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NEWS6 . www.conference-news.co.uk . June 2012June To HB or not HB? that is the £1m questionCentaur has raised the stakes in the UK meetings industry trade show space by announcing a £1m hosted buyer programme for its Meetings Show UK due to debut July 2013.Centaur claims its "high value, high quality hosted buyer programme" will deliver 1,500 qualifi ed buyers who will be offered the opportunity to participate in a fam trip programme to run after the show. Ocean Media, meanwhile, responded to claims that its Event Production Show had been cancelled by confi rming it was up for sale. The future UK Venue Show, we understand, has also faded away. According to a letter to exhibitors dated 1 May and seen by CN, Ocean informed confi rmed exhibitors of the Event Production Show's cancellation in 2013 and their right to a refund. "It is with great regret that Ocean Media Group Ltd has decided to cancel the above event due to take place on the 30 to 31 January 2013," the letter stated.MD David Moran said the organiser was in negotiations with four bidders to sell combinations of the Event Production Show, UK Venue Show, Event Production Awards and Access All Areas title."Disposal of the events business is part of our process of selling anything in an area where we are not market dominant," he said. The UK Venue Show debuted this year alongside the Event Production Show in February at London's Olympia. The show fell well short of its predicted 250 exhibitors and 5,000 visitors. Robin Parker, GM of Church House Conference Centre in London, was an exhibitor and told CN: "Since the UK Venue Show (pictured right - Ed), I have not heard a single word from the organiser, to either say thank you for exhibiting, to talk about next year or even to ask how the show went, so on that basis I am not the least bit surprised that it is unlikely to be repeated. From an exhibitor point of view the show was very poorly attended."

NEWS2012June 2012 . www.conference-news.co.uk . 7 Figures released by The Jockey Club reflect a growing presence in the UK conference and events market, now worth £19.7m a year to the Jockey Club's Venues arm. The 14­strong venue collection of UK racecourses now accounts for an increasing 16.5 per cent share of the group's total turnover of £139.4m. Aintree, Cheltenham, Epsom Downs and Newmarket Racecourses all sit within the collection. Events to come to the courses later this year include a visit from The Queen, as Her Majesty kicks off her Diamond Jubilee celebrations at Epsom Downs, the Olympic torch arriving at Cheltenham and Jessie J performing at Newmarket.John Baker, Group Director of Operations at Jockey Club Venues, said: "We have made clear headway in the sector with our enquiry levels up on last year. "We have one of the largest portfolios of spaces, from the large scale to the more intimate, and are looking to further develop this key area. "Weddings, festivals and of course corporate events are key to enabling us to help grow the business, in turn allowing us to invest back into the sport of horseracing."Events going fi rm for Jockey Club venuesThe Liberal Democrats have chosen Liverpool for their annual autumn conference in September 2014. The event will be held at ACC Liverpool, home to the BT Convention Centre and Echo Arena, and is expected to attract 7,500 delegates. It will be the second time the Lib Dems have chosen to hold their most important date on the political calendar in the city and their third visit to Liverpool overall. ACC Liverpool's Chief Executive, Bob Prattey, said: "Our team, along with Liverpool Convention Bureau, has been in talks for many years with the Lib Dems, and with all the political parties, to come to the city to hold their key conferences. When the conference fi nishes is doesn't just stop there, there is a lot of continuous work that goes on behind the scenes. "We want to build on the success of our hosting of last year's Labour Party conference by attracting even more party political events. Lucy Billingsley, Head of Conference Offi ce at the Liberal Democrats, said: "We held our spring conference in Liverpool four years ago and we are confi dent that 2014 will be just as positive."Banks Sadler posts record fi nancial resultsEvent management agency Banks Sadler is celebrating its 30th anniversary with its best fi nancial fi gures to date. The group, which operates in Germany and France and boasts RBS and Allergan among its clients, has posted record operating profi ts of £812k, up 74 per cent on the previous year. CEO Leigh Jagger said the results refl ected the hard work of the Banks Sadler team, "not just in the last year, but over the last few challenging years. Despite diffi cult trading conditions, we have continued to invest heavily in our expansion plans which have helped us to not only retain long­standing accounts but also win some very exciting new global contracts". Group turnover is also up, 40 per cent to £38m. The board is anticipating profi ts increasing through 2012, although Jagger sounded a note of caution. "We are still operating in a cost­conscious environment," she said.Plans for a £4m conference centre near Lake Windermere have been granted approval. The Lake District National Park Authority's development control committee passed the English Lakes hotel group application on 9 May 2012 and the vote was revealed as 12 to one in favour. The 600­delegate convention and exhibition centre, when built, will be the largest of its kind in the Lake District area and is to be constructed next to the A591, opposite the Low Wood Hotel, which is also owned by English Lakes.An innovative heating system will use ground source heat pumps located in the lake to create thermal energy for heating the rooms in the new building. The heat pumps will be run on electricity generated from solar panels located on the roof.Lib Dems pick Liverpool for 2014 conferenceGreenlight for £4m conference centre