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EXCITING news broke this weekend, when it was exclusively revealed to Tamworth Informed that plans are afoot for a Tamworth Micro Brewery to ‘twin’ and with a German counterpart.

There are also plans to work on a joint recipe to celebrate the 40th year of Tamworth and Bad Laasphe being ‘twinned’ in 2020, by launching the ‘Twinning Brew’.

George Greenaway, owner of the Market Street based micro-brewery, Tamworth Brewing Company and Harald Hagerdorn from the Bad Laasphe twinning association broke the exciting news to our very own Edna, in the rear yard of the brewery, in the shadow of Tamworth Castle.

Tamworth Brewing Company brew in their modern, bespoke microbrewery which is located in a 16th-century shop front falling within the shadow of Tamworth’s historic Norman castle.

Two brew days per week produce experimental brews and regular pale hoppy ales to local pubs and also sell on the premises since receiving it premises licence on December 22 last year.

The micro-brewery is brewing beer inside the confines of the town centre for the first time in 71 years, after the last brewery, Morgans, closed its doors in 1947.

You can find out more about Tamworth Brewing Company, here.


WORK has begun on an extended roof terrace and new signage and cladding to the outside of a Tamwoth Nightclub.

Kuda on Spinning School Lane is to be renamed ATIK when the extension works are complete.

The existing roof terrace to what once was known as The Embassy and then Trinity was formed in 2007 to allow customers that wished to, to smoke in the ‘not substantially enclosed space’ – as allowed by the legislation.

In the design and access statement for the planning application that was submitted last year, it says that as the existing flat roof is below the parapet, both the new and existing terrace is not visible from ground level.

In addition the existing kuda sign will be replaced with individual illuminated letters spelling out ATIK – the new name for the club. Metal cladding is also being installed outside the Spinning School Lane entrance; covering the existing stone cladding.

The Tamworth Nightclub is owned by Deltic Group which is a private company with an estate of 65 Nightclubs around the Country and has the largest square footage of nightclub capacity in the UK.

A number of the groups nightclubs are already named Atik and Vinyl which fits in with the Tamworth Brand.

‘Not substantially enclosed space’ – what is this?

Under the legislation covering ‘smoke free zones’ which bans smoking in pubs and clubs, it makes it illegal for people to smoke in an enclosed or substantially enclosed space.  Smoking is allowed on the terrace of the Spinning School Lane club due to it not being:

Enclosed – which is an area with permanent walls and doors without any gaps. Windows and doors aren’t classed as gaps; or  Substantially Enclosed, which is a structure (with a roof/ceiling) with an opening in the walls where the opening would make up less than half of the area of the total wall space. Again doors and windows are not classed as gaps.

Modern Slavery

SMALL businesses across Staffordshire are being encouraged to be more vigilant in the ongoing fight against Modern Day Slavery – following recent arrests made in the County.

The Office of the Police and Crime in Staffordshire has commissioned Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce to support the fight and encourage businesses to pledge to the OPCC’s awareness campaign.

Currently, only businesses with a turnover exceeding £36m are required by law to ensure their supply chain is free from slavery, but all organisations can play their part, no matter how large or small.

Now, Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce, are working with the OPCC to encourage small businesses to sign a pledge to eradicate Modern Day Slavery within their workforce and supply chains.

The announcement comes on the back of a high profile case in the East of the County where two women and a man were found guilty of human trafficking offences after forcing young Vietnamese women to work in nail bars across the country, including Burton.

The Chamber will be working with the Voice of Hope, an organisation supported by the OPCC, to deliver training and awareness across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, taking a stand against the crime.

Voice of Hope Ann Graiger, Sue Arnold DPCC, Adele Cope Staffs Chamber of Commerce

Voice of Hope Ann Graiger, Sue Arnold DPCC, Adele Cope Staffs Chamber of Commerce

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Arnold said: ‘I know that businesses across the area are passionate about eradicating this kind of crime but awareness is the key to tackling it.

