Business Diary: September 10

Michelle Collins behind the wheel of Transline Group's mobile driving simulatorMichelle Collins behind the wheel of Transline Group's mobile driving simulator
Michelle Collins behind the wheel of Transline Group's mobile driving simulator
WHICH leading accountant has just splashed out on a very swanky new car?

The beancounter in question has invested in a gold-coloured convertible Aston Martin.

Diary is assured the purchase is nothing to do with his approaching 40th birthday.

Toilet humour

IS there anywhere Costa won’t go?

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An old toilet shunned by a number of developers has been converted into a new outlet for the ubiquitous coffee shop chain, thanks to the “vision” of chartered surveyors at Sanderson Weatherall.

The restroom, in the Applegarth Car Park, Northallerton, was acquired by Sanderson Weatherall’s Tees Valley based team on behalf of London & City Estates, after the site’s potential was spotted. Planning and building regulations approval and a conversion process have been completed by the firm’s building consultancy division, while a deal was struck with Whitbread, owners of the Costa chain, to lease and occupy the building.

Andrew Wilkinson, partner at Sanderson Weatherall, said: “We are definitely flushed with success after the opening of the new Costa.” Groan.

A Costa spokesman said: “We are delighted to have secured such a quirky location; it certainly offers our customers with somewhere a little different to relax with a cup of Costa coffee.”

In the driving seat

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SHE is best known for playing landlady Stella Price on television’s Coronation Street, but instead of pulling pints, Michelle Collins could be found putting her driving skills to the test at the weekend.

The soap star was at the annual Truckfest show, staged at Newark and Notts showground, where she got behind the wheel of Brighouse-based driver recruitment company Transline Group’s mobile driving simulator.

She was shown how HGV drivers are trained by Transline in a wide range of ‘virtual’ road conditions, including inclement weather, hazard perception of risky situations, docking and reversing manoeuvres and tips on fuel efficient, eco–driving.

Transline Group’s national accounts manager, Steve Carr, said: ”We’ve had massive interest in our driving simulators wherever we have taken them over the past few months and the LGV driving simulator was also a star of the show at last week’s Wincanton Driver of the Year event, at which it was used to test driving skills as part of the evaluation process for the competition. They are a great recruitment tool and fantastic for raising awareness of our brand.

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“Michelle loved it. But I don’t think, somehow, that she’ll be joining our driver pool any time soon.”

Festive fever begins!

It may only be early September but thoughts are already turning to the festive period.

A third of the population will start their Christmas shopping by the end of this month to keep costs at bay, according to new research from

A third of cash-poor Brits said they will be forced to spend less on Christmas shopping compared with last year.

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Meanwhile, a third of the population start their Christmas shopping before October and 15 per cent have already begun.

This weekend marks 100 days to go until Christmas, but it appears that UK shoppers are already making yuletide purchases in order to keep their account balance in check. said that the importance of keeping costs down forces many to plan their holiday shopping well in advance. It added that the majority of UK adults found the first half of this year more financially demanding than the first six months of 2012 and they share a bleak outlook for the rest of 2013 with no increase in disposable income expected.

This deteriorating financial climate has left Britons teetering with a fifth already concerned about the cost of Christmas.

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To keep a handle on their budget, a fifth of Brits admitted buying items for the December festivities across the rest of the year to help spread the cost.

Duncan Jennings, co-founder of, said: “After years of cutting back to make ends meet, consumers are clearly learning how to adapt their shopping habits to ensure they are not living beyond their means.

“Although Christmas is over three months away, it is interesting to see how many Brits have already cracked on with their purchases to avoid a huge hit to their wallets in winter.

“With a fifth worrying about the cost of Christmas already (21 per cent), it is important consumers know there is a range of money saving options at their fingertips to take advantage of.”