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Home Weekly Business<br />E-newsletter ebusiness weekly news 18/01/2022

Suffolk County Council in joint venture to build 3000 homes

Suffolk County Council has chosen Lovell Partnerships as preferred bidder for a joint venture which will build nearly 3,000 homes on council land involving  development with a gross value of £700 million over the next 15 years. Five sites have been identified in Lowestoft, Mildenhall, Bramford, West Row and Newmarket with space for around 2,800 homes plus new schools, employment land and open spaces. Contracts are expected to be signed in the spring and the 50/50 joint venture set up in the summer. The proposals also include an option for further sites to be delivered by the jv on surplus council land. Cllr. Richard Smith, Suffolk CC cabinet member for economic development, said: “This will help meet the needs of the people of Suffolk, provide much needed social housing and new community facilities and provide value for tax payers. The partnership will also generate significant funds for the council over the long-term for strategic expenditure and investment.” Lovell Partnerships is part of Morgan Sindall Group, and is involved in jv's with councils across the UK. The partnership will work with other Morgan Sindall companies and local suppliers to deliver the Suffolk homes.

Lovell managing director Steve Coleby said: “Partnership working is at the heart of what we do and we share our partner’s ambitions for high quality new homes, climate resilience and maximising opportunities for local communities in the places we will be creating together.” Suffolk CC was advised on the procurement process by Concertus Design and Property Consultants, Avison Young property consultants and legal advisors Pinsent Masons.

Green light for new warehouse in Bury

West Suffolk Council has given the go ahead for Bury-based tool and equipment supplier Sealey to build a large new warehouse on Suffolk Business Park in the town. Local architects Wincer Kievenaar will lead the construction of the 200,000 square ft warehouse and offices which will be next to Sealey’s existing sites in Kempson Way. Mark Sweetman, group projects director for Sealey & Dellonda, said: “This new development will provide us with the increased space we need to accommodate additional stockholding, as well as the anticipated extra staff we will need to employ. The growth of both businesses will also generate opportunities for those who are already part of our team to progress their careers.” The firm is one of the largest private employers in the town, with 430 working at Sealey and 16 at Dellonda, which supplies home and garden products.

Prime industrial site sold for ‘significantly in excess’ of £8 million guide price

The sale of a prime Essex industrial investment, 2 Eastways, off the A12 in Witham has been completed by Fenn Wright’s commercial team for significantly above the guide price of £8 million. It includes a factory/warehouse with offices and around 74, 500 sq ft of space on a site of over three acres which has been let to Euroview Architectural Glass, who have occupied the site since 2008. James Wright, associate partner at Fenn Wright, said: “There is such strong demand for properties like this and it attracted significant levels of interest from local, regional and national investors. There was competitive demand for such a high quality lot and our client achieved a figure significantly in excess of the £8,000,000 guide price, the purchaser being a large investment fund.” In 2021, Fenn Wright was overall winner of Estates Gazette ‘Most Active Agent in the South East (exc. London)’ and James Wright was named as ‘dealmaker of the year’ for the second year running.

See Profile Fenn Wright

New leadership team at Ipswich-based solicitors as chief executive retires

Prettys Solicitors chief executive Ian Carr is retiring from his role at the firm. Having joined Prettys in 2015, he has overseen significant changes including the firm’s conversion to LLP status, identification and refinement of its core service offerings and philosophy, the adoption of agile working and the firm’s recent move to modern offices at St Vincent House in Ipswich. Ian Carr (photo, right) will be retained by the firm as a consultant where part of his role will be to assist with the transition of the firm’s management to a new leadership team which includes two key appointments. Lynn MacDonald, who has been with the firm for five years, takes on a new role of chief operating officer, and Andrew Wilson, who joined this month from Harwich Haven Authority, becomes the firm’s new finance director. Prettys senior partner Ian Waine said: “We would like to thank Ian for the valuable contribution which he has made to the firm during a time of significant transformation. He leaves his current post with the firm both more agile and more resilient and well placed to thrive in a fast changing economy. We look forward to working with our new management team to drive further progress at a time when the strength and experience of our lawyers and our approach to meeting clients’ needs create significant opportunities for us.”

See Profile Prettys Solicitors

Law firm recruits to boost injury services teams

Ashtons Legal has recruited additional expertise across its personal and medical injury claims teams. Recent recruits are solicitor Mick Upton to the personal injury team, solicitor Penny Tilmouth to the medical negligence team and Ben Needham-Holmes as a rehabilitation co-ordinator. Michael Wangermann, head of Ashtons injury services division, said: “An increasing number of law firms have started to wind down their injury claims teams and the expertise is consolidating into those firms with the strength and depth to support clients with injuries of all types and caused by a wide range of types of accident.” He added: “Ashtons Legal remains fully committed to this area of the law, including offering a rehabilitation support service alongside our existing Court of Protection team that assists with financial management of large awards. We have been a local market leader as well as acting for clients nationwide for well over 30 years.  In 2021 we were helping approximately 1300 clients post injury.”

Photo: (l-r) Mick Upton, Penny Tilmouth and Ben Needham-Holmes.

