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Bruntwood SciTech launches UK-wide support network for life sciences sector

Bruntwood SciTech launches UK-wide support network for life sciences sector

Ecosystem of industry mentors and corporate partners, including KPMG and Deloitte, to accelerate the potential of growing life sciences businesses

Bruntwood SciTech – the 50:50 joint venture between Bruntwood and Legal and General – has launched a nationwide initiative to connect experienced mentors, advisors and corporate partners with high-growth businesses in the UK life sciences sector.

The Biospheric Network will support customers within Bruntwood SciTech’s network of more than 500 businesses, based across innovation districts in cities including Manchester, Birmingham, Cambridge and Cheshire’s Alderley Park.

As the UK’s leading property provider dedicated to the growth of the science and technology sector, Bruntwood SciTech has launched the network which will see established entrepreneurs and senior executives provide funded growth-oriented support – including business consultancy, deep sector-specialised networking, and access to finance – to some of the most promising businesses in the life science sector.

The initiative’s first cohort for 2023 is made up of 15 corporate partners and 21 mentors, with the total number of advisors and mentors expected to reach 20 and 30 respectively by 2024 – at which point the network will be maintained at 50 participants.

Corporate partners already signed up to the initiative include: Acceleris KPMG, Brabners, Coulter Partners, Deloitte, Granted Consultancy, Leaman Life Sciences, Marks & Clerk, Oyster Venture Partners, Pinsent Masons, Praetura Ventures, RSM, Shore Capital, Singular Talent, SP Angel, Ward Hadaway.

The Biospheric Network will add to the existing package of tailored support and collaboration opportunities offered to customers across Bruntwood SciTech’s UK campuses; including funded seminars, entrepreneurship training, investor readiness support, access to accelerator programmes, access to highly skilled STEM talent, scale up support and venture finance.

Dr Kath Mackay, Director of Life Sciences at Bruntwood SciTech, commented: “Our customers already enjoy access to a wide range of specialist life science support services to help them grow, but the Biospheric Network takes that concept of a supportive ecosystem even further.

“We have a deep understanding of life science businesses and the challenges that entrepreneurs face. The Biospheric Network is a collaborative approach that has huge potential in its ability to support innovative, high growth businesses and individuals right across the sector in a structured, meaningful way that will ensure our regional hubs of excellence continue to thrive and businesses grow. We’re looking forward to seeing the positive impact that this first cohort leads to – and to welcoming more mentors and corporate partners in the months ahead.”

(Article including images courtesy of Bruntwood SciTech)


Macclesfield Town Council – South Park Pavilion Consultation – Have your say?

Macclesfield Town Council – South Park Pavilion Consultation – Have your say?

South Park is the largest park in Macclesfield. It celebrated its centenary in 2022 after it was gifted to the people of Macclesfield by local Alderman William Frost. It has been a vital green space for residents ever since The Park is a true asset for our town, and one that we have an opportunity to improve for our residents, our community and to attract visitors from near and far. Local residents have campaigned for a pavilion building in South Park for the past 20 years. Several in-depth consultations have been carried out with the community group SPARK (The Friends of South Park Group) and the Town Council as well as a recent round of face- to-face consultations held in August 2022.

The current pavilion is deemed not fit for purpose and in part condemned (the upstairs) due to its lack of accessibility to the first floor and its poor state of repair. The ground floor layout is not flexible for multiple user groups and the building’s construction method means the building is reaching the end of its lifespan and cannot be modernised. The lack of a pavilion for a park of this scale fails to meet the needs of visitors to the park and also fails to provide opportunity for the park to be of greater value to the community and engage with park users.

In short, to provide a new pavilion building in the park. Macclesfield Town Council are asset transferring the building from the local authority and want to demolish it and build a fully accessible and environmentally friendly building, available and open to all the community. A building that meets the needs, expectations and ambitions of the community, the park services as well as encouraging visitors to the park. Through project forming and evaluation, a building that is flexible and sustainable and that can provide for the community well into the future.

