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Tue 3rd Mar 2015 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Tragus Group is re-named Casual Dining Group as it plans 70 new openings: Tragus Group, the operator of the Bella Italia and Café Rouge brands led by Steve Richards, has been renamed the Casual Dining Group. The company now plans to create 3,100 jobs in the next three years with the opening of 70 new restaurants. Richards said: “Following what has been a transformational period for the business, we are delighted to mark the beginning of an exciting new era with a fresh identity to reflect our vision and plans. The Casual Dining Group has been successfully created as a substantial growth platform that comprises many of the best restaurant sites in the UK. We are now in a strong position to continue to develop and invest in our restaurant brands and aggressively grow the business.” Chairman Martin Robinson added: “The speed and breadth of change at Casual Dining Group has been dramatic, and is testament to a strong executive team led by Steve Richards. The business is in excellent shape and we can look forward to the future with confidence.” The announcement of Casual Dining Group’s new identity coincides with the posting of the last set of full-year accounts for what was Tragus Group, for the period to 1 June 2014. The business has seen debt reduced from £258m to £91m and produced Ebitda of £33.3m on sales up 3.8% to £193.1m. Its 160 existing restaurants are to be refurbished and the company reports its sales growth trend is gaining momentum with strong Christmas and New Year delivered – during the key seven-week festive trading period ending 31 December 2014, total sales were up 4%. Of the 70 new restaurants, 30 have exchanged contracts or are at advanced stage of legal negotiations. Richards added: “Beyond the UK, we have opened our first Café Rouge in Dubai, in partnership with a local operator. Given the enduring popularity and widespread appeal of our core restaurant brands, the Board is confident that international expansion offers a significant growth opportunity for the business.”

Industry News:

Propel launches Social Media Masterclass: Propel has launched a Social Media Masterclass in partnership with Digital Blonde’s Karen Fewell. The Social Media Masterclass provides a comprehensive overview of how to make the best use of social media (CLICK HERE to see the programme). Tickets are £295 for ALMR members and £345 for non-members. Email adam.dickinson@propelinfo.com to book.

Europe’s hotels enjoy fifth consecutive year of value growth: Europe’s hotels witnessed their fifth consecutive year of value growth last year, with properties in the UK and Southern Europe seeing some of the biggest gains, according to the 2015 European Hotel Valuation Index, published this week by global hotel consultancy HVS. “Hotels in several cities have experienced significant value increases including Manchester and Birmingham which have both seen double digit growth following improved performance and growing investor interest,” said report co-author James Heavey, analyst, HVS London. The city with the biggest value climb was Madrid, with an impressive 14% rise year-on-year. The average value (in euros) per hotel bedroom in the Spanish capital rose from €185,000 in 2013 to €211,000 in 2014 due to a slowdown in the city’s new hotel supply and renewed international demand for rooms, particularly in the corporate sector. “As a result potential investors are looking at Madrid, and beyond, to acquire cut-price assets ahead of the expected growth of the next few years,” added Heavey. The second biggest value rise in hotel stock was in Manchester, up 13.5% year-on-year to €167,510 per room. The hike is partly attributable to the lack of new hotels in the city, a situation due to change as Manchester has a development pipeline of some 2,000 rooms opening by 2017. Dublin hotels recorded the third largest growth in the Valuation Index, with values rising 13% to €203,000 per room. As Ireland’s banks recover from recession, property prices overall have risen 25% in the past year. This year’s Index reveals that Europe’s most expensive hotel rooms are still in Paris (€703,935), London (€678,222) and Zurich (€534,646), considerably above the European average of €246,641.

Sky News – ex-Diageo boss Paul Walsh being lined up to head CBI: Sky News has reported that the CBI is lining up Paul Walsh, the former chief executive of Diageo, as its next president. The CBI is in discussions with Walsh about replacing Sir Mike Rake when his term expires in June. The talks with Walsh, who stepped down from Diageo in 2013, are at an advanced stage but have not yet resulted in a formal offer of the role, Sky stated. The appointment of a new president is subject to formal approval from the CBI’s board and a number of the organisation’s committees.

