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Tag: North Somerset Council

A look back at ‘Made in north somerset’

North Somerset Council’s Economic Development Service has hailed the recent ‘Made in north somerset’ event a success. Here, it tells The North Somerset Business Leader why.

Now in its second year the 2012 ‘Made in north somerset’ festival brought together 33 events and involved 62 food, drink, art and craft businesses across North Somerset over three weeks.

This year staff from the Economic Development Service worked in partnership with North Somerset Arts who took responsibility for the launch event – a ‘Showcase Exhibition’ at Sidcot Arts Centre displaying some of the very best art from across the area.

The festival, which is designed to raise the profile of North Somerset and highlight the quality of independent local producers in the area, saw a substantial rise in visitor numbers compared to last year.

These events, which took place on business premises, drew visitors from across the region:

• Chew Moo, reported visits from over 700 people to their dairy farm and new ice cream business in Dundry;
• 500 enjoyed over 1500 pints of complimentary beer and cider at Butcombe’s Open Day in Wrington;
• Over 600 were guided around the dairy at Lye Cross Farm, Redhill to see how cheese is made and graded; and
• Hundreds were attracted to organic farmers, The Story Group in Wrington and to Clevedon Craft Centre open days.

Smaller businesses similarly held events but these were more intimate due to the size of premises.

All of the events enabled people to understand and find out more about the people behind the business through guided tours, demonstrations, tastings, workshops and farm walks.

The event attracted both local and regional media coverage and featured in 43 publications and event listings.

Whilst the annual festival is an important showcase for these producers it was also recognised that many smaller businesses can find their work quite isolating.

As a result, quarterly networking evenings have been established for any local food, drink art and craft producer. Four evening meetings have been held over the last year with over 40 businesses attending each.

For further information and to participate next year, please contact Mandie Berry on 01934 426341, mandie.berry@n-somerset.gov.uk or by visiting www.innorthsomerset.co.uk/madein


Factfile: Do you know about Westonworks?

Business in North SomersetIn its latest North Somerset Business Leader column, North Somerset Council’s Economic Development Team talks about the work being done by Westonworks.

What is it?

Westonworks is the one stop shop for job vacancies, job brokerage and skills matching.

It provides employers with a single point of contact who will work with them to find appropriately skilled and trained local people.

The team at Westonworks works directly with employers in and around North Somerset to ensure that local job vacancies are effectively promoted and filled through westonworks and its partners.

What are its services?

• Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) Health, Safety and Environment Test Centre.

All best practice construction sites now require competent and qualified staff. As a service to the construction industry Westonworks offers advice, practice software and loan of revision material for CSCS candidates to aid passing the HSE test and gaining their CSCS card.

• UK online computer training centre

Individuals are able to access tailored one to one computer training to increase their IT skills and become IT literate.

How can Westonworks save businesses money?

• Working with businesses to find the right staff to meet business needs

• Giving immediate access to a skilled pool of job ready individuals

• Advertising job vacancies in the centre and to a large network of advisers working with job seekers

• Co-ordinating a filter and match brokerage service for job vacancies and providing access to suitable interview venues

• Helping to promote recruitment events/open days by reaching a wider range of potential employees

• Offering an on site recruitment service for new developments in North Somerset

• Co-ordinating bespoke specialist training where identified and required by developers and for businesses

• Providing computers and support for online applications

What’s its history?

Westonworks was established in October 2009 as a partnership between North Somerset Council and Alliance Homes (NS Housing) to support people into work.

Since then the team at Westonworks have supported over 1,200 people, helping them access work, learning and volunteering opportunities.

Is is also acting as a single point of contact for businesses, helping to promote and fill vacant roles and offering specialist filter and match jobs brokerage services to the business community of North Somerset.

To find out more about Westonworks please contact: Adrian Stone, Westonworks Manager by tel on: 01934 426 260 or email: Adrian.stone@n-somerset.gov.uk or web: www.westonworks.org.uk/employers



North Somerset Council – economic update

Business in North SomersetIn its exclusive column for the Weston & North Somerset Echo, North Somerset Council’s Economic Development Team discuss the process for trading with the local authority.

