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Tue 5th Jun 2018 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Slowdown in leisure sector evident for first time since 2012: A slowdown in the leisure sector is evident for the first time since 2012 although niche cuisines continue to thrive, new research has revealed. The latest bi-annual retail and leisure trends report from Local Data Company (LDC) reveals the net number of leisure units across Britain fell in 2017 for the first time since 2012 – down 67. All retail categories experienced decline and the vacancy rate increased for the first time since LDC started tracking it in 2012. However, this was only a 0.2% increase during the entire year, settling at 11.2% – the same as at the end of 2016. Numbers of multiple and independent occupiers both declined for the first time since 2012, with independents falling 1,483 in 2017. The decline in multiples continued, with 4,010 closing down in 2017. The sub-category that closed the most UK units was pubs (747), followed by banks (711). Cafes and tea rooms saw a net increase of 353 units. Niche retailers shone through, with Jamaican, vegan, Brazilian, Argentine, kosher and Malaysian restaurants increasing presence in 2017, while there was a 70% decrease in vegetarian restaurants and a 61.5% increase in vegan ones. The vacancy rate for shopping centres is the highest for retail locations with the biggest increase (12.7% to 13.2%) between 2016 and 2017. The high-street vacancy rate only rose 0.2%. The vacancy rate decreased across all Britain’s retail parks in 2017, continuing the trend for increasing occupancy in the segment. Yorkshire and the Humber (361), Greater London (498) and Scotland (520) were the regions to lose the most occupied high-street units, while West Midlands lost the fewest (22). The most improved high-street locations were Knightsbridge, Malton, St Leonards, Letchworth, Islington, Bromsgrove, St Neots, Ripley, Felixstowe and Barnsley. The most entrepreneurial towns were Tooting, Aberdeen, Dawley, Reddish, Bromborough Rake, Liverpool, Great Yarmouth, Newcastle upon Tyne, Folkestone and Erdington. LDC senior relationship manager Lucy Stainton said: “Broadly, the sub-sectors growing across Britain have services or propositions that cannot be replicated online, while those closing can be readily replicated digitally. Equally, those corners of retail and leisure performing well are very much experience-led. This tells us something about changing consumer preferences and habits. There is no denying retail is going through an unprecedented era of change but, as our latest research highlights, it’s crucial to get underneath the overarching trends to understand the detail beneath, giving a glimpse of our future high street.”

Industry News:

Propel summer conference and party open for bookings, more than 250 people confirmed: More than 250 people have booked for this year’s Propel summer conference and party so far – and operators can claim up to two free places. The event takes place on Thursday, 5 July at The Oxford Belfry. This year we have the usual great conference followed by crazy golf at Junkyard Golf in Oxford plus a barbecue and live band karaoke back at the hotel. The speaker line-up is Matt Coles, of Morar HPI’s food and drinks team; Peter Edwards, chief operating officer of Zonal; sector consultant James Hacon; Martin Morales, restaurateur, chef and entrepreneur known as the pioneer of Peruvian food; Angela Malik, board member of the London Food Board; Gavin George, chief executive of Laine Pub Company; Matthew Kirby, chief executive of Chozen Noodle; David Abrahamovitch, founder of genre-busting Grind; Andreas Karlsson, group chief operating officer of Sticks ‘n’ Sushi; Simon Mitchell, managing director of Kerb; James Baer, managing director of Amber Taverns; and HGEM insight manager Rich New and lead client manager Jason Horn. Operators can claim up to two free places by emailing or calling her on 01444 817691.

