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Chamber News & Blog

Important announcements from the Chamber, our members, local Councils and other relevant business news will be posted regularly here.

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  • 25 August 2015 9:14 AM | Deleted user

    Construction company creditors set for £29m hit

    Unsecured creditors of a South East-based construction business look set to miss out on more than £29m following the company's collapse.

    Lee Manning and Matt Smith of business advisory firm Deloitte were appointed as joint administrators of Longcross Construction on 16 June 2015 and subsequently Longcross Group on 29 June.

    Longcross Construction, which reported turnover of £190m in its 2014 financial year, was the largest company in the group. It provided construction management services from offices in London, Sidcup, Surrey, Oxford, Birmingham and Sheffield and employed about 140 staff.

    Longcross Group's engineering divisions - LX Engineering (North) Ltd, LX Engineering (South) Ltd and Longcross Fire and Security Ltd - are unaffected by the administration.

    New documents seen by Insider have revealed that unsecured creditors of Longcross Construction are expected to suffer a shortfall of more than £29m, while secured creditors are expected to be paid in full.

    The report to creditors has also shed light on the lead-up to the company's collapse.

    A substantial proportion Longcross Construction's client base was historically made up of national grocery retailers, including Tesco and Sainsbury's.

    However, in the last 18 to 24 months, the business sought to diversify its client base into sectors such as academia, residential developers and hospitals.

    But the company began to suffer from financial losses on both ongoing and previously completed projects.

    Prior to Longcross Construction entering administration, its directors entered into discussions with potential lenders to seek new finance for the company, but were ultimately unable to secure sufficient funding.

    In addition to the deteriorating cash position, two winding-up petitions were filed against the company in June 2015.

  • 25 August 2015 9:13 AM | Deleted user

    Unilever's Advanced Manufacturing Centre set for go-ahead

    Plans to build an Advanced Manufacturing Centre that would allow scientists and engineers to test new ideas for personal care and homecare products at Unilever's Port Sunlight complex look set to be given the go-ahead.

    The £24m scheme, which has secured backing from the government's Regional Growth Fund (RGF), will test new and "transformational" technologies.

    Wirral Council's planning meeting is due to consider Unilever's full planning application for the erection of an Advanced Manufacturing Centre that will form part of its current R&D facility on Quarry Road East in Bebington on Thursday (20 August 2015).

    The proposed development would feature ground- and first-floor offices, conference facilities, warehousing and a pilot plant chamber enabling scientists and engineers to test new ideas during product development up to factory scale for personal care and home products.

    The scheme would provide 80,729 sq ft of new floor space. The proposed building would lie to the west of the existing MTC building, with the pair being linked by a new bridge.

    The majority of the site earmarked for development is currently used for staff parking. However, the overall parking provision across the site is expected to remain the same as present at 767 spaces.

    Ahead of the meeting, a report prepared by the planning officer has recommended that councillors should approve the scheme.

    It said: "The proposed development will promote sustainable communities and economic development via the creation of jobs and increase in economic output. The extension this building in this location will contribute to making the best use of resources and infrastructure."

    In September 2014, Unilever unveiled plans to open the £24m facility at Port Sunlight in 2016. It said the centre, which would be boosted by £4m from the RGF, would be unique within Unilever globally.

    Speaking at the time, Cameron Jones, Unilever Port Sunlight site leader, said: "Unilever has been in the manufacturing business for over 125 years and this is the next step on that exciting journey. The centre creates a step-change in our ability to bring truly innovative products to market faster."

    The announcement was also hailed by then-Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Wirral Council leader Phil Davies.

    Port Sunlight is the centre for Unilever's home care and personal care R&D team.

  • 23 August 2015 10:12 PM | Tina Tilley (Administrator)

    Following the tragic incident at Shoreham Airshow on Saturday, the Royal Air Forces Association, the event organisers and Brighton City Airport are continuing to work closely with the emergency services.

    Our thoughts are with those who have been killed or injured, their families and friends and all those who have been affected by the events.

    We would also like to pay tribute to the emergency services for their work at this distressing time.

    Sussex Police and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch have asked that anyone with photographs or video footage that may help with their investigations should send their contact details to Do not send files, just contact details and information about the material you have.

    All vehicles, irrespective of size are now able to leave the airport. Motorists are being asked to avoid the A27 in the Shoreham area while investigations into the crash continues.

