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Business

Gazumping makes an unwelcome return to Marlborough’s property market

Edward Hall of Smiths GoreEdward Hall of Smiths Gore

Gazumping is making an unwelcome to return to the Marlborough property market according to  estate agent Edward Hall.

Mr Hall, of Smiths Gore, says the practise - when a seller accepts an oral offer of the asking price from one potential buyer, but then accepts a higher offer from someone else – is returning due to the scarcity of popular properties.

“Gazumping is making a reappearance as the scarcity of popular properties means good ones outstrip expectations, but others are sticking on the market, often because vendors believe London-based hype,” said Mr Hall.

Meanwhile, the 10 percent property price increases recorded in London have yet to spread to Wiltshire, where a more modest annual rise of two-and-a-half percent is reported.

“ The heady headlines of national average house prices are miles away from the reality – about 77 miles from the London reality, actually” said Mr Hall.

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Digital news as popular as newspapers for first time - report

Image courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.netImage courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.netMarlborough News Online readers - you are not alone! Consuming news on websites (like this one) or apps is now as popular as reading newspapers, according to new research published by media regulator Ofcom.

Forty-one percent of people say they now access news on websites and apps, up significantly from 32 percent in 2013.

And four in ten people say that they read newspapers to follow the news, which is unchanged year on year, according to Ofcom’s News Consumption in the UK report.

At the same time, using websites or apps has overtaken the radio (36 percent) to catch-up on the news.

The report suggests that younger people (16 to 24) are driving the surge in consuming news on the internet or apps, with 60 percent doing so in 2014, up from 44 percent last year.

Some 45 percent of 16 to 24s said that websites or apps were their most important sources for news, up by a half over the year (30 percent in 2013).

The rise in digital news is driven by increased mobile and tablet use among younger people. They are ten times more likely than those aged 55 and over to access news on a mobile (40 percent versus four percent) and twice as likely via a tablet (15 percent versus seven percent).

The top three reasons UK adults give for following the news is to know what’s going on in the world (58 percent), across the UK (56 percent) and in their local area (49 percent).

Those aged 55+ are more likely to give more reasons for following news, suggesting a stronger engagement.

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Marlborough takes first steps towards establishing a Business Improvement District

Bright and busy - but with a BID scheme in place Marlborough High Street could be brighter and busier say business leadersBright and busy - but with a BID scheme in place Marlborough High Street could be brighter and busier say business leadersThe first steps towards the establishment of a Business Improvement District in Marlborough have been taken with the formation of a Town Team.

Officials from Marlborough Town Council and Marlborough Chamber of Commerce met last week to discuss proposals to create a B.I.D. which would allow the town to establish a fund which would be used to pay for projects that would enhance the economic vitality of the town.

A B.I.D. can only be established in the majority of businesses vote in favour of it. A levy - typically between one and three percent - is added to the business rates, but rather than being given to central government for redistribution - a method that sees market towns like Marlborough receive far less than they put in - the levy is ring fenced and comes straight back to the town.

Members of the B.I.D. then decide how the money is to be spent.

“From Christmas lights, better signage, and street furniture to festivals and advertising and marketing campaigns to promote the town, business communities can really benefit from the establishment of a Business Improvement District,” said Chamber of Commerce president Alex Minoudis.

“The Chamber is fully supportive of this proposal, and we are confident that individual businesses large and small will be in favour.”

The scheme is currently working with great success in Swindon and has recently been adopted by Salisbury. Amesbury, Chippenham, and Trowbridge are all currently in the process of creating B.I.Ds.

Tim Martienssen, Wiltshire Council’s head of service for economic development and planning said: “Salisbury has 400 businesses contributing £500,000 a year. In Chippenham we expect the scheme to raise £200,000 to £300,000 a year. In Marlborough - depending on the geographic scope of the Business Improvement District - you could expect maybe £150,000 per year for five years.”

Mr Martienssen reassured the meeting that the fund would not replace investment by Wiltshire Council. “The money from a B.I.D. can only be used over and above what should be done by the public sector,” he said.

