Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Property agent cuts a deal with hairdresser

Neighbourhood Centre, Swindon


A ground floor retail unit at the Neighbourhood Centre in Swindon's St Andrew's Ridge will remain as a hairdressing salon.

The 633 sq ft unit, previously The Works salon, has been let to independent hairdresser Danielle Thomas in a deal negotiated by Kilpatrick & Co.

Daniel Pitt, Kilpatrick & Co’s office manager, said: “We are very pleased that the sale of Unit 4 Neighbourhood Centre has completed and that we were able to achieve a good sale price for our client.

Skills shortages impacting businesses as labour market remains buoyant – report

Ian Larrard, Business West


The percentage of UK firms facing recruitment difficulties has returned to previous highs, while one in four businesses expect to increase headcount according to the UK’s largest survey of employers.

The latest Quarterly Recruitment Outlook from Business West and the British Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with Totaljobs, reveals that almost three-quarters (73 percent) of businesses who attempted to recruit faced recruitment difficulties in Q3 2019, compared with 64 percent in Q2.

Skills shortages were predominantly felt across skilled manual roles and professional roles, with 80 percent of construction firms and 71 percent of transport and distribution businesses facing difficulties recruiting the right staff.

Gift card scheme encourages residents to keep business local

Malmesbury Experience Gift Card launchMalmesbury businesses have launched a giftcard scheme to encourage residents to shop locally.

More than 30 businesses have signed up to the new initiative, with numbers expected to reach 50 in the run-up to Christmas.

Gordon MacPherson of the Malmesbury Town Team, which is behind the initiative, said: "We are delighted with the support from local shops, businesses and residents.

"The Malmesbury Gift Card offers a local alternative to spending online, enhances the local retail proposition and offers experiences.

"It’s not just about buying things: it’s about enjoying the social aspects and experiences of our small and vibrant market town.”

Purchasers can choose any amount between £5 and £500, and the recipient can redeem the card at a number of outlets including shops, pubs, beauty salons, and the Town Hall cinema.

The card, which was launched at the Old Bell pub on Wednesday, November 6, can be purchased online at https://malmesburygiftcard.com

Heating firm sponsors Christmas lights switch-on for second year

Debbie and John WilliamsChippenham entrepreneurs John and Debbie Williams of John Williams Heating Services are sponsoring Chippenham’s Enchanted Light Switch-on for the second year this Saturday (November 23).

The event is being organised by Chippenham Connected in partnership with Chippenham Town Council. The theme is inspired by the release of Disney’s Frozen 2 the day before and will include elements of Elsa and Anna’s adventures mixed with other winter fairy tale themes and activities.

Debbie Williams, co-founder of John Williams Heating Services and president of the town’s Chamber of Commerce, said: “Community events are an integral part of what we are about at John Williams Heating Services Ltd. We are delighted to be supporting Chippenham’s Enchanted Christmas event this year, and we hope it’s the start of a happy and enjoyable Christmas for the community.”

The Christmas lights will go on in the traditional way, with main stage entertainment starting at 5.30pm in the Market Place. The main stage will be hosted by BBC Wiltshire’s Ben Prater and Marie Indge and will feature a range of local acts.

Scarlett Moffatt, Gogglebox star and Queen of I’m A Celeb Get Me Out of Here, will then take to the stage to welcome the crowds and she will switch on the lights.

Kathryn Crosweller, manager at Chippenham Connected, said: “Christmas in Chippenham really starts when the lights go on, and we’re excited to be organising this event once again. It is a hugely popular feature of the annual calendar in the town, and a great opportunity for the community to come together and have some fun at the start of the festive season.”

Digital marketing and accounting is focus of bank event

Owners and managers of small and medium-sized businesses in Swindon and Wiltshire can learn more about digital marketing and digital accounting with experts Smarter Media and Sunflower Accounts at a networking event hosted by high street bank Santander.

Karl Paul and Robert Curtis from digital marketing agency Smarter Media will be on hand to offer advice on digital marketing and SEO, while Steph Rickaby of Sunflower Accounts will be offering advice on digital accounting and business planning.

