Woking Business

A TRADESMAN’S van dubbed “the dirtiest in Britain” has been given a professional makeover – thanks to a leading builders merchant.

Selco Builders Warehouse launched a nationwide search to find the filthiest trade vehicle on the road.

Inundated with entries, from plumbers’ cars caked in mud to neglected builders’ vans full of old cement and dust, judges carefully studied the dirty photos – before crowning a van belonging to Arek Build & Renovations in New Haw as the country’s grubbiest vehicle.

Just look at us now. From filthy van to clean machine.
Anna Bargiel, of Arek Build & Renovations, with Scott Coleman, owner of Totally Dynamic’s centre in Redhill

“We have to admit, we did let this van get a little dirty,” said Anna Bargiel, of Arek.

“It was amazing to win this Selco competition and to receive this fantastic re-wrap. Now that it has been fully cleaned and re-branded, it looks better than it did when it was new.”

Having picked a winner, Selco paid for the offending van to be professionally cleaned and wrapped by Totally Dynamic.

“We know that busy tradespeople often struggle to find the time to clean their work vehicles. We had some impressive entries but just felt that the Arek van deserved a bit of TLC,” said Carine Jessamine, marketing director of Selco.

“We were delighted to team up with Totally Dynamic to give the Arek team a real boost. The van now looks fantastic and hopefully the additional branding on the vehicle will drive extra business.”

BARONS Pub Company has added two premises near Woking to its portfolio, taking the total to nine.

The Jovial Sailor in Ripley and The Inn at West End, the latter being the first with accommodation for the award-winning group, were acquired after a £2,835,000 commercial mortgage was secured from HSBC UK.

OVERNIGHT SENSATION – The Inn at West End is the first of Barons Pub Company’s establishments to offer accommodation

The purchase of the two pubs means Barons will create 40 new full and part-time jobs, in addition to the existing 24 members of staff.

Part of the funding is for the renovation of both pubs, allowing the company to create similar atmospheres to those of its existing establishments. This includes new furnishings and lighting for the restaurant areas, and higher quality catering equipment for the kitchens.

Clive Price, managing director of Barons Pub Company, said: “We’re proud to deliver great food and drink for people to enjoy with their families and friends.

 “Thanks to the support from our HSBC UK relationship manager, Andy Brunning, we’ve been able to bolster our offer and begin our venture into providing overnight accommodation for our customers.

“We look forward to welcoming our new guests in both locations and getting to know the locals.”

Andrew Steer, HSBC UK’s area director for business banking in Surrey and Sussex, said: “We are committed to supporting British businesses, helping them to realise their ambitions.

“Since its inception in 2000, Barons has steadily developed its portfolio of pubs and we were happy to assist the business this time around as they looked to scale up further.”

A WOKING man has set up a workshop producing furniture and restoring old pieces.

Former Fullbrook School and Woking College student Toby Jeffries was inspired by his father Nick, and landscape gardener, and uncle Steve, who owns a sawmill business.

Toby Jeffries now makes and restores furniture in his workshop

“My passion for making things started when I was a child helping my father construct and fix items in our garage,” Toby said.

“During my school years and as an undergraduate studying at Kingston university I knew I wanted to pursue a career in working with wood.”

Toby, 22, started work after university doing domestic carpentry, including installing kitchens.

Last year, he set up a workshop near Brookwood and began doing his own work, which he took on fulltime earlier this year.

“I now have my own workshop and am passionate about fine detail, putting all my efforts into creating bespoke and traditional furniture from rough sawn timber to creation of beautiful fine pieces of furniture.

“I also enjoy restoring furniture highlighting the original features where possible, and have a particular interest in chair restoration.”

Toby is setting up a website and can be contacted by calling 07805 978154 or emailing


FAMILY-owned horticultural business, Squire’s, is celebrating a gardening hat-trick as it enjoyed national recognition for three of its centres, including Woking.

Squire’s in Woking, which reopened in March 2017 after a major refurbishment, won the title of “Best Garden Products Retailer”, while Squire’s in Hersham was named Garden Centre Of The Year in the South Thames region for the third year in a row, Woking and Badshot Lea garden centres taking joint second place in the category. Badshot Lea also won the Barton Grange Trophy for “Commercial Innovation and Creativity”.