London hotels set to enjoy record occupancy levels: London’s hotels set to benefit from a recovering UK economy and major sporting events planned for the capital, as occupancy rates are forecast to hit their highest for two decades. Occupancy rates in the capital are expected to reach 84.3%, according to research by consultancy PwC. The surge comes as a huge number of new rooms are set to open in the city - an additional 6,430 net new rooms could open in London, taking the total supply to more than 136,000. The strong demand is helping to drive revenue per room, which is expected to grow at more than 4.5% a year. Despite its reputation for high prices, the capital is not the most expensive European city in terms of cost per room. In euro terms the most expensive city based on average daily room rate is Paris at €257 (£187), followed by Geneva at €232 and Zurich at €193. London follows with €182. Rome averages €143, after which come Milan (€131) and Amsterdam (€125).

Street food vendors boom in Cornwall: Cornwall has seen an influx of street food vendors in the last 18 months, West Briton newspaper has reported. Since the summer of 2013, more than 15 mobile food sellers have set up business in the county. The street food offer now ranges from wood-fired pizza and smokehouse barbecued meats to pancakes, crumpets, pasta dishes and seafood, as well as ‘gourmet’ takes on sausages and burgers.

Dolly Saville dies after 75 years pulling pints: A woman thought to be the world’s oldest barmaid has died less than a year after celebrating her 100th birthday at the pub where she worked for 75 years. Dolly Saville first pulled pints at the Red Lion Hotel in Wendover, Buckinghamshire, before World War Two. Pub owner Fuller’s Inns said she was “a huge part of the community”. She was still on the payroll but had not done a shift for a couple of weeks before her death, a spokeswoman said.

Company News:

Barworks opens ninth site: Barworks, the London-based bar, restaurant and cocktail club operator, opens its ninth site tomorrow (4 March) at 1 City Road, just down from the Old Street roundabout in London’s EC1Y. The Singer Tavern is located in a Grade II listed building that was originally built in 1929 to house the iconic Singer Sewing Machine Company. The bar occupies both ground floor and basement and covers an area over 6,000 sq ft. Bare brick walls, original tiles, intimate leather booths and a private dining area will all contribute to the atmosphere of the bar. A spokesman told Propel: “The Singer Tavern will offer a fine selection of craft beers, London distilled spirits and an eclectic menu. The basement houses the fifth 5cc venue, which will introduce an exclusive, carefully crafted Martini menu alongside a variety of quality spirits and well made drinks in a stylish but approachable environment.” 

Starbucks UK reports wireless charging being used “above and beyond expectations”: Starbucks UK has reported wireless phone charging hotspots at ten of its London coffee shops are being used “above and beyond expectations”. IT director for Starbucks EMEA, Robert Teagle, told Essential Retail that feedback from customers both online and in stores has been positive. The charging hotspots placed on tables in the coffee chain’s stores have built-in Duracell Powermat wireless charging technology. 

Domino’s UK franchisee Ebitda per store rises 26% to £129,023: Domino’s UK’s franchisees saw average store Ebitda rise by 26% to £129,023 in 2014. The figure is based on P&Ls submitted across 723 stores by franchisees. Average sales per store rose 11.3% to £921,615 (£17,723 per week). Domino’s has also reported that 40 new sites in 2014 opened on an average weekly turnover of £13,555 in 2014, up from £12,683 the year before. The company reported that improved purchasing will deliver £8m of savings to franchisees this year. Domino’s is also to embark on a £30m investment in its next two supply chain centres, one in the west of Manchester and one in Ireland.