See Profile Ashtons Legal

Cambridge company working with university on ground-breaking inks research

Cambridge company Domino Printing is undertaking ground-breaking research with Cambridge University Institute For Manufacturing on the jetting process in continuous inkjet printers to solve a longstanding issue in the sector. The research will look at how the chemicals in inks behave in different conditions and the potential impact on performance.  It is key to ensuring consistent and reliable print quality in coding and marking and is leading to Domino developing new formulations which will optimise inks for different uses. Dr Josie Harries (photo, right), group programme director at Domino, said: “We are constantly seeking new ways to advance our products, solutions, and services to deliver the best performance and value for our customers…. We are looking to examine how inkjet formulations behave in every type of atmosphere from hot to icy cold, from sticky to dusty, to reflect all the variables likely in our customers’ plants, so that we can identify which formulations make reliable inks.”

Briefly…

Farmland market ‘strikingly robust’

After a 3 per cent rise in 2020, agricultural land values in England rose by 1 per cent in 2021, fuelled by a shortage in the number of farms and estates for sale and a growing range of buyer types interested in farmland, says agent Strutt & Parker. Matthew Sudlow, head of estates & farm agency at the firm, said: “The farmland market is strikingly robust, which may surprise some people given the well-publicised squeeze on profitability that farmers are currently facing. Farmers still buy more than half of farms which are sold, so they are a crucial part of the market. However, the reality is that most of the farmers who bought land in 2021 funded it either with rollover money or income generated from diversified enterprises. “

Developer appoints experienced town planner as planning director

Property developer Jaynic has appointed Paul Sutton, a chartered town planner with over 40 years’ experience and latterly director and head of planning in Strutt & Parker’s Cambridge office, as its new planning director. Jaynic managing director Nic Rumsey said: “It is great to have Paul on-board as planning director. He has been advising us for several years and recently has had great success in helping us to win a planning appeal for up to 155 houses on our site at Haverhill, as well as obtaining consent for 2.45m sq ft of innovation, business and logistics space at Gateway 14 in Stowmarket.” Jaynic currently has nine active sites it is working on in East Anglia with 2m sq ft of logistics, business and innovation space already delivered and a further 8.39m sq ft of space in the pipeline or waiting for planning.

See Profile Jaynic

Online mental health platform takes space in innovation centre

Augmentive, an on-line platform specialising in mental health and well-being support, has taken space at The EpiCentre in Haverhill. The company is venture capital-backed having raised significant funding and is looking for qualified therapists in East Anglia to join its network. Centre manager Kelly Boosey said:“We welcome Augmentive to join our collaborative community at The EpiCentre. And what better a time to start than at this time of year when people use the New Year to re-focus and invest in their own health and well-being.”

Property firm tops league table for 'deals done' in Norfolk

Norfolk-based property services firm Arnolds Keys has topped the EGI league table for ‘deals done’ both in terms of number of deals and space transacted in 2021. The firm acted on 68 freehold and leasehold transactions totalling 281,375 sq ft and its largest deal during the year was the disposal of nearly 92, 000 sq ft of warehousing at Shipdham Airfield Industrial Estate. Arnolds Keys managing partner Guy Gowing, who heads the firm’s commercial property team, said: “2021 proved to be a busy year for commercial property deals, particularly in the industrial and warehousing sector, and this bodes well for the county’s economic recovery from the Covid pandemic. Increased commercial property deal activity invariably means more economic activity and the creation of more jobs – which can only be good news for Norfolk.

Law firm boosts commercial litigation team

The commercial litigation team at law firm Birketts has been boosted by the arrival of senior associate Nick Phillips. He has acted for clients across a wide range of sectors, ranging from small businesses to international brands assisting them resolve all manner of commercial disputes, with particular emphasis on contractual and shareholder disputes. Prior to joining Birketts, Nick Phillips worked for a number of years as a solicitor in London’s West End and later for a regional firm. He also has wide experience in the High Court, as well as with offshore litigation in the Channel Islands and British Virgin Islands. Daden Hunt, partner in Birkett’s commercial litigation team, added: “Lawyers of Nick’s calibre are an incredible asset to any law firm, so we are delighted to see him join us in commercial litigation."

See Profile Birketts

New chair at Norse Group

Andy Wood, chief executive of Adnams, has been appointed as the new chair of the board at Norse Group. He replaces Fiona McDiarmid whose two year tenure as chair has ended at Norse, which is the UK’s largest commercial local authority trading company. Norse Group is owned by Norfolk County Council and brings together building consultancy services Norse Consulting, care provider NorseCare and facilities management specialists Norse Commercial Services. Andy Wood said: " I am delighted to be joining Norse at this important moment for the Group as it looks forward positively to the next few years. And I am extremely taken with Norse’s stated purpose – to ‘improve people’s lives."

See Profile Norse Commercial Services

Cambridge biotech company in collaboration with Chinese group

A China-based drug R&D company NeoCura and Cambridge-based PhoreMost have formed a research collaboration to explore novel cancer therapeutics. Dr Chris Torrance, CEO, PhoreMost, said: “This partnership demonstrates the versatility of PhoreMost’s SITESEEKER platform, and the range of innovative drug discovery programs it can work within. NeoCura’s platform complements PhoreMost’s capabilities to unmask cryptic druggable sites across the entire human proteome.” Meanwhile, PhoreMost has relocated its hq to Unity Campus, a tech and innovation park in south Cambridge, owned by Howard Group.