Press Articles

Melton Times - Fire-ravaged HQ rises like a phoenix from the ashes

By Michael Cooke
michael.cooke@meltontimes.co.uk

MELTON Council has officially opened Phoenix House, the former north wing of its former headquarters which largely escaped the devastating fire of eight months ago.

The building, in Nottingham Road, has been completely refurbished and is now home to about half of the council's 200 employees who are getting used to new ways of working in a 'paper-light' office with 'hot-desking' work stations.

An open day was held last Thursday to celebrate how the council has recovered from the blaze and to thank all those who helped get the authority back on its feet.

Council leader Malise Graham recalled his tremendous shock at hearing the news the council offices were on fire on Friday, May 30 last year.

He said: "I am still amazed that the fire service was able to save the north wing and I have enormous respect, too, for all our staff. Our disaster recovery plan was in motion by 11am and by 9am on the Monday we were answering calls from our emergency centre in Nottingham.

"It also took a fantastic effort to get all our staff back in Melton by October and to adapt overnight to new flexible ways of working which means staff are spending more time out in the community in which we serve."

Corporate director Christine Marshall thanked all those who helped the council in those early days, such as Southeringtons, Brooksby Melton College, Pera and the Melton Building Society, and the firms and contractors who refurbished Phoenix House in a little over 10 weeks. A decision on the location of the new HQ and council chamber is expected to be made by Easter.

Chris Stone, head of IT services, was one of those who has faced challenge after challenge. He said: "It has been quite a journey. I was on my way to play a round of golf when I received the call and at first I thought it was either a wind up or another exercise.

"We were lucky that the computer servers were located in the north wing but it was still a massive job to remove them to Nottingham and put them back together.

"We then had to sort out remote access to the system for all those staff working from home or in temporary offices around the town, source a new phone system, re-network the north wing and bring the servers back again."

David Green, a licensing and environmental health officer, was one of those who was bussed up to Nottingham. He said: "It was a chore but we all got used to it. It's good to be back in Melton and the working environment is excellent.

"We now work paper light and because we are all together with no fixed station there is better interaction between staff and departments, reducing email traffic and improving communication."

BAR Removals & Storage - W. Southerington & Sons Ltd. gives unusual gift to Melton Mowbray

W. Southerington & Sons Ltd. has given an unusual gift to the Town Estate in Melton Mowbray - a footbridge over the River Eye made at a cost of £60,000.

The bridge was given as a thank you for the support and business Melton Mowbray has given W. Southerington & Sons Ltd over the last 116 years. The bridge is named after John Southerington, director of the company, who in recent years had been a junior and senior town warden before becoming a member of the Feoffee's management committee for the Town Estate.

The bridge was officially opened by Mr Southerington's wife Pat, also a director of the company. In his roles for the Town Estate John had to attend weekly meetings, and in her speech Mrs Southerington joked that the company had financed the bridge to give John a short cut to get to the meetings quicker. The opening of the bridge was a historic occasion for Melton Mowbray as it fulfilled a vision that was first suggested at a town meeting 100 years ago.

Pictured at the official opening ceremony are, left to right: John and Pat Southerington and Richard Sage, junior town warden, who accepted the gift.

Melton Times - Those were the good old days

After reading the article from the Melton Times of August 2, Melton man Paul Southerington thought it may be of interest to readers how piano's used to be moved into the upstairs of properties in years gone by.

Paul's mother and father - John and Pat Southerington - run the family business Southeringtons Removals which has been trading in Melton for more than 100 years and is going from strength to strength.

The firm started in 1892 as a small firm with horse-drawn carts and steam-powered vehicles but today uses the latest technology to ensure moving house is as stress-free as possible.

John followed in his father Jack's and grandfather Bill's footsteps, working his way through the company.

He started as a Saturday worker when he was nine years old and got a full-time job packing and moving houses when he left school at 15.

And today he runs the business with the help his wife Pat and their children and of a team of staff.

Over the years the company has moved houses for Lady Diana's sister and one of Prince Charles' staff who moved to Highgrove.

During the 1930s the firm moved furniture for the Duke of Windsor and the Duke of Gloucester who used to visit the borough on hunting trips.

And Southeringtons was just one of seven companies contracted to move Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel from the Scottish borders to East Anglia.

The picture on the right shows a large piano being man-handled up a special ramp into the top room of a premises on Burton Road after the window had been removed.

Paul said: "None of the hoists, winches and power lifting aides of today, just sheer musclepower and years of know how and a small team of men manouvered the heavy instrument aloft."

BAR Removals & Storage - Self Storage

Rutland Member Enters Self Storage Market

W. Southerington & Sons Ltd. of Melton Mowbray was established in 1892. Over the years it has been providing an effective removal and storage service for clients ranging from small households to large manor houses to industrial materials, with clients including the Armed Forces and many corporate clients.

Historically, the company has always been a family run business and is currently headed by the latest generation, the husband and wife team of John and Pat who are firmly at the helm, being aided in the administration department by their daughter Emma.

