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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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  • 11 July 2019 11:33 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Breakthrough in major Worthing regeneration scheme

    Major plans to create much-needed employment space on a key strategic site in Worthing have taken a big step forward after nearly £5 million of funding was officially unlocked.

    Discussions around regenerating the former landfill at Decoy Farm in the east of the town have been ongoing for decades with the cost of bringing the complex site back into use creating a barrier to development.

    That was until Worthing Borough Council successfully applied for £4.84 million from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership via the Local Growth Fund. 

    The funding will support the complex environmental works needed to bring the seven hectare site into use so that light industrial units for new and existing businesses can be created.

    Councillors this week approved the funding to be released and gave the green light for a widespread search for an experienced developer to get underway.

    Councillor Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “The potential opportunity for economic growth on Decoy Farm has never been disputed. But key constraints - not least the need to remediate the land - has always made bringing this site into practical use extremely difficult.

    “The government funding has changed this, giving us the opportunity to unlock the site and making it an attractive proposition for developers. I look forward to seeing what expressions of interest we receive from companies moving forward.”

    A report presented to Adur & Worthing Councils’ Joint Strategic Committee (JSC) this week noted that Decoy Farm was formerly a landfill area, with clear evidence of existing contamination and flooding problems. 

    This, along with poor accessibility and its location above an underground aquifer, ensured the site has remained undeveloped with “significant investment needed to realise its full potential”.

    The report noted the funding from LEP would support the unlocking of the site with the grant announcement leading to high interest from experienced developers across the region.

    Senior Councillors agreed to push on with a search for a partner, underlining the ambition that the land be used for light industrial units to meet the high demand from local businesses.

    As part of any agreement, any sale of the land would be dependent on successful planning approval - which would include works for remediation of the site - being obtained.


  • 10 July 2019 8:43 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Sussex Based Freedom Works to Bolster Board with Appointment of Rosemary French OBE, Former Head of Gatwick Diamond Initiative

    Sussex based co-working and flexible office business, Freedom Works, have added the departing Head of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative (GDI), Rosemary French OBE, to their board as part of their expansion plans to take coworking and flexible offices to regional towns in and around the South East.

    Rosemary, who has been at the forefront of the GDI for the past decade in promoting economic partnerships to drive economic growth within the Sussex and Surrey region, will be joining the Freedom Works board on the 1st August 2019. A veteran campaigner for local investment and local business, Rosemary was Sussex Business Woman of the Year in 2017 and was awarded an OBE in 2014 for her commitment to women in business.

    Alongside her management of the GDI, Rosemary is President of Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce, a Non Executive Director of Enterprise First as well as a Governor at Orbital Group of Colleges ( Further Education and Higher Education Colleges in Croydon and Redhill). In short, an established and well recognised figurehead within the Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire business communities.

    “We’re extremely pleased and honoured to have someone of Rosemary’s calibre joining the board”, explains Jon Trigg, Founder and Managing Director of Freedom Works. “The idea behind the business and our whole ethos is about creating community work spaces in regional areas to enable local businesses to work together, collaborate and grow - keeping business local”, adds Trigg. “Rosemary’s passion in retaining businesses and skillset in local areas is for all to see, from her days as the MD of Business Link, to the proactive and effective work she has undertaken with the Gatwick Diamond Initiative”, adds Trigg.

    Having rolled out 4 spaces across Sussex in a little over 2 ½ years, Freedom Works are now in the process of raising investment monies to take their successful model further afield. They are in discussions with local authorities and other private and public landlords about building site 5 and 6 over the next 6-9 months, with an objective of opening up 15 - 20 coworking and flexible office spaces over the next 3-5 years, in towns where there is little or no coworking and flexible office space.


  • 09 July 2019 12:25 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Kreston Reeves lead on sale of market-leading bespoke pump manufacturer

    Accountants, business and financial advisers Kreston Reeves has advised Norris Holdings Limited on the sale of subsidiary Flotronic Pumps Limited to an unnamed buyer.

    Flotronic Pumps Limited, established in 1981, is the market-leader for bespoke air-operated pumps.  Its pumps are used across the food, adhesives and hazardous, pharmaceutical, petrochemical sectors worldwide and feature its unique ‘one nut’ design that allows for rapid disassembly, cleaning and maintenance.

    The Sussex-based business has been owned by the Norris family since its inception.  The sale will enable the business to grow and develop whilst protecting its heritage.

    The Kreston Reeves team was led by Corporate Finance Partner Simon Jordan and Executive Will Molony.

    Simon Jordan said: Flotronic Pumps is a world class business and it has been our pleasure in helping the shareholders realise their investment and find a new home that fits with the cultures and values of the business.  The sale will enable the company to be taken to the next level of success.”

