth, Kings Lynn, Lowestoft, North Walsham, Swaffham Bedford and Dunstable - are among 69 English towns set to benefit from a £95 million cash injection through the High Streets Heritage Action Zone scheme. The initiative aims to transform disused historic buildings into shops, houses and community centres and marks the  biggest-ever single investment by government in the UK’s built heritage. The hope is that the funding will help traditional businesses adapt to compete with online suppliers by turning empty and underused buildings into creative spaces, offices, retail outlets and housing and attract commercial investment. Cllr Steve Gallant, leader of East Suffolk Council, said: “This is fantastic news for Lowestoft and further underlines the town's great potential. As part of a multi-faceted approach to regeneration, we see Lowestoft's cultural and heritage assets as a way of encouraging and unlocking crucial investment.”

Cllr Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “The announcement of a Heritage Action Zone for Great Yarmouth town centre is very welcome and will provide the resource and focus to help us preserve and celebrate our heritage.”

Cambridge medical tech company raises £195 million

Cambridge-based CMR Surgical has completed what it says is the largest private financing round in the medical tech sector in Europe by raising £195 million to fund the global commercialisation of its surgical robotic system, Versius. Ranked as the sixth fastest growing business in the UK in 2018, the company has offices in four continents and employs 400. The company has made significant clinical progress with Versius, with the successful completion of 30 first-in-human surgical procedures in May. The company is expected to launch in hospitals across Europe and Asia with further international expansion expected. The proceeds from the latest fund-raising, which follows its last funding round in May last year, will also be used to support R &D, manufacturing and expansion. The fundraise has been supported by existing investors: LGT, Escala Capital Investments, Cambridge Innovation Capital, Watrium, and Zhejiang Silk Road Fund as well as new US investors. CMR Surgical aims to make minimal access surgery universally accessible, rapidly increasing the number of robotic-assisted procedures. The $3.7 billion global robotic-assisted market is growing at 19 per cent a year. Erik Langaker, Chairman of CMR Surgical, said: “The significant capital injection in a UK scale-up reconfirms my belief that the Cambridge eco system has fostered a unique pool of diverse talents and competencies that will help drive our innovation in the years ahead. With new and existing investors onboard, CMR is well-placed to make surgical robotics accessible for all.”

New offshore windfarm starts to generate power

East Anglia ONE offshore windfarm started generating last week when power from a turbine flowed to an onshore substation at Burstall, near Bramford in Suffolk. It is the first of 102 turbines to begin generating power from the site over 27 miles off Lowestoft. More power will come online at regular intervals and so far 25 turbines have been constructed. When complete, East Anglia ONE -  a joint venture between ScottishPower Renewables and Green Investment Group - will produce 714 MW of energy enough to power over 630,000 homes. On what is the largest offshore windfarm to be built off the region's coast, each of the windfarm’s turbines are pre-assembled and loaded from Peel Ports Great Yarmouth. All of the turbines should be installed and operational in 2020. Project director Charlie Jordan said: “…We are continuing to progress towards completion of the offshore windfarm and reaching this point is down to the incredible efforts of everyone involved, from local contractors and employees through to national and international businesses."

Country pub for sale for £1.35 million

A Grade II-listed pub with gardens overlooking the River Nene, The Queens Head Inn near Peterborough, has been put up for sale at a guide price of £1.35 million. Savills is selling the country inn and restaurant set across a one acre site at Nassington for Complete Hotels. The inn has ten en suite bedrooms plus a one bedroom manager/staff accommodation with lounge, and a 4-bedroom owners' accommodation. It also has a function suite and terrace with 70 covers, which is popular for conferences and weddings. Tom Cunningham, licensed leisure director at Savills, said: “The Queens Head presents a rare opportunity to acquire the freehold interest in a well-established and popular country inn. With its picturesque location and backdrop, along with high quality amenities, we are expecting strong interest in this site.”

Law firm marks 30 years in Norwich

Regional law firm Howes Percival marked 30 years in Norwich recently with a party for clients and friends, which included a reunion for the four original founding partners of the firm's office in the city - Alan Kefford, Andrew Barnes, Andrew Wood and Sandy Munro. The firm’s Norwich office was established in 1989 in Colegate and it grew and moved to larger premises and to its current offices on Bedding Lane in the city’s Cathedral Close quarter. Today, the firm has close to 100 staff based in Norwich and is on track to lift turnover to £25 million by May 2020. It has a strong core client base of Norfolk SMEs and family-owned businesses, plus landowners and high net worth individuals alongside international brands and household names.  In 1996, Howes Percival's Norwich team won its first government contract and in the last two years, the firm has been appointed to three further government legal panels including a reappointment from The Insolvency Service. Chairman Tessa Haskey said:" As a firm, nationally we have been pursuing an investment and growth strategy over the last four years which has seen us open new offices in Cambridge and Milton Keynes and move all our teams into new, modern offices. We've also invested significantly in bringing further experienced and talented lawyers into the team. As a result, we're on track to reach our target, set in 2014, to increase turnover from £15m to £25m by May 2020."

Photo: Tessa Haskey with Alan Kefford, founder of the Norwich office and original managing partner.

