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New call centre to bring 600 jobs to Isle of Wight

John Devlin and Lyle McLean from Ascensos

Up to 600 new jobs are to be created on the Isle of Wight with the opening of a new customer service contact centre.

Staff at the site in Cowes will handle customer queries for the Scottish-based contact centre management specialist Ascensos which manages customer service enquiries for retail companies including Argos; BooHoo; B&Q; Coast; Game; Karen Millen; L.K.Bennett; Monsoon; Oasis; Warehouse; and Wickes.

Ascensos will invest more than £1 million and the Isle of Wight Council agreed to offer a capital investment of £2.1 million as well as a 10 year lease on the site in Cowes - subject to further legal discussions. The local authority has estimated that the business will contribute £35 million to the island's economy. Work to prepare the building will start straight away, and recruitment will also begin so that the business can open by the planned date of September 2017.

“This is a major strategic move for Ascensos, increasing our capacity by 30% and establishing our first UK facility outside Scotland. We’re excited to be coming to the Isle of Wight. The people, the financial assistance and the support in recruitment, training and development made for an unbeatable package.

“Ascensos is growing rapidly and we have become a force to be reckoned with in the UK contact centre sector. We’ve a reputation for doing things differently in this space and we look forward to opening Ascensos Isle of Wight after the summer.”

– John Devlin, CEO of Ascensos

“We’re already in discussions with the DWP and Isle of Wight College and our recruitment campaign will get underway shortly. Ascensos is known as a great employer and we’ll be bringing the same approach to the Isle of Wight.”

– Lyle McLean, Ascensos’ Operations Director , Isle of Wight

“I am very excited that Ascensos has chosen the Isle of Wight as the location for its major UK expansion. The Island is already home to a number of major, global companies and is perfectly positioned to support the ambitions of Ascensos, with a motivated, skilled and enthusiastic local workforce.

"This move also promotes our ambitions of regeneration for the Island, to create a robust and dynamic local economy that will be sustainable now and in the long term for our future generations.”

– Councillor Dave Stewart, Leader, Isle of Wight Council

Talks to sell Pompey will go ahead after vote

Negotiations to sell Pompey will go ahead

The shareholders of Portsmouth Community Football Club have voted in favour of selling the club to the Tornante Group.

The Tornante Group is owned by the family of Michael Eisner, a former Chairman of the Walt Disney Company. 81.4% of the club's equity holders agreed to the sale, passing the threshold of 75%. Therefore talks to negotiate the final terms of the sale will go ahead over the coming weeks.

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Train maintenance workers to stage 24-hour strike

Workers at a train maintenance company with sites at locations including Eastleigh in Hampshire are to go on strike in a pay dispute.

Members of the Rail Maritime & Transport Workers union (RMT) employed by Arriva TrainCare are to stage a 24 hour walkout on Friday 19th May.

The RMT said the strike was being held because Arriva TrainCare was not prepared to negotiate pay issues because the RMT was not the recognised union for Arriva TrainCare employees.

"RMT members at Arriva TrainCare delivered a massive yes vote for action and the company should wake up and take notice of the anger amongst their workforce over the pay issue.

"Instead they have ignored their staff and offered an insulting increase that systematically undermines our members' standard of living.

"Our members are entitled to be represented by the union they are members of so we can get on with our job and negotiate decent pay and conditions on their behalf."

– Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary

Arriva TrainCare is based in Crewe and has sites in Bristol, Gateshead, Cambridge and Eastleigh.

Bluewater expansion raises fears about local impact

It is a sign of the times - large out of town shopping centres with free parking drawing shoppers away from struggling high streets.

Now that Bluewater in Kent has been granted permission to expand, there are fears about the effect it could have on local town centres in Gravesend and Dartford.

As Sarah Saunders reports.

Sarah spoke to shop owner, Kevin Cheema.

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Candles protect grape vines from cold snap

The candles are protecting the grape vines Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire/PA Images

Hundreds of candles have been lit in the vineyard of Waitrose's Leckford Estate farm in Hampshire to protect the grape vines from the late spring frost, as the cold snap continues. The candles are used to create air movement and stop the frost from taking hold around the vines.

New project to restore oysters to The Solent

The Solent was once the largest oyster fishery in Europe. Its waters were reknowned for the mollusc - known as 'the poor man's food' because it was so abundant.

However, over-fishing brought the Solent oyster to the brink of extinction until catching them was banned in 2013.

Now a major environmental project - fronted by TV presenter Ben Fogle, aims to restore the oyster population there by putting millions back. Martin Dowse reports.

More goods should be sent by rail, says new research

New research says more goods should be sent by rail Credit: ITV

Sending more goods by trains instead of lorries could reduce traffic on some of the South's roads - according to new research.

The Campaign for Better Transport says taking 2,000 lorry loads a day to the railways could be the equivalent of taking 8,000 cars off the road in the UK.

One of the roads used in the research was the A34 which runs between Southampton and the Midlands.

The campaign is now calling on the Government to continue their investment in the rail freight network.

Southern passengers forced to move or give up jobs

Many passengers have been forced to move or give up jobs Credit: ITV

The strikes at Southern have led to the loss of around 30,000 passenger journeys a day, according to company figures published today.

Revenue is down by five per cent. Under the contract the Government takes any financial hit because it is a fixed management contract with the taxpayer seeing any profit or loss.

Many passengers have been forced to move or give up jobs because of a year of misery over the year-long dispute.

The latest trading statement from Go-Ahead, who own Southern, reveals that overall passenger numbers for its GTR franchise are down by 3.5 per cent.

The company figures are for all of its GTR brands - Southern, Gatwick Express and Great Northern - who carry 800,000 a day. It is thought the vast majority of losses are strike related.

Meanwhile the company say services are now improving and they continue to talk to the unions:

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