  • 19 August 2015 12:41 PM | Deleted user

    The fourth in a series of agricultural surveys conducted by West Sussex and Gatwick-based chartered accountants, Carpenter Box, in conjunction with MHA, the UK-wide group of accountancy and business advisory firms, reveals that for the majority of farmers in the South there is less optimism about growth, which is unsurprising given the current dairy crisis and the falling lamb market.  The survey also suggested that succession planning has become even more of an issue than was the case a year ago.

    The Agriculture Insight Survey was conducted at Cereals 2015 in June and compares this year’s findings with those of 2014. It takes into account the views of more than 150 farmers nationwide.

    Key findings include:

    • Fuelled perhaps by falling prices, optimism for growth in the region has fallen by 10% over the last 12 months. Despite this it remains high with 59% of those who responded expecting growth.
    • Expansion is an aspiration for many, with 66% planning to increase their acreage compared to 59% in 2014.
    • 72% of respondents in the south are concerned about succession planning, which is an increase of 7% over last year.

    Alison Aggleton, Agricultural Tax Adviser at Carpenter Box, commented: “The survey has shown a remarkable degree of resilience or even optimism in the south, given the lower level of arable prices. Normally falling cereal prices tend to help livestock producers but we are currently seeing revenues falling in every sector.”

    Aggleton added: “The reduction in the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) from £500,000 to £200,000 from January 2016 announced in the summer budget, (which of course took place after this survey), provides a much needed level of stability to plan capital expenditure and obtain immediate tax relief – although given the current concerns about cash flow farmers might be limited in maximising their use of the current higher level of the allowance by 31 December.”

    “The prospects are for a late harvest this year and coupled with uncertainties over the timing of support payments, we are expecting cash flows to come under pressure. Lenders are well aware of this, but farmers should be consulting their accountants at an early stage, with a view to keeping bankers advised over the autumn, and above all avoiding surprises. It is always better to ask for a facility a couple of months before it is needed rather than the day the overdraft limit is breached.”

    Farmers looking to expand are concerned about finding available and affordable land in the South East. The Carpenter Box Rural Business team are seeing increased diversification across the region as farmers look to grow their businesses in other ways and seek to manage the volatility experienced in their farming enterprises.  For those looking to increase their farm size or diversify their activities, planning for the future of the business is a growing worry for many.  Of the 72% who stated that succession planning was a concern, 16% explained that it was a ‘great concern’. 

    Of those surveyed, a significant 75% would consult their accountant when making decisions about their business. Sound financial advice is essential – whether a farmer is planning to expand or looking to hand over the reins to the next generation. Aggleton advises: “Whilst diversification is commercially attractive, the nature, structure and size of such concerns should be carefully considered and monitored to ensure that the availability of tax reliefs are not unnecessarily jeopardised”.  The increases to Inheritance Tax allowance limits announced in the summer budget also make it more important than ever that Wills and succession plans are looked at now with some urgency.

    Agricultural accountants are well placed to comment on both the practical and taxation aspects of the business, as well as provide an independent assessment of the business.

  • 19 August 2015 12:30 PM | Deleted user

    A FORMER seafront pub is being transformed into a bar & grill.

    The Spy Glass Inn, in Marine Parade, Worthing, will become The Cow Shed once it is renovated.

    The restaurant, which according to its Facebook page, loves ‘wonderful wines, awesome ales, brilliant burgers, luscious lagers and a nice sit down’ and is child and dog friendly, is currently recruiting.

    Sharon Clarke, Worthing Town Centre Initiative manager, said: “The Spy Glass had some issues with its clientele and The Cow Shed is more of a food establishment.

    “I think it’s certainly good for that area. It will bring people there sitting outside by the seafront which is a lovely thing.”

  • 19 August 2015 12:20 PM | Deleted user

    A global broker is in talks to buy Bristol-headquartered Jelf Group, the £83m-turnover provider of insurance, financial and employee benefit services.

    The listed company confirmed that it has opened discussions with Marsh about a possible deal.

    In a statement, it said talks were at an "early stage" and that there was "no certainty that any offer will ultimately be made for Jelf or as to the terms of any such offer".

    Marsh, a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, employs more than 27,000 staff and operates in 130 countries worldwide.

    It is required to submit a formal offer for Jelf no later than 16 September 2015.

    Jelf, which is being advised by Fenchurch Advisory Partners, said it would issue a further statement when appropriate. Its market capitalisation is currently about £175m.

    The group recently acquired Hertfordshire insurance broker Libra Insurance Services for an undisclosed sum.

    Jelf reported turnover of £43.7m in its interim results for the six months to 31 March 2015, up on £39.3m in the same period of 2014.

    Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, amortisation and exceptional costs (EBITDAE) also rose to £7.3m from £5.9m, while pre-tax profit increased from £2.3m to £2.8m.

