business

Review of 2015 - April: Aston Martin factory, John Lewis recruits and 'Shakespeare's Airport'

Luxury car-maker was reported to be eyeing a site in Longbridge for a new factory, John Lewis started massive recruitment drive and Birmingham Airport said it could adopt a new moniker for the US

Aston Martin was urged to consider Longbridge for a new factory in April

Aston Martin urged to choose Longbridge for new factory

Aston Martin was being courted by Birmingham to invest in Longbridge after it emerged the luxury car-maker was considering a new plant to build 4x4s.

The brand was said to be considering Birmingham or Bridgend, South Wales, for the new factory.

But Midland business and civic leaders were desperate for the luxury car-maker to choose Longbridge as the ideal base to connect with the region's booming automotive sector.

Aston Martin was reported to have held talks with the Government and regional funding bodies over the potential of obtaining grants to support plans to build an eco-friendly electric or hybrid 4x4.

Longbridge - home to car-making for more than a century - was considered the most realistic plot in the city for an Aston Martin plant with the only other one being the council-owned Peddimore site near Walmley, in Sutton Coldfield.

John Lewis recruits for 500 roles

Birmingham was set for a major jobs boost with recruitment for more than 500 roles at the new flagship John Lewis.

Applications for the roles began during April with a variety of positions from sales assistants to stock and catering roles on offer to people from the city.

The Post previously reported the retail giant had begun recruiting for 150 specialist roles across visual merchandising, business protection, admin and maintenance.

The 250,000 sq ft department store opened in September as the anchor tenant of the new £150 million Grand Central retail development above New Street station.

'Shakespeare's Airport' could help Birmingham crack US market

Birmingham Airport could be known as "Shakespeare's Airport" in the US, its chief executive revealed.

After launching the brand name in China, to promote the proximity to William Shakespeare's home town of Stratford-upon-Avon, the airport debated branching the name out into new territories.

Chief executive Paul Kehoe said, while he had been advised the Bard was not such a draw in the US, he still believed it could help bring in tourists.

However, he admitted that high-speed rail might lead to a name change in a decade's time, with HS2 making the airport just 38 minutes from London.

Green light for New Street station footbridge

It was covered up, revealed and then New Street station's boxy footbridge was to be covered up again after plans for new cladding were approved.

The compromised design for New Street station's problematic footbridge was passed by city planners which would see it clad with light grey powder-coated aluminium.

Last year, Network Rail provoked fury and was accused of cutting back on the station's state-of-the-art design when it unveiled plans to leave the grubby passenger bridge over the platforms visible from Hill Street.

The initial plan had it wrapped in the shiny stainless steel skirting, in keeping with the remainder of the station.

But Network Rail claimed earlier this year it was too difficult to install the curved stainless steel over the live railway as designed because the bridge would need to be strengthened and the platforms closed.

Solihull writer's Car Share set to make broadcasting history with iPlayer premiere

A Solihull comedy writer made broadcasting history when a sitcom starring comic Peter Kay became the first BBC programme to be made available on the corporation's on-demand service, iPlayer, before it was broadcast on BBC One.

All six episodes of Car Share, written by Tim Reid and Paul Coleman, were made available on the iPlayer between April 24 and 28.

Car Share featured Peter Kay as John Redmond and Sian Gibson as Kayleigh Kitson - two supermarket workers thrown together in a company car share scheme.

It was Mr Reid and Mr Coleman's first ever sitcom and came to fruition after they contacted Mr Kay for advice. He liked it so much he signed up to star in and direct it.

Mr Reid, from Solihull, and Mr Coleman discovered a shared passion for comedy after working together as business consultants for innovation company What If.

Edgbaston office blocks to be demolished

Plans to demolish three 1970s office blocks in the heart of a conservation area and replace them with town houses and flats were approved.

But residents in Highfield Gardens, Edgbaston, claimed one of the planned apartment blocks, to be built on an attached car park, was too large and would spoil their views and open space.

Neighbour Neil Upton said: "It is a fact that, when we look out, we see an open space not a three-storey block of flats."

But councillors ruled the cluster of seven houses and two apartment blocks, to be built by Taylor Wimpey Midlands, were much more suitable than the old empty offices.

Revolutionary lock 'could transform' city's canal network

A series of city canal locks could be the next Brindleyplace, according to an inventor who believed he could revolutionise the country's famous inland waterways.

Terry Fogarty called for the dilapidated Camp Hill Locks, on the Grand Union Canal, to be given the same type of investment that created Brindleyplace, off Broad Street.

The 78 year old, who is managing director of Fogarty Castings in Acocks Green, believed the neglected site would be the perfect location for a canal museum given Birmingham's role in the Industrial Revolution and the history of canal building.

He also wanted the site to become the first location for his trail-blazing diagonal lock invention which he said offered a more efficient way of moving boats between different water levels.

Former Aston Villa head Faulkner named chamber chief

Former Aston Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner was unveiled in April as the new chief executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce.

He eventually took over the role during the summer from Jerry Blackett who announced his retirement during 2014.

The ex-Villa boss, who was at the helm of the club for four years until 2014, became the youngest chief executive in the business group's 200-year plus history.

He pledged to take some of his experiences in the football world at Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest into the world of Birmingham commerce.

Review of Year 2015 - January

Review of Year 2015 - February

Review of Year 2015 - March

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