Trainee solicitors enrolled with Law Society

Two trainee solicitors at Norwich-based Cozens-Hardy Chloé Holden (photo right) and Juliet Farrington-Breeze have been enrolled as solicitors with the Law Society and have  accepted offers to join the firm's private client and commercial property departments respectively. Michelle Collins, partner and head of the firm’s private client team: “I am absolutely thrilled that Chloé has qualified as a solicitor after many years of study and that she is joining my team. She is a highly personable individual and has the necessary eye for technical detail that will make her a superb private client solicitor.”

Dan Evans, partner, commercial property team, said: “We are all delighted that Juliet will be qualifying into our team. She showed great potential immediately and, having spent the last year training with us, she’s developed into a highly valuable member of the department. I have no doubt that she has a great future ahead of her.”

Separately, Cozens-Hardy has appointed two new trainee solicitors. Ashlie Cox earned a law degree from Nottingham Trent University and went on to study for her LPC (Legal Practice Course) part-time while working full-time as legal secretary in the agricultural/private client department of a local law firm. She starts her training contract in the firm’s busy residential property department. Chloe Edwards studied law at Oxford Brookes University before completing her LPC in London. She also gained experience as a legal assistant at a law firm in London and will begin her training contract in the firm’s litigation department. Both have a two-year training contract with the firm, during which they will gain practical experience in at least three distinct areas of law. On successful completion they will qualify and be admitted as a solicitor. Senior partner Jane Anderson said: “We were overwhelmed with the quantity and quality of trainee applications this year. Ashlie and Chloe stood out for their commitment and determination to succeed. They both know what they want to achieve in their careers and we feel that they will thrive among our friendly and dedicated staff at Castle Chambers.”

See Profile Cozens Hardy

Law firm retains high new worth ranking

Law firm Birketts has retained its ‘Band 1’ status in the ‘Private Wealth Law’ category in Cambridge, Ipswich and Essex and ‘Band 2’ in Norwich in Chambers High Net Worth 2019 Guide, for the third year running. The firm has also been shortlisted for the Chambers High Net Worth 2019 Awards in the ‘Out-of-London Firm of the Year’ category. The following private client and advisory partners have been ranked for private wealth law: Tim Galloway (Essex, Band 1), Caroline Stenner (Cambridge and surrounds, Band 1), Charles Boscawen (Ipswich and surrounds, Band 1) and Lorna Spear (Norwich and surrounds, Band 2). Bernadette Baker has now also become a Band 2 ranked lawyer for Private Wealth Disputes. Tim Galloway (photo, right), head of Birketts’ private client division, said: “It is a great honour for our first-class Private Client and Advisory team to be recognised for the third year in a row. Our status as a nationwide leader in the legal sector has been further cemented by another strong year as we continue to support clients with a broad range of agricultural, estate, family and tax matters."

Separately, Birketts has entered two teams in the second annual Steptober challenge to help raise funds to end youth homelessness. Sponsored by M7 Real Estate, this event sees property professionals from across the country compete to log the most steps during the month of October, with friends and colleagues sponsoring their efforts.

See Profile Birketts

New events space in Cambridge opens its doors

More than 50 guests were given a special preview of Cambridge’s new events space – Acropolis At Caius – at a recent open house. The Gonville & Caius Meetings & Events Team hosted a reception for event organisers at the college’s West Road site where the 2,150 sq ft marquee structure is now in place, providing a unique setting for meetings, conferences and dinners. Set in the gardens, Acropolis At Caius is available until September 2020 whilst some of the college’s kitchen and dining facilities are refurbished. The new facility can accommodate up to 140 people for dinners seated on round tablesup to 100 cabaret style and 180 theatre style. Eve Stupart, conference & events manager at Gonville & Caius said: “We were delighted to welcome our guests at the Open House event to showcase Acropolis At Caius which is already proving popular for meetings and dinners. Everyone enjoyed seeing the space on a glorious Autumn day, with the windows and doors giving uninterrupted views of the gardens. It is an ideal venue for all types of events including Christmas parties.”  Also located on the West Road site are the Cavonius Conference Centre, together with vacation period residential facilities for a capacity of 241 guests over 174 bedrooms in Harvey Court and The Stephen Hawking Building.

Photo - Gonville & Caius Meetings & Events Team at Acropolis At Caius (l-r): Ricardo Soares, Eve Stupart, Christophe Benedetti, Laura Webb, Simon Gascoyne and Jennifer Phillips.

Charity treasure hunt to brush up Cambridge knowledge

Meet Cambridge, the conference and events bureau, recently invited staff from its member venues to take part in a networking treasure hunt to brush up on their local knowledge – and raise funds for charity. Thirty participants trialled a new team-building product from Visit Cambridge & Beyond; a walking tour led by Blue Badge Guides followed by a treasure hunt where teams are given clues to crack and challenges to overcome. Funds raised were donated to Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire (CPSL) Mind which supports people with mental health issues. Teams raced against the clock to get answers before meeting up at Browns Bar & Brasserie for a complimentary drinks reception. The winning team was the self-named Enigma: Judith Sloane from Meet Cambridge, Rachel Samuels from Newmarket Racecourses, Lizzie Weitzel and Joe Sloan from the Hallmark Hotel and Louise Higgins from The Education & Conference Centre, Arthur Rank Hospice. Established in 1998, Meet Cambridge is the conference and events bureau for Cambridge and the only official venue-finding service for space at The University of Cambridge and the Cambridge Colleges.