News Updates 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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Ball and Chain wedding ale for Alex and Alice Fri, 11 Jan 2013 09:41:44 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Ball and Chain wedding ale for Alex and Alice

27-year old head brewer Alex Arkell has been keeping himself busy in the run up to his wedding later this month to long-time sweetheart Alice Braithwaite.

While Alice is kept frantically busy organising the wedding, which is taking place at her family home in Northumberland on 26 January, alongside running her successful Lechlade teashop, The Tea Chest, which opened last year, her groom Alex has been creating the perfect celebratory beer for the occasion at the Swindon brewery, which he’s named (with Alice’s approval) Ball and Chain Ale.

“It’s been a lot of fun creating a beer to mark the most impo

rtant day of our lives,” said Alex.

“I decided to brew a completely original recipe for Ball and Chain, using four different varieties of malt, the main ingredient in beer, to produce a distinct grist (milled malt) as its foundation with Celeia, Willamette and

Columbus hop varieties added at different points through the brewing process to give a rounded, well balanced floral finish to the beer which has a hearty ABV of 5%.”




Alex says that the ingredients of his traditional ale are the same as that of a successful marriage.   “Beer is brewed from malt, hops, water and yeast.

Most malts are made from barley, much of it good English barley and it’s the base of any real ale. Hops are the female flowers used primarily for flavouring and stability. The yeast is used for f

ermentation.   Marry them together and there you have it:  Malt and hops for content, stability and flavouring and yeast to rise to the occasion.

“I’m hoping that Ball and Chain will become fundamental to a truly contented married life for us both.”

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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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Would you Adam and Eve it? 2 million pints, not out Mon, 07 Jan 2013 11:12:48 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> 80-year old Dot Gasson, probably Britain’s oldest working landlady, has finally decided to call last orders on a career spanning almost sixty years and well over two million pints pulled.

Diminutive Dot, who is barely 5’ tall, has presided over the bar at the Adam and Eve, Townsend Street, Cheltenham, for 35 years. She began working at the pub in 1977, the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, taking over as licensee a year later.  1977 was the also the year that Red Rum won his record third Grand National, Star Wars was released at the Cinema … and Dot married husband Brian.

The Adam and Eve is the local for many postal workers at the main Cheltenham sorting office, just around the corner and this Friday evening (14th December) many of them will be bringing a large celebration cake to the pub to wishing Dot and Brian a First Class retirement.

Dot was born at Beckford, Gloucestershire in 1932 and took over her first pub, The White Lion, in Winchcombe in 1958. “Back then it was a proper pub,” she says. “Now it’s a bit posh.”

A great grandmother, she has four children, two sons and a daughter live in Gloucestershire and another daughter lives in Cyprus, but she hasn’t had time for a holiday for 20 years.

James Arkell at pub owners Arkell’s Brewery, which bought the pub off Whitbread in 1991, presented her with a leaving gift and a bunch of flowers almost bigger than she is.   He said: “When we bought the pub we didn’t realise that the jewel in its crown was Dot.   Ever since she took over she’s been wonderful. The rest of the world has gone around and back but life hasn’t changed at The Adam and Eve. Dot has been a wonderful landlady and Arkell’s has been truly lucky to have her.”


When asked what her best memories of her life at the pub have been, Dot really can’t pick out one above the other. “It’s been a very happy pub,” she said. “I really can’t think of a time when it hasn’t been.”


Dot isn’t planning on sitting down when she finally pulls her last pint. “I’d like to do some charity work,” she said.



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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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CPRE responds to dismissal of Ecotricity’s Berkeley Vale Wind Farm appeal Fri, 30 Nov 2012 11:01:13 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> CPRE response to the dismissal of Ecotricity’s Berkeley Vale Wind Farm appeal

CPRE’s Gloucestershire branch has welcomed the Inspector’s decision to refuse permission to build four 120 metre wind turbines in the Berkeley Vale.

In his Appeal Decision, Richard Thomas, the inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government said he agreed with the view of Stroud District Council and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) that the proposed development would impact much more on the surrounding area than Ecotricity had indicated.

Given the high landscape sensitivity of the area, which lies within the setting of the Cotswolds AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and Stinchcombe Conservation Area and to other heritage assets, he said: “I consider that the cumulative harm is of such magnitude that it outweighs the benefits of the proposal.”