In early 2022, Bower Mattin and Young were hired as architects and were tasked with creating different designs to take to the public for consultation so in August 2022, we held 4 public consultations, in the park and in the town centre. Over 750 detailed written responses were received. Our residents wish us to proceed with the project and identified two of the five designs that were presented to them. We have merged these two to provide a two storey building with a number of the design features that were most valued.

  • The proposed scheme is for a two storey, environmentally sensitive pavilion designed to provide a wide range of flexible spaces suitable for family gatherings, fitness, dance and regular cultural events.
  • The ground floor consists of a large café area with chill out spaces housing local art exhibits and magazines. It will lead to a canopied outdoor terrace with seating overlooking the bandstand.
  • There are also two large multi-purpose rooms which can provide a space for people to gather. The first floor overlooks the park and tennis courts. It will provide an event space for exhibitions, music, comedy nights and large family celebrations of up to 100 people. The building will provide an information point for future events in the park and local area, together with a first aid post including a defibrillator.
  • There will be a Changing Places toilet with baby changing for all park users.
  • It is intended that the new building will reuse the existing pavilion slab and foundations. It will be super insulated and
    incorporate a turf/sedum roof to create a high thermal mass which will also assist water attenuation.
  • Passive solar gain combined with a heat recovery and recirculation ventilation system and air source heat pumps will be
    at the core of the renewable energy proposals.
  • Local stone and timber will be used in construction which will feature green walls as a part of the target to control the carbon

For more information on the project visit: https://www.macclesfield-tc.gov.uk/south-park-pavilion-consultation/

(Article including images courtesy of Macclesfield Town Council)


Thermmark unveil intricately designed Fibonacci spiral in Waverley, Rotherham

Thermmark unveil intricately designed Fibonacci spiral in Waverley, Rotherham

Thermmark Ltd is a leading and award winning thermoplastic marking manufacturer, exporter and installer. As experts in thermoplastic road, playground and decorative public space markings, they have years of experience working with both the public and private sector, so when they were approached by Bentley Project Management back in April 23 to join forces on a streetscape project in Waverley, Rotherham, they were delighted! Funded by Harworth Group, as the master developer for Waverley and as the custodian of the vision and masterplan, the brief was to establish wider community facilities in an attractive brownfield lakeside mixed use development.

Situated just outside Waverley Junior Academy and Waverley Community Garden, the area had been carefully considered and designed by the Harworth Team before discussions began with Thermmark about making the design into a reality. With the area spanning a huge 435 sqm and the vision being an intricately designed Fibonacci spiral in a specific colour way, the team at Thermmark got straight to work. 

“With the design being so mathematically critical and scaled up to cover such a large footprint, we had to concentrate on a really methodical approach to this project so we actually made use of drones to ensure it remained accurate, as it was impossible to see this in its entirety at ground level “ says Ian Dunning, Project Manager at Thermmark Ltd. 

Vicki Robson, Director at Thermmark Ltd agrees. “Although, thanks to weather conditions, the project took longer than anticipated, we are really proud of our whole team who approached this project with the enthusiasm and excitement it rightly deserved – from our graphics department, to manufacture, and finally to installation, the attention to detail required has been huge to drive this to a successful conclusion. The nature of the project showcases the Fibbonaci spiral beautifully and is an area which we are sure will be enjoyed and admired for years to come. It is a real accolade for all involved.”

Contact www.thermmark.co.uk

Cheshire East Council asks for cash to stave off bankruptcy

Cheshire East Council asks for cash to stave off bankruptcy

Cheshire East Council has asked the government for “exceptional financial support” to avoid having to declare itself effectively bankrupt.

The authority, which has faces significant financial pressures, has asked for an extra £17.6m.

It said it needs money because of costs related to the cancellation of HS2 and special educational needs.

The council said the support would reduce the “imminent risk” of a Section 114 notice.

A Section 114 notice is a warning a council issues when it expects its spending to exceed the money it has available.

Cheshire East Council is forecasting a £13m overspend in its current financial year.

It has £14.1m in its general reserves, and has warned that it may have to use that money to cover shortfalls.

Like many local authorities, it has faced rising costs in areas such as adult social care and children’s services.