Cocktail category value up 8% to £536m: Cocktails have been identified as one of the strongest profit drivers for licensees in 2018, with almost nine million consumers driving category value up 8% to £536m, according to new data. The findings, from business insight consultancy CGA and released by cocktail experts Funkin, also revealed cocktail drinkers spend up to 27% more on food and drink than non-cocktail drinkers. With the category growing consistently in value, volume, frequency and outlet penetration, Funkin said there was still a huge opportunity for operators to capitalise on the ongoing cocktail boom. It added quality and consistency of serve coupled with clear and prominent marketing were all essential ingredients when attracting and retaining cocktail customers. The data revealed cocktail menus are the number one influence in outlets, directing nearly 50% of drink choices. It also identified the top ten serves operators should list on drinks menus, including mojito, espresso martini and daiquiri as well as sparkling and lighter ABV-style drinks such as the bellini. Draught and pre-batched cocktails have also been highlighted as trends for 2018 as they grow in popularity among consumers. Funkin managing director Andrew King said: “Figures show cocktails are outperforming the wider spirits category, with the value of cocktails up 8% while spirits only post a 4% increase. Currently, 19 million consumers are drinking spirits when they are on a night out so with the right offering, there is a huge opportunity to convert them to cocktails.”

James Clay acquires regional distributor Beer Direct: Craft beer importer James Clay has expanded its reach in the Midlands with the acquisition of regional distributor Beer Direct. The deal sees the company assume all Beer Direct operations, which will now trade as James Clay. The Beer Direct range will initially remain in place before being expanded to introduce James Clay’s wider offering, while Beer Direct founder and managing director Martin Johnson will remain in a consultancy role during the transition ahead of his retirement. Johnson founded Beer Direct in 1991 with Brian Pettit. Based in Stoke-on-Trent, it supplies a range of beers, ciders and jenevers to a variety of trade sites. The deal follows James Clay’s acquisition of the wholesale arm of London beer specialists Utobeer in 2016. Business development director James Clay said: “Martin shares our ambition of connecting customers with the world’s greatest beers and we’re honoured he trusts us to ensure the business thrives for decades to come. We respect the excellent work of our other distribution partners in the area and remain committed to working alongside them to develop quality beer in the region.” Johnson added: “We’re confident James Clay is the best company to take Beer Direct forward and feel certain this transition will benefit pubs, bars and bottle shops in the region. We want to thank all our customers for their loyalty over the past 27 years and reassure them James Clay’s commitment to quality beer puts them in safe hands for the future.”

Pub operators warned to optimise World Cup viewing experience or risk losing drinkers: More than two-fifths (45%) of UK-based football fans wouldn’t return to a pub that failed to offer the standard of viewing experience they expect, according to new research commissioned by Currys PC World Business. It is estimated 14.8 million fans will head to their local pub to watch games during the Fifa World Cup, which kicks off this month. The biggest causes for complaint were people standing in the way of the screen (37%), not enough televisions (28%) and being unable to hear the commentary (23%). Almost four-fifths (79%) of drinkers expect their local to show the action in high definition, with more than one-third (34%) saying they wouldn’t watch the game in a pub that didn’t have HD. To help viewing in pubs, almost one-third (32%) want more televisions, 44% want more seating, and 23% want to be able to hear the commentary clearly. Jim O’Hagan, business development director at Currys PC World Business, said: “Savvy pub-goers want more than just access to a quick pint and a screen. Landlords need to do more to tempt potential customers away from the comfort of their homes. With kick off just around the corner, landlords need to invest now to get their commercial TV set-up match-fit or risk leaving punters disappointed which, as we all know, is England’s job!”

Company News:

