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Old April 4th, 2011, 11:15 PM   #121
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Liberty announce pair of new UK offices
by Richard Kilner, April 4, 2011

Liberty Mutual Insurance Europe (LMIE), a member of Liberty Mutual Group, have announced details of its expanded regional office network and management team.

The firm has announced it is to commence operations in Birmingham and London, augmenting its presence in Bristol, Cheltenham and Manchester.

The Midlands region will be served by the new office in Birmingham, which is to open today.

The new operation in London will be a dedicated commercial branch, which will focus upon London and the South East and is due to commence operations later this month.

The Manchester office is led by Regional Manager Daniel Fielding, with Bristol headed up by Jonathan Powell and Chris Bilas leading the Cheltenham office.

Sean Rocks, chief executive officer, explained that the expansion enabled the firm to deepen its presence in the commercial lines arena amongst SME firms.
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Old April 5th, 2011, 06:51 PM   #122
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Can we get this thread renamed West Midlands Economy and Buisness thread please?

anyway quite a bit of news:

Firstly Citypress opening a new Birmingham office
Tue 5 Apr 2011
Citypress set for Birmingham expansion
Stephen Lepitak

Public Relations / England & Wales
PR firm Citypress is set to expand its UK network into the Midlands with the opening of an office in Birmingham.

Katie Dale, who joins from Golley Slater Birmingham, has been tasked with heading up the new office, opening in Birmingham’s Temple Row.

Prior to working at Golley Slater, Dale spent seven years specialising in finance and corporate programmes and investor relations for Citigate Dewe Rogerson.

She will work alongside former Smarts account manager Holly Jones, as the company aims to service existing clients in the area, while expanding its offer to the region.

Katie Dale, commented: “Launching a permanent base in Birmingham will help us better service existing client programmes where the Midlands is a key market, while creating new opportunities to support regionally based brands and businesses looking for national support.”

She added: “It’s an exciting time for us and we’re looking forward to playing a role in helping to expand the region’s media and marketing services sector.”

The news comes a week after the announcement by PR firm JBP of a new office being opened in Birmingham, led by director Lis Anderson.

Secondly more info on equity fund:
Equity fund given go-ahead
Last updated: Tue 5th April, 2011 | Time: 08:19am
The creation of a recyclable equity fund has been green-lighted by Birmingham city councillors. The fund, which will help local companies to grow their business, will complement the existing £10m Birmingham City Council Business Loan Fund (BLF).

It is expected to create about 850 new jobs in Birmingham over the lifetime of the investments.

The loan scheme will form part of a business support package and aims to assist companies which have sustainable plans to grow their business.

According to the council report, the fund will help create new employment opportunities by improving access to finance.

The fund will be managed and delivered by Finance Birmingham, which is expected to realise a net capital return of £5m back to the city council.

It has been agreed that investment will be deposited into the fund for the next five years.

And finally a report from a KPMG partner:
Birmingham will flourish through investment, says KPMG partner
Last updated: Tue 5th April, 2011 | Time: 08:23am
By Stephanie Bartup, Midlands Correspondent

Birmingham must be able to promote itself as an attractive investment to overseas investors, according to KPMG’s new office senior partner in the city. Mike Steventon told Insider that securing overseas investment would be “key” to reviving the city’s economy. He also discussed the revival of manufacturing giant GKN, and said that the company was now looking to grow through acquisitions.

Prior to his appointment, Steventon held a number of senior global and national positions with the firm, including head of KPMG automotive.

He said it was important to “support the city’s aspirations and put Birmingham on the map” as an attractive option for investment.

“Birmingham was formerly a stand-alone region as it was homes to hundreds of plcs; now, that number is probably closer to 30. We have to stay well connected to be part of the global agenda,” he said.

Steventon, who will be working alongside KPMG’s chairman in the Midlands, Steve Hollis, said that securing overseas investment was key to ensuring the city stayed ahead of the competition.

