North West business briefs: PMJ Capital; Viscgo; Llangollen Railway; Momentum Group; Uvisan

The Costa site

PMJ Capital has completed on a £660,000 development loan for Warrington development and construction firm, Lane End Group, which will fund the construction of a new drive thru pre-let to Costa Coffee.

The new retail outlet will be located at the entrance to the Cheshire Business Park which is located on the edge of Northwich, a prime development for Cheshire West and Chester Council.

The funding package comprises a development loan, over a 12-month term, with the completed unit valued at £1.2m GDV (gross development value).

Lee Barton, development director at Blackburn-based PMJ Capital, said: “We have been working with Scott and the team at Lane End for some time and were delighted to be able to support them with this project”.

Scott Ashall, director at Lane End, said: “Benefiting from a highly accessible location, the park is an ideal location for the new drive thru unit. The Costa development will complement the existing mix of occupiers in this location and provide new jobs for the area.”

Work started in December 2020 and is due for completion imminently.


Steve Bookbinder

Viscgo, a ground-breaking new medical device company based on Manchester Science Park, has received £265,000 of investment to launch its first generation device to improve the management of dysphagia (swallowing difficulties).

The funding came from a predominantly North West cohort of institutional and private investors including the GM&C Life Sciences Fund, managed by Catapult Ventures, and Deepbridge Capital.

Viscgo was founded by Dr Liz Boaden, and Steven Bookbinder specifically to address the unmet need for a quick, easy, accurate way to ensure that drinks thickened for people with swallowing difficulties are at the prescribed consistency. The company’s initial devices, the Viscgo Drink Thickness Test Sticks, provide an extremely simple solution to a complex healthcare problem and will be launched this summer.

Viscgo also has several sophisticated digital devices under development funded by an Innovate UK grant and SEIS investment from Deepbridge Capital.

Co-founder and CEO, Steven Bookbinder, who designed Viscgo’s products, said: “Viscgo’s tools also have applications in other industries, such as cooking, construction, DIY, lubricants, oils and many others. The way we presently use and control fluids and solids are in practice very basic. I see Viscgo as the start of a new fluid and soft solids control revolution.”


Llangollen Railway

The joint administrators of Llangollen Railway have sold the business and certain assets to Llangollen Railway Trust Limited for an undisclosed amount ensuring a new future for one of North Wales’s most popular leisure attractions.

Alan Coleman, one of the joint administrators, together with Jason Elliot at Cowgills, said: “The sale has secured the future of this superb heritage railway which is a key attraction to the local area and has provided the best outcome for creditors.

“We always try and achieve the best outcome financially for the business and to preserve as many jobs as possible and we are extremely pleased to be able to ensure the future of this much loved local attraction.”

The sale excluded the rolling stock, plant and machinery and those assets will be auctioned by Lambert Smith Hampton in May.

Llangollen Railway PLC, which operated the historic railway, was not legally able to continue to trade with the company insolvent to the extent of £350,000 with £250,000 relating to engineering contract disputes. Cowgills was instructed by the board to try and find a buyer for the line which is estimated to be worth around £8-10m a year to the local economy in North East Wales.


Temple Square

Liverpool-based property management company The Momentum Group has secured two instructions on Dale Street in Liverpool, for Glenbrook Investments – Temple Square, and a private client, Princes Building – both Grade II-listed buildings.

Guy Butler, Glenbrook co-founder, said: “We required a property management company which would deliver a high level, bespoke service. The Momentum Group was our preferred choice and we look forward to working with the team to help us exceed our occupiers’ expectations whilst also protecting and further enhancing our investment.”

Chris Bliss, co-founder and director at The Momentum Group, said: “We are delighted that we are able to add both Temple Square and The Princes Building to our growing property management portfolio.

“Our services are geared to providing the very best experience for occupiers whilst managing future return on investment for the client.

“The continued investment from investors into the city region and our continued expansion and growth ensures job creation, security and economic impact in the Liverpool City Region.”


Uvisan cabinet

Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has installed UV-C light technology into its coronavirus infection control measures to protect staff, limit the need for purchasing extra technology, and reduce excessive cleaning costs at its mental health crisis hotline centre.

Before introducing the Uvisan UV-C cabinet to its disinfection procedures, the Trust was quarantining telephony equipment shared between staff members for 72 hours to ensure it was decontaminated between uses. Headsets and other delicate electronic equipment cannot be sufficiently cleaned with wet wipes, alcohol and chemicals as they can cause damage over time.

As a result, the Trust was forced to buy duplicate equipment to ensure there was enough hardware in circulation for the mental health crisis hotline team to operate effectively. This was costing the NHS a huge amount of money, leading to frustrations over unnecessary expenditure.

Uvisan’s UV-C technology now allows headsets to be sanitised more thoroughly than human efforts can achieve. The disinfection cycle lasts for under five minutes and kills 99.9% of microbes on all surfaces exposed to the light.

David Marks, chairman at Uvisan, which is part of Salford-based Immotion Group, said: “The NHS has been under a huge amount of pressure over the past year and it’s easy to forget that the pressure extends much further than the doctors and nurses in A&Es and ICUs. The amount of money the Trust was spending on duplicate equipment before installing a Uvisan cabinet was unsustainable and unnecessary.”