Pizza Hut and Costa Coffee franchise businesses sold in separate deals: London-based independent pizza delivery business KMP Taste, one of the UK’s largest Pizza Hut franchises with almost 30 stores, has been sold to private investors. The sellers were three brothers from the London-based Patel family, who are private shareholders with a variety of business interests. The buyer was Zaf Holdings, a new company set up by Arif Jivraj, a private investor with wide-ranging expertise in franchised food retail. The deal was managed by Midlands-based accountancy and business advisory firm Smith Cooper, which provided full deal management services, including buyer identification. Corporate finance partner John Farnsworth said: “This transaction, involving nearly 30 stores and more than 500 employees, breaks size records for a UK Pizza Hut deal, certainly in recent history. We are privileged to have worked with the seller for some years before the sale process began, during which time it built a large, market-leading and profitable business.” David Crump, senior corporate finance manager, added: “We are delighted to have placed the business with a leading retail franchise expert, Arif Jivraj, whom we have known for some years and who owns Zaf Holdings. He has ambitious plans and is certainly capable of accelerating the growth of the Pizza Hut brand in the UK.” Meanwhile, Costa Coffee franchise operator Cats Eye Trading, which runs a cluster of stores in high streets in Surrey, has been sold to an experienced franchise entrepreneur in a deal initiated and project managed by Smith Cooper. The seller was private shareholder Ian King, while the buyer was Kashgroup Trading owned by experienced entrepreneur Kash Jaffar, an operator of Budgens and Pizza Hut Delivery franchises. Farnsworth said: “We are delighted to have secured a successful exit for Ian King, who has had 12 years in the Costa system. In this time, Cats Eye built an excellent reputation for high operating standards and customer care. The acquisition forms a strong platform for expansion for Kashgroup Trading, which is a new entrant to the Costa brand.”

BrewDog launches second Equity for Punks USA campaign, aims to raise initial $10m: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has launched the second round of its Equity for Punks USA campaign, aiming to initially raise $10m to open more bars across the country and a sour beer facility. The company raised $7m last year in its first campaign, adding 9,000 new US shareholders. Now it has launched a second fund-raise, with shares costing $50 each. BrewDog stated: “With the return of Equity for Punks USA we are looking to raise an initial $10m to open more amazing craft beer bars across the country, with a hit list including Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Detroit and New York City. We are looking to rock an incredible events space in Columbus for festivals and beer-fuelled gatherings of all kinds. And we want to grow our brewery, add new kit and hire more awesome people. Oh, and we are going to bring our master of funk Richard Kilcullen back Stateside to establish a game-changing sour beer facility in Columbus. BrewDog USA’s offer starts at $50 and investors will score a range of benefits as well as an equity stake in our US business. We are proud to be owned by a community of tens of thousands of Equity Punks worldwide.”

Know Group opens third Piri Piri Express site in Liverpool, plans expansion via franchise model: The Know Group has opened a third site in Liverpool for Piri Piri Express as it plans expansion of the brand across the north west via a franchise model. The Portuguese restaurant has opened in Smithdown Road, Allerton. The venue features new Piri Piri Express branding, which includes a new menu available by touch screen for the first time alongside new-look uniforms. The flagship restaurant will be a key franchisee training site, while the brand’s other outlets in Maghull and Aintree are set to be refurbished under the new branding. Piri Piri Express founder Paulo Alves said: “Smithdown Road is perfect due to its vibrant student-friendly feel. We offer an authentic Portuguese experience using an original family recipe and genuine Portuguese ingredients.” Meanwhile, the company will launch Sleep Eat Love, a 96-room “poshtel” concept in Liverpool this month. The concept offers single private rooms, twins, doubles, triples, family rooms and four, six, eight and ten-bed dorms. Steven Hesketh, chief executive of The Know Group, said: “We want people of all budgets to be able to experience the amazing city of Liverpool. In the next few months we will open a healthy eating food outlet on the ground floor.” The Know Group also operates two sites for healthy restaurant Love Thy Neighbour, The Richmond Hotel in Liverpool, The Townhouse Hotel in Chester, and the UK Hospitality Training Academy.

