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Minutes from July 2013 Oswestry Chamber meeting

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July 8, 2013 by oswestrychamberoftrade

Minutes of Oswestry Chamber of Commerce Meeting
3rd July 2013

Welcome

Welcome from Heather Noble who extended a particularly warm welcome to tonight’s guest speakers Mayor Schofield and the girls from Moreton School.

Oswestry’s new Mayor Chris Schofield

Mayor Schofield gave an interesting speech outlining his personal views and intentions for his term and a little about himself as an individual.

He spoke of many initiatives the Town Council is championing and, in some cases, funding.

These include:
•    Start-Up Britain. The Town Council has put £10,000 into this initiative. This has been running for 12 months in the town with great success. The Start-Up Britain tour bus will be visiting Oswestry on the afternoon of 25th July and all businesses are invited to come along to show their support and get help and information.
•    Local Commissioning. This is the first pilot scheme of this kind in England and is centred on economic development, upskilling and filling empty shops.
•    Neighbourhood Planning. Including the Oswestry 2020 scheme, the initial plan of which is ready for sign off any time now. This focuses on the redevelopment of the town centre and he hopes that the Chamber and its members will be fully involved in this.
•    Joint Economic Board. He thanked Martin Anderson for his involvement in this. Part of this is the tourism strategy including:
◦    Town Centre Retail Grants Scheme where there is a pot of £75,000 to help improve the town centre for repairs and fixtures etc.
◦    Plans for commemorating the centenary of WWI and in particular a series of events celebrating Oswestry’s most famous son, Wilfred Owen.
◦    The Railway project. Town Council looking at whether a) it is wanted, b) it is viable and c) who will deliver it. Local government finance issues means there is little opportunity for public sector contribution. However, he hopes to give priority on this to getting the line between Gobowen and Oswestry operational again as soon as possible for a tourism boost.
◦    There is suggestion of a town centre car boot sale on Central Car Park in the Winter months on a Sunday. This is still in discussion and there are many opposing views on whether this will be practical. The Town Council will be seeking the Chamber’s views on this initiative.
◦    Potential for a summer event in 2014 where there is room for a celebration of life in Oswestry.
He thanked us for our time in allowing him to speak to us this evening and invited the Chamber Management Committee members to come up to the Guildhall to meet with himself and David Preston to discuss any ideas we would like to put forward for consideration. We promised to arrange a meeting.

Questions invited.

Asked for more information on the Summer event – there isn’t much to say at the moment but anybody wishing to have input at this stage and going forward is invited to contact him directly at the Town Council by either visiting the Guildhall or emailing him at enquiries@oswestry-tc.gov.uk.

Asked about how we can access the £75,000 Retail Grants Scheme. David Preston advised that there are grants being issues for a maximum of £7,000 each and submissions are invited to apply for grants by contacting David Preston for more information, either at the Guildhall or by emailing enquiries@oswestry-tc.gov.uk. Submissions are particularly invited from bed and breakfast businesses for things like improving disabled access, creating extra bedrooms etc. It isn’t just restricted to the town centre, it is anybody who lives within the old Oswestry Borough area.

Asked about the 60p car parking. The pet shop on Festival Square offers a refund scheme whereby they pay back the 60p parking fee if a customer spends a certain amount with them. However, it was asked whether there could be an extra portion of ticket issued at the time of parking so that it can be redeemed at any shop who wishes to partake in a similar scheme. At the moment, there is no way of checking so the system is based on honesty but if there were a ticketing system then it could encourage more shops to offer a similar deal when the ticket is given at the time of purchase. It would also mean that shoppers might be encouraged to stay longer if they could redeem more than just the first hour of their parking ticket. Mayor Schofield said he would discuss this with the Council further and get back to us.

Heather Noble thanked Mayor Schofield for his insightful and encouraging speech.

Moreton School Enterprises

Heather Noble introduced our speakers for this section: Kitty Robinson, Josie Mason and Kate Pomphrey of Moreton Enterprises.
The girls gave a very inspiring talk about their roles within the organisation and the various activities and businesses run by Moreton Enterprises, including starting up the Gobowen Railway Station in 1995 (where it all began), Christmas puddings and their uniquely designed charm bracelet.

A great, insightful and inspiring talk from these very capable young ladies.

Incredible Edible

Martin Anderson explained about the concept of this initiative, which started five years ago in Todmorton (See the website http://www.incredible-edible-todmorden.co.uk/) with the aim of reconnecting people with the food that they eat, which is a common problem, especially in cities.
There are now 70 towns in the UK who have signed up to Incredible Edible and it has gone global with many other countries following suit.

Shropshire Council got involved late last year and held a meeting asking anybody with an interest to come along to a public meeting, which Martin attended and brought back to Oswestry. Various meetings later, there are some great initiatives springing up around the town.
For example, note the planters outside the Cornerstone Baptist Church that have been put up and are ready to take vegetable or herb plants. There are also things happening in St Martins and at the new Fairholme, initiated by Rachel Edwards.

Honeysuckle Wholefoods are inviting people to bring excess apples from their trees which they will press into apple juice and/or make cider from.
With regard to what they would like from businesses, they are asking for:
•    Any spare ground or space where planters could go on their premises (there is a team ready to set this up so no effort required on the part of the business in this regard!).
•    Sponsorship money to buy things like compost, signage etc.
Anybody with questions, wanting to know more or get involved in any way can email ieoswestry@gmail.com.

Questions invited.

Asked about pollution risk if food grown on pavements where traffic is high. This could be overcome if planters placed higher up. The point was also made that this is happening in places like Birmingham and London so Oswestry is not going to be as at risk as cities.
Asked whether the town park could be utilised. Last year they grew herbs in the park which was lovely, and we all agreed it was often better than the dreary bedding plants they usually have there!

Your Business in the Spotlight – Paul Wiseman Investigations

Paul is a Private Investigator and most of his work involves:
•    Tenant vetting
•    Employee vetting
•    Status checks (e.g. before suing someone – check that they have the money to pay)
•    Due diligence (knowing who you are doing business with)
•    Fraud investigations
•    Fraud risk assessments

He spoke of some recent successes where an employee on long term sick was caught working at another job.

There was also a case where he caught an employee stealing and so the employer is now in the process of recovering their losses from the thief, which will include Paul’s fees.
For more information about Paul’s work, see his website www.wisemaninvestigations.com or his entry on the Chamber website: http://oswestrychamber.org.uk/oswestry-businesses/wpbdm-category/investigations/
Any Other Business
Lots of events coming up:
•    Oswestry Food & Drink Festival 13th and 14th July. All the usual lovely foods from local producers available.
•    TNS FC running a Football in the Park event on Saturday 13th July.
•    Reggae in the Park on Sunday 14th July.
•    MOB: Made on the Borders event Saturday 20th July at the Memorial Hall, featuring locally produced crafts with lots of demonstrations and workshops. Cake and quiche promised.
•    National PlayDay in Cae Glas Park on Wednesday 7th August. Lots of great fun things going on, various games, crafts and activities. Come along and have a play. For adults as well as children.
•    Bring and Share Picnic in Cae Glas Park on Saturday 10th August. Bring something for the community to share, or just bring your own picnic, whichever you prefer. Music is promised on the bandstand as well as lots of fun and games, maybe the odd game of rounders.
•    Oswestry’s FairTrade status is up for renewal. Any businesses or people involved in FairTrade is invited to get in touch with Wendy at The Gates Gifts either by popping into the shop or emailing wendy@thegatesgifts.co.uk

Meeting Close
The next meeting is on Wednesday 7th August 2013.

 


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