News Updates » Cotswolds Nicky Godding News Site Fri, 25 Apr 2014 16:37:09 +0000 en hourly 1 Sex, talent and creatively aren’t just in the city, they’re in the Cotswolds too Fri, 25 Apr 2014 16:29:42 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Don’t make the mistake of thinking talent, creativity, excitement and sex are just in the city. They’re in the Cotswolds too.

copyright Wilts & Glos Standard

Photograph: courtesy of Wilts & Glos Standard

In March this year, BBC journalist Evan Davis reported on the growing economic gap between London and the res

t of the UK. His programme, ‘Mind the Gap’ reported that London is sucking talent from across the regions and using it to accelerate away from the rest of the country.

However, in the Cotswolds (which we consider to be Gloucestershire and West Oxfordshire), this trend had already been spotted and one man, Oli Christie, founder and owner of Cirencester-based mobile games development business Neon Play, which won a Queen’s Award in 2013, was determined to do something about it.

“Viewed from our towns and cities, this area isn’t exactly known for its technical talent and I was finding it difficult to attract the skilled people I need to maintain the fast growth of my business,” he said.

“The thing is, these urbanites are blinkered. There are some amazing companies, people, venues and events here – it’s just that no one seemed to be coordinating the message and promoting this area’s true personality to the wider world. There is too little joined-up thinking going on.”

Oli found a supporter in Nicky Godding, Business Editor of Cotswold Life who was hearing the same complaint from other senior executives across the region.

“Pretty much every technology, manufacturing and creative company I talk to is worried about a lack of skills,” she said. “However, when skilled staff do relocate, they are blown away by the higher quality of life they can enjoy. Oli, who moved here from London, and his team are the proof and I’ve met dozens of exciting start-up, small and medium sized businesses as well as the big boys, and the message is the same: The Cotswolds is a cool place to live and work.”

And so Rock the Cotswolds was born.

The Rock the Cotswolds campaign is dedicated to challenging conventions, opening eyes and rocking the boat, at home and abroad, that The Cotswolds is a fantastic place to live, work and play, and isn’t populated entirely by the retired wealthy and red-trousered estate agents.

“Yes, the Cotswolds is full of honey-coloured houses sitting in picture-postcard villages, and tourists love our Roman history. We’ve also got the finest racing at Cheltenham Racecourse. We know that, and that’s great,” said Oli. “But there are companies here creating, designing and selling in some of the hottest global industries. There are hotels and restaurants that would make London blush. There are fashion labels that rock the world. And global superstars who call the Cotswolds home.”

Over the last few months The Rock the Cotswolds team has been calling in nominations for companies, people, venues and events that people wouldn’t necessarily think were located in the area.

From over 300 nominations, the Rock the Cotswolds team selected 75 people, businesses, events and venues that show how the Cotswolds rocks.

And on 6th June, at the stunning setting of Blackfriars’ Priory in Gloucester, the team is throwing a huge party to celebrate alongside 250 guests, including celebrities and the 2014 Rockers.

And next year they’ll be doing it all again.

“I passionately believe that if we show what’s really going on here, more skilled people will realised that life doesn’t stop at the M4’s Heston Services,” said Oli. “We want people in London, Birmingham, Bristol, New York, Shanghai.. to hear about Rock the Cotswolds and visit We want them to realise how much is going on. They can move here, get a fantastic job, start a company,” he added.

Now the Rock the Cotswolds team is calling for wide support. “It will take a groundswell of positive vibes, social networking and word of mouth chit-chat to keep this going,” added Oli.

 The three-man team behind Rock the Cotswolds, which includes Oli, Nicky and Melissa Ormiston, are not paid and all have day jobs. “We’re doing this because we’re passionate about the area and its potential over anywhere else in the world,” said Oli. “And we’d love Evan Davies to come down here to prove it to him.”

Visit to discover the 75 Rockers.

Follow the campaign: @rockthecotswold

Talk about the campaign: #cotsrocks

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Stone Roofs add character to a landscape Mon, 07 Jan 2013 11:26:49 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Stone Roofs

From the Cotswolds valleys to the Yorkshire moors, stone roofs represent the character of the British landscape. So much so that a house with a badly laid roof, or one using the wrong roofing materials for the local environment, stands out a mile – and not for the right reasons.

But like any other part of a building, a roof must be laid properly and maintained regularly.   Get it wrong and an expensive stone roof won’t last a lifetime.   Get it right and a stone roof will easily last 100 years and could even last 200 – 300 years.

Whether laying a new stone roof or reroofing an old, leaking roof, it’s better to understand some key issues at the beginning to avoid expensive problems later on. If properly laid and maintained, total reroofing with new slates should not be necessary.