‘No matter how big or small, all businesses need to be aware of this crime and the role they play.

‘Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce will help ensure companies sign up to the pledge to eradicate this despicable crime – signposting them to the relevant skills to detect and address slavery in their supply chains.

‘Having the chamber on board enables us to get to the heart of the business community within the area and give them the skills to recognise their responsibilities.’

Staffordshire’s Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, Sara Williams, said: ‘We are proud to be working on this important project.  Modern slavery and human trafficking are abhorrent crimes that can often go unseen, and we encourage businesses of all sizes to sign up for the training, adopt the pledge and play a part in tackling this problem.

‘Ethical business is good business, and at the Chambers we are making sure that the vital role local firms play in our communities is recognised and understood.’

More than 70 delegates from across the area, attended the first of many awareness courses at the Bridge Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

Organiser Ann Graiger, from Voice of Hope, said: ‘As an organisation, we want to reach out to as many organisations as possible to raise awareness of the plight so many face.

‘We are stronger together and recognising the signs of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery can only strengthen our ability to stop these horrible crimes.’

Any businesses wishing to sign our pledge can download it at www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk/modern-slavery/

Slavery is closer than you think. It happens all over the world including the UK. Find out more at www.modernslavery.co.uk or call the helpline on 0800 0121 700.

DPCC Sue Arnold raises awareness of Modern Slavery

DPCC Sue Arnold raises awareness of Modern Slavery

Tamworth Enterprise Centre

ENTREPRENEURS and new small businesses in Tamworth are invited to attend a free two-day start-up masterclass on Wednesday, February 7 and Thursday, February 8 at Tamworth Enterprise Centre.

The masterclass – Enterprise for Success programme – aims to provide individuals with the right skills they need to run their business and offers guidance to complete a detailed business plan.

The programme is run by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The flexible, free programme offers:

  • One-to-one support from qualified advisors
  • Business plan preparation and cash flow forecasts
  • Specialist training courses covering marketing, finance, tax, business planning, e-commerce and PR
  • Referral to support organisations and networks
  • Support for businesses in their first year of trading

After successfully completing the 12-hour programme, if eligible, businesses can then apply for a grant of between £500 and £1500 from Tamworth Borough Council’s small business grant scheme, which has so far awarded 15 individuals a total of £14,753.68.

The grant scheme helps promote new business start-ups, self-employment and entrepreneurship in Tamworth. New small businesses in the area are now being encouraged to apply for the fourth round of grants of between £500 and £1500, before the application closing date on Friday, February 23.

Businesses including environmental cleaning; respite services for parents of special needs children; bespoke cakes; foot health practitioner; domestic, national and international relocation and media services have all benefited from the Enterprise for Success Programme and grant scheme since it was launched in Tamworth last April.

Cllr Steve Claymore, the Cabinet member for Regeneration, said; “The Enterprise for Success Programme continues to support individuals wishing to start up a new business or who have been trading for less than three years.

“Small businesses are the foundation of any thriving economy and using the new Tamworth Enterprise Centre as a ‘hub’ of support and advice can only help grow the local economy.”

Individuals interested in the two-day start-up masterclass on Wednesday, February 7 and Thursday, February 8, at the Tamworth Enterprise Centre, can visit the website: http://www.tlforbusiness.co.uk/start-support

To register your interest and check if you are eligible for a grant please contact: Lorraine Farley (Business Liaison Officer) 01827 709525 or email: [email protected]

Tamworth Enterprise Centre offers modern serviced offices to rent, well-appointed meeting rooms for hire, an executive business lounge, virtual offices, conference facilities, superfast broadband, Wi-Fi, interactive TVs and much more.

For more information about the facilities on offer, businesses can visit the website www.tamworthenterprisecentre.co.uk, or email [email protected] to inquire about hiring a meeting room. Prices range from £10 to £20 per hour depending on the size of the room. Virtual office packages range in price from £30 for registered address and post box services to £200 including meeting room credits.

mr electric franchise owner Jeff Longley

MIDLANDS-based Mr Electric is helping to fill the gap following the collapse of facilities management and construction giant Carillion.

