North West business briefs: Carter Jonas; Revolutionary Concepts; RHS Flower Show; Total Fitness; Palatine; WRS ETL

David Gray

GSC Grays, the rural land and property specialists, has continued its expansion in the North of England and Scottish Borders with the acquisition of the Carter Jonas office in Kendal.

Carter Jonas has agreed to transfer its Kendal business to GSC Grays from May 3. As part of the arrangement the eight-strong team will transition from Kendal to the GSC Grays office in Kirkby Lonsdale over the next two months. This aligns with the strategic direction of both businesses and provides continuity for staff and clients.

Tim Jones, Partner, Carter Jonas, said: “We are pleased to have been able to reach agreement with GSC Grays. Our businesses are well known to each other, and we believe that this arrangement is in the best interest of our clients and staff and we wish them all the very best for the future.”

David Gray, Chairman of GSC Grays, based in Richmond, North Yorkshire, said: ”The business strengthens our growing team in Kirkby Lonsdale and aligns with our strategy to expand our presence, services, and geographical coverage across the North West.

“The Carter Jonas Kendal team bring extensive experience in estate management, commercial management and valuations that complements our existing farm business, environmental, planning and development, and renewable consultants covering the region.

“We believe what sets GSC Grays apart is we have boots on the ground and our offices are staffed by experts who live and have knowledge of the local area and have a strong understanding of the particular requirements of the regions they are serving. We now employ over 130 members of staff in 10 offices across the North of England, but we believe it is our local approach which adds real value and long lasting relationships as we continue to grow and expand our team.”


Simon Bainbridge

A grant of £43,214 from Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP) has helped Kendal-based Revolutionary Concepts develop and test a prototype for a novel domestic heat pump. If successful, it should be cheaper and quicker to install the technology as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which cause climate change says Simon Bainbridge from the company.

He said: “We focus on areas where design improvements can lead to significant changes in available technologies to existing markets. The Cumbria LEP grant helped to make this project possible by meeting almost 50% of the costs of the project, which was £86,429. The aim is to make it easier to use heat pump technologies. At the moment they are more expensive and complicated to install than gas and oil boilers. New government proposals mean that it is likely that all housing, built from 2025, will need to have heat pumps. It makes technological development vital.

“With any new technology a good supply chain is key. Within Cumbria, we are working with Bennet Engineering, Lakeland Laser, Thomas Graham and Northern Power Tools. Their support is greatly appreciated.”

Jo Lappin, Chief Executive of the Cumbria LEP, said: “It is great to see the difference that the Innovating for Success grant programme has made in supporting Revolutionary Concepts. They are an excellent example of why we launched Innovating for Success. It was to encourage small and medium sized businesses across Cumbria to invest in either innovating or decarbonising their business.”

“This project helpfully does both. The business is developing a new innovative product that has the potential to support the decarbonisation of domestic heating, which will be essential to achieving the UK’s net zero aims.”


Nadine Mansfield

Ex-Manchester United Marketeer, Nadine Mansfield, is designing a garden at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park this summer. The former United and Manchester Airport Marketeer will be exhibiting in the The Career Changer of the Year Competition.

In January 2020, she completed the RHS Level 2 Diploma in Principles & Practices of Horticulture, in which she gained a Distinction for the Garden Design Module and swapped the corporate world for the outdoor design world.

She said: “I’ve always felt at home when in nature and gardens. My mum used to run her own floristry business in Cheshire and my granddad was an avid horticulturist, so it is most definitely in the genes. Designing a Show Garden at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park 2024 will be a fabulous next step for me in my garden design career and the category of The Career Changer of the Year Competition is certainly the perfect fit for me.”

She added: “I have a lot to thank my previous career for I spent over 25 years in the corporate world and was fortunate to enjoy some fantastic experiences along the way, travel the world and deliver projects of which I’m really proud of. The years I spent in senior marketing roles for major brands have stood me in good stead to be able to run my own business and work in an industry I truly love.”