“A good example is Jaguar Land Rover,” he said. “It has an overseas owner in Tata Motors, and is now a global brand. It had a difficult few years or so, when it faced some real challenges, but has now completely repositioned itself as a power to be reckoned with.”

He added that going forward, the city’s LEP, private sector and councils would have to work in partnership.

“We’re now living in a single job market - the private and public sectors have to work together to deliver a string and attractive future for Birmingham. We have a very strong professional market – legal, finance property; they’re a great community.”

Looking forward, Steventon said he expected 2011 and 2012 to be the years which would see “organisations become stronger through acquisitions”.

“Look at GKN for example – the company had a challenging time through the recession, but it had a look at cost structures and weathered the economic downturn. Now, the company is looking to get stronger through growth enhancing acquisitions,” said Steventon.

“Generally, over the last two or three years, we’ve not seen a raft of acquisitions take place. Companies have had to adapt to survive, and spending was not on the top of many agendas. But we’re now in a much more stable environment. I think this will definitely be the year we see companies grow by acquiring – we’re seeing increased activity KPMG’s due diligence and merger and acquisition teams as evidence of that.”

Steventon added that although he expected the construction industry to face challenges in the coming year, he thought the auto and aerospace markets were “looking up”.

“Things are definitely improving,” he said. “Many manufacturers have survived a harsh winter, and now spring has arrived. As a city, we have a very strong manufacturing platform to push off from.”
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Old April 11th, 2011, 08:20 PM   #123
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Another Expansion/Letting

Templine signs up to Birmingham Business Park
Last updated: Mon 11th April, 2011 | Time: 08:12am
Templine Recruitment has secured a unit at Birmingham Business Park. The company said the 3,500 sq ft office would become its national headquarters.

Australian property group Goodman owns and manages the business park.

Templine supplies blue-collar labour covering warehouse staff, forklift truck operatives, and machine supervisors to the retail and logistics, manufacturing and public sectors.

The company has taken a ten-year lease at 6250 Bishops Court after expanding over the past two years.

Goodman’s property services division is undertaking the interior fit-out which will be completed before the end of the month.

The business park has about 100 occupiers including Orange, Beiersdorf, BT Expedite and Fujitsu.

Neil Himsworth, finance director at Templine Recruitment, said: “We’ve outgrown our existing HQ building in Erdington and need better premises and facilities to reflect the right image of the business to our blue chip clients. We now have our very own meeting room suite and additional space to grow. Many of our clients are based not just in the Midlands, but throughout the country, and Birmingham Business Park offers excellent connections to the national road and rail networks, meaning we’re easy to find.”
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Old April 12th, 2011, 07:13 PM   #124
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Hopefully this will put a further push on the need for office space in the city

Orega achieve 100% occupancy at Colmore Plaza
Recruitment firm Idex take Phase 1 Birmingham serviced offices to full occupancy

Article posted: 12 Apr 2011
The first phase of Orega’s Colmore Plaza business centre offering serviced offices in Birmingham is now fully occupied following the signing of recruitment company Idex.

The deal with Idex, which has taken 34 workstations for its new headquarter offices in the Midlands, is the tip of a wave of activity at the business centre this year. As a result, the first phase of 12,500 sq ft is now full, kick-starting a second phase of 7,500 sq ft which is already generating interest.

Idex specialises in recruiting consultants in the insurance, financial services and claims markets and is moving its Midlands base from nearby Temple Row. Established in 2006, it also has offices in Manchester and Bristol.

Other new signings this year include Freedom Recruitment, Branch Martin Spicer Marketing, German insurance company HDI-Gerling, P&C Financial Services and Hington Klarsey.

The business centre is located on the mezzanine floor of Colmore Plaza with a separate reception area and meeting rooms on the ground floor of the 14-storey, Grade ‘A’ office building. The striking glass-fronted property is owned by The Carlyle Group and has a BREEAM excellent rating.

