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Grand Pier owners awarded MBE’s

Kerry Michael Grand Pier owners awarded MBEs

Kerry Michael with his award

Business Leaders and Grand Pier owners, Kerry and Michelle Michael have been awarded their MBE’s at Windsor Castle.

Kerry Michael comments:”Our visit to Windsor Castle today to collect our MBE’s was an amazing experience and one that we will always treasure.

“Having our immediate family members with us to enjoy this incredible day made it even more special.

“This fantastic honour is recognition for everyone who was involved in the redesign, building and re-opening of the Grand Pier in record time, and we were delighted to go to Windsor Castle today to collect this honour on their behalf from HRH the Princess Royal.

“We would like to express our sincere thanks to everyone involved in the re-generation of the Grand Pier, as well as our family and friends or their incredible support”

Colliers column – Do North Somerset’s tourist attractions still have a role to play

James Edwards 199x300 Colliers column   Do North Somersets tourist attractions still have a role to play

James Edwards

James Edwards from Colliers International in Bristol is widely regarded as one of the West’s foremost commentators on planning and heritage issues. Here he argues that the success of Weston’s refurbished Grand pier proves North Somerset’s treasured tourist attractions can still play a key role – given the right level of support from the general public and local councillors

Weston Grand Pier’s remarkable transformation from smoke-blackened pile of scrap metal into a gleaming 21st century entertainment complex creates an achievable template for the future of Britain’s seaside monuments.

That’s the view of heritage specialist James Edwards from Colliers International, who has lent his support to a campaign to save neighbouring Clevedon pier – the last remaining Grade I listed pier in the UK.

The pier is in urgent need of repairs estimated at £800,000 – but James Edwards, widely regarded as one of the West’s foremost commentators on planning and heritage issues, argued the project deserved serious support – and urged the public to take a greater hand in helping in its preservation.

He said: “Few people would have imagined Britain’s many seaside piers would have been capable of surviving – let alone thriving – in the 21st century.
“The transformation of the Grand Pier following the devastating fire in 2008 shows our rich seaside traditions still have some mileage in them yet – and this should be borne in mind when future funding is being discussed.”

Clevedon’s Victorian pier needs to have its legs repainted and managers hope a substantial grant from North Somerset Council would help cover the costs.

A bid for almost £660,000 from the Clevedon Pier Trust is presently being discussed by council executives.

North Somerset Council – which is seeking to shave some £47m from its budget over the next four years – said councillors would need to look carefully at the cost of the repairs required given competing pressures on resources.

James Edwards, who has championed England’s industrial and maritime heritage throughout his career at Colliers International, said positive action regarding future usage – such as the ambitious plans put forward for the neighbouring Grand Pier – were vital in preserving Clevedon pier’s long-term future.

“There is a growing awareness that many buildings often considered outside the realm of conventional and successful re-use will be lost if they are not rescued and re-used in a way that retains their significance – in this case as part of North Somerset’s rich seaside tradition. We have a similar dilemma with Weston-super-Mare’s Birnbeck Pier which has, save for a lifeboat station, been in a ruinous state for many years.

“We have some superb historical structures with many unique architectural features but they will cost significant amounts to maintain and to utilise in such a way as to retain their significance but remain relevant in the present day.

“With public funding for schemes becoming increasingly rare we are seeing voluntary efforts and private funding and philanthropy as the major hopes for saving these buildings for future generations.”

James Edwards said North Somerset’s iconic piers deserved special consideration from both the public at large and the council for the massive role in shaping the area’s unique and distinctive character.

“ We are blessed to have three pleasure piers in North Somerset, and a fourth at Burnham-on-Sea in neighbouring Sedgemoor and these piers have made a massive contribution to a vibrant and diverse waterfront and helped bring the investment and visitors our towns thrived upon. The successful re-launch of Weston’s Grand Pier surely proves these structures can continue to play a key role in a resort’s appeal.

“We would urge policy makers to give proper consideration to the area’s heritage. In the meantime the public can show their support by getting behind the fund-raising campaign to build a £1.6m visitor centre.
“If this scheme proves a success it could help generate the money needed in future to help maintain the pier without having to go cap in hand to the council for further help in the future.

“A stitch in time really does save nine. All properties need maintenance but the pier by virtue of its age and acute exposure to the elements will naturally need a more sustained approach to keep it in top condition.”

To find out more about Colliers please visit: http://www.colliers.com/

Bootcamp Somerset success through hard work and initiative

Bootcamp Bootcamp Somerset success through hard work and initiativePrime Minister David Cameron has said he will champion “hard work”, “initiative” and “the courage to make your dream happen”: BBC article

In North Somerset alone there are many examples of people already making his vision a reality. One such example is Bootcamp Somerset. A personal training initiative launched by Weston born Matt Jupp after he took voluntary redundancy from his job on the Grand Pier, following the now world famous fire:

“I became fully qualified and set up my personal training business because becoming a personal trainer was something I’ve always wanted to do.

“It was a difficult decision to decide whether to either play it safe and get another 9-5 job or go into self-employment and take a risk, knowing that many businesses don’t break even in the first year.”