La Tasca development chef Antony Bennett to pen La Tasca cookery book: La Tasca’s development chef Antony Bennett is to write a La Tasca cookery book next year to reinforce the brand’s improved food credentials. “I am very passionate about sourcing from and getting recipe inspiration from Spain,” Bennett told Produce Business UK. “It’s all about good, honest food, but also real Spanish food. I met Ferran Adrià last year and he is a real inspiration. He now has his own brand of more quirky stuff and I buy popping chocolate candy [for a chocolate waffle dessert] and Crutomat [dehydrated tomato] from him. You wouldn’t expect that within a casual dining brand, but we are still not charging the earth for it. We have completely broken down the old, cheap model. We buy better ingredients and cook it ourselves in the restaurant kitchens. Our bread is still made for us, but it is made fresh and received every day. We don’t buy chopped onions and potatoes – potatoes used to come pre-cubed, but now its Maris Pipers, washed, peeled and diced on the day for the patatas bravas.”

Oakman set to open three sites by May: Oakman Inns, led by Peter Borg-Neal, is scheduled to open three pubs by the end of May this year – The Navigation in Cosgrove will open in April, The White Hart, Amphill is set to open in May as is the Kings Head in Chipping Ongar. A fourth pub, The Globe in Warwick, is slated to open in February 2015, taking estate total to 13. Meanwhile, Oakman inns has placed 28th in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work for in the UK. Borg-Neal said: “It serves as a huge boost to the reputation of Oakman Inns and our growing team. We have always understood that people are our most important asset and we are hugely committed to engaging with our team and making Oakman a great place to work. I really hope this recognition helps demonstrate the rewarding career opportunities offered by the hospitality industry.”

TGI Friday’s in the US ups the ante on unlimited appetisers: TGI Friday’s in the US has upped the ante on unlimited appetisers by offering unlimited choice. The company saw a sales boost when it began to offer customers eat-all-you-want on an individual appetiser. Now for two dollars more, £12, it is offering “endless choice” on nine appetisers. “It was wildly successful for us,” said Brian Gies, chief marketing officer at Friday’s. He said sales jumped by “double-digits” when it held the single-item offer twice last year and saw a 50% jump in Millennial customers. But Millennials wanted more choices than just one appetiser, he said. So, in December in Richmond, Virginia, the chain tested endless choice and saw “sales rocket”. The offer runs until 19 April.

New juice bar concept opens in Fitzrovia: Maple & Fitz, a new healthy takeaway and cold-pressed juice bar has opened in Fitzrovia. Founder Canadian-born Adria Wu trained at Le Cordon Bleu and attended the British College of Nutrition and Health. Her focus is on making nutritious meals taste delicious and at an accessible price point (mix of three filling ‘salads’ from £6.95). She will also be serving up healthy sweet treats such as a salted caramel gluten-free brownie and ‘everything’ cookies made with coconut, hazelnuts, pecans, oats and dark chocolate. Although the emphasis will be on takeaway, the downstairs area will seat 12-15 with al fresco seating in the summer months.

Jarrow Brewery re-opens historic site: Jarrow Brewery has re-opened one of the town’s oldest pubs, the former Jarrow Crusaders, which closed last year. The building was bought at auction by Jarrow Brewery, which has carried out months of renovation. The venue, based in the heart of the town centre in Walter Street, is now called McConnell’s Gin and Ale House. Jess McConnell, managing director of the brewery, said: “It is one of the oldest pubs in Jarrow. We have been working for months to get it ready to be re-opened.”
 
Benito’s Hat opens first outside of central London: Mexican fast casual group Benito’s Hat has opened its first restaurant outside of Central London bringing its portfolio to seven. Located in Bromley, within the newly developed North Village, the 2,000 square foot restaurant is the group’s biggest yet with seating for 60 guests inside and 24 outside. Ben Fordham, managing director of Benito’s Hat, said: “We’re delighted to launch our first venture south of the river, it’s an area we’ve wanted to explore for a long time and are thrilled to be bringing our brand to a whole new audience.”
 
Bierkeller owners invest £500,000 in Bingley pub: The owners of the Bierkeller brand Allan Harper and Alex Hazard are investing £500,000 in re-opening a former traditional pub in Bingley town centre. The Potting Shed Bar and Gardens opens this month after a major refurbishment of the former Fleece in Main Street. Self-service beer taps will on offer. “Almost everything has been reclaimed and upcycled - the fantastic old timber which lines the walls is actually the old floorboards and the wood-fired pizza oven in the open-plan kitchen is made from stone found during clearing the garden,” said manager Nick Merrick, who formerly ran Brown’s bar and restaurant in central Leeds. “We are creating a unique effect which will give the whole pub an outdoors feel a bit like a giant shed. For example the ceiling will be covered with willow trellises and the huge patio windows will lead straight out to the garden.”