Lasan Group to open second Fiesta del Asado: Birmingham-based restaurant group Lasan is to open a second site for its Argentinian-inspired concept Fiesta del Asado. The company, which launched the concept in Edgbaston, will open the venue in Shirley at a former Marks & Spencer food hall in Stratford Road, reports Birmingham Live. Fiesta del Asado’s website states: “Asado is a broad Spanish term not only for a range of barbecue techniques but also describes the social event of having or attending a barbecue. Food is placed on grills and lowered over the embers of special applewood chips, where it acquires its distinct smoked taste by absorbing the aromas and sealing in flavours. Entertaining family and friends at mealtimes is essentially how Asado dining culture emerged in Argentina, and the life-affirming feeling of togetherness it creates is why it has become so popular around the world.” All steaks are dusted with a house dry rub and served with fresh chimichurri, a tangy Argentinian relish typically made with green herbs, garlic and vinegar. Lasan Group’s other restaurants include Indian fine dining restaurant Lasan in the Jewellery Quarter and Raja Monkey in Hall Green.

Moody Burgers opens fourth site, in Cheltenham: Burger restaurant and delivery concept Moody Burgers has opened its fourth site, this time in Cheltenham. The company, which raised £170,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube earlier this year to expand across the UK, has opened the site in Bath Road on the site of Bierkeller Cheltenham, which Fever Bars closed in March because it was “unprofitable”. The 200-seater restaurant features a range of booths, bar areas, tables and chairs, reports Gloucestershire Live. Moody Burgers’ menu features 13 burgers as well as loaded fries, sides, wings and shakes. There are also cocktails and a variety of alcoholic shakes. The company opened its first site in Swindon in September 2016 followed by an outlet in Worcester last year. Its third venue launched in Taunton in April.

Hunky Dory Pubs opens second site: Hunky Dory Pubs, the “managed expert” joint venture that is 51% owned by Ei Group and 49% owned by Oakman Inns and Restaurants led by Peter Borg-Neal, has opened its second site. The first Hunky Dory pub, The Beech House in Solihull, opened in August 2016. Now it has been joined by The Four Alls in Welford-on-Avon, near Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, following a £1.9m redevelopment. The pub has been restored and extended. The car park has been moved from the river and the reclaimed riverbank turned into landscaped gardens with a newly paved terrace. Inside, an inglenook fireplace has been added in the bar while an adjacent barn has been restored to provide an additional dining area as well as dedicated space for larger groups and parties. A glazed extension facing the river provides a restaurant for up to 80 diners. Borg-Neal said: “This is Oakman’s 22nd opening. Every pub we design and open has to be 100% better than the pub it replaces and make a valuable contribution to the community.” Ei Managed Investments operations director Nathan Wall added: “The pub looks fantastic and harnesses Oakman’s unique offering. This is another great example of making best use of an Ei Group property and I have no doubt it will be another huge success for Hunky Dory.”

KerbEdge to open second Hull site, fourth in total: Hull-based burger company KerbEdge is to open its second site in the city – and fourth in total. Founder Adam Bryson will open the venue at St Stephen’s shopping centre at a top-floor site formerly occupied by NYC Bar and Grill. Bryson told the Hull Daily Mail: “We have been working on this for a while and we’re delighted to be opening in St Stephen’s. There is no fixed date yet for opening but it will be within the next couple of months. We have been looking to expand for a while and St Stephen’s seemed to be the logical step.” Bryson founded KerbEdge in 2014 after a trip to the famous Burger Joint in New York. He launched KerbEdge by operating from a restored 1979 Citroen HY van and began serving burgers at markets, weddings and festivals. He opened his first permanent site in Princes Avenue, Hull, last year and has since added venues in Doncaster and Sheffield.