Matt went with his instincts and is now reaping the rewards. Despite only forming last year he has already trained over 100 clients that have included police officers, footballers and even dog agility trainers.

Flexible on time and competitively priced, it’s no wonder Bootcamp Somerset has been such a hit with people looking to get fit, and Matt is keen to stress that his approach is tailor made to each individual:

“I design the training so it’s exclusive and the groups are limited in size – up to ten people per session. This means my customers will always get the best possible service and quality personal training for a fraction of the cost elsewhere.

“As the groups are small, clients bond more, train harder and feel part of a team and not just a number.

“It’s not just about getting involved today. It’s about making a commitment to change your lifestyle and get more active,” Matt comments.

Amongst the many clients to get fit, healthy and have fun courtesy of Matt is Sam Cross, who works for North Somerset’s largest marketing agency ASG Marketing. He comments:

“For the amount of money you pay and the attention and expertise you get, Bootcamp Somerset is the best personal training option around. It’s really friendly and you really see the difference if you stick to it. Matt is also really flexible with times and makes you see the long term benefits of getting fit and supports you with nutrition as well.”

Bootcamp Somerset is also an official affiliate of the Go4life project, which is a North Somerset scheme encouraging and supporting people to get more healthy and active.

To find out more about Bootcamp Somerset and what times Matt takes his friendly sessions, along with prices visit: www.bootcampsomerset.com or call Matt on: 07749747861

Royal seal of approval for Weston

Grand Pier1 300x200 Royal seal of approval for Weston Her Royal Highness Princess Anne visited Weston this week to officially re-open the Grand Pier three years after it was destroyed by fire.

Princess Anne last visited the town back in 2008 where she saw the fire ravaged pier first-hand and met with the owners and those involved in plans to rebuild the landmark. Since her last visit the pier and surrounding public space has undergone a transformation.

Crowds of people waving Union Jack flags lined the streets as the Queen’s daughter unveiled a plaque to commemorate the official reopening of the pier.

The Echo understands that Princess Anne also opened the public space situated near the pier that will now be known as the Princess Royal Square. The Royal guest learnt how work had first begun on the square in 2010 and cost around £3.9 million.

The princess also viewed the new tourist information centre and met local residents.

A visit of such magnitude can only be good news for business in the town and the Echo believes local traders will have been given a boost from this Royal seal of approval.

The Business Review December 09

Mortgages
As many as one in three customers are paying more than they need to for mortgages. There are so many special offers at the moment and it is a great time to get a free check to see if you are on the right package with insurance also being far too high on some policies.

This applies to business as well as domestic mortgages – Get a free 30 minutes check free of charge for peace of mind – telephone the North Somerset Enterprise Agency 01934 418118.

Innovation
Innovation and diversification are major factors in who will cope with the recession, even during these hard times we see plenty of examples of local companies who are doing well and bucking the trend. In fact many of the world’s largest corporations were founded during times of economic downturn, such as Microsoft and Disney! Some of the positive aspects of a recession are labour is easy to find due to large amounts of redundancies, competition is less fierce due to cost-cutting and rivals going out of business means more trade for those still operating. What is your business doing to stand out from the crowd?

Health & Safety Straightjacket!!
David Cameron is currently reviewing Health and Safety Legislation, and is looking to clear out alot of the bureaucracy involved to help us run our businesses. Its election time in a couple of months so maybe common sense will return!!!

VAT
VAT rates return to 17.5% on 1 January 2010, so remember to update all your books and systems for any finances or invoices due beyond the 31st December 2009

Bank Loans
Bank loans for small businesses allegedly readily available, enquire with your Bank manager today and let us know your experiences in the comments section below!

The Grand Pier
The world will be watching our pier which is growing every day, and is on track for completion for the summer season in 2010. We all need to use this – if they can rebuild the pier, we can all rebuild our business – onward and upward!

Terry Gilbert is Business Support Manager for the North Somerset Enterprise Agency www.northsomersetenterpriseagency.co.uk as well as being the director for the Weston Town Centre Partnership and Chair for Weston 200 and Weston Arts Social Enterprise

Weston-super-Videos

Here at the Weston Echo not all of our articles are focused on serious news, we like to take a light hearted look at local affairs too! Enclosed for your viewing pleasure are the top YouTube videos based around Weston-super-Mare as decided by our panel, enjoy!

Weston-super-Mare Tourist Information Film.

Perhaps the most well known YouTube video locally, this comical parody of a local tourist information is well thought and and keeps you amused all the way through, a brilliant effort by Youtube user bluecrayon77.

Grand pier fire at Weston-Super-Mare 2008

There are literally hundreds of videos of the Grand Pier burning down in 2008, so when we saw this one we were impressed with the style of filming and the way the video was put together.

Building the Grand Pier 1903 – 1904

Our final video was uploaded by the owners of the Grand Pier and is an interesting look at rarely seen photos of the original Grand Pier being built in 1903 (the first pavilion caught fire and was destroyed in 1933).