For breaking news relating to serviced office space in the West Midlands follow us on

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Old April 13th, 2011, 01:02 AM   #125
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Great news, there really does appear to be a serge in office demand. Coupled with a lack of supply, someone needs to give British Land a few hints.
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Old April 13th, 2011, 01:16 AM   #126
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Originally Posted by ROYAL BLUE View Post
Great news, there really does appear to be a serge in office demand. Coupled with a lack of supply, someone needs to give British Land a few hints.
Oh, they've got the message alright.
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Old April 14th, 2011, 02:02 PM   #127
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From Midlands Business Insider:

Midlands Top 500 companies revealed
Last updated: Thu 14th April, 2011 | Time: 08:29am
Energy giant E.ON remains at the summit of Midlands Business Insider’s Top 500 table for the second consecutive year. The Coventry-based company secured the number one spot in Insider’s annual list, which also names Wolverhampton-based construction company Carillion and Birmingham engineer IMI in the top ten performing companies in the region.

The Top 500 table is devised by measuring the performance of companies by a combination of their turnover and profitability.

E.On’s place at the top was secured after selling its 'Central Networks' division to US-based utility business PPL for £3.5bn. The company also recently revealed plans to sell off more than £12bn of its business to cut debt and create an expansion plan.

Construction giant Carillion enters the listing – which features both East and West Midlands-based companies – at number four. The company reported pre-tax profits of £167.9m in its annual results in March, a 24 per cent rise on its 2009 figures.

Chairman Philip Rogerson said: "Carillion performed well in 2010, building on its strong track record to deliver good earnings growth, despite tough market conditions, particularly in the UK. Looking forward, we expect the global economic environment to continue to make trading conditions difficult, especially in our UK markets. However, Carillion has a resilient and well-balanced business mix, good revenue visibility and a record pipeline of contract opportunities.”

AAH Pharmaceuticals, based in Coventry, entered at number six after securing a pre-tax profit of £111m in its latest annual results. Severn Trent, also based in Coventry, was at number seven.

Birmingham engineer IMI entered at number eight, a huge leap from its 2010 placing of 389.

Packing company Linpac, based in Birmingham, soared from number 450 in 2010 to number ten in the latest list. Earlier this year, Linpac sold five non-core, unrelated business units to funds managed by Chamonix Private Equity, a London-based private equity firm.

Also inside the top 20 were Birmingham’s Phoenix Life; Wolseley, based in Leamington Spa and Rugby-based Alstom, which this week was granted £4m funding from the government’s Regional Growth Fund.

Graham Muth, partner and head of the Birmingham office of law firm Cobbetts, said: “Slow and steady improvement has been the story over the last 12 months, and this national trend has set the backdrop for the Midlands’ recovery.

“Our manufacturing businesses are still finding it tough, but possibly better times are ahead. George Osborne’s announcement that three of the 21 new enterprise zones will be located in the Midlands will give the sector a much-needed boost.”

The complete Top 500 table can be found in this month’s edition of Midlands Business Insider.

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Old April 19th, 2011, 08:50 PM   #128
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Another office letting:

HDI-Gerling Expands UK Operations with New Birmingham Office
April 19, 2011
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Share 0inShare.1.ArticleComments.Industrial Insurance Company HDI-Gerling has announced the creation of its second UK regional Hub in Birmingham, England.

The company said the “formation of the Hub is in line with its UK Corporate strategy to build on HDI-Gerling’s brand locally throughout the United Kingdom. The Birmingham office is the hub for the Midlands, Wales and South West regions.

“John Stanway joins as regional head of Underwriting and Business Development, working previously at Ace, where he held the position of regional underwriting manager. John has a proven track record of business development in the regional markets and brings with him a wealth of experience and strong broker relationships. John will report directly to Alan Waters, director- UK Corporate.”