Las Iguanas to open three sites this Spring: Latin American restaurant group Las Iguanas will open three sites this spring, located in Woking, Torquay and Swansea, bringing its total number of sites to 41. The additional restaurants will also create over 130 new jobs for the local areas. At the end of March, Las Iguanas will launch a 170-cover restaurant complete with piazza in Woking’s Commercial Way. Launching at the end of April, Las Iguanas will open in Torquay’s new dining quarter, Abbey Sands. Also in April, Las Iguanas will open in Swansea city centre.

JD Wetherspoon re-submits Bristol pub plan with first floor beer garden: JD Wetherspoon has submitted revised plans for a pub in Bristol’s Horfield area have been submitted to the city council – with a first floor beer garden this time. The company’s plans to create a new venue in a former computer games shop close to the Co-op supermarket and The Anchor pub was withdrawn last month. But fresh plans only have one major change to them – the inclusion of a first floor beer garden. The company wants to open up at 349-353 Gloucester Road, a rundown former retail building next door to a reclamation yard. Eddie Gershon, spokesman for JD Wetherspoon, said: “We withdrew the original application and have resubmitted it with a first floor beer garden included. We are as keen as ever to open a Wetherspoon pub on the site in Gloucester Road. We believe that a new pub, as well as bringing investment and jobs, would act as a catalyst for further investment in the area.”

Stonegate launches refreshed food and drink menu within Classic estate: Stonegate’s Pub Company has launched a refreshed food and drink menu within its Classic Estate. A wider range of dishes have been added to the pub favourites selection and there are also a number of fresh new salads and lower calorie dishes. The new menu, which will be available on Thursday 5 March, sees potted mackerel and salmon pate joining the menu alongside tomato and feta bruschetta as two new starter additions. The vegetarian selection has also been extended to offer a spinach, mushroom and cheddar cheese filo tart and a new Sunday nut roast. Under 500 calorie options have also seen new additions. The saintly salmon and pepper skewer salad at just 370 calories has been added to the selection alongside a whole new salad range of chicken Caesar salad, greek salad and superfood salad with salmon skewers. Fresh strawberries and cream served with mini shortbread biscuits has been added to the dessert range as well as a salted caramel and chocolate truffle bar drizzled with caramel sauce and served with ice cream. Alongside a new food menu, a range of premium soft drinks has been introduced. A selection of Fentimans fruit-based drinks has been added to the menu with flavours ranging from dandelion & burdock to ginger beer. The Cracker Drinks Co. Juices have also been added. A wider wine range is also available in line with the new food menu, with the number of wines sold by the glass increasing. 

Veteran Mitchells & Butlers area manager trebles turnover at first Fuller’s pub: Alfie Molinaro, the veteran Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) area manager who retired from the company 18 months ago after 20 years of service, has trebled turnover at the first pub of his own, Fuller’s The Ivy House in Chalfont St Giles. Molinaro spent six months running D’Pary’s in Bedford on behalf of Apostrophe pubs, the new Charles Wells managed vehicle overseen by former M&B executive and Innventure owner Chris Gerard. In the autumn of last year, Molinaro decided he would take his first tenanted pub site. He told Propel: “It’s my first time at this end of things and things are getting better every week – we have trebled turnover since taking over last year and we’ve just enjoyed better trading results in February than we saw in December.”