But Cheshire East’s leadership has also raised concerns about SEND funding and costs incurred by the council related to the now-axed northern leg of HS2 coming to Crewe.

It has introduced a number of cost saving measures, including charges for garden waste collectionscuts to library opening hours and a decision to close its headquarters.

The council is also set to face further challenges in its next financial year and is proposing measures such as temporary tip closures, cutting staffing costs and asking parish councils to contribute to libraries and leisure services.

In a statement, the council said the extra cash would help it spread the cost of the extra financial pressures, free up reserves and reduce “the imminent risk of a Section114 (S114) notice”.

The statement added the money would also help towards the cost of services and a project to change the way the council is run and managed.

(Story and image courtesy of BBC News)



Manchester Airport gears up for first of the year’s big getaways after best ever January

Manchester Airport gears up for first of the year’s big getaways after best ever January

Manchester Airport had its busiest January on record as 1.8m passengers passed through the Northern hub last month.

It is the second consecutive record-breaking month for the airport, which also had its busiest December yet.

Dubai was the most popular destination for travellers in January, with winter sun seekers heading there either to enjoy its attractions or to connect to other far-flung destinations.

February is set to be a busier month at the airport with half term for many schools starting this week. Almost 700,000 passengers are expected between Friday, February 9 and Sunday, February 18, with the most popular destinations set to include Tenerife and Alicante.

Those passengers can feel confident of a good experience in the airport with data showing that during January 99.9% of passengers queued for less than 15 minutes to get to security – and nine out of 10 passengers waited for less than five minutes.

Manchester Airport Managing Director Chris Woodroofe said:

“January can be a great time to travel – whether you’re looking to get a bit of sun or heading for the slopes for some winter sports, you can take advantage of things being a bit quieter and get some good offers – and we’ve certainly seen that here at Manchester Airport.

“Our network of around 200 routes means we connect the people of the North to more destinations than any airport outside London and in practice that means that people here have real choice when it comes to their trips. So whether you’re travelling from Bolton to Bodrum or Bradford to Beijing, we have you covered all year round.

“It’s half term for lots of families this week so we’re seeing one of our first really busy weeks of the year – but with 99.9% of our January passengers queuing for less than 15 minutes to get to security, we’re confident that all those jetting off this week will be able to start their holidays here at the airport.

“We’re preparing for a really exciting year at Manchester Airport – we have a range of new routes launching – including Las Vegas from June and others still to be announced. We’re also continuing work on our award winning Terminal 2 as we reach the final stages of our £1.3bn transformation programme.”

January’s most popular destinations were:

1.       Dubai – 89,783 passengers

2.       Dublin – 82,188

3.       Amsterdam – 79,841

4.       Tenerife – 76,960

5.       Qatar – 60,948

Manchester Airport is preparing for the launch of a number of new routes in the coming months including Virgin Atlantic flying to Las Vegas, making Manchester the only English airport outside London to fly direct to America’s West Coast, Royal Jordanian’s new service to Jordan’s capital Amman and Luxair’s flights to Luxembourg. This year will also see an increase in the service to Beijing with Hainan Airlines to make it daily.

In January the airport also marked a year since work started on the final phase of its £1.3bn transformation programme. The airport’s brand-new Terminal 2 is already open but work continues and will see it double in size, meaning the modern facility will serve over 70% of the airport’s passengers when it is fully open in 2025.

The first phase of the project was awarded the prestigious Prix Versailles in November, which recognises it as one of the most beautiful airport buildings in the world.

Over the coming months the programme will reach a number of key milestones, including the announcement of new retailers, bars and restaurants to go in the new section of Terminal 2 and the activation of a new, state-of-the-art baggage system.

North West small businesses confidence slumps but still outperforms national average

North West small businesses confidence slumps but still outperforms national average

Economic uncertainty, stubborn inflation and other issues persist – but there are reasons to be positive, says NW Regional Chair Holly Bonfield


UK small business champion the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has published its latest North West Small Business Index, with figures for Q4 of 2023 showing that overall confidence in the region has fallen to -9 from +3 in the previous quarter.