The huge multinational company went into compulsory liquidation on January 15, affecting more than 40,000 employees, half of which are in the UK, and tens of thousands of customers and suppliers.

Mr Electric Birmingham North has already started receiving calls from Carillion customers and is encouraging anyone who has an urgent requirement for electrical or facilities management services to get in touch.

Franchise owner, Jeff Longley, said: “The collapse of Carillion is terrible news for the industry and the thousands of workers and businesses it will affect. I expect the fall-out for this will continue to be felt for a long time to come.

“If any schools or businesses have been left in the lurch as a result and need urgent or ongoing electrical, energy efficiency or facilities management services, Mr Electric can help. We will be working hard to accommodate as many former Carillion customers as possible.

“The beauty of working with a medium-sized company like Mr Electric is that we don’t subcontract out, so there isn’t that extra layer of cost and you will always know who you are dealing with. As we only send our own local tradesmen, we can guarantee the quality of staff, the level of customer service and the standard of work undertaken.

“Our customers have direct access to myself and the Mr Electric team, so they are guaranteed a quick response in an emergency, to ensure the problem is sorted as soon as possible. All staff are DBS-checked, wear a uniform, carry Mr Electric ID and have the appropriate qualifications, and our prices are competitive.

“If any former Carillion customers are looking for a new provider for their electrical or facilities management services, or if they have an urgent requirement as a result of the company’s collapse, I’d encourage them to get in touch with us as soon as possible.”

Mr Electric has more than 50 years of experience in the electrical industry and is established as one of the premiere service providers, including all aspects of facilities management, energy efficiency services, electrical monitoring and preventative maintenance, EICR testing, 24/7/365 emergency response and much more.

For more information, visit www.birminghamnorth.mr-electric.co.uk, or call 01827 230999.

NEW plans submitted to Tamworth Borough Council appear to show that the extension to the current Matalan store is not to go ahead… with a completely new unit proposed for the earmarked land.

The proposal will see an EIGHTH unit added to phase one of Ventura Retail Park with the new store new store stretching around the side and rear Matalan.

Previously we have published news of plans for the Matalan store to be extended – but this shows a change of direction by the developers.

Originally the planning committee granted permission for the side extension and mezzanine floor inside the matalan store on 20th April 2017.

Earlier this month, Matalan confirmed that they had no plans to close their store, even for a temporary time whilst their current store is extended.  This indicated the possibility of a change to the original idea of a larger Matalan store – with some readers speculating that a larger retailer like Primark may take the larger store.

The proposed creation of Unit 8 will create 4,500 square meters of floor space which will be split over two floors.

The plans showing the creation of Unit 8

The plans showing the creation of Unit 8.

Further Developments

Permission has been granted for the units on that phase of the Park to have new cladding to the outside and to modernise the look. The units look will be sticking to the appearance of Next. The plans show that the new frontages of the stores will be predominantly glazed and use new, modern materials.

In addition, units 2, 5 and 6; currently occupied by Halfords, Mothercare and Toys ‘R Us are to have Mezzanine floors installed.  In the case of Halfords, extended.

The car park will also see a facelift, with extra spaces added and an improved access road; moving the main road away from the front of the stores to increase safety to pedestrians.  An additional 146 parking spaces will be created.

An artists impression of the new look stores.

An artists impression of the new look stores (prior to the change of heart for the Matalan store).

The planning statement which was prepared by the developers at the time of application stated that the whole development would bring significant economic benefit to Tamworth with the creation of around 66 jobs based on the additional floor space and the assumption of one full-time employee per 90m of floor space.  This could add around £2.5 million to the local economy.

It is hoped by developers that the plans will ensure the major retails brands remain in Tamworth for years to come, securing existing employment.

