A mood of guarded optimism among the region’s law firms has grown stronger over the past year, thanks to a positive trend in corporate & commercial activity and real estate, according to the latest edition of the Legal 500 guide to the sector.
Following its merger, Ashton KCJ joins the regional heavyweights which include Eversheds LLP, Mills & Reeve LLP, Birketts LLP, Birkett Long LLP, Hewitsons LLP, Howes Percival LLP and Taylor Vinters.
The guide says many law firms continued to receive a steady stream of conveyancing and tax matters for small, family-owned farm businesses and large, multinational agribusinesses, while the sustained high values of agricultural land continued to encourage strategic land acquisitions. Firms also continued to tap into the life sciences and IT industries, advising clients ranging from small, start-up businesses that have spun out of Cambridge University to well-established international technology companies in the city....MORE
Norfolk holiday village for sale
The Hemsby Holiday Park, a vacant holiday village near the Norfolk Broads, has been put up for sale. The site, which operated as a holiday centre until 2008, covers 22 acres and comprises a range of leisure and entertainment facilities with 512 chalets to accommodate up to 2,400 visitors and staff. Kay Griffiths, associate of the leisure and trading division at agent Savills, said: “The site at Hemsby lends itself to an array of leisure and tourism uses occupying a prime coastal position, close to the nationally recognised visitor attraction of the Norfolk Broads. We are seeking offers from investors looking to refurbish or redevelop the property to take advantage of the leisure business potential offered by this unusual opportunity.” Savills is selling the site on behalf of Northern Trust.
Business angel broadens its base
California of Europe?
“Could our region become the California of Europe? with the knowledge, innovation, creativity and lifestyle of Cambridge, Norfolk and Suffolk,” is the question to be explored in the third New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership conference on 22 October. The theme reflects a recent comment by Ipswich MP Ben Gummer in parliament when he said,: “All of us have a vision . . . for our region as a whole. It should be the California of Europe.” Andy Wood, chairman of New Anglia, said: “In our region we have a powerful triangle of knowledge and innovation. This includes, Cambridge’s bioscience and digital expertise, Suffolk’s central of digital excellence at Martlesham BT, and Norfolk’s biotech, cleantech and medical science sectors. There is great potential for Suffolk and Norfolk businesses to exploit this knowledge, as is being achieved by Cambridge’s business community.” Johnny Hustler, managing director of Archant, will interview Andy Wood. The event will be sponsored by PwC and Mills & Reeve at Wherstead Park, Ipswich, home of the East of England Co-operative Society on 22nd October. www.newangliabooking.co.uk
The Vitec Group, parent company of Bury-based Vitec Videocom, has refinanced £100 million of revolving credit facility with a syndicate of banks co-ordinated by Barclays. Barclays, HSBC, RBS and Wells Fargo each provided £22.5m and UniCredit provided £10m. The new five-year finance package will enable Vitec to continue to develop its existing businesses and selectively acquire new companies. Vitec is an international group, based in Richmond, mainly serving the broadcast, photographic and military aerospace and government markets. Vitec Videocom covers various innovative brands in the sector including : Anton/Bauer, Autoscript, Litepanels, OConnor, Petrol, Sachtler, Vinten and Vinten Radamec.
Photo: Tripods made by Manfrotto, part of The Vitec Group plc, which is based in northern Italy at Cassola, near Venice.
Norwich-based Premier Financial Group has recruited five extra staff and another is being hired after a record August thanks to higher demand for mortgages. CEO Ian Goody said: “We have seen a significant rise in new build mortgages for first time buyers, especially since the introduction of the FirstBuy scheme. The average age of 35 for first time buyers also appears to be reducing now that younger buyers are taking advantage of such schemes.” The firm, says its current turnover of £595,000 is on track to reach £850,000 by the end of 2012.
The Cambridge office of Beacon Planning has been appointed as the planning consultant on a £25 million project which could see a new hospital replace the current Nuffield Hospital on the city's Trumpington Road. Beacon planning director Andy Thompson said: “With a strong track record in working on sensitive sites in Cambridge, as well as more commercial, modern buildings, we are well placed to advise on this type of project.”
East Anglia’s workers are getting more stressed, according to research from Regus. Its poll of professionals in the region found that over half (52%) say their stress levels have risen over the past year, the biggest rise in any UK region and above the average national increase (43%.) Their job (57%), personal finances (51%) and customers (40%) were the main stress triggers. Regus has business centres in Cambridge, Norwich and Peterborough.