The greatest perceived barriers to growth over the next 12 months in the North West are conditions in the domestic economy (60%), consumer demand (26%), utility costs (26%), labour costs (25%) and appropriately skilled staff (25%).


Significantly, utility costs are rising in prominence after previously falling from 43% in Q1 2023 to 33% in Q2, and then 18% in Q3.


However, with the national confidence figure even lower (at -15 in Q4) and the data showing the North West is the best-performing region on revenue and investment intentions, and also growth in employment and wages, there are reasons to be positive about the region’s economic outlook.


North West Regional Chair Holly Bonfield said: “Clearly, it is concerning that we have seen small business confidence fall back into negative territory after the positive figure recorded in the previous quarter.


“The spectre of utility costs has not gone away and is worryingly rising as a problem. In addition, economic uncertainty, labour cost issues and skills shortages are combining to undermine optimism across the region.


“However, it is important to take a step back and view the whole picture. When we do, we can see that there are reasons to be positive – on several key indicators the North West is performing strongly compared to other regions and the UK as a whole.


“Consumer demand is one of the main issues reported and growth aspirations are down, but the North West is actually the leading region on revenue performance and small business investment intentions. Staff numbers are increasing, as are wages, both outperforming the national figure.


“We will continue to press the Government for national policies that drive entrepreneurial success and growth, and work with local authorities across the North West to ensure small businesses can access the best support infrastructure possible. The latter is particularly important given that local funding is diminishing – so we need to do better with less.”


Growth and investment aspirations


Overall net growth aspirations have declined from 43% in Q3, to 32% in Q4. This quarter, 52% said that their growth aspirations in the next 12 months were to grow either rapidly (increase turnover/sales by over 20%) or moderately (up to 20%). This has worsened slightly when compared to the previous quarter, when it stood at 58%.


However, the investment intentions of North West small businesses have increased considerably compared to the previous quarter, now standing at net 21% compared to the net 0% recorded in Q3. The improved investment expectations in the region also outperforms the nationwide average in Q4 (which is net 8%).


In all, 37% of small businesses in the North West expect to increase investment levels in the coming quarter – greater than the 26% of those who indicate this nationwide. Looking at those who anticipate decreasing their investment, the North West is on par with the wider UK (16% in the region, vs. 17% nationwide).


All regions apart from East Midlands (net -8%) perform positively on investment intentions, with the North West performing the best of all. There is a 7% gap between North West (21%), and the next highest region, East of England (14%).


Business Conditions


Further, revenue sentiment in the North West has rebounded from the recent negative trend, which stretched back to Q1 2022, with a net figure of 9% reporting an increase in Q4 2024, compared to -9% in Q3. The North West is currently the most positive scoring region, with London just below (7%).


In all, 42% of small businesses in the North West reported revenue increasing during the period – an improvement on the previous quarter – and fewer (33%) reported a decrease compared to the Q3 (48%).


The future revenue outlook remains positive. A net balance of 7% expect growth in profits for the coming quarter. This is more or less on par with Q3, where the net balance stood at 8%. Revenue outlook in the coming quarter for the North West remains more positive than the net national average (which is 0%).


Employment and Wage growth


North West small businesses have increased headcount, with a net rise in staff levels for Q4 2023 (1%).


The employment picture over the preceding three months showed that 17% had decreased and 18% had increased staff numbers. The net employment level of 1% for Q4 reflects a more positive score compared to that reported in Q3 (net -4%).


Most small businesses in the region had no change in staffing levels in Q4, with just over half (57%) reporting headcount had stayed the same. The net change in headcount of 1% in the North West is higher than the respective net score nationwide, which stands with a negative outlook at -4%.


However, looking ahead, North West small businesses expect net -4% change in headcount for the next quarter.


A total of 67% of small businesses in the region increased the average salary awarded over the past 12 months – notably higher than the respective nationwide level (60%). The net change in salary for the North West in Q4 2023 has increased to 61% from Q3 (55%).


The current predicted wage growth is on par with figures recorded in the previous quarter, where 72% anticipated wage increases. In Q4 2023, 73% expect to see salary increases over the next year.