DELIGHTED – Sarah Squire at the family’s Woking garden centre

Squire’s owns 15 Garden Centres to discover across Surrey, Sussex, North and West London Celebrating the Garden Centre Association (GCA) regional awards Sarah Squire, Chairman at Squire’s said: “I am thrilled that Squire’s in Hersham took the top spot in the Garden Centre category, and that Squire’s in Woking and Badshot Lea came second in their categories, as well as winning other awards!”

The GCA represents 200 garden centres nationwide and will be judging national winners this autumn. The overall winner announced at the GCA conference in January 2020.

PIONEERING work by Woking surveying firm, Macleod Simmonds, has received the accolade of highly commended in the National Construction Awards.

The company’s revolutionary sub-surface radar technology, accurately pin-points the position and depth of buried features or utilities that could clash with highway improvements, enabling potential conflicts to be ironed out before construction begins.

BEST ENVIRONMENT – The Macleod Simmonds staff in their newly refurbished Woking office

The commendation in the Best Use of Technology category recognises the enormouse potential the Macleod Simmonds development has for the construction industry and follows 10 years of research and development. 

During the course of its work Macleod Simmonds moved from its original Chichester base to its new Woking office on the Boundary Road industrial estate.

A spokesman for the company explained that, “Woking was the natural choice for the firm’s first office” due to “its close links to London and the city’s growth potential.”

The company recently completed the refurbishment of its new offices described as: “A bold, inspiring working environment for its employees which provides a focal point for the local area.”

At the centrepiece of the new office design is a brightly coloured swirling lines graphic spanning the walls of both floors of the office. There is also a dedicated space to relax and reboot which has been created with a list of brightly coloured motivational words emblazoned across the wall as the focal point.

Managing Director, Craig Simmonds: “We are thrilled with the environment created for the Woking office. It has certainly given the office the wow factor. There was a real sense of energy and enthusiasm among the team, the office has come to life.”

With clients that include Transport for London, major UK airports and Woking Borough Council, Macleod Simmonds is playing a vital part in major national construction projects. Among them have been a number of London Cycle Superhighway schemes, the redevelopment of London’s Aldgate Circus and across the UK’s busiest highways and airport runways.

CREATIVE workspace provider Spaces has opened its first flexible working centre in Woking, providing a boost to what is already a thriving business community.

Spread across over 38,000 sq ft over nine open-plan floors, Spaces Woking One is the perfect base for businesses looking to work in the centre of town. Equipped with high-specification meeting rooms, premium private offices and open-plan areas, there is something for everyone, whether private working space or a communal environment to work collaboratively.

CGI of the new Spaces flexible working centre

The centre’s close proximity to Woking station and local transport links makes it an ideal location to reach London – whether as part of a daily commuter or a need to travel to business meetings in the capital.

“Demand for flexible office space is growing rapidly – our research shows that 73% of Brits believe that flexible working is the ‘new normal’, with 53% of professionals globally now working remotely for at least half their working week,” said Richard Morris, UK CEO of Spaces. “People are recognising that they are far more productive and successful in a dynamic working environment.

“We are delighted to have opened this new centre in Woking. Spaces offers a new type of workspace for companies and individuals looking for a place to work flexibly and be inspired by other like-minded people. The space offers fantastic connectivity and premier features, within a prime location in the newly developed town square.”

A BISLEY electricity worker is celebrating more than four decades of long service.

Rhett Wetton, 64, is a compliance officer with UK Power Networks, which owns and maintains power supplies in the South East, London and East of England.

Rhett trained as an underground cable jointer and was a first responder at the scene of power cuts before transferring to a safety-critical role, inspecting and testing the kit used by engineers to keep the lights on.

LONG SERVICE – Rhett Wetton

“I enjoy the job, love the people I work with and have a good boss. I can’t decide when I will retire because I’m still enjoying the work and it’s the perfect job as far as I’m concerned,” Rhett said.

 “The 1987 hurricane sticks out in my mind as particularly memorable because we worked for days on end to restore power supplies in our communities any way we could.

 “The industry’s safety standards have changed dramatically. People don’t take chances, they work by the book and that’s a very good thing. Standards are very high and they need to be.

Basil Scarsella, chief executive of UK Power Networks, said: “We like to recognise and celebrate the dedication and expertise of our employees, many of whom have lived and worked in the areas we serve for a long time.

“Their work keeping the lights on is usually carried out behind the scenes, but it is very valuable in helping everyday lives run smoothly and contributing to the success of local economies.”

