Hampshire housing association buys shopping centre for £17m

Hampshire housing association buys shopping centre for £17m

Sovereign Housing Association has purchased the Princes Mead Shopping Centre and two adjacent retail assets in Farnborough for £17.6 million.

The 61-000-home housing association acquired the 7.77 acre site from Knight Frank Investment Management (KFIM), on behalf of Local Pensions Partnership Investments (LPPI). The deal sees both KFIM and LPPI remain involved in the development project as overage partners.

Sovereign plans to deliver over 350 new homes on the town centre site, creating a residential-led, mixed-use regeneration of the central site in the borough of Rushmoor.

The housing association says the purchase is part of their strategy to meet the growing demand for affordable housing and contribute to the regeneration of towns and high streets; delivering quality homes in well-connected communities.

The planned development forms part of wider regeneration plans for the Farnborough town centre, being brought forward by Rushmoor Borough Council and the Rushmoor Development Partnership.

Their Civic Quarter masterplan incorporates a new leisure centre, civic hub and park, 1,000 new energy efficient homes, and new restaurant, food and beverage areas.

Tom Titherington, Chief Investment & Development Officer at Sovereign Housing Association said: “We are delighted to have acquired our second shopping centre, with a view to the longer-term regeneration potential of the site.

“As our high streets evolve, it becomes increasingly important for forward-thinking housing associations such as Sovereign to take a proactive role in regenerating our town centres, supporting our customers through the delivery of affordable homes and the successful re-imagination of our high streets.”

John Styles, Partner at Knight Frank Investment Management, said: “Having worked with Rushmoor to establish support for a substantial residential-led development scheme we are delighted to have sold the site to Sovereign Housing Association.  We are confident that Sovereign will take the project forward maximising the benefits, particularly in terms of affordable housing provision for Farnborough.”

10 Top Tips for Buying a Document Management System

10 Top Tips for Buying a Document Management System

The paperless office has moved beyond the metal filing cabinet, and now your business needs a platform for managing your digital documents. A document management system (DMS) can organise, store, and track changes in your electronic records. The right DMS will integrate with your current systems to maximise workflow and collaboration. Not all document management systems are created equal, so before you rush to purchase one, first consider the following:

1. Determine Your Specific Document Management Needs

You can’t buy the right tool unless you know what you’re trying to fix. While it’s tempting to throw technology at an issue, take the time to assess your organisation’s specific document management needs. Start by making a list of current issues, and engage your staff in this process so that you can target a solution that will actually work for them. Note the various software applications you’d like to integrate with your document management system. Factor in your firm’s projected growth areas so that your new DMS can handle future challenges.

2. Look for a Simple, Straightforward User Interface

Your system should offer an intuitive user interface (UI) that your staff can easily navigate. A powerful software platform with a confusing UI will only frustrate employees. Look for a system that’s simple and efficient, with clear commands and a clean visual design. After initial training, your staff shouldn’t have to constantly refer to a user manual to access your DMS. Designate a few “power users” on your team who can master the UI and share tips and tricks on getting the most out of your new system.

3. Select a DMS with Full Integration Capabilities

Your DMS needs to integrate fully with your current software systems so that you won’t have to hop between applications to complete daily tasks. Make sure your new software can “talk to” your other programs.

4. Manage Workflow

A document management system is far more than a digital filing cabinet. The best ones also act as workflow management systems, keeping your projects moving forward smoothly. Choose a DMS with project management features that meet your organisation’s specific needs. Make sure the platform also includes sufficient scalability for your business, so that your software can adapt to your company’s growth.

5. Focus on Collaboration

With more staff working off site, your system should enable users to collaborate seamlessly. Your employees need to access files simultaneously without having to log out, and they need to track revisions and document versions in detail. Make sure that the system you implement catalogues all changes, and that it lists document versions in a logical order so that your team can reference previous instances quickly.

6. Capture Data Intelligently

The right document management system will capture your data from a variety of input devices. Once your documents have been scanned, the system should intelligently extract and validate the data in the files. The software will then tag and categorize materials for fast retrieval through an easy-to-use search engine, conserving your staff’s time and increasing productivity. While many DMS options claim to offer intelligent data capture, not all deliver. Work closely with your supplier to make sure that the product you select can actually interpret your data correctly.