The first part of the Business Improvement District process is the creation of a town plan, and Mike King from Towns Alive was at the meeting to explain how a benchmarking exercise - funded by the town council - would help to identify the needs of the business community.

“It’s about understanding individual town centres and how they are performing, compared to other towns of a similar nature and size,” said Mr King.

“We look at the mix of shops and measure the distribution of comparison and convenience retail. We calculate the percentage of independent, regional and national retailers. And we count the number of vacant business premises. These figures are then compared against every other market town in the southwest region.”

Mr King explained that a footfall count was another important part of the research, indicating the town’s hotspots and highlighting areas that were struggling to attract visitors.

“We also look at car parking vacancy rates and conduct a review of the signing,” he said.

The final part of the benchmarking exercise is a series of surveys:

A business confidence survey is sent to every town centre business, asking owners about turnover, profitability and expectations for the future.

A shoppers origin survey will determine the geographical attraction of Marlborough, while a town centre users’ survey involves a mix of face-to-face interviews – collating the opinions of people who use the town - and online surveys, which seek out information from irregular visitors, or those who perhaps used to visit and don’t anymore.

“The resulting report gives you a robust body of evidence, rather than anecdotal evidence, about the impact of car parking tariffs, the absence of signage, a lack of parking spaces, and anything else a town feels is having a negative impact on its economic vitality,” he said.

Marlborough Town Council has already put aside £2,500 for the benchmarking exercise, and the Chamber of Commerce is to consideradditional funding or manpower for the provision of extra footfall counts. The exercise will take place in September, when the town returns to normality after the summer holidays.

The next Town Team meeting will be held at Marlborough Town Hall on Thursday, July 24 from 5pm. Anyone interested in attending should call town clerk Shelley Parker on 01672 512487 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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New website holds the key to ‘secret club’ of Wiltshire’s independent producers and experiences

Sam BertramSam BertramThe keys to a ‘secret club’ of Wiltshire producers and experiences are being handed to residents and tourists alike, in the form of a new discovery website.

Local Uncovered gives visitors information about dozens of independent, small-scale producers, spanning a wide range of goods from food and drink to art, fashions and homewares.

Meanwhile, featured businesses - the site’s ‘members’ - are encouraged to share the hidden secrets of their own communities, from unmapped walks to quirky events: providing an alternative tourist information service for locals and visitors.

Most of the members - who are selected for their production of original, unique and quality merchandise - are what website creator Sam Bertram calls ‘kitchen table enterprises’.

And the platform - which is available on mobile phones and tablets as well as PCs - has been put together from Sam’s office, at her thatched cottage at Clatford, just outside Marlborough.

Sam helped some of the biggest brands in the UK reach their customers through digital media, before leaving the London rat race for a quieter life in Wiltshire with her husband, John, and children Oliver (5) and Iona (3) last year.

“I’ve always liked the idea of using local businesses and shopping for local produce, wherever in the world I am,” said Sam, who grew up in Kenya, “and there’s a massive trend towards people wanting that authentic experience.”

“When I came to Wiltshire I soon started to discover these brilliant little businesses producing excellent products, and decided to use my expertise and experience from working with big brands to support these independent producers.”

Sam says her website is like a ‘secret club’. “You know when you have a circle of friends who meet for coffee and tell each other about the lady designing bespoke handbags, or the couple producing liqueurs with your own name on the label? That’s what Local Uncovered is all about.”

The alternative visitor guide reflects the spirit of uncovering the county’s hidden gems. Sam has encouraged her members to share their favourite tips with visitors: like snail racing at Upavon village fete, or oak apple day at Great Wishford, where villagers ceremonially assert their right to gather firewood by cutting an oak bough and decorating it with ribbons.

“There’s so much enthusiasm for this feature,” says Sam. “The members are passionate about Wiltshire, and are excited to have a platform from which to share the things they think make the county such a great place to be.”