Southerington’s is yet another good example of a traditional storage company which has recognised the potential of the self storage industry in the UK and the additional revenue that it can create, without the need for any additional infrastructure or huge prohibitive set up costs.

This is a major advantage that traditional removals companies have over the industry-focused self storage companies. The premises are already in their possession, they have the management in place to run the operation efficiently and they have a reputation within their area for providing a quality, reliable and secure service.

For new companies attempting to join the self storage market these are some of the major barriers to entry, which in effect can take many years to accomplish. Southeringtons has cleverly recognised this fact and has taken the first steps to create additional revenue from an established existing business.

Active Supply & Design fitted out Southeringtons’ existing warehouse, creating a bespoke partitioning system to form just under 3,000 sq ft of storage space. Its clients obviously recognise the potential of the self storage concept and the benefits that it can bring; with an enquiry for 1,500 sq ft of space, several days before it had even been built!

Melton Times - Self Storage

Self-storage facility now an option

REMOVALS firm Southeringtons has introduced a new self-storage facility at its Leicester Road site.

Around 36 individual lockable rooms have been created where people can store everything from files to furniture for as long as they need.

Director John Southerington said the rooms, which range from 25 sq ft to 100 sq ft, are ideal for students moving out of accomodation at the end of term and people moving house who need to store their belongings.

And he said businesses needing to store files taking up office space could be easily organised and retrieved.

One company relocating from Cornwall has already hired an entire floor of the warehouse to store files.

Mr Southerington said: "The emphasis is on self-storage. People do it for themselves."

"They can put their own padlock on the room and they have their own key so they can come and go as they please during office hours."

Around £15,000 has been spent on installing the new rooms so far an Mr Southerington said there were already plans to install a further 60 units.

And he said the service had already proved to be a great success since it was launched in December and added the service meant people did not have to travel to Nottingham, Leicester or Grantham to store their belongings.

He said: "It's filling the missing gap in the market in this area."

The family business, which has been trading in Melton for more than 110 years, also offers container storage for people moving house where the company will move and store furniture.

For more information on the self-storage facility and other services offered phone (01664) 562236 or visit the web site on www.southeringtons.co.uk

Melton Times - Great Store

JOHN PUTS GREAT STORE IN CARING FOR YOUR GOODS AND VALUABLES

Taking all the stress out of moving home

FAMILY business Southeringtons Removals has been trading in Melton for 110 years and is going from strength to strength.

It started in 1892 as a small firm with horse-drawn carts and steam-powered vehicles but today uses the latest technology to ensure moving house is as stress-free as possible.

Director John Southerington (56) followed in his father Jack's and grandfather Bill's footsteps, working his way through the company.

He started as a Saturday worker when he was nine years old and got a full-time job packing and moving houses when he left school at 15.

And today he runs the business with the help of his 21 staff including wife Pat, who helps out in the office, and daughter Emma who is one of the removal staff.

Over the years the company has moved houses for Lady Diana's sister and one of Prince Charles' staff who moved to Highgrove.

During the 1930s the firm moved furniture for the Duke of Windsor and the Duke of Gloucester who used to visit the borough on hunting trips.

And Southeringtons is one of seven companies contracted to move Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel from the Scottish borders to East Anglia.

But John said: "Everyone gets the same treatment."

Southerington's took over Spalding-based Moon's Removals in 1994.

And it is part of the Bishop's Move franchise*, moving staff from businesses such as Boots the Chemist and NatWest Bank throughout the East Midlands.

But there is more to the firm than meets the eye.

As well as the traditional moving service Southeringtons can store all types of furniture in large containers or with traditional storage racks and dust sheets.

John said people put furniture in storage for a number of reasons such as if they are going abroad for a while or are renting property until the sale of their house is completed.

But it is not just furniture that can be stored.

Southeringtons stores archive files for businesses and even has a CCTV monitored caravan storage site.

And if you are moving but do not want the hassle of packing, Southeringtons can pack your house or office, or just a few items such as antiques or china.

It also sells boxes and packing equipment if you would rather do the job yourself.

John said: "We can tailor-make it to exactly the kind of service you require."

He said staff can collect the furniture from your house or you can take things in to the Leicester Road warehouse and have it packed for you.

And John said as moving abroad is getting more and more popular, the company can organise for shipping contractors to move your belongings for you.

He added: "The service can be as small or as large as you like. It goes right through to the destination where it's delivered and unpacked."

John said he still enjoys working in the business and added: "I shall not be retiring. I think if you enjoy something you should carry on doing it. Something's always a challenge."

His daughter Emma (27) is following in his footsteps and working her way through the company but his other children Paul (25), Sarah (23) and Andrew (29) are following other careers.

But he said: "It's a family business so I'd like to see the name continue."

For more information or a quotation phone (01664) 562236 or visit the website at http://www.southeringtons.co.uk/.

*W. Southerington & Sons is no longer part of the Bishop's Move group.