A reminder that this work is being funded by a private company, J.B. Auctott, and not Tamworth Borough Council.  The proposals, securing employment and big names is surely a good thing for the town!

Yes, as residents, we would love investments from big names in the Town Centre, but we cannot force the hands of the big names, they choose where they want to do business.

What do you think of the plans?

The planned parking layout

The planned parking layout


Ventura South

THREE CAR dealerships, two restaurants and seven industrial units could be on their way to Ventura Park if a proposal gets the go-ahead.

Aucott and LSH Auto Properties (UK) Limited are proposing to develop ‘Ventura South’, Tamworth, south of Ventura Retail Park, which will sit south of the A5.

The proposal is for a new Mercedes- Benz car dealership, another two car dealerships, a drive-thru restaurant, a restaurant and seven light industrial/warehouse/storage units on the same site.

Artist Impression of the Mercedes-Benz dealership.

Artist Impression of the Mercedes-Benz dealership. Credit: Indigo

The proposal for the Mercedes-Benz dealership is for 2 buildings, both two storeys in height with some parking on the roof level. The car dealership will provide a number of services including:

  • Showroom;
  • Vehicle workshop;
  • Vehicle valeting facilities;
  • Vehicle storage and handover centre

It is expected that the proposals will see 82 car parking spaces for staff at roof level; and 510 car parking spaces for visitors, staff and customers.

LSH Auto Properties (UK) Limited is part of the Lei Shing Hong  (LSH) Group, an international company that was established over 45 years ago and is the world’s largest Mercedes-Benz retailer.  The group operates over 140 Mercedes-Benz dealerships across China, Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and Cambodia, and more recently has expanded to Europe, including Germany and the UK.

In the UK, LSH acquired the Birmingham and Manchester businesses in July 2016 and now operates nine Mercedes-Benz dealerships in these areas.  Its current site, in Mile Oak,  was built in the mid-1980s and Mercedes-Benz outgrew the site and its buildings many years ago.  Several support sites have been acquired over time by the business across the areas of Fazeley and Tamworth to plug the gap and the search for a new site has been ongoing since 2004.

The developers say that Ventura South would provide the perfect opportunity to grow the business, allowing for both the relocation and expansion of LSH’s operations.

They claim that over 100 full-time equivalent jobs will be supported and created by the proposed development, which will be a landmark building and of exemplary design, providing a destination centre for LSH customers in the Birmingham area.

The Ridiculously rich stall in Ankerside

A DELICIOUS sweet treat business, that was crowned the winner of The Apprentice in 2016, headed to a Tamworth shopping centre last week to showcase its luxury handmade cakes.

Customers were able to enjoy a delicious array of indulgent goodies from top Apprentice candidate, Alana Spencer, including everything from Belgian Chocolate Rocky Road and a Crème Brûlèe Brownie to Peanut Butter Fudge Cake and a Salted Caramel Slice from the hugely successful company.

And for those that missed out, the chocolatier will be making a welcome return to Ankerside Shopping Centre on Tuesday, 30 January for another successful day of tempting delicacies.

Apprentice Winner Alana with Lord Sugar

Apprentice Winner Alana with Lord Sugar

Originally named Narna’s, Alana won a 50/50 partnership with Lord Sugar and launched the new brand Ridiculously Rich by Alana in 2016. Now, the chocolate-loving business owner has company ambassadors all around the UK hosting events and has now launched subscriptions boxes so fans can get their monthly dose of cake.

Dena Green who is a Ridiculously Rich by Alana ambassador for Staffordshire said: “Our first visit to Ankerside was a huge success with lots of people coming over to see what our cakes have to offer and even though it’s January, plenty of shoppers wanted to take the desserts home.

“After such a positive response, we are looking forward to coming back to Ankerside on the 30 January and seeing the lovely staff at Specsavers who have become our biggest customers, as well as meeting many more new ones.”