Multiple operator running National Trust pub takes over Holly Bush in Alcester: Nigel Smith, who runs the Fleece Inn at Bretforton, Worcestershire, owned by the National Trust, and the Cardinal’s Hat in Worcester, has taken over the running of the Holly Bush on Henley Street, Alcester, Warwickshire. The Holly Bush closed suddenly in October after a notice was put up in the window by the previous licensee, Tracey Deffley, announcing she was leaving after 16 years. Now the pub will be run by Smith in partnership with Everards Brewery, and is due to open today, Monday 2 March. Smith said: “I am looking forward to The Holly Bush once more becoming a central part of the Alcester community. Alcester folk, real ale fans as well as local clubs, groups and societies are welcomed back and invited to come in and meet our team when we open up again. We are planning a busy and fun schedule of events and hope the community will get involved.”

Five Guys franchisee sells for $3.56m after feud sends it into bankruptcy: A successful Five Guys Burgers and Fries franchise in south Florida that fell into bankruptcy because of nine feuding partners has been sold to a company that wants to continue expanding the business. Yukon Broward bought eight Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurants out of bankruptcy auction for $3.56 million. The sale included the exclusive franchise rights to the brand in Broward County and locations in Tamarac, Margate, Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Hallandale Beach and Plantation.

Whitbread seeks to expand Peterborough Premier Inn by 50%: Plans to expand the Premier Inn in Orton Waterville Peterborough from 40 bedrooms to 60 by building an extension on land which was part of a golf course have been submitted to the city’s council. The current 40-bedroom hotel saw an average occupancy of more than 82% during the financial year 2013/14. The site also contains The Granary, a co-located Beefeater pub restaurant. The full planning application, submitted to Peterborough Council by Walsingham Planning on behalf of the Whitbread-owned Premier Inn Hotels, is for the construction of a two-storey, 20-bedroom extension. The overall size of the extension would be nearly 6,500 sq ft of new floor space. Premier Inn proposes to build the extension to the north of the existing building, on land that was part of the Orton Meadows Golf Course.

Molson Coors marks 400 year anniversary of Grolsch with £2.7m spend: Molson Coors is celebrating the 400 year anniversary of Grolsch by launching a £2.7m global media campaign. Aptly named ‘Celebrating 400 years of Originality,’ the campaign will re-visit Grolsch’s 400 years as an international beer brand. New celebratory point of sale merchandise will be immediately available, including limited edition 400 year glassware. Consumers will also have the chance to win a selection of the original canvas designs from Amsterdam. Ali Pickering, brand director portfolio at Molson Coors UK, said: “Grolsch is renowned for its individuality and this is something we wanted to pay tribute to during the 400th year anniversary. We pride ourselves on our ability to offer beer drinkers a premium choice, whilst maintaining a unique and imaginative edge – whether that is through our distinctive beer or our unique Swingtop bottle.”

Kevin Johnson starts as Starbucks president and chief operating officer: Kevin Johnson began his new role at Starbucks as its new president and chief operating officer yesterday following Troy Alstead’s decision to take a sabbatical after 23-years with the coffee retailer. Johnson will manage all operational functions including the global businesses of Starbucks in the Americas, EMEA and China/Asia Pacific. He will also oversee Starbucks global supply chain, which works with more than 21,000 stores in 66 countries worldwide. Johnson said he has a “great deal of passion for innovation and the role technology plays in improving lives”. He added: “The digital revolution has put mobile devices in the hands of consumers and cloud computing enables new types of services. The businesses that utilise technology to enhance their customers’ experiences are going to be the big winners in the years to come. I’d definitely put Starbucks in that category.”

Babbington House suffers fire: Babbington House, near Frome in Somerset, operated by Soho House, saw a fire break out in the kitchen on Sunday. A spokesman for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said: “On arrival, crews confirmed alarms activating within the property and the kitchen was heavily smoke logged. The fire was located in the ground-floor kitchen caused by burning fat in a tray. The kitchen suffered slight fire and smoke damage. Fire crews requested an ambulance due to four people suffering from smoke inhalation and administered oxygen therapy to the casualties.”

Bill’s to open first Scottish site this month: Bill’s Restaurants will open its first site in Scotland on 30 March. It will open in an old Yorkstone building, in the heart of Glasgow. General manager Kyle Steel said: “Located on the corner of West Nile Street and St Vincent Street, in what is rapidly becoming a foodie hub, Bill’s will add an element of vintage character and individual style to the local dining scene.” Bill Collison, founder of Bill’s, added: “With other restaurants winking at us from all around, we’re hoping to fit in alongside them, while offering something a little bit different. We’re very excited to be opening north of the border, and here’s hoping the good folk of Glasgow will enjoy getting to know us.”