Rhett is among 59 UK Power Networks employees across the South East and London to have reached their 40th or 50th anniversaries this year.

SURVEYOR Claudia Harley has joined the Vail Williams team at their Woking office. 

She has joined the firm’s acquisitions and disposal team as Surveyor (Level2) from Lewis & Co in south west London, where she worked for two years as a graduate surveyor.

Claudia Harley, front right, has joined property consultants Vail Williams LLP at their office in Woking. Also pictured are (back left-right) Matt Clarke, partner, Geoff Fallon, regional managing partner for Surrey and Kevin Cook, partner and member of the executive board, together with recent promotee, Elliot McNish, front left.

Her role in Woking will see her work alongside partners Matt Clarke and Steve New, advising occupiers, landlords, developers and investors on the acquisition and disposal of commercial property.  

“Her appointment marks the start of an exciting period for us, as we seek to grow our multi-disciplinary team in response to our increasing client base in Surrey,” said Geoff Fallon, Vail Williams’ regional managing partner for Surrey.

“The knowledge she brings of the south west London property market will complement our own, and the extra resource she brings will ensure we are well placed to take advantage of growth trail.”

Claudia is experienced in the letting and sale of office, retail and industrial properties, with particular knowledge of the south west London market where she was involved in the acquisition of a large owner-occupied office in Twickenham and achieved the highest rental figure ever in the Wimbledon Village office market.

“Vail Williams has a high calibre client base, strong ambitions and a clear direction of travel. This together with their culture and values, made it a very attractive opportunity,” she said.

DURING Volunteers’ Week, which started last Saturday, Yorkshire Building Society is celebrating donating more than 100,000 hours of volunteering time by its staff members.

The time has been given to charities and good causes around the UK since the society’s award-winning volunteering scheme began in 2007.

People who work at the society’s branch in Woking have donated more than 93 hours to local community projects.

GOOD CAUSES – Yorkshire Building Society staff celebrate donating 100,000 hours of time to volunteering

Charities, schools, good causes and community groups that need voluntary support can call at the office in Commercial Way to find out ways they might be able to benefit from the scheme.

Woking manager Emma Batley-Spalding said: “Volunteers’ Week is a great reminder of the contribution voluntary work can make across the UK and we know first-hand about the impact it has brought in Woking.

“For over a decade we have seen that time can be just as valuable a gift as money to charities and community groups. That’s why the society’s programme gives us the opportunity to support projects and charities in our local community here in Woking and we want to hear from more local groups that need support.”

One of the society’s flagship volunteering activities is Money Minds, a free financial education programme delivered by staff to help children aged five to 19 learn more about managing money.

Yorkshire Building Society’s volunteering scheme allows every staff member up to 31 hours’ paid leave a year to help out at a charity or good cause of their choice.

Volunteers’ Week, is an annual event which takes place at the start of June. It celebrates the contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK.

EAST meets West at Woking’s newest eatery Wrapchic, which was opened by the Mayor of Woking,  Cllr Will Forster in Woking town centre’s Peacocks Shopping Centre.

The outlet has brought Indian street food together with an easy to eat Mexican format and is one of 32 franchised outlets across the UK, of which Woking’s, owned by Sarika Grover, is the newest.

New Wrapchic owner Sarika Grover with, from left, Mahesh Raikar, Managing Director and founder of Wrapchic, her husband Vishal Grover, and the Mayor of Woking Cllr Will Forster

Mrs Grover, who lives in Guildford, says: “Every time I came to the Peacocks shopping mall I thought there was something missing – there was a McDonalds and a Chinese eatery but there wasn’t enough hot food on offer. Also, when I looked at the local demographic it was primarily a mix of Asian and Western people so I thought that Wrapchic would be a good idea.”

Wrapchic was opened in the food court area of the shopping centre on Friday 26th in a flourish of traditional Indian drums since when Mrs Grover says: “We’ve been really well received. It is casual food to eat on the go.”

A mother of teenagers, her son 18 and daughter 13, Mrs Grover explains: “Young people don’t want to sit down to eat in a formal restaurant. All our food is fresh, nothing is frozen and the fillings are familiar Indian food but served in a wrap, burrito or pannini.”

She adds: “I have visited the mall quite often in the past so I’m very pleased to be here but I would like to open another franchise.”