North Somerset Council spends more than £118m of public funds each year on goods and services-  so achieving value for money is essential.

Purchasing clout

This makes the council one of the largest purchasers in the south west and as a local authority it has a legal duty to be fair, honest and professional in its choice and treatment of suppliers.

The council also promotes ethical, environmentally sound and non-discriminatory approaches which are to the benefit of the North Somerset area and those who live and work here. It is keen to support local businesses and promote collaborative working where it is appropriate.

Opportunities for suppliers

The wide ranging nature of businesses in the area means that there are opportunities for suppliers from diverse industry sectors. The council aims to inform suppliers about these opportunities and support them to compete.

Advertising of planned purchases

The council does not have an approved supplier list. For planned purchases over £50,000 it will always advertise its requirements in one, or all of the following three ways:

• Through the regional contract opportunity website: www.supplyingthesouthwest.org.uk

This is a free to join service that, if registered, automatically contacts you when a planned purchase is posted that’s relevant to your business. The Council is increasingly using this website to advertise lower value opportunities so it is recommended you register.

• Local Publications (for example, Bristol Evening Post, Weston Mercury)

• Trade Journals (for example Construction Journal, Professional Social Work Magazine, Landscape magazine)

The procurement process

The complexity of the procurement process is dependent on the value of the opportunity.

For low value opportunities, under £1,000, a single quotation will be required.

For opportunities from £1,000 to £9,999, two written quotations are required.

From £10,000 to £49,999, three quotations will be required and above £50,000 the council follows a formal tendering procedure.

When the total estimated cost of the requirement is in excess of the European Union Public Procurement thresholds, which for goods and services is £173,000, the relevant EU rules on public procurement will be followed. More details can be found on: www.n-somerset.gov.uk/business.

Key Contacts

For further information on the above, please contact a member of the Strategic Procurement Team:

Diane Fenton (Compliance and Support Officer) Diane.Fenton@agilisys.co.uk Tel: 01275 885197

John Calwell (Senior Operational Buyer) John.Calwell@agilisys.co.uk Tel: 01934 427 584

For all general queries please email: procurement@n-somerset.gov.uk

North Somerset Council – economic update

Business in North SomersetNorth Somerset Council’s Economic Development Team give an update on the funding to improve transport around Weston.

In December 2011, the government announced that a bid for £11 million funding to improve transport around Weston had been successful.

This was in addition to a £4 million commitment from North Somerset Council for significant transport improvements.

These will include

• improvements to Junction 21 of the M5 to reduce queuing off the motorway
• improvements to the A370 including widening Marchfields Way to allow two-way traffic and provide new bus and cycle routes
• new car park and bus interchange at Worle Station plus improved cycle and motorcycle facilities
• new bus links from Queens Way to the station
• bus priority along Elmham Way, linking the regeneration areas

In addition to these improvements further funding has been pledged by the Council for a scheme to help reduce the peak time queuing on the A370 Somerset Avenue on the eastbound approach to Junction 21 of the M5.

This will provide a dedicated lane from Somerset Avenue onto the M5 northbound. The outbound improvements will be funded locally using a combination of money from development and funding received through the Joint Local Transport Plan.

Detailed design and planning is currently underway and more information and videos of the proposals can be found at the Travel+ website and www.n-somerset.gov.uk/westonpackage.

If you would like to be kept up to date with progress on the proposals email weston.package@n-somerset.gov.uk and ask to be added to our mailing list for the latest information.

To find out more about North Somerset Council’s Economic Development Team please visit: http://www.innorthsomerset.co.uk/

A look ahead to ‘Made In north somerset’

One of the remits of North Somerset Councils’ Economic Development Service is to support the rural economy; its many and varied businesses and to promote the area as a great place to visit, live work and do business.

The ‘Made in north somerset’ event was developed in 2010 in response to calls for greater promotion of rural North Somerset and to provide support for local businesses. Last years event supported 48 individual businesses and included 62 different food and craft events across the fortnight.