Richard Taylor, UK and Ireland managing director commented: “I am delighted that John has chosen to join HDI-Gerling. John understands how to develop and grow a profitable account which is vital in today’s challenging market. This represents yet another important milestone in our plans, to deliver our products locally with highly respected technical and professional decision makers”.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 10:39 PM   #129
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Can this thread be renamed "West Midlands Economy and buisness thread"?

Business leaders predict Birmingham enterprise zone will create 50,000 jobsBy Jonathan Walker
Apr 21 2011
4ShareAdd a commentRecommend Birmingham’s new “enterprise zone” will create 50,000 jobs and raise £700 million for the region, business leaders have predicted.

The cash will be shared among local authorities in the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, including East Staffordshire, Lichfield, Tamworth, Bromsgrove, Cannock, Redditch and Wyre Forest as well as Birmingham and Solihull.

The ambitious plan to boost the economy, to be set out by LEP chairman John Lewis managing director Andy Street, will mark the start of a new era in economic development in the West Midlands led by the enterprise partnership.

The cash will come from extra business rates paid by employers moving into the enterprise zone over the next 25 years.

They will be enticed into the area with the promise of a 100 per cent discount on their business rates for five years, up to a total of £275,000, relaxed planning restrictions and the possibility of cheap superfast broadband.

Enterprise zones were a centrepiece of George Osborne’s Budget last month, when the Chancellor announced he was approving ten zones across the country including one in Greater Birmingham and Solihull and one in the Black Country.

It marks the first major test of the local enterprise partnership, which has drawn up a business plan proposing a zone in Birmingham City Centre.

Mr Street has been appointed to chair the partnership and a range of top business leaders and entrepeneurs from across the region have now been appointed to sit on the board.

Steve Hollis, Midlands regional chairman of KPMG, is likely to become the partnership’s deputy chair.

Full details are being revealed at a high-profile event at Villa Park, where business and civic leaders will be addressed by Mr Street, Bridget Blow, the outgoing chair of the enterprise partnership’s interim board, and Jerry Blackett, chief executive of Birmingham Chamber Group.

The planned enterprise zone will cover a large part of the city centre, including the Science Park at Aston, the planned High Speed 2 station near Curzon Street, the refurbished New Street station, Birmingham City University’s campus, Millennium Point and much of Eastside, the city centre district currently undergoing a major redevelopment project.

The zone also, perhaps fortunately for Mr Street, includes the planned new John Lewis store next to New Street station.

A business plan drawn up by the enterprise partnership predicts a total of £700 million will be raised from increased business rate collection over a 25 year period.

Cash will not come in immediately, because of the five-year business rate holiday which is to be enjoyed by new employers.

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Old May 1st, 2011, 09:12 PM   #130
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MORE LETTINGS!!! Lets hope this can spur on some development! Ive always liked the axis building

Mammoth office deals in Birmingham city centre
114,000 sq ft of office space secured at the Axis Building

Article posted: 30 Apr 2011
A tripartite deal has resulted in the letting of 114,000 sq ft of prime office space in the heart of Birmingham’s bustling business community.

The prominent eleven-storey Axis building will now house the Department for Communities and Local Government, following completion on a 10-year lease for 39,000 sq ft of superior office space for an undisclosed sum.

The deal was brokered by Sanderson Weatherall LLP who acted on behalf of owners, BRB (Residuary) Ltd (the residuary body of the British Railways Board) and agents DTZ, who acted for the Government department.

In a back to back transaction, Sanderson Weatherall has also secured a 10 year commitment from Atkins Ltd, one of the world's leading engineering and design consultancies, on 75,000 sq ft of accommodation

Partner for Corporate Real Estate at Sanderson Weatherall, Andrew Ellis, said: “It’s great news for Birmingham as these are huge deals in the face of what remains a tough market. It really is testament to the high quality, modern and contemporary accommodation on offer at The Axis. It’s incredibly encouraging to see intent from the Government to invest in the City as well as the continued backing from the private sector.