Local Uncovered creator Sam BertramLocal Uncovered creator Sam BertramSite visitors can browse homegrown products and tourism tips by category or location - using a beautifully illustrated map - helping them to discover small businesses and experiences on their doorstep.

Key local events are also listed on the site, and there is a special section for charities and community organisations.

And with more than 40 Wiltshire businesses on the site already, Local Uncovered will be rolling out to neighbouring counties soon.

Visit www.localuncovered.com

 

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Lawyer publishes book to help businesses win small claims cases

Anthony ReevesAnthony ReevesA Marlborough lawyer has published a book to help small business owners win cases at small claims court.

How to Make Successful Small Claims - a Guide to Court Procedure and Alternative Dispute Resolution is the thirteenth book written by Anthony Reeves, of The Merriman Partnership.

His other titles include Give Me Your Money! A Straightforward Guide to Debt Collecting and See You in Court! How to Conduct Your Own Case in the Small Claims Court.

“The small claims procedure of the County Court is usually used in defended cases that do not exceed £10,000,” explained Anthony.

“With the small claims limit having increased to £10,000, it has become more important to be aware of the process of making a small claim.

“As the title suggests, the book also explains the importance of Alternative Dispute Resolution – a method of reaching agreement without taking court action.”

The book is available from www.anthonyreeves.co.uk, priced £6.99

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Lawyers’ fundraising scales new heights

The team from Withy King celebrating after completing the Three Peaks Challenge and raising over 9k for charityThe team from Withy King celebrating after completing the Three Peaks Challenge and raising over 9k for charityLawyers from Marlborough-based Withy King have helped raise over £9,000 for charity by completing the gruelling Three Peaks Challenge.

The team took part in the challenge, running, walking and hobbling their way to the top of Ben Nevis (1344m), Scafell Pike (978m) and Snowdon (1085m), the three highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales.

The first group to complete the challenge comprised Ali Cloak, Mark Hambleton, Laura Podger, Andy Williams, Pam Howell and Richard Gorham, who crossed the finishing line in 22 hours, six minutes.

Ali Cloak, a clinical negligence solicitor at Withy King, said: “I am so proud of my team and all my colleagues for taking this on. You don’t realise quite how tough it’s going to be until you do it.

“The adventure began at 4am so we could catch our flights to Glasgow, ready to climb the first mountain, Ben Nevis, that afternoon. We fought our way through fog and snowfields to reach the top before driving 250 miles to Cumbria to start climbing Scafell Pike at 3.30am, in the pitch dark.

“By the time we got to Snowdon, the sun was blazing and we had to climb to the top in 24 degree heat. I’m really pleased to be able to say that we did it though – and with almost two hours to spare.”

Chris Kane, a partner at Withy King who also took part, said: “It was a tremendous team effort and a great experience for everyone involved. A lack of sleep, physical and mental exhaustion and several minor injuries provided plenty of challenges along the way but I am immensely proud of the way everyone pulled together and got through it.

“I think I got one hour’s sleep over a 48 hour period, so I’m amazed I managed to help navigate the route and complete the challenge. We are delighted to have raised over £9,000 for our three chosen charities during this one event and are grateful to Withy King for covering our costs and helping to make it possible.”

Withy King has arranged a whole host of activities as part of its Summer of Sport in aid of its three chosen charities: The RUH Forever Friends Appeal, Wiltshire Air Ambulance, and Headway Oxford. Every penny donated will be going to the charities.

To support Withy King’s Summer of Sport for charity, visit www.justgiving.com/teams/withykingsummerofsport

 

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Winning a place in national competition finals is a snip for hairdresser Joshua

Joshua GoldsworthyJoshua GoldsworthyA Marlborough hairdresser has proved he's a cut above the rest, after winning a place in the finals of a prestigious national competition - for the second year in a row.

Joshua Goldsworthy, of Goldsworthy Hairdressing Group in Hughenden Yard, has secured a place in the final of the Fashionista and IT Guy category of national hairdressing competition, The It List.