    Rod Partlett, Director of Norris Holdings Limited said: “I was really impressed with the quality and insight from Kreston Reeves; it made a positive impact on making sure the transaction progressed, ensuring the deal got over the line.”

    Law firm Adams and Remers also advised Flotronic Pumps Limited.

     


  • 05 July 2019 10:26 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Warnes Projects pilots recycling initiative and raises £2,058 for St Barnabas House

    Warnes Projects, successful commercial interior fit-out and refurbishment specialists, is piloting a new recycling initiative which reduces the negative impact of construction waste on the environment. The project is minimising landfill through effectively recycling and repurposing materials from work sites, with profits supporting local hospice, St Barnabas House.

    Formed in 2005, Warnes Projects has a head office in Ford, Sussex, as well an office in Bromley.

    Steve Hobbs, Founder and Company Director, said: “St Barnabas House give amazing care to local people which I learnt first-hand last year when they cared for my Father. I really wanted to give something back, hence this initiative. It started as a way to recycle and raise some funds for St Barnabas House, but has to my surprise, been hugely popular with our clients, subcontractors and our staff, who have all really embraced the initiative.”

    Image caption: Steve Hobbs (left) and the team at Warnes Projects

    Steve went on to say: “Recycling is of course very important, so we wanted to demonstrate corporate social responsibility through our Environment Policy and with our on-site recycling scheme we can produce a report for each of our clients at the end of their project, which shows how much landfill they have saved. And even better, the recycled materials, instead of going to landfill become a charitable donation. It really is a win win.”  

    Wendy Bardsley, St Barnabas House Fundraising Manager, said: “This is a really exciting project that Steve has come up with. He looked creatively at how his company could support St Barnabas House, but has gone beyond that remit by creating a recycling scheme which benefits us all. Steve is so enthusiastic, with a strong community spirit and I know he is hoping that other companies will be inspired to come up with their own schemes.”

    Steve is so passionate about the pilot that he is happy to discuss it with anyone who might be interested to learn more, either by phone on 01243 558570 or email on info@warnesprojects.co.uk.

    To find out more about St Barnabas House and the many ways your business can support the hospice, visit www.stbh.org.uk/corporate-support.


  • 05 July 2019 10:22 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Upgrade to Southwick sports facilities approved

    Sports enthusiasts will soon be celebrating after plans to create new football and tennis facilities at Southwick Leisure Centre were approved.

    Adur District Council’s Planning Committee have approved a £287,500 proposal to transform the run-down disused courts at the back of the site in Old Barn Way.

    A recreational size 3G football pitch with floodlights will be created on half of the site and be available to community groups and individuals for hire. The eastern section will also receive a major upgrade, with new surface, lines, nets and fencing giving the courts a much-needed facelift.

    Councillors backed the proposal for the Council-owned facility at a meeting this week (July 1, 2019) with work on the outdoor space potentially starting this summer.

    Councillor Dave Simmons, Adur District Council’s Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “I’m delighted to see this proposal to transform a run-down disused space into new community facilities get the go ahead.

    “This is a considerable investment in sporting facilities in the heart of our communities and I’m certain that when the new football pitches and tennis courts are complete, they will be well used by people of all ages.”

    A report to councillors outlined how the current courts have been disused for a number of years with weeds and broken fencing detracting from the rest of the Southwick Recreation Ground site.

    Plans for the new football pitch include 4.2 metre high rebound fences and an overhead net, along with eight metre high posts for floodlights.

    Acoustic fencing will reduce the impact of noise to neighbours while the facilities will only operate from 9am to 9pm on Mondays to Fridays and 9am to 8pm on weekends and public holidays.

    Councillor Carol Albury, Chairman of Adur District Council’s Planning Committee, said: “Good-quality recreation facilities are vital to support our communities which is why the committee were pleased to give their support to the proposal.

    “We understand the representations raised by neighbours which is why we have ensured conditions have been added to reduce the impact of noise while clearly outlining the operating times of the facility.” 


  • 02 July 2019 10:51 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Worthing's Highdown Gardens wins crucial funding to preserve future and tell full amazing story of world-famous landmark

    Celebrations are underway today after Worthing's world-famous gardens at Highdown received a major financial boost to help preserve their future.

    The National Lottery has awarded the ‘jewel in the crown’ site more than £800,000 for a project which will help save the exotic rare plants that grow there and to enhance the visitor experience.

    The 8.5 acre gardens, internationally important because they are home to hundreds of rare plants and trees uniquely grown on chalk soil, are visited by tens of thousands of people every year.