  • 12 August 2015 2:20 PM | Deleted user
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  • 12 August 2015 12:54 PM | Deleted user

    Do make sure that you get your nominations in for The Adur & Worthing Business Awards 2015.

    The Deadline is 23rd September 2015, so make sure to get voting!

    Please visit : for all the details

  • 12 August 2015 11:35 AM | Deleted user

    Every local authority is required to have a Development Plan that sets out the policies and proposals for the development and use of land in their area. The current Development Plan for Worthing is the Worthing Core Strategy which was intended to cover the period to 2026. However, since the adoption of the Core Strategy in 2011 there have been significant changes made to the planning system at the national level. The requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), in particular how local authorities need to plan for housing, has had implications for planning at the local level. As a consequence, and to ensure that the Council has a Development Plan in place that conforms to higher level plans and guidance, a full review of the Council’s adopted Core Strategy and the development of a new Local Plan is now required.In response to this, the Council updated its Planning Policy work programme within a revised Local Development Scheme (LDS) which was published in the spring. This established a timetable for the production of a new Local Plan and includes key milestones to inform peoplwhen there will be opportunities to be involved in the Plan making process. Given the statutory requirements to collect appropriate evidence and consult widely at each appropriate stage, it is estimated that it will take approximately three years to get a new Plan in place. Before policy and development options can be drafted for consultation it is vital that the Council has an up-to-date evidence base in place to ensure that decisions are informed by robust information. A key housing study has been completed (see right) and further work is now being advanced to assess the local economy. A landscape and biodiversity study is also being progressed which will assess sites that have been promoted for development around the Borough.

    The findings of these studies will be reported later this year and it is expected that the Council will be in a position to consult with all interested parties in spring 2016. When adopted,the new Local Plan will become the primary basis upon which planning decisions are made. It will contain a development strategy, development management policies and site allocations (if required) to meet future needs over the next fifteen years.

  • 12 August 2015 10:36 AM | Deleted user

    A new commercial unit and three new housing properties have been created along a busy parade near to Worthing station, thanks to hard work and negotiation between its owners and Worthing Borough Council.


    Having recently returned an empty property to use in partnership with YMCA DownsLink, Worthing Borough Council are delighted to have another success story under their belt, with bigger transformations and results than ever before.


    In recent years, 20 South Farm Road attracted many complaints due to its appearance and increasing levels of neglect - the property had a large van parked in front the majority of time to hide its decline into ruin. With no internal floors, roof in disrepair and the shop front below in danger of collapse, the property seemed almost beyond salvage.


    Following intervention from Worthing Borough Council’s Private Sector Housing team and the Empty Property Officer, Helen Stevens, negotiations were made with the mortgage company who agreed to take back control of the property after seeing its deterioration. After a short time being marketed by a local estate agent a sale was quickly completed in September 2014 to Chesters Gorman Properties who were quick to see the potential.


    In pursuit of making this shell into habitable environment, teams of local experts fitted new electrical and plumbing systems, working hard to strip, build, sand and repair the former empty property into three new much needed homes including a studio flat, a one bedroom flat and a two bed maisonette as well as the commercial unit space on the ground floor.


    In little under a year, Worthing Borough Council and the property’s new owners have been able to offer homes to three people or families as well as a business opportunity in a prime location to any budding  businessmen/women.


    Councillor Dr Heather Mercer, Executive Member for Customer Services at Worthing Borough Council, said:


    “I am delighted that we’re pressing ahead to proactively bring empty properties back into use - especially when they’re as run down and dangerous as this one was.


    “Not only have the new owners created smart new homes for local people, but they have also given a local business fresh, modern, premises to work from.  Supporting local people, making local communities more pleasant and growing the local economy - this is a success story from every angle.”


    Sven Chesters, Partner at Chesters Gorman Properties adds:


    “We have been delighted to work with the Borough Council on this project.  The South Farm Road property was in a terrible condition, but in a prime location with plenty of potential.  We believe in  creating top quality homes for people to build their lives from, and hope that the people who move into the South Farm Road property will fall in love with it.”


    If you know of an empty property which could be returned into use for a local family, please contact Worthing Borough Council’s Empty Properties Officer on 01273 263034.

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Worthing & Adur Chamber of Commerce is the trading name of Worthing & Adur Chamber of Commerce & Industry Ltd.
Company registered in England & Wales. Company number: 00345261.  
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Registered Office: Sphere Business Centre, Broadwater Road, Worthing,
West Sussex BN14 8HJ
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