The ‘Made in north somerset’ event showcases some of the best local food, drink, arts and craft businesses and whilst producers are predominantly rural, the festival promotes businesses from across North Somerset.

The event is open to those who are committed to producing, growing, rearing, creating, making, using and sourcing locally, from start up businesses such as ice –cream makers Chew Moos to household names such as Butcombe brewery.

This year the Economic Development team will be drawing on the area’s creative talent and will be working closely with North Somerset Arts who will deliver an exciting launch on 15 and 16 September at Sidcot Arts Centre. Theatre Orchard will also be performing a number of productions throughout the three weeks including ‘In cider’ stories which will be touring in rural North Somerset pubs this winter.

Over the three weeks businesses will host ‘Open Door’ events on their own premises that will enable the public to peek behind the scenes and understand the story behind these products. Last years activities included tours of cider makers and breweries, apple pressing, butchery demonstrations, farm walks, enamelling, fly fishing, clay tile making, food and drink tasting, chutney making, and much more.

The festival is also an opportunity for those North Somerset restaurants, pubs and cafes that already have a passion for local sourcing to show off their credentials and get involved. These businesses may wish to offer cookery demonstrations, food safaris, taster menus, BBQs, bring in their local suppliers for talks and tastings etc.

A ‘Made in north somerset’ Food and Craft Showcase will also take place at the National Trust Tyntesfield estate on 30 September. With forty stallholders, this special market will feature some of the best food, drink, art and craft in the area. One of the key aims is to encourage shoppers, chefs and buyers to put North Somerset food and craft into their shopping bags, onto their plates and upon their shelves.

The ‘Made in north somerset’ festival is really a ‘one-stop’ shop for local products and showcases just how diverse the food, drink, art and craft offer is in the area.

For more information on the festival, how to get involved and to download a booking form please visit: http://innorthsomerset.co.uk/get-involved/made-in-north-somerset  Email: business@n-somerset.co.uk or Tel: 01934 426341. The deadline for submitting an event or exhibiting at Tyntesfield is 22nd June.

North Somerset Council’s economic development update

Business in North SomersetIn this latest column for the Weston and North Somerset Echo, North Somerset Council’s Economic Development Team gives an update on the progress of its economic growth strategy.

To help deliver economic growth the Development Management team at North Somerset Council are putting into place new ways of working to make the planning system quicker and more efficient.

The Local Economic Development Protocol was launched in September 2011 following consultation with commercial agents and developers.The Protocol supports the timely delivery of development proposals that will have significant local economic benefits.

Examples of schemes which have already been through the Protocol process include Weston Gateway Business Park and Leisuredome.

Launch of new scheme

In addition to the Protocol, the Development Management team has recently launched a new Accredited Agent Scheme. The scheme involves agents agreeing to abide by a code of conduct.

In return, the council list the details of all accredited agents on their website, gives agents the Accredited Agent Scheme logo for use in their marketing material and provides briefing sessions to help agents to keep up to date with planning application requirements.

The aim of our Accredited Agent Scheme is to foster good working relations between the council and planning agents. The result is efficiencies for the applicants and the council by reducing delays at the registration stage and reducing the number of unsuccessful applications and appeals.

Full details of the scheme and how to become an accredited agent are available on the council’s website at http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/Environment/planning/accreditedplanningagentscheme.

Marketing initiative

The Economic Development Service (part of the Development Management team) has also developed a Marketing Initiatives List. This is being used in marketing meetings with landowners, developers of employment schemes and commercial agents to guide discussions about the proactive marketing and promotion of employment sites coming forward in the area.

For further details of the Accredited Agent Scheme please contact Jason Beale (Performance and Customer Service Manager) on 01934 426702 or by emailing Jason.beale@n-somerset.co.uk.

For further details of the Local Economic Protocol or the Marketing Initiatives List please contact Jane Vivian (Senior Economic Development Officer) on 01934 426907 or jane.vivian@n-somerset.gov.uk

North Somerset tourism boost

Marcus Plaw

New planning initiatives could give tourism in North Somerset a much needed shot in the arm, according to property consultants Colliers International.