    Worthing Borough Council has owned and maintained the gardens free-of-charge to visitors for more than 50 years since the death of their creator Sir Frederick Stern.

    Now the cash injection will enable garden experts to catalogue, preserve and propagate the hundreds of rare species that grow on the slopes on Highdown Hill.

    In addition the old garden bungalow on the site is to be remodelled and turned into a visitors’ centre, new walkways are to be created and the full astonishing story of the house and gardens to be told. A new wheelchair accessible sensory garden will also be created.

    Work on the project will start next year with a finish date in 2022. The gardens will remain open for all but a few months of this time.

    Worthing Borough Council's Executive Member for the Environment, Cllr Edward Crouch, said, “I’m so pleased we have been successful in winning this much-needed funding for our jewel in the crown site. We have a proud history of maintaining the gardens and people will no doubt be delighted to know that we will be maintaining free-of-charge entry while extending its appeal to different members of our community.  

    “Critically, we shall be protecting the horticultural heritage for generations to come, just as Stern wished when he gifted the gardens to the people of Worthing back in 1968.”

    Sir Frederick moved to Highdown Towers, now a hotel and restaurant, in 1909 and began a project to expand and develop a garden using exotic plants brought back from places such as China and Bhutan by intrepid hunters.

    Highdown was designated a National Collection in 1989 to recognise that Sir Frederick had proved something most experts told him he could not; to grow plants on terrain with just a few inches of soil above chalk.

    Today, the main risk to the heritage at Highdown Gardens is horticultural: loss of plants due to age, the fragility of the chalk environment given climate change.

    (Panel)

    The National Lottery Heritage Fund award of more than £800,000 to the Council will allow the Council’s Highdown staff to :

    • Undertake a propagation programme to save the endangered National Plant Collection (threatened by climate change, disease, visitor behaviour);
    • Convert the old gardener’s bungalow into a visitor engagement centre where previously hidden stories about the Sterns, the gardens, their visitors and the plants can be told;
    • Partner with the West Sussex Records Office to digitise and make freely available the important archive of Stern’s life work;
    • Improve access with accessible pathways, extended opening hours and a wheelchair-accessible Sensory Garden;
    • Develop new activities and resources to encourage a love and respect for this fragile environment;
    • Partner with local schools, colleges, community groups and mental health charities to support volunteering, social and well-being activities in the gardens.

    With this £800,000 second round award following A first round award of £96,500 to help with development costs, the Heritage Fund has now invested more than £900,000 of Lottery players’ money in Highdown Gardens


  • 02 July 2019 10:41 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Prince’s Trust Transform Gardens for Disabled Veterans 

    A group of young volunteers from the Prince’s Trust have helped to transform some of the gardens at Worthing-based charity, Care for Veterans, which provides care and rehabilitation to physically disabled ex-service personnel. 
     
    The Team Programme, run by the Prince’s Trust, is a 12-week course for young people aged between 16-25, who are looking for new opportunities or fresh challenges. The programme is free of charge and enables participants to develop communication, leadership and teamwork skills through projects in the community. 
     
    The group of eight students, based at Northbrook MET in Worthing, raised money to buy plants, which they have since planted in the newly transformed gardens at the charity’s facility. The group have worked tirelessly for five days and have created an area of peace and tranquillity for Care for Veterans’ residents and their families to enjoy. 
     
    Sara Hedvicak, Deputy Team Leader at Northbrook MET, said: “The current team have been fantastic. They’ve worked extremely hard and I’ve received great feedback about them; they’ve all been so enthusiastic. The transformation of Care for Veterans’ gardens is incredible; I feel very proud.” 
     
    Elizabeth Baxter, Head of Fundraising & Marketing at Care for Veterans said, “We cannot thank the Prince’s Trust volunteers enough for what they have done for our veterans.  The area they have created was once overgrown and unusable and through all their hard work they have transformed it into an attractive, peaceful area where our veterans and their families can sit and enjoy the summer days. They are a great example of what hard work, commitment and imagination can do.”


  • 02 July 2019 10:33 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Gemini Print buys foundry press from administrators 

    Everyone at Gemini Print has been delighted to welcome new Foundry Press colleagues and clients since Managing Director, Steve Cropper and the Directors completed buying the Horsham based firm from administrators FRP Advisory.