Traditionally, blocks of stone were laid out in fields to be split naturally by winter frost before being dressed to size and shape, with a hole formed for the peg. Due to time pressures they are more commonly split manually using a hand tool. Some suppliers offer sawn slates, these are often visually unacceptable (as they lay too flat) and can cause technical problems. Traditionally split slates are always preferable.

Wherever possible, new stone slates rather than second-hand ones should be used. This helps to keep stone tile quarries open and reduces the pressure of theft on our existing stone roof stocks. If you are using second hand slates check where they’ve come from: It’s illegal to use salvaged tiles from another listed building.

Having sourced your stone tiles what next?   Find a roofer – but beware, not all roofers can lay traditional stone roofs. For instance, natural stone roof tiles should be dressed to size, not sawn, an angle grinder shouldn’t be used to cut them.   Experienced stone roofers will ‘dress’ a slate with a chisel edge hammer or similar tool and will understand that if a stone tile is damaged, it may still be dressed to a smaller size and reused further up a roof where the battens are laid closer together, which makes it an extremely sustainable roof material. Look carefully at a stone roof and you’ll notice that there’s a real art to how it’s been laid. The lower stone tiles are much larger than those further up the roof (referred to as ‘diminishing courses’).

Stone roofs are also at a much steeper pitch than slate roofs, typically at  a minimum pitch of 45 degrees, because stone is porous and it needs the extra gradient so that rain falls off more quickly.   Welsh slate roofs, on the other hand, are less porous and can be as shallow as 17.5 degrees.

On stone roofs, only half the stone tile is visible.   An inexperienced stone roofer may try and reduce the amount of stone used (thereby saving some money), but good horizontal and vertical laps are essential with stone, which unlike slate, does not rest flat against the battens, and therefore needs more coverage to ensure a watertight roof. When repairing roofs, reused slates should be laid in their original orientation, because if the hidden, unweathered surfaces are exposed they may deteriorate much quicker. Traditionally, stone slates were fixed with timber pegs (usually oak) hung over roof battens. These days, it is more common to use large headed copper roofing nails.

Don’t be persuaded that your roof needs fascia or barge boards by a roofer either, traditional vernacular stone roofs don’t usually have them, unless they are a Victorian interpretation.

Some of our clients want to replace an existing slate roof with stone because it’s more beautiful. If it’s a listed building you probably won’t be able to do it, and even if it isn’t, I would often caution against such action as the materials used on a roof will go a long way to explaining the history and phasing of the building.

However, if you do go ahead before the roof covering is disturbed, it should be checked by an ecologist for evidence of bats. It is illegal for anyone to disturb, injure or kill a wild bat or obstruct access to a bat roost. If the roof has never had heavy stone on it, check with a structural engineer that it can bear the extra weight.

Having read the above, you will realise that you may not need the upheaval and expense of the wholesale replacement of a stone roof. So how can you prolong its life?   The easy answer is to prevent moss build up.   Moss will absorb moisture and accelerate the delamination of the stone slates, so scraping off moss, ivy and other creepers will help reduce the cost of future repair bills.

Neil Quinn is a Conservation Architect and Partner at Yiangou Architects, which was established in the Cotswolds in 1981. From its base in the historic town of Cirencester, the practice specialises in high quality residential construction using both traditional and contemporary materials. The practice’s team of seven qualified architects are equally at home working with Grade I Listed or contemporary buildings, supported by a well-qualified and experienced team of technicians and technical co-ordinators. In recent years the practice has expanded and projects now extend nationwide. The company can also manage new projects from design through to building completion.”

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Welcome to 2013 Mon, 07 Jan 2013 11:06:02 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Welcome to 2013. For some of my clients, the year is already shaping up to be a good one. For other clients, it’s still a tough market where every bit of progress has to be fought for.

However, all of them are looking forward not back and that’s the key ingredient in making progress.

For the wider economy, it depends on who you talk to as to whether Europe is recovering from the recession, or about to plunge even deeper into the next one, and let’s face it – nobody really knows what will happen. The construction industry is still nervous – some say they think the worst is yet to come. Other construction companies are more positive.   Retail will continue to have a very tough time and manufacturing also – though it’s a pleasure to hear of manufacturing companies who are bringing their business back to Europe as costs in the Far East escalate to near-Western European levels. I’m an optimist by nature and my view is that it’s not what industry you are in, it’s your approach that will determine whether or not your business will succeed.

If you are professional, positive and permanently planning where your business is going (I love alliteration), you’ll be OK.

Nicky Godding

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