Planning specialist Marcus Plaw said the National Planning Policy Framework plus the recently adopted North Somerset Core Strategy could deliver positive results for businesses involved in the region’s tourist trade.

He said: “The NPPF advises local planning authorities to back sustainable tourism and leisure developments in appropriate locations – and where needs are not met by existing facilities.

“At local level, North Somerset Council’s new planning policy for tourism supports the principle of new, improved and replacement visitor and tourist facilities and accommodation right across the district.

“Businesses and groups should embrace this and engage with the local planning authority in presenting their ideas and opportunities for building upon existing attractions and delivering new facilities.”

He went on: “North Somerset has some sensational countryside and heritage attractions and places of interest that are not just accessible by car. And not all are in the district’s main towns.”

Marcus Plaw urged businesses and groups to present their ideas and opportunities for building on existing attractions and delivering new facilities to the council.

He said: “It will still be important to demonstrate the proposals support the local and wider economy, do not adversely affect the environment and are sustainable.

“Where improvements are planned, it is important to engage with the council’s planning department with an understanding of what the new proposals will achieve locally and how they fit into the council’s wider tourism strategy.”

Colliers International has worked with a number of landowners and developers to help them amend planning permissions, sell off parcels of land or find partners with whom they can take forward developments.

Getting to the bottom of business rates

Economic DevelopmentIn their latest column for the Echo, North Somerset Council’s Economic Development team get to the bottom of business rates.

National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR), or Business Rates, is a property based national tax charged against all occupied, and some empty property. The local authority is responsible for the calculation and collection of rates.

Each local council pays the rates to the government which are added into a central pool and then redistributed back to local councils depending on the number of local taxpayers in its area. This funding helps to pay towards the cost of local council services.

How are Business Rates Calculated?

Each non-domestic property is awarded a rateable value by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). This value broadly represents the open market rental value, and will include considerations such as the property’s size, location, and use. Rates are normally assessed by the VOA using rental value evidence. However, where there is no rental evidence available, alternative methods can be used, such as receipts. The VOA conducts a revaluation of all non-domestic property every 5 years. Rates are currently being charged against the 2010 List values (applicable between 1 April 2010 – 31 March 2015).

The local council calculates rates by multiplying the rateable value by a nationally set multiplier (or pence in the pound). The current multipliers for 2011/12 are 43.3p (or 42.6p for properties in receipt of small business relief). The Government has announced that the provisional multipliers for 2012/13 will be 45.8p, or 45.0p for all small business property below £18,000 rateable value.

Further details on rateable values can be found on the VOA website www.voa.gov.uk

What happens if a property is empty?

If a property becomes completely empty, an exemption period of 3 months (for non-industrial property), or 6 months (for industrial property) is applicable. After this date, the full empty rate becomes payable. A continuous exemption applies; however, if a property:
• has a rateable value under £2,600;
• is a listed building; or
• was owned by a charity (and was likely to be in charitable use when next in use).

The time limited exemptions (3 or 6 months) only apply from the date that a property first becomes empty. The exemption period does not restart for a new owner.

Are there any other reductions available?

If your property has a rateable value of under £18,000 small business relief may apply. A ratepayer would normally be entitled to relief if the property is the sole business premises, or if any additional premises are either empty or had a rateable value of under £2,600.

The Government has recently announced that the extension to the small business relief scheme will continue to 31 March 2013. This means that a qualifying property with a rateable value of up to £6,000 would currently receive 100% relief.

Small business relief can be considered, upon application, by North Somerset Council.

Charitable Organisations who occupy non-domestic premises can be entitled to 80% mandatory relief. If an organisation is not considered charitable, but is non-profit making, the local authority can consider awarding discretionary relief. Discretionary relief would normally also be subject to council guidelines, as any award is partially funded by the council. All enquiries or applications for either mandatory or discretionary relief should be directed to North Somerset Council.

Want to know more?