Jeff Wigley, Ankerside Shopping Centre manager, said he was delighted to be able to welcome Ridiculously Rich by Alana in the centre. “Here at Ankerside, we’re always looking to support organisations and businesses, so to be able to welcome Dena as part of The Apprentice winner’s chocolatier company is fantastic.

“Throughout the day, customers and even the centre team enjoyed tucking into some of the treats on offer and they we all so tasty. We are very excited to be welcoming Dena and Ridiculously Rich by Alana back to Ankerside next Tuesday for more chocolate treats.”

Ben Davis 'make me awesome'

TAMWORTH-based children’s author Ben Davis has published his seventh book with Oxford University Press.

Make Me Awesome is about thirteen-year-old Freddie Smallhouse. His family fall on hard times and he joins a rather dubious online self-held programme to try and pull them out.

Leading book website LoveReading4Kids said ‘the laughs come fast and furious’ while That Boy Can Teach said that ‘Make Me Awesome will go down well with children looking for a funny, quick read.’

Ben Davis, best known for the Private Blog of Joe Cowley series, which has been translated into seven languages told Tamworth Informed: “I think Make Me Awesome is my funniest book. It also has a few nods for any local people who might read it. Like most of my books, it’s set in the entirely fictional town of Tammerstone, and there are even two characters called Lee Fields and Perry Crofts.”

Make Me Awesome is available to buy now from all major bookstores. More information can be found at Ben’s website at bendavisauthor.com.

Business plan

A SMALL business grant scheme which has so far awarded 15 individuals a total of £14,753.68 is now open for a fourth round of applications.

The scheme helps promote new business start-ups, self-employment and entrepreneurship in Tamworth. New businesses in the area are now being encouraged to apply for a fourth round of grants of between £500 and £1500, before the application closing date on Friday, February 23.

Businesses including environmental cleaning; respite services for parents of special needs children; bespoke cakes; foot health practitioner; domestic, national and international relocation and media services have all benefited from the grant scheme since it was launched in April last year.

To receive these small business grants, individuals are required to meet some basic criteria. This includes attending the Enterprise for Success programme, which provides 12 hours of one-to-one advice and support delivered from Tamworth Enterprise Centre at Phillip Dix House in Corporation Street.

The Enterprise for Success programme ensures individuals and businesses have the right skills they need to run their business and results in the creation of a business plan.

Successful applicants include Ruminate Productions Ltd, which was awarded £836 towards the cost of equipment such as microphones, lighting and marketing. Emily Cowlishaw set the business up while studying for a bachelor’s degree in Media Production at the University of Lincoln. The business offers three main types of service – photography; videography and visual radio.

Emily at productions

Emily in ‘Action’


Emily said: “I can fully recommend this scheme to any business looking to start up or grow. Not only have I received a grant to help me develop, but the advice and support from the Enterprise for Success programme has been invaluable and I still speak to my mentor now.

“I am forever grateful to the council for allowing me to enrol on the programme and for the funding that has enabled me to invest in new equipment and establish my business further.”

Cllr Steve Claymore, Cabinet member for Regeneration, said; “This successful scheme continues to support individuals wishing to start up in new businesses or who have been trading for less than three years.

“Small businesses are the foundation of any thriving economy and using the new Tamworth Enterprise Centre as a ‘hub’ of support and advice can only help grow the local economy.”

Grant applications are recommended to the Cabinet Grants Committee on a quarterly basis for approval. An annual budget of £20,000 has been allocated to the scheme, with around £5,000 being distributed per quarter. This is subject to annual budget reviews and agreements up to March 31st 2020.

To submit an application in this round, individuals would need to attend the two day start-up masterclass on Wednesday February 7 and Thursday February 8, at The Tamworth Enterprise Centre. For more information on the masterclass visit:  http://www.tlforbusiness.co.uk/start-support

To register your interest and check if you are eligible for a grant please contact: Lorraine Farley (Business Liaison Officer) 01827 709525 or email: [email protected]

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