Corney & Barrows re-launches C&B CityPoint site: Corney & Barrow Bars has re-launched its C&B CityPoint site following a three month refurbishment. The investment comes a year after the renovation of C&B Old Broad Street, which has enjoyed a 20% growth in sales since its re-opening. The new look bar has been thoughtfully designed to include low level lounge seating areas and booths, where customers can relax over seasonal cocktails and the celebrated wines by Corney & Barrow Wine Merchants, whilst the modern British brasserie menu now includes all day dining. The refurbishment forms part of the businesses strategy to re-invest in its core estate, whilst also securing new sites as the high-end brand looks to expand its estate further throughout London. Ed Gardner, managing director, Corney & Barrow Bars, said: “We are committed to not only investing in our core estate, but also expanding it further across London. We have an extremely loyal customer following in the City and we’re looking forward to evolving the brand even further, not only across our food and drink offering, but also with our interior design to ensure we remain firmly ahead of the competition.”

Enterprise Inns licensees scoop awards: Enterprise licensees have had a flying start to 2015 with a string of awards. In the first two months of 2015, more than a dozen pubs in England and Wales have been recognised by various awards – from best food and drink, to favourite sailor’s bar. Budvar’s Top 50 Gastropubs features four Enterprise sites, including: The Plough Inn, Longparish, run by publican James Durrant, which finished 4th; The Harwood Arms, Fulham (Edwin Vaux, Brett Graham and Mike Robinson, 11th); The Canton Arms, Stockwell (Charles Bousfield, 16th) and Parkers Arms, Clitheroe (Stosie Madi, Cathy Smith and AJ Nolan, 41st) all of which were regional finalists in the 2015 GPBA awards in the Best Food Pub Category. Enterprise Inns’ The Beehive, in Berkshire, run by Dominic and Helena Chapman, and David and Victoria Coubrough, which recently won a place among The Times’ Top 25 country pubs for food, also featured on Budvar’s ‘Ones to Watch’ list.

Fire destroys former Antic pub: A large fire has destroyed a former Antic Pub Company site in Catford, the Catford Bridge Tavern. The whole of the roof and second floor and most of the first floor was damaged in the blaze, which is thought to be non-suspicious. Antic turned the venue into a thriving community pub. But Tesco had their eye on the building and, despite a campaign, the support of politicians and a local listing, Antic left at the end of 2013. Since then, it has remained boarded up. Tesco sold the lease on last year and plans were drawn up to re-open it as a pub once again.

Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises seeks to switch to mobile loyalty: Renowned US restaurant company Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE), which runs 51 unique brands, plans to transform its 25-year-old Frequent Diner Club loyalty program and transition from a card-based offering to a mobile loyalty program. To achieve that goal, LEYE has partnered with Paytronix Systems. Jennifer Bell, executive director of loyalty, marketing and public relations at Lettuce Entertain You, said: “The ability to offer a range of experiences and price points is what differentiates our program from other restaurant loyalty programs.” With 18% of all spend coming from its Frequent Diner Club, LEYE considers loyalty to be ‘strategically important’ to the success of its business. Its Frequent Diner Club is a three-tiered program that offers both bankable points and automatic rewards. At year’s end, each member is evaluated and either moved up or down a level based on dollars spent.

KFC franchisee plans leisure development in Scunthorpe: A major leisure development including restaurants and a gym will be built in Scunthorpe after the land was purchased by large-scale KFC franchisee. Raja Adil, chief executive of the Adil Group, this week bought a large chunk of the Gallagher Leisure Park next to both Scunthorpe United’s Glanford Park stadium and the M&S retail park on Doncaster Road. He plans to develop a 2.64 acre piece of vacant land to make it Scunthorpe’s “number one leisure park” with promises of a “high level of investment” and “plenty of jobs”. David Watson, partner and head of capital markets at WSB Property Consultants working on behalf of the Adil Group, said the deal was completed last week. Adil has purchased the land currently occupied by KFC, Travelodge, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s and Frankie & Benny’s along with the vacant land next to it.