CPRE Gloucestershire Vice Chair, Richard Lloyd, who gave evidence at the Appeal Inquiry said: “In reaching a decision whether or not to build such a wind farm, a balance has to be struck between the value a wind farm brings to the community and the impact on that same community. The Berkeley Vale Wind Farm proposal was for four 120-metre wind turbines, only marginally lower than the towers of the first Severn Crossing. CPRE’s view, which the Inspector shares, is that this would have a huge and negative visual impact on the surrounding communities.

“The benefits of the proposal in terms of producing renewable energy also have to be weighed against the significant harm that the proposal would cause to the setting of and views from the Cotswold AONB and we are pleased that the Inspector acknowledged this in his ruling. The AONB is an important national asset, drawing tourism revenues into the area and its conservation is accorded great weight in planning policy.

Although we support renewable energy technologies, this is a very welcome decision which we hope will encourage a more sensitive approach to turbine location in Gloucestershire and elsewhere.”

CPRE Gloucestershire – notes for editors

CPRE, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, is a charity which promotes the beauty, tranquillity and diversity of rural England. It advocates positive solutions for the long-term future of the countryside. Founded in 1926, it has a branch in every county. 

Why is CPRE Gloucestershire’s view relevant?

Over a third of Gloucestershire’s countryside remains unprotected. CPRE has been standing up for the countryside for over 80 years. Unlike many environmental charities, CPRE has no vested interests; the organisation owns no land and relies solely on donations and grants.   It is politically independent. CPRE is concerned with land use across England, urban as well as rural. Its campaigning is evidence-based, reasoned and authoritative. Many CPRE members nationally and in Gloucestershire are experts in the planning system at all levels, local, regional and national.

 PR contact: Nicky Godding, Nicky Godding Communications, Glebe Farm House, The Street, Daglingworth, Cirencester, Glos GL7 7AE. Tel/Fax: 01285 653006.   email:,.  Mobile: 0 7966 510401

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Hop Harvest delivers for Arkell’s Sat, 27 Oct 2012 21:50:40 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Everyone’s heard of food miles, but Arkell’s Brewery has believed in beer miles for years – and at hop harvest time head brewer Alex Arkell drives just eight miles down the road to inspect this year’s hop crop, at Berkshire Hops, Kingston Bagpuize (which is actually in Oxfordshire – confusing we know).

Alex said: “We’ve bought our Fuggles and Goldings hops from Tim Blanchard at Berkshire Hops for almost twenty years – it’s the only hop farm in Oxfordshire, and it’s also the closest hop farm to the brewery. Why travel miles when something so good is on your doorstep?”

For this year’s hop-picking Oxford pubs Rickety Press and Rusty Bicycle landlord Chris Manners went along to see how it all works – and came away with some hops to decorate his pubs.

Tim Blanchard and his family have been growing hops for almost fifty years, and now his sons James and Edward have joined the family business. The Blanchards grow hops across 50 acres of the farm, the rest of the 1100 acres is mainly arable, with 700 pigs.

“Most hop farms are in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, Kent,” explains Tim. “Hop farming began here in the 1920s and our family got involved in the 1930s.”

The hop is, according to, Tim an amazing plant.  It’s got wonderful preservative qualities (one of the reasons brewers put it in beer), and it’s a member of the nettle and cannabis families.   It also has separate male and female plants and is full of essential oils.

For Alex Arkell, local hops help give Arkell’s beer it’s distinctive taste and flavour. “Unlike many of the bigger breweries who buy cheap hops in bulk from abroad, many family breweries such as Arkell’s love the fact that our beer is not only brewed in the traditional way but it’s also using local ingredients.”

This year’s hop harvest is nearly in, thanks to Berkshire Hop’s new hop harvesting equipment (purchased after the farm’s kilns suffered devastating fire damage in 2010), and Arkell’s will be taking delivery of the new hop crop soon.


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Alex has brewery over a barrel Fri, 27 Apr 2012 09:01:36 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Wiltshire brewery, Arkell’s will take delivery of over £200,000 of new beer barrels over the next five years.

Each barrel, made out of stainless steel, costs £70, holds 72 pints of beer and has ‘Arkell’s Brewery’ embossed around the collar.


Head Brewer, Alex Arkell, who took over brewing responsibilities just last month, is delighted.


“Traditionally, of course, beer barrels were made out of wood and bound by metal hoops. They were made by a Cooper and the cooper’s fire is still in existence here at the brewery.