Senior Director at DTZ, David Tonks, said: “The space provides good value for money in a sector of the market which has remained active during the past three years.”

Sanderson Weatherall are agents on the last 4,000 sq ft of accommodation which remains on the market within the 180,000 sq ft building which is situated on the south side of Holliday Street adjoining the Suffolk Street Queensway flyover. It is within a four minute walk of Birmingham New Street Station and is adjacent to the highly acclaimed Mailbox development.
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Old May 10th, 2011, 08:36 PM   #131
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Leading electrical wholesaler Newey & Eyre has relocated to a new state of the art headquarters in Sheldon, Birmingham, which has been designed to showcase the latest energy saving technologies and techniques.

The company, which supplies a wide range of products via its 150 locations based across the UK and web-based Neweys Online service, has worked with leading manufacturers to specify and install the latest products that will not only satisfy the company’s environmental philosophy, but also demonstrate energy efficiency in practice.

Mark Fiddy, commercial director for Newey & Eyre, said: “Energy efficiency and keeping carbon emissions down is an important challenge for the majority of UK businesses at the moment and it is important that we literally practice what we preach in terms of using the right energy efficient products.

“Lighting alone can account for 60 per cent of electricity used in a building such as our headquarters and in line with this, Part L of the building regulations is driving the installation and use of energy efficient products in both commercial and domestic applications. In addition, creating a healthy and productive environment for office staff is equally as important as keeping energy usage low, and the latest technologies and techniques such as daylight harvesting go a long way to achieving this.”

Newey & Eyre has worked with key product suppliers on the project, including Cooper Lighting, Concord, Legrand, Thorn, Schneider Electric and Philips to ensure the latest techniques and equipment were selected and used for its new offices. This way it is possible to demonstrate today’s technology and best practice to those in the electrical trade who are seeking the best solutions for their customers.

The building has been designed to provide as much natural light as possible, resulting in less requirement for artificial lighting and use of effective controls will lead to energy and cost savings for the company. The premises also feature the latest T5 high frequency dimmable and LED luminaires which will also make a significant contribution to keeping energy usage down.
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Old June 4th, 2011, 04:44 PM   #132
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Not really too sure on the best thread for this one:

Minworth grows with site extension
Last updated: Fri 3rd June, 2011 at 08:09am
The latest phase of Minworth Trade Park has been completed, extending the site by ten units. Two businesses have also signed leases on units within the estate.

The latest phase of development, C and G block, comprises 47,000 sq ft.

Formal suit hire company Peter Posh has signed up for a trade unit of 3,445 sq ft, while Susie Watson Designs has taken a warehouse unit of 6,120 sq ft. The design company said the facility would be used to distribute its handmade home furnishings.

Alex Luker of CBRE Investors, which operates the site, said: "Minworth Trade Park is going from strength to strength. We let over 25,000 sq ft last year and this letting at the latest phase on practical completion shows our confidence to expand the trade park was justified.

"Peter Posh has helped to widen our mix of tenants whilst Susie Watson Designs shows that our location in the centre of the UK is a major draw. Our agents Harris Lamb and Colliers International are close to securing more occupiers."

Minworth Trade Park is also home to occupiers including Magnet, Screw Fix, City Plumbing, Howdens and Plumb Center.
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Old June 8th, 2011, 08:40 PM   #133
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woody can we raname this thread west midlands economy and company news?

anyway lets hope this results in some good office developments
Birmingham Office Space Running Out
Published by Simon on Wednesday, 08 June 2011 at 10:33 AM

Businesses seeking office space in Birmingham will face limited options and higher rents according to commercial property firm Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH).

Reported today by the Business Insider, the growing number of businesses currently on the hunt for Grade A Office Space in Birmingham could cause a shortage of supply – primarily due to the lack of new office space being built throughout the City.

