North West business briefs: JV North; JLR; City Tower; Kinaxia Logistics; MattressTek; Vinny Brennan Hair Lounge

John Bowker

A North West social housing consortium has called on the Government to provide funding details after it announced it wants 30,000 social rented homes a year building.

Michael Gove set the target and also said he had renegotiated money in the 2021/26 Affordable Homes Programme so more will be spent explicitly on social rented properties.

JV North, which is made up of a local authority and 11 housing associations across Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire, is asking for details so it can plan and build. John Bowker, chair of JV North and executive director of operations at Stockport Homes Group, said: “Government has committed to an annual target of at least 30,000 social rented homes which we welcome, but now we need specific details of the funding available.

“Once we know the overall amount and the breakdown as to how this will finance the homes over each of the three remaining years of the 2021/26 Affordable Homes Programme we will be able to flex and adapt our business plans accordingly.

“Most of all, and by acknowledging the likelihood of a General Election next year, our main ask is for the earliest possible release of the next housebuilding programme beyond 2026 to give us the best chance of planning for and achieving the targeted number of new homes.”

JV North says that in order for a minimum of 30,000-a-year to be built political unification is vital. Just 7,644 social rented homes were built last year and nearly 25,000 properties were sold off under the Right to Buy policy while a further 3,000 were demolished. These figures are acknowledged by government as needing to be improved.


Jaguar I-PACE

As part of luxury car maker Jaguar’s transition to become a provider of luxury experiences, it has announced an exclusive car sharing scheme for residents of Moda Living’s neighbourhoods in major cities. The initial scheme will provide residents in Manchester and Leeds the opportunity to use the all-electric I-PACE on demand.

Managing director, Rawdon Glover, said: “At Jaguar, we are carefully considering every aspect of our client journey as we progress to an all-electric luxury car company from 2025. As we explore alternatives to direct car ownership, this scheme provides a client-centred mobility solution with on-demand concierge access to the all-electric I-PACE. Future Jaguar clients are continually looking for alternatives to car purchasing and we will closely monitor the success of this initiative and consider expanding across major cities around the world.”

Jaguar has partnered with build to rent developer and operator Moda Living, selecting two neighbourhoods – Moda, Angel Gardens, in Manchester, and Moda, New York Square, in Leeds. Residents using the service will be able to book an I-PACE for up to 48 hours using the dedicated Jaguar booking platform, with key handover and support provided by each site’s dedicated 24-hour concierge team. The booking is inclusive of insurance, charging costs, valeting and maintenance.

Oscar Brooks, Moda Living executive director, said: “At Moda we are committed to sustainability and leading the industry transition to a low-carbon future, with the aim of achieving operational net zero carbon by 2030.

“This partnership with Jaguar offers our residents easy on-site access to an all-electric car, allowing them flexibility while being mindful of their carbon emissions, something which is another important step on that journey. Our longer term aspiration is to provide access to sustainable transport to our growing 24,000 home pipeline.”


One of the City Tower bee hives

An apiary of four beehives comprising around 320,000 bees has been launched at City Tower, in the centre of Manchester.

Situated on the second floor, the installation sits against the backdrop of a mural created by Mustard Tree volunteer, Graham Hudson. Designed with 22 bees – one for each victim of the Manchester Arena Attack – the creation also depicts the wildflowers situated within the apiary’s planters.

Graham, a former offender, was homeless for three years and was referred to Mustard Tree from a hostel. Born into a family where criminality was the norm, Graham was incarcerated for the first time at 16 for vehicle theft and has served around 12 years in jail, which is where he taught himself to paint. City Tower has been supporting Mustard Tree for more than five years and the apiary was the brainchild of building management company, MAPP and asset manager, Schroders Capital.

The bees were homed by John Beavan from Nurture Landscapes who has managed beehives for more than 23 years. He said: “Worker bees are part of Manchester’s cultural identity and they are very lucky that the city has a diverse and vast supply of forage and trees along major transport routes and within green spaces. A number of new pollinator-friendly installations, such as this one at City Tower, are exactly what bees need to survive and thrive and there aren’t many companies that go to the lengths that the building owners and managers have in order to support the colony on an ongoing basis.”