Contact North Somerset Council on:-

E-mail: n-somersetnndr@liberata.com

Telephone: 01934 888143

Address: PO Box 76, Town Hall, Weston-Super-Mare, BS23 1YY

Website: www.n-somerset.gov.uk

Economic Development Service helping your business grow

Economic Development Starting or growing a business can be daunting, especially in uncertain economic times. However, the North Somerset economy has weathered the recent economic downturn better than many other areas, due to its broad economic base of over 8,500 small and medium enterprises (SME’s) and around 70 major employers (employing over 100 people or above). Unlike other local economies, North Somerset does not have an over reliance on any particular sector, which has proven to be a key advantage during and post the recession.

Although we remain in difficult economic times, with much talk of a slow economic recovery and fragile business confidence, North Somerset has seen a steady number of new businesses starting up. The Economic Development Service at North Somerset Council (NSC) and North Somerset Enterprise Agency (NSEA) work closely together to deliver a package of business support to help meet the needs of both new and growing businesses, with tailored programmes to help businesses start, survive and develop.

NSEA has over 20 years experience in helping business owners with every aspect of running their businesses. Angela Hicks, the agency’s Chief Executive, often sees businesses approach them when their problems have been ongoing for some time, which can make them more complex to overcome. The NSEA is there to help businesses avoid or minimise the problems they face, as well as develop and grow. NSEA offers businesses and budding entrepreneurs many types of support including:

• Free advice, coaching and mentoring
• Low-cost practical seminars
• Solutions to business problems
• Information about sources of business finance and
• Networking opportunities.

In addition to the support and advice available from NSEA, the Economic Development Service is dedicated to promoting economic growth in North Somerset through supporting local businesses, raising the profile of the area and encouraging inward investment. Services provided include:

• Assistance in locating land/premises
• Statistics and economic data on the local area
• Information on new commercial development opportunities
• Links to key departments within NSC as well as external agencies and networks
• Advice/assistance for new business start-ups (in partnership with NSEA)
• Employment support and
• Maintaining the business focused website www.innorthsomerset.co.uk

If you would like to know more about the business support available in North Somerset, please contact either:

1) The Economic Development Service (Simon Gregory or Jane Vivian) on 01934 426 266, business@n-somerset.gov.uk  or visit www.innorthsomerset.co.uk  or


2) NSEA on: 01934 418 118, info.weston@businesswest.co.uk or visit www.northsomersetenterpriseagency.co.uk

Empty homes campaign backed by property specialists

James Edwards

James Edwards of Colliers International

More than five thousand homes across the West are standing empty while pressure mounts on local authorities to locate suitable sites for new development.

Now property specialists Colliers International has welcomed moves by councils, including North Somerset, across the region to ensure redundant sites including empty homes are fully utilised before further green field sites are swallowed up for development.

James Edwards, a planning specialist with Colliers International’s Bristol office welcomed the West of England Property Initiative – run jointly between North Somerset, Bristol City South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset Councils.

He said: “The initiative aims to get more empty private housing back into general supply on the open market by providing a base for advertising empty properties to prospective sellers, purchasers and tenants whilst also providing advice on buying, selling and renting out such properties.”

Across the country as a whole there are one million empty homes set against a perceived housing requirement of 100,000 new homes required per year. Locally, there are 5,000 empty homes across the initiative area with 1,500 in Bristol alone.

The initiative also serves commercial premises and land.

James said: “There is an ever increasing demand for housing and local authorities are being challenged to find suitable land to provide thousands of new houses.

“Although the level of empty houses in any one area may not fully meet a perceived housing shortfall for the area it will go some way to addressing it – which will help relieve pressure on previously undeveloped land on the edges of our cities, towns and villages.”

He said it was madness to leave properties empty only to have to build a new one somewhere else – consuming valuable open space and further raw materials.

He said: “A fundamental problem historically has been the lack of collaborative thinking, which has meant that there has not been a centralised service for identifying and promoting empty homes.

“The West of England Property Initiative and its associated website: www.no-use-emptywest.co.uk, provides this essential facility and gives all interested parties all the information required to reintegrate these properties into the main supply chain,” concludes James.