Business Breakthrough will be held at Santander, 32-34 Regent Street, Swindon on Thursday, November 28 from 6pm to 8pm is free to attend but delegates must book a place at www.santanderbreakthrough.co.uk/event/breakthrough-branch-swindon


Construction starts at Chippenham industrial park

Neil Bannerman of Winvic, Andy Ridler of Alder King, Peter Davies of St Modwen, James Gregory of Alder King, Richard Bailey of St Modwen, Alistair Cunningham of Wiltshire Council, Gary Kwant of Prosurv, and Ben Shearman of WinvicDeveloper St Modwen has broken ground on a 106,000 sq ft speculative unit with plans to complete the site wide preparation and bring forward a further phase in 2020.

The site, formerly known as Chippenham Gateway, secured planning permission from Wiltshire Council in August 2018 and has permission to build a variety of units ranging from 100,000 sq ft to 1,000,000 sq ft.

Once completed, the whole site is expected to create around 1,300 jobs once complete as well as skills, training and apprenticeship opportunities through a planned partnership with Wiltshire College.

Longer term, St Modwen Park Chippenham will generate significant inward investment for the local area with a growth potential of around 1,000 jobs once the site is fully operational.

The site is strategically located off junction 17 of the M4 in the heart of the south west logistics triangle, serving both Bristol and Swindon. Mainline rail links provide access to London Paddington in just one hour and 15 minutes.

Peter Davies, development director at St Modwen Industrial & Logistics, said: “St Modwen Park Chippenham is a key industrial and logistics site in the south west region. We have already had a significant amount of interest due to its excellent location and we are able to meet specific occupier requirements with build to suit solutions in addition to our high-quality speculative build programme.”

Alistair Cunningham, executive director at Wiltshire Council, said: “St Modwen Park Chippenham is an important site with real potential for growing employment in the north of the county. Once complete, the site will drive economic development as well as bring job opportunities to the area.”

Construction work is being carried out by Winvic Construction Ltd. Operations manager Ben Shearman said: “Our relationship with St Modwen has gone from strength to strength and we look forward to commencing work on site and continue working in partnership to deliver quality units across the UK.”

The joint agents for the site are Alder King, DTRE, and JLL.

Expert opinion: The Christmas party – what’s the worst that could happen?

Peter JonesChristmas party season is upon us and for some it’ll be a night to remember – but for others, one to forget.

It’s a great time for staff to blow off some steam, bond outside of work and get to know each other without targets and deadlines looming.

But it can end up with uncomfortable conversations afterwards if it gets out of control.

Dealing with the fallout from Christmas parties is the bread and butter for our HR experts through December and January, with fights being the most common complaint.

After a few drinks, people can become a lot more honest and sometimes professional disputes escalate into a physical fracas.

Here are a few useful HR tips to help you get the best out of your Christmas party:

  • Remind everyone about their behaviour – you aren’t a horrible boss for doing so; you’re just making sure you reinforce the rules.
  • Make sure everyone is included and invited – they can be great team building events and a good way to say thank you for staff efforts over the previous year.
  • Ensure under-18s aren’t drinking.
  • Be aware of religious sensitivities.
  • Drinking the bar dry shouldn’t be the stated objective of the evening.
  • If there is an issue, use common sense – note down what’s happened and take appropriate action. Regardless of the situation, don’t sack someone on the spot!
  • Be mindful that Christmas can be a difficult time of year for some people.
  • Swap out Secret Santa for a Christmas Bake Off.
  • No mistletoe – it just asks for trouble!

Most events go without a hitch. But if you really are worried about potential workplace incidents, don’t ban the party altogether.

Why not host it after the New Year is in? You’ll still give your team a morale boost, plus many will be doing Dry January by then!

And if tensions do boil over, seek professional advice and support when launching your investigation.

Peter Jones runs the HR Dept in Swindon and Wiltshire www.hrdept.co.uk/offices/south-west/swindon

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