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Minutes of Oswestry Chamber of Commerce meeting 1 February 2012

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February 6, 2012 by oswestrychamberoftrade

Minutes of Oswestry Chamber of Commerce meeting 1 February 2012
The Chairman welcomed members and thanked the Qube for hosting the meeting at short notice.
Items discussed:
Gas works update
An update was provided by representatives from Wales and West Utilities. Work is progressing well and is ahead of schedule. It was confirmed that compensation is available to businesses that have been adversely affected by the work and those affected should contact the utility company without delay. The utility company were thanked for the progress made to date and for their helpful attitude to those affected by the works.

Report on Plans for Summer 2012 and Diamond Jubilee Celebrations

This session was to have been provided by David Preston, however he was unable to attend due to illness. Martin Anderson gave members a run-down of planned events using slides kindly provided by David Preston. In summary:

30 May – the Olympic Torch Visit.
2-5 June – the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
1 June – expecting to have a concert at Park Hall
2 June – Town Event
3 June – church service
4 June – Oswestry Beacon at the Racecourse
5 June – Fireworks

Members were made aware that some events will cause part of the town’s roads to be closed for a period of time during the relevant days. Members present didn’t see this as a problem as it is expected to draw people into the town which should be good for business.

Members requested as much notice as possible about planned road closures in order to reschedule deliveries etc.

Other comments included the need to inform the public about the planned events for Summer 2012 and to advertise them well in advance.

Feedback from Christmas Activities

Christmas Live
Feedback has been generally positive, with many people attending and enjoying themselves, which was clearly of benefit to some businesses. Some Chamber members felt that Christmas Live ‘cuts off’ trade along part of Church Street and thought that a fair in the middle of the street was not ideal. Members suggested that the fair could be spread out around the town because having the fair in one street results in too large a concentration of people in one part of town.

Various members asked if OTC could use local caterers for outside catering instead of stall holders that were not local to the town.

Use of live music was also mentioned for future Christmas Live events.

Parking
Free parking from 2pm in week before Xmas – overall this was felt to be a real success and the Chamber will request it again for 2012. It was noted that Shropshire Council were unable to offer free parking and so there were some car parks not offering this. The Chamber will seek similar arrangements (from both councils) in 2012, and will write to OTC with feedback regarding Christmas Live and the free parking.

Late night Friday parking / late night and Sunday shopping – with regards to the designated late night Friday shopping, the general consensus was that businesses did not gain enough from this to make it worthwhile. Sunday shopping was deemed to be a moderate success, with trade building during the month. The Chamber will not seek support from OTC for late night Friday parking in 2012.

Christmas Window Competition – this was deemed to be a moderate success and will be built upon in 2012.

Outline plans for 2012
One suggestion was to make the ‘late night shopping’ experience more family friendly by having some street entertainment (choirs, local bands etc) and also just to have one or two designated late night shopping evenings (separate to Christmas Live) rather than once every week in December.

Members also want to develop the ‘Christmas Window’ competition and build on last year’s competition; ideas were put forward including; shops having an advent theme window e.g. each shop taking a different advent day and providing a display around that theme, or a ‘spot the mistake’ type event which was run in the town last year and was quite popular. The committee felt that this needs to be thought about now to give time to put actions into place. Martin Anderson asked for volunteers to assist with this.

Membership

This is now due for 2012 at a cost of £20 and Louise Hudson has membership forms.
Attendees asked that some of the larger stores be targeted to join the Chamber.

Plans for March and April meetings

7 March meeting will again be at the Qube, and will feature a ‘review of the year’ together with what members want to do over the next 12 months. A new committee also needs to be voted in at the AGM and interested parties will be asked to put their names forward. The April meeting will be the AGM and will be held at the Wynnstay Hotel.

Events for diary/A.O.B.

There will be another business breakfast with Owen Patterson at the Oswestrian on Friday 30th March at 8am. This is a good opportunity for business to put questions directly to Owen Patterson and Keith Barrow.

Footfall – Martin Anderson read a letter he had written in a personal capacity in support of the organisation and asked members of the Chamber if they agreed with his comments. Members were in agreement about support for Footfall.

Traffic survey – Bill Benyon reported there will be a walkabout around town during the next week with councillors looking at the road layout and issues facing Oswestry. There is suggestion that a professional traffic survey be carried out. Martin Anderson supported a comprehensive traffic survey and members were asked to raise any issues / direct any questions to Bill Benyon.

The Chamber is being asked for financial support for a homework club being run at the library as its funding is about to be cut. The service is for 8-14 years olds from underprivileged backgrounds and more information was requested prior to a (funding) decision being taken.

Walkers Are Welcome needs a sponsoring organisation and asked Oswestry Chamber to become this – which was agreed by members. There will be a walking festival later this year.

Oswestry Museum is opening on 1 March at the Guildhall and will become a focal point for the town.

A letter was read out from the booksellers association summarising points from the Mary Portas report into British High Streets and recommendations thereon. A copy will be posted on the Chamber website.

G. Breeze reported that the next Chronicle Business Club Meeting will take place after the March Chamber meeting. The Chronicle business awards ceremony will take place at Lion Keys on April 26. There will be 6 awards and further announcements will be made in due course.

Beatrice Street now has its own website: www.beatricestreet.co.uk and has all the street’s businesses listed on it, plus property.

Martin Anderson asked if members wanted to organise a Take to the Streets event in 2012 – members generally felt that there was already a lot happening in the Town this Summer and that one more event was probably too much, however, all agreed it is a good event and it should be re-run the following year.


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