Rob Prescott, asset manager at Schroders Capital’s real estate team, said: “We are committed to sustainability and biodiversity and this project forms part of a broader occupier engagement strategy which aims to promote environmental responsibility across our assets. We are committed to taking small but impactful steps towards a more sustainable future and believe that this project is a great example of how we can work together to make a difference.”


Warren Hill

Kinaxia Logistics has boosted its contract packing operations by trebling the size of its cleanroom facilities at its site in Trafford Park in a five-figure investment. The company has created two additional cleanrooms after securing new co-packing contracts, including additional business with a major beverage company.

After converting an area previously used for storage, Kinaxia now has three cleanrooms spanning 5,000 sq ft at the site. The expansion is the latest major investment in co-packing by Kinaxia as it pursues ambitious growth plans.

Its Trafford Park base has more than 100,000 sq ft of co-packing space and Kinaxia has co-packing operations at other sites across the country. Earlier this year, Kinaxia installed a Nulogy cloud-based software system to improve the efficiency and scalability of its co-packing business.

The three cleanrooms feature air filtration to provide a controlled environment for the packing of food, drink and pharmaceutical items. They can accommodate up to 60 staff working on a project at any one time. Warren Hill, Kinaxia’s business development manager for contract packing, said: “By increasing the number of cleanrooms from one to three, we have made a substantial investment to expand our operations at Trafford Park and this has enabled us to win some significant new business.”

The group, which has its headquarters in Macclesfield, has 2.7 million sq ft of warehouse facilities nationwide, offering contract packing, e-fulfilment, returns management, storage services and a complete distribution service.


MPC site

Machinery manufacturer, Rossendale-based MattressTek, has acquired assets and personnel from a fellow Lancashire machinery precision components brand, MPC, from its site in Accrington, for an undisclosed sum.

Formed in 2004, MPC specialised in providing subcontract machining services. Operations manager, Patrick ‘Paddy’ Mitchell, will remain a key part of the new business, now MPC TEK, supported by Leanne Wilkinson.

Shaun Peel, technical director at MattressTek and recently launched AutomateTek, said: “This is a very exciting development. We have worked with MPC for many years and their work is top quality and far-reaching. When we became aware of the opportunity to take on elements of the business, we couldn’t say no.

“This significantly increases our in-house machining capability and contributes to our lean approach. We will be building on their experience to also provide services to other companies who need it. Workers from the company will also join our fabrication department and take up some of the space in our recently expanded unit.”

MPC TEK is now the internal machining arm of MattressTek and AutomateTek who are established manufacturers of automation machinery and production lines for many industries, however they are available to undertake commissioned work including milling, CNC machining, turning and metal working.


Vinny Brennan Hair Lounge, a women’s hair salon in Congleton, has secured more than £13,000 funding from First Enterprise – Enterprise Loans, under the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme, to invest in purchases of essential equipment and marketing activities.

Founder, Vinny Brennan, has more than six years of salon experience. The funding from First Enterprise – Enterprise Loans will be used to purchase essential equipment such as hairdryers, straighteners, and a new computer system. It will also be used for marketing purposes, such as window display advertising, leaflets, service menus, paid media and e-commerce development.

First Enterprise – Enterprise Loans provides government-backed business loans ranging from £500-£250,000 for start-ups and SMEs that are unable to borrow from traditional high street lenders. The not-for-profit organisation reinvests profits into loan funds to further support economic growth and job creation in the local communities.

Vinny Brennan said: “Start Up Loans’ funding significantly boosted our salon’s profitability, particularly by enabling us to engage in bulk purchases of professional and retail products at lower prices.”

Bhovinder Nagra, business adviser at First Enterprise – Enterprise Loans, said: “Vinny is a national award-winning hair stylist with lots of ambition. He has found a terrific location for Vinny Brennan Hair Lounge and put a great business plan together.”