Prezzo to open in Penarth this week: Prezzo is will open in Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, this week (population: 20,396). The company, led by Jonathan Kaye, has invested £750,000 in a renovation of the former Spar store on Windsor Road. The new restaurant, which will see the creation of 20 new jobs, will open its doors to the public for the first time on Thursday, (12 March). The restaurant, which has a contemporary design, has seating for 138 guests, with 118 in the main restaurant and a further 20 in an outside patio dining area. As part of the redevelopment of the Edwardian building, the original cornice features have been restored and a spiral staircase has been installed. The restaurant also features limed oak panelled walls and bronze bevelled mirrors.

BrewHouse & Kitchen progresses with Gloucester site: Brewhouse & Kitchen, led by Kris Gumbrell and Simon Bunn, has applied for an alcohol licence for a proposed site at an empty unit within Gloucester Quays. A planning application has been submitted to Gloucester City Council requesting a licence for the sale of alcohol at the venue. Leader of Gloucester City Council, Paul James, said: “The leisure quarter at Gloucester Quays continues to go from strength to strength. The latest proposed addition will add to the variety of the offer and help to bring back people to Gloucester who previously went elsewhere. I want to ensure the city centre’s night-time economy also benefits from the Quays’ success and we are pursuing a range of measures to ensure this happens.” Brewhouse & Kitchen opened its first pub in Portsmouth in 2011 and now venues in London, Bournemouth, Bristol and Dorchester. Gumbrell told the local newspaper: “We’re in a fantastic location overlooking the water and it’s going to be a really great place to eat and drink.”

Wetherspoon raises £10m for CLIC Sargent: JD Wetherspoon’s staff and customers have reached a milestone by raising £10 million for the company’s chosen charity, CLIC Sargent. Wetherspoon has supported the charity, which supports children and young people with cancer, since 2002. And Wetherspoon has committed itself to supporting the charity for another five years until 2020. Wetherspoon chairman, Tim Martin, said: “I am so proud of everyone who works for Wetherspoon as well as our loyal customers, for all their hard work in raising £10 million for CLIC Sargent. The money raised has already helped hundreds of children, young people and their families, who have been affected by cancer, and we’re committed to helping many more.” CLIC Sargent chief executive, Lorraine Clifton, added: “We’re delighted that Wetherspoon has reached this £10 million milestone for CLIC Sargent. It is an incredible achievement and we are extremely grateful for the enthusiasm and dedication shown by all the staff and customers who have been tirelessly fundraising for us since 2002. Wetherspoon is our longest-standing corporate partner and has shown huge support to CLIC Sargent. The funds will help us in our work supporting children and young people whose lives have been turned upside down by cancer, providing practical, emotional and financial support from the point of diagnosis onwards.”

British Land acquires Surrey Quays leisure park: British Land has acquired Surrey Quays Leisure Park in Canada Water for £135 million from clients of Aviva Investors. The company stated: “This acquisition completes our assembly strategy at Canada Water where we also own Surrey Quays Shopping Centre and Harmsworth Quays, the former Daily Mail General Trust printing works. The combined sites, which we have assembled over the last five years for a total investment of £250 million, cover nearly 50 acres creating one of the largest mixed-use regeneration projects in London. Canada Water has excellent existing transport infrastructure with Canada Water and Surrey Quays stations providing quick transfer times via the London Overground and the Jubilee Line to the City, Canary Wharf and the West End. The area will also benefit from the opening of Crossrail at Canary Wharf in 2018, which is one stop away on the Jubilee line. We are working with Southwark Council on the Canada Water Masterplan to create a new mixed-use town centre for the area. Architects Allies & Morrison have been appointed to advise as masterplanners for the scheme, which could include up to seven million sq ft of office, retail, leisure, culture and residential space alongside higher educational and community uses.”

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