7. Prioritise Security

Recent data breaches have underscored the importance of guarding your business intelligence. Protect your corporate and client information with a system that includes rigorous security protocols designed to block external attacks. Reputable software suppliers will stress security as a key feature of their products. Remember that you’ll need to constantly monitor and update security levels to address evolving threats.

8. Choose Software with Administrative Control Features

In addition to external threats, you must also protect your data from within by using software that provides administrative control options. Set user permissions that are tailored to the needs and responsibilities of each staff member. Some employees will simply require read-only access, while others will need expanded authorisation to move and delete files. Work with your team to refine permissions, and develop standard “permissions profiles” that you can reference when taking on new staff. Add flexibility with temporary permissions for staff working on short-term projects.

9. Verify Support Options

Look for a supplier that can provide superior product support, preferably in a number of formats (such as telephone, email, and online chat options). Before purchasing your document management system, ask your supplier about turnaround times for support requests.

10. Back It Up

No matter how large or small your business, you can’t afford to lose your documents and data. Always choose a product that offers constant backups on secure servers. Your document management system’s backup capabilities should form part of a larger disaster recovery plan for your organisation.

The Bottom Line

Selecting the right document management system can be a challenge. Take control of your search by first understanding your needs and the available software options. Choose a reputable supplier with a proven product, insist on security, back up your data, and your document management system will provide significant return on your investment.

Source: Tim Eisenhauer, Axero

Why not consider making the transition from hard copy to electronic storage of documents, and let our intelligent document management solution take care of your important data. 

View our explainer video here…


Spider-Man of Farnborough ‘brings his character to life’ for children

Spider-Man of Farnborough ‘brings his character to life’ for children

Ryan Pankhurst, 32, attends charity events, school discos and parties dressed as the Marvel superhero in what has become ‘a normal thing’

With great power comes great responsibility, and this Farnborough resident has taken on an especially hefty task – making local people happy. The Spider-Man of Farnborough has become something of a celebrity in the town over the last year, regularly attending charity events, school discos and parties. He can often be spotted swinging through the town or balancing on a wall, and with a following of almost 2,000 people on Facebook he is certainly in high demand.

But who exactly is this friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man?  And why does he spend his days spinning a web of any size and catching thieves just like flies?

Ryan Pankhurst, 32, gave up his job last year and became a house husband when his wife started working full-time to earn more money. Not having much to do during the day, he needed a new hobby, and started to get into cosplay – a performance art that combines costume and play, where participants wear costumes to represent a specific character. Mr Pankhurst started attending conventions dressed as Spider-Man and soon a few of his friends who worked with various charities invited him along to help with events.

But why Spider-Man? “For me, I grew up reading comics and watching Spider-Man on television when I was a kid,” he explained. “I like to bring his character to life for children in the way he moves.”

Mr Pankhurst had already achieved a drastic weight loss, losing more than two stone, giving him the confidence to get into the costume. “That’s when I thought about getting into cosplaying more seriously,” he said. “In terms of acting like Spider-Man, I had watched a lot of videos already so I was familiar with how he moves and sits and poses.

“As a kid I used to sit on the floor in strange positions while I was watching television so I was used to it. “The first time I went to a convention I was so nervous and shy in my costume. I had never done it before, but I got into it a bit more and made the most of being the character.” What started as a hobby has escalated and Spider-Man is now busier than ever bringing a smile to the faces of children of Farnborough and neighbouring towns.

‘A normal thing’

A fundraising day at Camberley’s New Image salon, Cherrywood Primary School’s Easter fair and a Superhero event in Camberley’s Mall shopping centre are just some of the recent events in his diary. He owns a total of five Spider-Man costumes, which he switches around depending on the event. With two sons of his own, aged three and six, it is not unusual for Mr Pankhurst to walk around the house in his Spider-Man costume. He said: “It’s a big part of our lives. Having my own children gives me more of a reason to dress up – it’s a lot of fun. “My children have their action figures and they like to wear costumes too. “They don’t bat an eyelid if I’m walking around dressed as Spider-Man. It’s a normal thing. “I think my wife was a bit surprised by it all at first, but she thought it was fair enough. “It used to be a bit embarrassing for her if she was driving the car and I was sat in the passenger seat in my costume but she’s used to it now.”

Source: Get Hampshire http://www.gethampshire.co.uk/