Cambridge-based Domino held the first of a series of conferences on the impact of the EU Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) recently where the need to take action was emphasised by a range of expert speakers. The event, at Domino’s Bar Hill hq, will be repeated across Europe in Paris, Barcelona and Frankfurt in the months leading up to the legislation’s implementation in 2013. Craig Stobie, Domino global life sciences sector manager, warned that, while manufacturers have until 2016 to comply with the directive’s requirements implementing the new systems effectively will require a complete business overhaul.
Photo: (l to r) : Roger Lamb, GS1 Healthcare sector manager; Grant Courtney, serialisation and security manager at GSK and representative for The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations; Ian Haynes, chief executive and founder of 3C Innovation; Mark Davison, Blue Sphere Health chief executive and Craig Stobie, Domino global life sciences sector manager.
Chartered accountants and business advisors, Larking Gowen, has appointed sixteen new recruits. Joining the firm's Norwich office are Emma Way, Danielle Barron, Sarah Farrar, Katie Rigby, Laura Moore, Kelly Huggins, Sarra Mattin, Matthew Oakes, Victoria Burgess and Becca Smith. James Caley, Hayleigh Alden and Julia Dickens will be based at Ipswich, James Pulham at the Holt branch, Lauren Day at Diss and Toby Rouse in Fakenham. The trainees will study for their ACA exams and AAT exams. Human resources executive, Julie Best said: "The calibre and number of the trainees we have recruited this year is a positive reflection of our vibrant and growing business.”
Photo: Julie Best and chairman David Whitehead pictured centre with the new students.
Fiducia Wealth Management, based at Dedham, has been included in Citywire’s “Top 100”, New Model Advisers in the UK; one of only eight firms in the East of England. Fiducia says it has always been fully aligned to the New Model principles championed by Citywire: fair and transparent charges (it is fee based), a clearly defined investment strategy (it has managed its own portfolios for more than seven years) and high levels of professional qualifications (now required to meet RDR rules on 1st January 2013)
Seven trainee solicitors have joined Taylor Vinters this month to start two-year training programmes. They are: Edward Jacobs, Elliot Wilson, Frances Gwilliam, Joanna Eales, Katharine Bush, Kirsten Pettit and Rebecca Rushbrook. Managing partner Ed Turner said: “Every year we have a reliably high standard of trainees joining us, who are able to add support to our teams during their training period. Our ultimate aim is that they stay with Taylor Vinters after qualifying and have a long and fruitful career with our firm".
Photo (l to r): Elliot Wilson, Katharine Bush, Frances Gwilliam, Ed Turner, Rebecca Rushbrook, Kirsten Pettit, Joanna Eales, Edward Jacobs
Norwich legal firm Cozens-Hardy LLP, official sponsors of the 2012 Lloyd Addison’s Moveable Feast, says the event which takes place on 25 September as part of the Norfolk Food & Drink Festival and in aid of Parkinson’s UK, has completely sold out. The 700 ticket-holders will enjoy three courses across three different city restaurants in one evening. Philippa Rudd, principal Cozens-Hardy LLP, said” “We are delighted to sponsor the Moveable Feast for a second year and thrilled that the event is a sell out. As a firm we have worked with many generations of Norfolk based farming families and firms and we celebrate the fact that Norfolk is now one of the UK’s leading ‘foodie’ destinations.”
Photo: (l to r) At the Library bar and grill: Simon Royle, head chef, Jayne Raffles, owner, Philippa Rudd, principal Cozens-Hardy LLP.
Staff at Bennett Homes turned out to greet the latest puppy whose training to become a guide dog is being funded by the house building company, which is based in Nowton, near Bury St Edmunds. Bennett, a Golden Retriever aged 2 weeks, is undergoing initial training with a puppywalker before embarking on the official course run by Guide Dogs. He is the fourth puppy to be funded by Bennett Homes which has raised a total of £15,000 from a range of fundraising activities including raffles, sponsored events and a donation from the company.
Photo: (l to r): Adele Pearce and Stephen Henery, Bennett Homes; Patricia Butcher and David Butcher, puppy walkers; Mike Clarke, Guide Dogs, Bury St Edmunds; and Julia Gathercole, Bennett Homes.