Nadine has recently embarked on a Masters in Landscape Architecture Studies to build her knowledge and expertise even further. She is also a Pre-Registered Member of the Society of Garden Designers. The RHS Flower Show Tatton Park runs from July 17-21.


Wilmslow-based gyms chain, Total Fitness, has seen its gym subscriptions surpass the 100,000 mark, reflecting the brand’s resilience and success in the three years since gyms re-opening after the pandemic.

Following an impressive 11% growth in revenue to £39.96m in the financial year 2022/2023, Total Fitness continues its upward trajectory. On top of its gym subscribers, when including its Swim Academy, partners and other complementary services, Total Fitness is now serving more than 115,000 people in the Northern regions.

While the fitness sector experienced a surge in popularity post-pandemic, not all gym brands have been able to return to pre-pandemic profit levels. However, Total Fitness said it is going from strength to strength. Recent member research reveals a stable pipeline of future growth, with 54% of new members starting in January 2024 switching from competitors. This growth is fuelled by individuals upgrading from budget gyms.

Total Fitness observes a trend of people trading down from premium operators to mid-market ones, positioning the brand as a prime alternative option for new members. It reports a 150% increase in switchers joining Total Fitness from a leading premium-priced operator, as they seek to economise without losing fitness options.

Sophie Lawler, Total Fitness CEO, said: “We’re extremely proud of what our teams do every day to support our members to achieve more than they thought possible. It’s testament to their resilience that we now serve a record number of members across our 15 clubs.”


Private equity firm, Palatine, has set ambitious Science-Based Targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in its own business, including its Manchester office, and across its portfolio of fast-growing mid-market businesses.

The targets, validated by the global Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), will see Palatine make a 42% cut in its own greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. In addition, 100% of its in-scope portfolio companies will have validated Science-Based Targets (SBT) by 2032 – eight years earlier than required by the SBTi.

The SBTi is a global collaboration between the CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute and the World Wide Fund for Nature. Its goal is to mobilise the private sector to take the lead on urgent climate action to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

Palatine’s target will see 60% of its eligible portfolio companies engaged in the SBTi process by 2028 and is the latest step in its long-term strategy to drive sustainable business growth through mid-market investing. The firm was among the first in the industry to establish a robust ESG framework over a decade ago, launching its first pioneering Impact Fund in 2017 and achieving B Corp in 2022.

Steph Wall, Head of Sustainability at Palatine, said: “We’ve long held an evidence-based belief that companies that embed sustainability into their operations are more successful, and resilient. That belief underpins the focus and effort we continue to place on ensuring that, as a stakeholder in fast growing businesses, we are always actively promoting sustainability.”


Wealth Recovery Solicitors (WRS ETL) has launched a new cryptocurrency tracing proposition for accountancy firms and solicitors. This service will not only help firms whose clients have fallen foul of scams, but can also provide accountants with the detailed data required to calculate clients’ tax liability accurately in respect of their cryptocurrency assets.

Manchester-based WRS ETL, which last year recovered £10m in lost assets for clients, says it is the UK leader in the use of specialist software to trace and prove ownership of crypto assets. This technology is more commonly used by national governments and law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, and is able to provide an authoritative record of crypto transactions.

The firm is now offering this service to accountants and law firms whose clients have fallen foul of cryptocurrency scams, to enable as many victims of scams as possible to benefit from the incontrovertible evidence that these trace reports provide. Where appropriate it is willing to do this on a ‘white label’ basis

Josh Chinn, solicitor and co-founder of WRS ETL, said: “As the rules governing the taxation of crypto currency have matured, accurate record keeping has become paramount. However, the nature of crypto transactions means this is not always easy, particularly in areas like decentralised finance.

“The same technology that we are currently using to prove ownership of assets belonging to victims of scams like the HyperVerse scheme, which provides trace reports accepted by banks and legal authorities worldwide, can also be used to provide the information required to produce accurate tax returns.”