    The administrators said that the 21-staff Foundry Press “had suffered cashflow pressures following a period of challenging trading conditions”.Gemini Print Group ( Brighton, Shoreham by Sea, Bristol, London and Durham), bought Foundry’s business and assets from the administrators via a pre-pack sale, with all of Foundry’s staff TUPE’d over to Gemini Print. Foundry’s previous owners, Bruce Phillips and Alan Houliston, are still within the business.

    steve-cropper-pic

    Steve said “We were trying to do a deal to purchase the company [before it went into administration] but time ran out for Foundry.
    They carried on running when they went into administration, and even though we didn’t know whether Gemini Print was going to be successful in the pre-pack purchase, we funded the company during that situation of uncertainty. They are a commercial jobbing printer with a very good client base and good staff that will complement the Gemini Print team.”

    When the negotiations were in progress, Bruce and Alan prioritised making sure that all of the staff had a position within Gemini Print going forwards, regardless of whether they would be based in Horsham, or moved to Shoreham. People will be relocated to Gemini Print’s Shoreham base during the next few months, so the move can be completed before the license obtained from the administrators on Foundry’s current leased premises comes to an end.

    The administrators commented: “This deal delivers the best result for all stakeholders, and most importantly saves jobs in Sussex, as well as ensuring continuity of service for customers. We wish the team at Gemini Print all the success for the future.”

    Foundry Press clients have commented that they are pleased that Gemini Print is the company that has taken over as they recognise the track record of consistent investment in leading-edge technology and skills, the breadth of services for all aspects of communication and promotion, plus the multi-award winning focus on friendly and efficient service, quality manufacturing and environmental management standards.

    Steve said It was good to hear someone sum things up as: “Big enough to have the right skills and services, but still the right size to care about even the smallest customer.”


  • 02 July 2019 10:12 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Turning Tides have a big fundraiser coming up on July 6th!

    It brings together the best of the towns musicians, young performers and volunteers to give the town a wonderful community day of live music and fundraising.

    With around 40 bands all performing for free it’s a huge busking event and showcase of the local musicians, raising money and awareness for Turning Tides.

    Turning Tides are in still in need of some helpers for shake a tin for a hour on the high street – if you can spare an hour to do so, sign-up here - https://doodle.com/poll/ui8usuuedwu474v8 you could also share this with your friends and family!

    Alternatively you can get some friends together and visit! There’s something for everyone from 10am to 11pm across 9 venues, even our very own John Holmstrom, Laura Bennett, Neil Mitchell and clients are performing so come and show them some support!

    You could also man a door at a venue splitting the job with a friend, probably the most rewarding night out you’ll ever have!


  • 01 July 2019 4:20 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    CCG announces opening of Haywards Heath College in September 2020 and appointment of Principal

    The Chichester College Group (CCG) is delighted to confirm that it will be opening Haywards Heath College (Harlands Road campus) in September 2020.

    The college will deliver post-16 education for the learners of Mid Sussex with a varied and quality offer covering A Levels, BTECs and apprenticeships.

    This commitment is supported by the appointment of a principal for the college - Paul Riley.

    Paul is the current principal of Worthing College, which joined CCG in April 2019. He will take on responsibilities as principal at both Worthing and Haywards Heath campuses and will be supported by a dedicated team at the college.

    Shelagh Legrave OBE, Chief Executive of CCG, said: “We are pleased to confirm Paul’s appointment as principal at Haywards Heath College. He has a wealth of experience working in Further Education.

    “We are very much looking forward to opening the new college in 2020. Paul and I have already started visiting local schools and meeting with year 10 students to discuss the high quality educational opportunities that will be available to them at the college.”

    Paul added: “I am excited to be taking charge at Haywards Heath College.

    “We are committed to creating a local college which will give young people access to the highest quality teaching and support as they continue their education.

    “We will be offering a diverse curriculum, which will include A-level and vocational courses as well as professional courses.

    “The existing site facilities are fantastic and we look forward to sharing them with the local community and welcoming students to their new college next year.”

    CCG has been working closely with Mid Sussex District Council, West Sussex County Council and other local stakeholders to ensure the college meets local needs.

    Councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards, Leader of Mid Sussex District Council, said: “I know that local residents will be delighted to have Haywards Heath College opening in September 2020, providing post-16 students with the opportunity of studying at a local college once again.

    “The District Council has worked hard with stakeholders, and with the support of Sir Nicholas Soames MP, to persuade the Government that opening new college provision in Haywards Heath is essential to meet the needs of the area, and we will continue to actively support Chichester College Group as they work towards the college’s opening.”

    A number of open days for the new college will be taking place in the autumn, with dates to be announced in the coming weeks.



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Worthing & Adur Chamber of Commerce is the trading name of Worthing & Adur Chamber of Commerce & Industry Ltd.
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VAT No: 275 6477 60
Registered Office: Sphere Business Centre, Broadwater Road, Worthing,
West Sussex BN14 8HJ
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