The lack of office space developments planned within the City, a result of the many commercial property projects that fell victim to the recession, means that no new office space is expected to become available in Birmingham for at least 3 to 4 years.

“Companies wanting to move offices in Birmingham are looking at the four million square foot of space currently available and thinking – wrongly – that they can take their time making a decision. The opposite is true.” explained Jon Hinton, Senior Surveyor at LSH.

“Only 750,000 sq ft of that space is Grade A and there is very little new build in the pipeline. If the average yearly take-up of Grade A space continues at 200,000 to 250,000 sq ft, there will be a dearth of new space in the next three to four years."

Mr Hinton also stated that the limited supply of quality office space in Birmingham City Centre would be diminished yet further if the expected Enterprise Zone is confirmed – pushing up the price of office space throughout the City Centre as a result.
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Old June 9th, 2011, 09:09 PM   #134
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[QUOTE=Law Society plans city move for 600 staff
9th June 2011

By Tamlyn Jones - Business Correspondent
THE Law Society will consolidate two of its offices in the West Midlands into one new operation for 600 staff in Birmingham city centre - with a view to expanding the payroll soon after.

The representative association for the legal profession plans to move employees from its current bases at Ipsley Court, Redditch, and Victoria Court, Leamington, where its consumer complaints service is based.

An exact date for the move is yet to be confirmed but a spokeswoman for the Society said it would most likely happen in 2012

Nice addition to the city after the Legal Ombudsman set up, just the Ministry of Justice and were sorted.....
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Old June 9th, 2011, 11:36 PM   #135
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I've heard that the MoJ are moving into Axis on Holliday Street.
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Old June 10th, 2011, 04:44 PM   #136
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Colmore Sq nabs Law Society brief
Lisa Pilkington 10/06/2011 10:41

The Law Society is close to confirming Nurton Developments' 2 Colmore Square in Birmingham as the home of its new 60,000 sq ft Midlands headquarters.

The legal profession's representative association plans to consolidate its two existing offices in Leamington and Redditch and will relocate up to 600 staff in the move.

A board meeting took place yesterday to finalise a decision. Although no announcement on the preferred location has yet been announced, Nurton's office scheme has emerged as favourite to win the requirement.

The Law Society is being advised by BNP Paribas Real Estate and has also looked closely at other office schemes, including The Cube and the former LeFarge offices close to Birmingham International station.

Rupert Young, development director at Nurton, said: "We are awaiting feedback and remain hopeful."

The move will build on Birmingham's reputation as a major legal centre following the Office of Legal Complaints' 40,000 sq ft relocation to Baskerville House last year.

An estimated 7,000 lawyers work in Birmingham.
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Old June 10th, 2011, 08:56 PM   #137
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Theres talk that the Black country enterprise zone will be between the Wolverhampton i54 site with expansion plans - obviously JLR engine plant is one, the other one is further expansion to merry hill and the waterfront office development - would tie in with the rumours of House of Fraser wanting to open up a new store at merry hill I guess, given that JLR has said they will be opening there new engine plant in wolverhamptons i54 site im gonna guess it will be that site
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Old June 11th, 2011, 05:24 PM   #138
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Originally Posted by markmcd1976 View Post
I've heard that the MoJ are moving into Axis on Holliday Street.

They are indeed. It's the OPG that are moving there out of London. They will be based there and 54 Hagley road where tribunals service have office.
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Old June 12th, 2011, 10:23 PM   #139
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I'd rely hope that if the MoJ was to move to Brum bit by bit, all the offshoot offices would eventually consolidate into one building i.e. Paradise Forum development.
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Old June 26th, 2011, 07:52 PM   #140
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Woody or any other mods can we get this thread renamed "West Midlands Economy & Company News"??

Thought I would post this as its related with his visit to Birmingham at the Longbridge plant and with the chinease bid for the HS2 from London - Birmingham, Hopefully we can get some investment from them!

