NW business briefs: The Lamb of Tartary; Lancashire Cricket; GF Holding; labdesk; Ecogee; Airbus; Breathe Technologies

The Lamb of Tartary

Next month, a new public house & grill, The Lamb of Tartary, is set to open in Manchester’s Northern Quarter in the former Cottonopolis site on Newton Street, in a brand new concept from the team behind the award-winning Edinburgh Castle pub in Ancoats.

Derived from an old tale, where people believed that lambs came from the cotton plant, the name of the new venue pays homage to The Lamb being born out of Cottonopolis. The Grade II-listed building will receive a fresh fit-out turning it into an unrecognisable space where customers can sit and enjoy a pint with friends, watch the sports or dive into a plate of food.

The new ‘All Day Dining’ menu curated by Edinburgh Castle’s executive chef Shaun Moffat, will consist of a variety of accessible British seasonal dishes spanning from brunch, small plates and Sunday roasts. The menu aims to be both comforting and exciting, containing both British classics and deliciously grilled meat and fish.

Shaun Moffat, executive chef of The Lamb and Edinburgh Castle, said: “It’s an exciting time for the team to be working on this new project at The Lamb of Tartary. We all loved Cottonopolis and will miss it dearly, however, we are looking forward to launching this new concept to fall in line with the success we’ve achieved at the Edinburgh Castle.”

Once open, the new bar will have 24 different beers on tap, including local favourites Manchester Union Lager and Cask Beer from Buxton Brewery and Mobberley Brewhouse. Nick and Hayley Muir are also the directors behind the Edinburgh Castle pub on Blossom Street, Ancoats. They transformed the derelict 200-year-old pub in Ancoats, building up its reputation for exceptional food and drink, resulting in the pub recently being named as one of the best gastropubs in the UK.

Edinburgh Castle is the first Manchester city centre venue to make it into the shortlist for the Estrella Damn Top 50 Gastropubs, which sees members within the hospitality industry including top chefs and food writers vote for their best places to eat. The official rankings will be revealed at an official ceremony.


Thunder at Emirates Old Trafford

Lancashire Cricket has announced that long-term commercial partners, Sportsbreaks.com and inspiresport, have committed a six-figure sum to support the continued development of women’s and girls’ cricket across the North West over the next three years.

Sportsbreaks.com and inspiresport, existing partners of Lancashire Cricket and part of Manchester-based global sports travel group Destination Sport Group, have provided significant funding to facilitate a comprehensive programme ranging from grassroots to the Thunder first team squad. Through this investment, a new community programme has been created throughout the North West, with free sessions and equipment set to enable the next generation of girls’ cricketers to pick up a bat and ball for the first time.

The first session was launched by England and Thunder all-rounder Kate Cross last month at her childhood Club – Heywood Cricket Club – which saw young girls training and playing alongside Cross and team-mate Olivia Thomas who led the initial session. The support will also provide funding to help the Thunder’s county age group players, by purchasing a new minibus for the Academy, age group, and disability squads to travel on for away fixtures, while also covering additional strength and conditioning support within the pathway development programme for U11-18 players.

Furthermore, funding provided by Sportsbreaks.com and inspiresport will support a warm weather training camp to Mumbai this month, which will become an annual trip to allow Thunder’s professional players to enhance their skills in overseas conditions. Newly appointed head coach, Chris Read, will lead the squad – hosted at Reliance Park, home to the Mumbai Indians, as the squad continue its preparations ahead of the new season.

Daniel Gidney, chief executive of Lancashire Cricket, said: “Sportsbreaks.com and inspiresport have been an amazing partner for Lancashire Cricket for a number of years and they are now going even further with their support. This funding is a game changer for women’s and girls’ cricket in the region and I would like to thank the team at Sportsbreaks.com and inspiresport for their continued commitment.”


GF Holding team

After more than 115 years as a family-owned business, Macclesfield-based specialist building and fit-out contractor to the leisure and finance sectors, G F Holding (Contractors) has transitioned to an Employee Ownership Trust.

Managing director, Jeff Barton, said: “The Trust secures the future of the business and rewards our employees for their hard work and dedication over the years. It also enables Simon Holding, the fourth generation of the family business, to plan his exit. The Trust provides certainty for the business, our employees and clients.”

To deliver continued growth and safeguard the ethos and core values that underpin the business, the board of directors has been extended to include three new company directors: John Dodds, construction director; Neil Poole, who becomes pre-construction director; and Martin Leyden who becomes commercial director. At the same time, to reinforce the senior management team, Lee Chadwick has been promoted to associate director.

Jeff added: “The business had an excellent 2023 with projects including the new exclusive members’ only club, The Residence at the O2 which includes various high end bar and fine dining offerings for 300 people, and a first of its kind retractable viewing platform; Everyman Cinema’s ‘jewel in the crown’ site at Salisbury; and the redevelopment of Kent Coast Holiday Park for Bourne Leisure, to make it one of Haven Holidays’ ‘Parks of the Future’.”

The business has started 2024 with a very strong order book, including the refurbishment and fit-out of a number of Hollywood Bowls and Pure Gyms; the development of Everyman Cambridge; and the refurbishment of Napoleon Casino, Leeds. In addition, the business continues to grow its theatre client base with a project confirmed at London’s Southbank Centre and anticipated projects at various other theatres, including the Edinburgh Playhouse.