Drake & Morgan to open second Manchester city centre site next month: Drake & Morgan, the London-based bar and restaurant group backed by Bowmark Capital, will open The Anthologist next month for its second venue in Manchester city centre and 23rd in the UK. The 6,000 square foot, 185-cover bar and restaurant will be at One St Peter’s Square, part of a £185m redevelopment of the area. The Anthologist, which will open on Monday, 2 July, will feature a large statement bar, a mix of traditional dining and lounge seating, banquettes and booths, and distinctive dining and lounge areas. The venue will offer breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner with seasonal dishes, flatbread and sharing boards, small plates, gourmet sandwiches and burgers. An extensive wine list will accompany premium spirits, craft beer and cider, and an evolving cocktail list. There will also be “zero-proof concoctions”, including super skinnies with fewer than 50 calories. Drake & Morgan managing director Jillian MacLean said: “I’m delighted to be launching our second site in Manchester on the back of The Refinery in Spinningfields. Manchester is a modern and vibrant city that Drake & Morgan loves being part of and we are confident The Anthologist will provide the city with a refreshingly independent bar with new, exciting additions.” Drake & Morgan also operates The Anthologist in Gresham Street in the City of London, where the company held its most recent launch – The Listing in Bush Lane – in November.

Brunswick House duo open Shoreditch restaurant St Leonards: Brunswick House duo Jackson Boxer and Andrew Clarke have launched a restaurant in Shoreditch, east London. Building on the success of Brunswick House in Vauxhall, the venue in Leonard Street is the pair’s first shared project since Clarke joined as a partner three years ago. Taking cues from south west France, St Leonards features an open-style kitchen based around a large, log-burning hearth and adjacent ice bar. The venue features a 70-cover dining room and a bar seating 50, which serves snacks, charcuterie and shellfish alongside a 200-bin wine list, cocktails and a broad spirits list with an emphasis on cognac and armagnac. There is also a 12-cover private dining room. St Leonards’ ever-changing menu of vegetables, fish and shellfish is served from the raw bar, while larger plates such as whole roast duck and ribs of veal are cooked on the hearth. Boxer and Clarke developed the menu while cooking outdoors at Pound Farm in West Sussex, where many of the kitchen’s vegetables are grown.

JD Wetherspoon gets green light for £5m Hamilton hotel: JD Wetherspoon has had its £5m plans approved to transform a former department store in Hamilton, Scotland, into a hotel, pub and restaurant. South Lanarkshire Council’s planning committee has approved plans to convert the building, which has been empty since February 2014, into a pub and restaurant with external seating on the ground floor and a hotel on two upper floors. The bar restaurant will provide 222 covers, with the terrace and pavement cafe providing a further 100. The opening will create about 90 jobs. The hotel will have its own entrance and provide 33 bedrooms but no car parking. Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon told the Daily Record: “We believe this development will be a great asset to Hamilton and hopefully act as a catalyst for other businesses to invest in the town. There are currently no on-site or projected opening dates.” Meanwhile, Wetherspoon will close The Gig House in Wokingham, Berkshire, on Sunday (10 June) having previously served a break notice with the landlord. The pub in Erftstadt Court was originally launched as a Lloyds No 1 venue, reports Wokingham Today.

Patty & Bun opens 13th site, in Borough High Street: Better burger brand Patty & Bun has opened its 13th site – and only its second to serve breakfast. The 1,500 square foot venue in Borough High Street is opposite Borough Market and offers a breakfast menu from 7am to 10.30am, Monday to Friday, which includes bacon, sausage and vegetarian buns alongside AllPress coffee. The ground-floor level offers a quick-service takeaway-style space with no seating, while the lower floor offers options to dine in and features a bar and open kitchen. Patty & Bun’s other sites are all in London, apart from one in Brighton.

Chisou moving Mayfair restaurant to larger site: London-based restaurant group Chisou is to relocate its Mayfair restaurant after 16 years of business. The Japanese restaurant will leave its site in Princes Street to reopen on Wednesday, 27 June in a larger space in Woodstock Street. However, the company will retain its sushi counter at the Princes Street site. The new space will include the addition of a chef’s table at the sushi bar and “by the piece” sushi omakase. It will also feature two basement private rooms for up to 20 diners, Hot Dinners reports. Chisou, which is led by David Leroy, also operates restaurants in Fitzrovia and Knightsbridge. 