Having beaten off stiff competition from stylists all over the UK, Joshua will be heading to the It List Grand Final on Monday, September 1 at the Tate Modern in London, which will be hosted by award-winning comedian Jack Whitehall.

Judged by hair, fashion and business icons, including the founder of my-wardrobe.com Sarah Curran MBE, celebrity hairdresser Nicky Clarke OBE and beauty editors of leading magazines such as Vogue, the It List awards celebrate the gifted young talents whose exceptional creativity and skills are helping to shape the future of British hairdressing.

Launched in 2010 by the industry's leading publication, Creative HEAD, and exclusively sponsored by ghd, the awards recognise a multitude of disciplines including entrepreneurship and fashion industry collaborations. With six titles waiting to be claimed, the 2014 ceremony will shine a spotlight on the industry's most impressive names and help propel their careers to the next level.

Winners will take home a coveted trophy, enjoy a mentoring workshop courtesy of ghd, and receive editorial coverage in Creative HEAD magazine and online, ensuring their profiles soar overnight.

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Brewin Dolphin backs Devizes Festival for fifth year

Stephen DeplaStephen DeplaMarlborough-based wealth management company Brewin Dolphin has renewed its lead sponsorship of Devizes Festival.

The 32nd festival - which features music, literature, comedy and film over a fortnight - runs over 19 days in June.

Announcing Brewin Dolphin’s association with the festival for the fifth consecutive year, head of branch Stephen Depla said: “We are proud to continue our support of the Devizes Festival. The festival is a highlight in the local calendar and always proves to be a great success.”

Festival highlights include comedienne, actress and writer Arabella Weir at the Town Hall on Sunday (June 15) an appearance by drug smuggler and author Howard Marks at the Corn Exchange on Thursday (June 19), and a lecture by TV historian David Starkey, titled The Tudors and Us, at the Corn Exchange on Saturday (June 21).

For a full programme of events log on to www.devizesfestival.co.uk/events

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Marlborough shops to offer a Window on Art

Artist James Hourd with Steve Tuddenham installing his photograph at Waitrose for Windows on Art 2013Artist James Hourd with Steve Tuddenham installing his photograph at Waitrose for Windows on Art 2013Marlborough High Street will be turned into a virtual art gallery this summer, as 41 of the town’s top artists display their work in 34 shop windows as part of the Marlborough Open Studios scheme.

Windows on Art creates a diverse trail of paintings, illustrations, photographs, ceramics and even metalwork by a local blacksmith.

The scheme - from Friday, June 27 to Monday, July 25 - runs concurrently with Open Studios, where local artists throw open their doors to meet art lovers and sell their work.

Open Studios will be held on Saturdays and Sundays June 28 and 29, July 5 and 6, 12 and 13, and 19 and 20.

Windows on Art venues are open during normal shop and office hours.. A map and directory of participating shops and artists can be found at http://marlboroughopenstudios.co.uk/trails/woa

 

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Golf Club date for Marlborough Chamber of Commerce

The Marlborough Chamber of Commerce business networking breakfast takes place on Wednesday, June 18 from 8am to 9.30am at Marlborough Golf Club. Attendance costs £9.

For more information, or to book a place, email Elaine Glass at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01672 518817.

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Series of free workshops offer Six Steps to a Better Business

Nigel ScottNigel ScottA series of free workshops in Marlborough promise to give company owners new practical ideas, insights and tools to improve their business.

Led by award-winning business coach Nigel Scott, of ActionCoach, the free event will show business owners the steps to building a better business.

At the workshop, delegates will learn how to:
• Increase profits by 61 percent using a five-point plan
• Get more done in less time
• Build a winning team
• Get a better quality of life

The workshop will cover:
• Ways to attract more customers
• Getting customers coming back for more
• Generating more from each sale
• Simple yet powerful ways to improve profit margins
• Identifying opportunities across a business to drive profit

The workshops will be held at Marlborough Golf Club from 9am to 1pm on Fridays, July 25, August 22, October 24, and November 21.

For more information, or to book a place, call 01672 512001 or email Jane Scott at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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