Mike Douglass and James Rooney

A specialist Microsoft Cloud & Cyber Security provider has launched in the North West with the arrival of labdesk which provides a cloud + cyber security platform and services dedicated to enabling innovative teams working within regulated sectors including science, aerospace, engineering and clean energy sectors, and associated supply chains.

Warrington- based labdesk was founded by IT professionals Mike Douglass and James Rooney. Both co-founders have many years of experience providing managed IT and technology services within the clean energy and engineering sectors.

Mike Douglass said: “Innovative teams and sectors are the driving force making the world a better place, from advancing science, to improving how we live. With the fast paced world of innovation and business, its important teams within these sectors have access to world class technology – labdesk is cloud + cyber security first, meaning all of our services, team and support are built to enable a modern day business to grow, increase efficiencies and ensure security is optimised at every level.”

James Rooney said: “We are building a brand with a purpose, to make a positive impact to the businesses and teams we work with. We are obsessed with partner experience and will be focused on delivering both XLA’s (experience level agreements) and SLA’s (service level agreements).

“While we recognise it’s important to offer solid SLA’s, we strongly believe a focus on partner experience can elevate the businesses we work with, providing relevant tools and technology to enable them to do what they do best. A positive team is a happy team, which in turn is a productive team.”


Bootle householders who have benefited from Ecogee upgrade

A total of 500 households in the Liverpool City Region that are not connected to the gas grid will be able to have free energy-efficient works measures fitted to their homes thanks to £10.5m from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

Ecogee, part of the Regenda Group based in Liverpool, will deliver the works and has also launched a campaign ‘Get Warm this Winter’ to raise awareness of the availability of this funding, along with providing more general energy-saving advice. The funding will make changes to properties that are off the gas grid which will reduce energy bills, reduce carbon emissions, and make homes warm, at no cost to residents.

From solar panels to wall insulation, the works will boost energy efficiency in housing across the Liverpool City Region. The project is part of Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s £10.5m programme to fit energy efficient measures to around 10,000 homes across the area. Cllr David Baines, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Climate Emergency and Renewable Energy, said: “We know that if we are to successfully reach our target of becoming net zero carbon by 2040, we need to halve our energy use in the city region.

“The situation in our homes is even more challenging, as we will have to cut energy use by 60%. We are working really hard with our local authorities to retrofit energy saving measures to as many houses as possible, to save people money on their bills, tackle fuel poverty and help the environment, and I’d encourage everyone eligible for this grant to come forward.”

Ecogee managing director, Brendan Helm, said: “We really want to get the message out there to those who might not know that they are eligible to get vital, sometimes lifesaving, energy-efficient improvements made in their homes. People shouldn’t be living in fuel poverty, but the sad reality is that some are, and some will really struggle over the colder months to heat their homes either through a lack of funds due to the cost-of-living crisis or simply because their homes are not equipped to deal with the colder temperatures.”


French low-cost carrier, Transavia France, part of the Air France-KLM Group, has taken delivery of its first A320neo, on lease from Avolon, from the Airbus manufacturing site in Toulouse. The airline has opted for the Airbus option to have the delivery flight to Paris-Orly powered by a sustainable aviation fuel blend on board.

The new aircraft features 186 seats in a single class layout. Selected for its outstanding operational efficiency, reduced emissions and comfort, the A320neo will be deployed by Transavia France on its services on its domestic network as well as across its European and Mediterranean markets.

The introduction of its first A320neo aircraft marks the beginning of Transavia France’s transition to become an all Airbus operator, powered by efficient A320neo family aircraft. With its reduced fuel burn and emissions, the A320neo will play a key role in advancing the airline group’s sustainable development goals.

By incorporating new generation CFM International LEAP-1A engines and Sharklets, the A320neo brings a 50% noise footprint reduction and 20% fuel savings and CO2 reduction compared with previous generation single-aisle aircraft, while improving passenger comfort in a wider single-aisle cabin.

The A320neo family is the world’s most popular single aisle craft, having won nearly 9,800 orders from nearly 140 customers in all markets. All wings for Airbus commercial aircraft are made at the Broughton manufacturing site, near Cheseter, which employs around 5,000 staff.


Merseyside firm, Breathe Technologies, has delivered a £2.5m productivity improvement for national retailer, The Perfume Shop.

Breathe Technologies, based on the Sci-Tech Daresbury campus, has developed a warehouse automation system for the fragrance retailer which will help it to improve efficiencies with three times quicker processing of customer orders, reduce the environmental impact of its outbound supply chain, future-proof its distribution capabilities, and reduce trailer fill and reduce packaging by 40%. The system has been tested and, now launched, at the retailer’s warehouse facility in Dunstable.

Breathe Technologies designed and delivered an integrated solution, comprising both conveyor and machinery together with Breathe’s Orquestr8 Software execution and control system. Orquestr8 is Breathe’s proprietary AI driven software platform that simplifies and harmonises the integration of physical automation and digital systems in the warehouse.

The advanced warehouse automation system will allow the packing machines to fold boxes to the size of the content included, reducing the overall cardboard and parcel size. Not only this, but the cardboard used is made in the UK and is 90% recyclable. Overall, with these new innovations in place, it will mean a reduction in reduced carbon emissions for The Perfume Shop, as less delivery trucks will be required on the road.

David Carroll, Breathe Technologies CEO, said: “The real impact of the system is derived from Orquestr8, with its ability to provide visibility and control across the packing function. Not only does it support their rapid online growth and high customer service standards now and in the future, but also their commitment to a sustainable operation playing its part in reducing carbon emissions.”