Liverpool-based Bold Street Coffee launches crowdfunding campaign to return home: Liverpool-based Bold Street Coffee has launched its fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to help the business return to its original home. The company closed its Bold Street site in January following “maintenance issues” before relaunching as part of a collaboration with Santa Maluco – part of Graffiti Spirits Group. Bold Street Coffee is now eyeing a return to its former premises by launching the £30,000 campaign. The pitch states: “The new site will require £75,000 of work. We are asking to raise £30,000 of that through your support so we can set up back in our original home. As the landlords have changed the interior layout, it actually gives us an opportunity to work with a new layout spread over two floors and it could/should/will mean we come back bigger and better than ever. The money will be spent on renovating the new site. We will invest in a new kitchen that can keep up with the new larger space, meaning we can cater for a lot more guests. A communal events space in the newly developed downstairs will be for public and private tastings and meetings. We are also going to put a small Bold Street Coffee shop there, where you can taste and talk coffee and brewing with an expert! If we go overfunded we have plans for a small bar concept. We will invest in new flooring for the premises, more seating and equipment for downstairs, and a lick of fresh white paint.”

Leeds-based Kirkstall Brewery reopens Bradford pub for third site: Leeds-based Kirkstall Brewery, which operates two pubs in the city, has reopened Bradford bar The Sparrow for its third site. The venue launched seven years ago in North Parade, the first of nine bars to open in the street. The refurbished venue has now relaunched as a craft beer bar offering 16 draught lines. Kirkstall Brewery sales director John Kelly told Leeds Live: “We intend to increase the range of beers but have no intention of changing the laid-back, welcoming and familiar atmosphere. Kirkstall beers will be a permanent feature alongside some of the best keg and cask beers from our favourite breweries from the UK and abroad.” The Sparrow’s owners, Les Hall and Marko Husak, will carry on managing the site. Hall said: “Kirkstall is a fantastic local brewery we’ve worked with from day one. It has done a great job bringing The Bridge and The Cardigan Arms, two previously struggling pubs on the verge of closing, back to life.”

Former Hakkasan chef to open Soho bar this week: Alex Looi, former head barman at The Dorchester hotel, Park Chinois and Hakkasan, is to head up a new bar that will open in Soho this week. Viet Lounge will open in Wardour Street on Thursday (7 June) above restaurant Viet Food, which is owned and operated by Jeff Tan, former chef de cuisine at Hakkasan Mayfair. Viet Lounge will feature a central counter offering cocktails such as Black Magic (vodka with coffee liqueur, pistachio syrup and homemade coconut milk), Hot Dinners reports. Bar snacks will include Vietnamese small plates from Tan including Hanoi beef braised in fish sauce with black pepper crumble; glazed chicken wings with lemongrass, fresh turmeric and fish sauce; and crispy soft shell crab with herbs.

Experimental Group opens Covent Garden bistro: Experimental Group has launched Henrietta Bistrot at its boutique townhouse Henrietta Hotel in Covent Garden. The kitchen is headed by Sylvain Roucayrol, who joins from sister site Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels after Experimental Group ended its partnership with Michelin-starred chef Ollie Dabbous. The 80-cover, ground-floor bistro offers snacks and sharing plates with the main menu featuring grilled Galician octopus with a herb relish, and marinated lamb cutlets with black olives and aubergine. Henrietta Bistrot’s wine menu focuses on the Mediterranean region alongside cocktails. Experimental Group co-founder Romée de Goriainoff said: “Experimental Group venues have always centred around great food, excellent drinks and a lively atmosphere – and this is no exception. The new menu of small plates works just as well for Monday lunch as it does for a leisurely dinner with family and friends.” Experimental Group, founded by de Goriainoff, Pierre-Charles Cros and Olivier Bon, and joined by Xavier Padovani in 2010, has 18 cocktail bars, restaurants, wine bars and hotels across Paris, New York, Ibiza and London.