“However, much as I appreciate tradition, steel barrels are much easier to clean, better for maintaining quality and consistency of the beer and we’ve been using metal (aluminimum) barrels probably since the 1960s.  Now it’s time for some new ones to keep Arkell’s Ales arriving at our pubs in tip top condition.”



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Haskoll wins refurbishment project on Finland’s biggest shopping centre Fri, 27 Apr 2012 08:58:42 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Award-winning architects Haskoll have commenced a €90 million project to renovate Itäkeskus, Finland’s largest shopping centre first opened in 1984.   When completed in 2014, the centre will be repositioned and reaffirmed as the country’s leading shopping centre.


Owner Wereldhave Finland is also reviewing the tenant mix for the centre. It is currently involved in negotiations with a number of key international retail chains seeking to enter Finland.


Stockmann Department Store currently anchors the centre, which has 120,300 square metres of retail space and over 250 stores.  It will continue to do so from a new location at the end of the main mall, scheduled to open at the end of 2013. This relocation allows the creation of 12,000 m2 of prime retail accommodation for leasing to new tenants.  The entire renovation and remodeling will create approximately 11,000 square metres of  additional  commercial space in a series of phases.


Derek Barker, Managing Director at UK-based Haskoll, lead design and concept architect on the project, said: “This is a fabulous project. The new design will maximise commercial opportunities in the centre and provide a modern shopper environment. Work is progressing phase by phase, a difficult job as tenants must be relocated while continuing to trade.”


He added: “This is a good example of a centre owner’s recognition of the need to rejuvenate successful but aging retail environments.”


The centre has been renamed Itis, as it is already widely known in the local community, and a rebranding exercise is  under way.


Jaakko Ristola Managing Director, Wereldhave Finland Ristola believes that a shopping centre can no longer be a static space where stores open in the morning and close in the evening: “Shopping centres are as much providers of services as social meeting places, where people spend their time in comfortable surroundings. This trend can be seen all over the world,” He said.


The redevelopment by Wereldhave Finland has been driven by the growing number of inhabitants of nearby areas Vuosaari, Sipoonranta, Kruunuvuori, Myllypuro and Viikki.


JonesLangLaSalle has been retailed as leasing consultant and Laker Developments are the Development Managers.


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Investors fly to sustainable rental values. Thu, 26 Apr 2012 16:07:53 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Investors are not flying to prime, but to sustainable rental values, according to a panel of investors at this year’s ICSC European Conference in Berlin. Risk-averse investors are also concentrating on core European markets.

Those who are still investing prefer to invest through joint ventures or club deals rather than through the ‘fund’ model that was so popular before the crisis. This is because investors want fewer partners and more control with their investments.

According to Anne Kavanagh, Global Head of Asset Management at AXA Real Estate, the fund model hasn’t recovered from the crisis.  She added: “Retail requirements are changing and shrinking in some cities, while expanding into other areas. We are looking at those trends and being careful in our decision making.”

The important point is where retailers want to be. The panel, moderated by real estate researcher and writer, Andrea Carpenter, pointed out that Investment follows retail trends, and investors’ money goes to towns and cities where there is a demand but with the growth of ecommerce, the number of cities where retailers want to be located in is fewer. Despite this, Kavanagh says that AXA is planning to boost its retail investment by 50% over the next year.

Investors are taking a much more active role in selecting their investments, according to Dr Frank Billand, board member of Union Invest, Germany.  “Interior design of assets will have to change to reflect changing consumer behaviour.  All our operators and managers play an active role in managing our assets and have responsibility to manage the change.”

But retail real estate is still a very good investment, according to Billand.  “When my investors question such a large single investment, I say: ‘Why? There are 80 tenants with that investment.”  His problem is finding the right product for such investments as development has slowed.

Matthias Boning, CEO of mfi management fur immobilien, agreed. He said: All investors are not only more careful but they have a higher level of knowledge to make the right decisions.”

For Eric Donnet, Managing Director and COO of AEW Europe, raising equity is difficult as investors are much more selective and opportunities that match that are fewer, particularly with new developments.

However, with fewer developments going ahead, the market is stabilising as there is no risk of oversupply, and for companies such as AXA Real Estate, this opens the opportunity for a strategic programme of refurbishment of existing shopping centres. Anne Kavanagh said: “We can invest equity in upgrading centres we own, confident in the fact that new developments won’t happen or have been shelved.”


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