I saw him getting off the M42 at Hopwood Services going towards the Longbridge plant under police escort, all the roads were temporary closed while he was driven to the factory.

China's Premier promises steps to boost UK trade
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao: "We will welcome more British products into the Chinese market"
Continue reading the main story
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China's Premier Wen Jiabao has pledged to take measures to increase trade between Britain and China.

Mr Wen, who is on a three-day visit, said he wanted to welcome more UK products into China.

Speaking exclusively to the BBC's business editor, Robert Peston, he also said he would like to see more enterprises based on the model used by the MG car plant at Longbridge

The factory designs and assembles in the UK, with parts made in China.

Mr Wen visited the plant, once the site of Britain's mass-car manufacturing, which is now owned by the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC).

The Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said China offered "huge opportunities" adding that it was important to have a full dialogue with China.

Up to £1bn worth of business deals are expected to be announced during Mr Wen's three-day UK tour.

The BBC's business editor, Robert Peston, interviewing the Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao Mr Hunt, who earlier accompanied the life-long Shakespeare admirer Mr Wen to Stratford-Upon-Avon, said: "We want to have a broad-based relationship with China which encompasses political, economic and social dialogue.

"It's obviously an incredibly important economic power and a massive investor in the UK.

"But what this visit is about is saying that it's not just about jobs, it's also about a broader cultural relationship which is the best possible way to make sure we understand each other and avoid the kind of misunderstanding that so can bedevil relationships, as has happened in the past."

'Flagship projects'

With China having overtaken Japan as the world's second largest economy, many European companies are looking for investment, while Chinese acquisitions in Europe have also been increasing.

Mr Wen is thought to be leading a Chinese bid for work on the HS2 high-speed rail line between London and Birmingham.

Chinese ambassador Liu Xiaoming said last week China was looking for "flagship projects" and had "the knowledge, expertise and experience" to assist with HS2.

On Monday, Mr Wen will attend the annual UK-China Strategic Summit and meet his British counterpart, David Cameron.

That meeting will also involve the Foreign Secretary William Hague and the Chancellor George Osborne.

Continue reading the main story “
Start Quote
If words matter, then his declaration that it is a priority to boost consumption by the Chinese, relative to their massive saving and investment, will help to bring balance to the global economy”
End Quote
Robert Peston

Business editor

Read more from Robert
Chinese Premier backs UK and euro
Mr Wen will also hold talks with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and business leaders, before leaving for Germany on Monday.

Euro support

Mr Wen flew into Birmingham airport on Saturday night, and was met by Trade Minister Stephen Green and Britain's ambassador to Beijing Sebastian Wood, the Foreign Office said.

He had come from Hungary, where he was asked about the debt crisis in Europe, and especially the situation in Greece.

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Jeremy Hunt: "We want to have a broad-based relationship with China"
"China will consistently support Europe and the euro," Mr Wen said.

He said he was confident the eurozone could overcome its problems.

"Europe's debt crisis is expanding. Trust is more important than currency and gold and now, during the debt crisis, we again bring trust to Europe.

"I have total trust in Europe's economic development," he added.

China has foreign reserves of about $3tn and is believed to be diversifying some of its holdings from US dollars into euros and other currencies.

Human rights
While economic, commercial and political ties are the focus of the visit, Britain remains concerned about China's human rights record and the issue is expected to be raised in talks, says the BBC's Adam Mynott.

Last week dissident artist Ai Weiwei was released from custody in China, heading off protests which might have greeted Mr Wen's visit to Britain.

On Saturday news broke that another prominent Chinese dissident, Hu Jia, had been released from prison and reunited with his family.

He had campaigned for the environment and in support of patients with Aids.

But the Free Tibet pressure group has held a demonstration outside the Longbridge plant and has promised to hold demonstrations outside Downing Street when Mr Wen goes to meet Mr Cameron.
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