Cumbrian holiday park operator acquires 56-acre marina village in Essex: Cumbrian holiday park and marina operator Lakeland Leisure Estates has acquired a marina and leisure complex in Essex following eight-figure funding from HSBC. The deal is forecast to grow Windermere-based Lakeland Leisure Estates’ revenues by 33% in the next 12 months. Roydon Marina Village occupies a 56-acre site near the northern outskirts of London. Alongside its 350-birth marina, the complex also has more than 60 holiday lodges and a hotel, cafe and Italian restaurant. Lakeland Leisure Estates has plans to refurbish the site’s rental lodges and cafe and invest in new Wi-Fi facilities and infrastructure. Lakeland Leisure Estates managing director Nigel Wimpenny told BDaily: “This site is a key part of our strategy to grow our marina portfolio, mainly through the acquisition of well-established locations. We are now looking to expand and diversify our holiday park offering to customers throughout the UK.” David Edwards, relationship director for Greater Manchester at HSBC, added: “Lakeland Leisure Estates is an impressive business with a strong reputation in the leisure industry and a clear growth strategy. We’re proud to support it as it expands into new markets.” Lakeland Leisure Estates was founded in 2009 by Phillip and Carol Morgan. Its portfolio includes five marinas and caravan parks across the Yorkshire Dales and Costa del Sol.

Gordon Ramsay graduate launches Instagrammable cafe concept in central London: Patisserie chef Zahra Khan, who graduated from Gordon Ramsay’s Tante Marie cookery school, has launched Instagrammable cafe concept Feya in central London. The 31-seat venue has opened in St James Street offering a special breakfast menu by Finnish Instagrammer and cookbook author Virpi Mikonnen, whose Vanelja Instagram page is known for its picturesque breakfast smoothie bowls and cakes. The first in a planned chain of cafes, Feya features marble tabletops and offers seasonal tarts, pastries and cakes alongside superfood lattes such as beetroot, blue algae and turmeric, Kusmi tea and Ozone coffee, Hot Dinners reports.

£3.75m lottery funding bid for new distillery: Swansea City Council has submitted a bid for £3.75m from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop the Hafod Morfa Copperworks site to pave the way for an expansion of Welsh distillery Penderyn. Plans for the distillery were submitted to the council for consideration in April and include a visitors’ centre with a shop, tasting bar and exhibition space. The new distillery would also include offices, a bar and a bonded barrel store. Penderyn owner Nigel Short told Insider Media: “Penderyn wants to be a part of the regeneration of the copper works and repeat the success we already have with our Welsh single malt whisky and other products.” Council leader Rob Stewart added: “This scheme will create jobs, attract visitors and boost the ongoing regeneration of the River Tawe corridor. It will further conserve the copper works site by making use of historically significant buildings in a sensitive and sustainable way. We are determined to work with partners to maximise the river’s potential to develop housing, walks, restaurants, water-based activities, landing stations and boat trips between the city centre and the Liberty Stadium. Other plans for this area include a cable car and other rides on Kilvey Hill, with a visitors’ centre, restaurant and viewing platform on top of the hill.”

Curzon to open £2.5m cinema in Colchester next month: Boutique cinema Curzon is set to open a £2.5m site in Colchester, Essex, next month. The company will open the three-screen cinema on Friday, 6 July in Queen Street following the redevelopment of Roman House. The scheme also includes two restaurant units and a proposed Travelodge behind the cinema. The cinema will house a cafe bar on the ground floor and a similar unit on the first floor, which will offer views across the town from a rooftop balcony seating up to 30 guests and offering table service. Curzon director of cinema development Rob Kenny told Jumbo News: “By opening in Colchester we will bring a sophisticated film experience to the town. The high standard of our food and drink offer will encourage our guests to meet up, hang around after the film and socialise.” Curzon operates 12 sites around the UK.

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