June 17, 2014 by oswestrychamberoftrade
OSWESTRY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Wednesday 4th June 2014
Apologies: Jools Payne, Victoria Reece, Martin Anderson, Howard Ellett, Jean Oakley and Nick Kennan
Heather Noble welcomed everyone to the meeting, particularly new member Matthew Peck of Busy Bundle Ltd and introduced the new officers and their allocated roles.
Martin Anderson agreed to be the Vice Chair. Andrew Clarke to be the Treasurer. Gemma Syrett-Judd and Mike Coppock have agreed to cover Retailers/Retail on the committee.
John Waine has agreed to take on tourism. And Clive Knowles has agreed, to champion membership.
Heather Noble went on to mention that with Jude Robinson it is the first time a manufacturing business has been present on the committee, and Jude Robinson and that it is also interesting to have committee members from outside of the centre of town.
Councillor Paul Milner was at the Chamber meeting and is the newly elected Council representative. If we have any Town Council or Shropshire Council queries we can direct them to him for discussion with the Town Clerk (David Preston).
Paul is contactable by phone or email at any time.
The aim of the meeting was to build on discussions from the May meeting where the strategic aims for the coming year were discussed in detail.
It was agreed that the following three key areas would form the basis of work for the 2014/15 calendar. Items and suggestions can be added if deemed necessary and members are encouraged to communicate topics for discussion by contacting either the Chair or Vice Chair.
The Portas Money
HN stated we have heard mention countless times over the last 2 years about the Portas pot of money. We are hoping to have an open meeting to discuss this topic. John Waine stated that the Mary Portas report invited towns to describe their initiatives in a bid to win £100k of investment. Unsuccessful parties received £10k of funding as a thank you for submitting their proposal. The Chamber and the Town Council are open to ideas about the money. Steve White, Community Enablement Officer for Shropshire Council, confirmed that Shropshire County Council holds the money and it sits within the Joint Economic Board Budget at the moment.
HN is meeting with David Preston, the Town Clerk, to discuss the Portas money with a view to organising an open meeting in July to discuss possible uses for the fund.
The aim is to have all three original parties in attendance: Oswestry Town Council, Footfall Group and Oswestry Chamber of Commerce.
HN stated that once confirmed this meeting will be promoted in the local press.
Whatever initiative is proposed, needs to be around the original criteria which was submitted. John Waine said that the proposal focused on bringing people into the town centre and we are looking for new, fresh and experimental ideas. Heather asked that Chamber members encourage anybody and everybody to attend the open meeting. Everyone has a perception of what the money can be used for. We need to ensure that we are seen to have undertaken due diligence on how to spend the money.
This is the development on the cattle market at the end of town Heather will discuss this with David Preston at her meeting tomorrow with a view to inviting him to present the latest situation to the Chamber of Commerce. Heather will seek clarification on this topic and to gain realism in terms of expectations. There is concern that the goal posts have been moved and it was agreed that the subject needs bringing back into the public domain. Paul Milner raised an interesting point that without the cattle market, Oswestry would cease to be classed as a Market Town.
Discussions around this subject continued and details are captured below.
JW stated that we need to give this a sense of urgency for the town centre and make any proposals as resilient as possible. The main issue to is getting people to turn off the bypass and into the town. Business rates are set by central Government. There are a number of empty shops but it is markedly different. Shops are opening and staying open. The question was raised as to whether free parking would make a difference at Christmas. This is hard to tell because of the run up to Christmas and it being busy. Mike Coppock suggested that perhaps there could have a car park where people pay on exit so that people don’t have to rush back to their cars for fear of being issued with a penalty. Steve Wyatt stated that there is a cost of putting in that infrastructure and we don’t know how much it would be to do that. We need to gain a sense of what is achievable. Steve did state though that it could be match funded or could the Portas money be used for this.
The key question posed is as to whether a Town Masterplan actually exists?
Thought needs to be given to a range of factors including parking, shared space and flow of traffic. All these need to be fed into the bigger picture.
Steve White mentioned that Shrewsbury is now a Business Improvement District (BID) and that they are doing a lot of positive work to enhance the town centre. HN said that a Chamber of Commerce visit to Skipton had shown the sheer volume of work that had been involved in BID there.
NB BID applies a 1% levy on business rates which is then used for the combined good of the business community.
John stated Skipton used the levy money to heavily invest in ‘Welcome To Yorkshire’ which is a massive marketing machine e.g. the Tour de France now goes through Yorkshire.
Heather said it might be worth talking to Shrewsbury to understand what it is they are trying to achieve.
Admin for Chamber Meetings
At the Committee meeting, the subject of admin at Chamber meetings was discussed. There was a suggestion as to whether we could have a note-taker or co-op someone from the membership to record a true and accurate record of these meetings. Heather had been looking at costings. There is an array of rates from virtual assistants in buying their hours and attending premises. From £25 to £40 per hour. Heather said that we’re trying to gauge what people think about this as an idea.
Matt from Busy Bundle suggested use of an audio recording of the meetings however this could result in very lengthy minutes and Steve White suggested using someone from the Qube to do some of the admin tasks. Ingrid Knowles suggested that a younger person might be interested in doing something whilst he/she is learning how to minute take. There could be a small fee per hour and someone may need to monitor them. Also Shropshire College may have people too. Andrew Clarke suggested we could ask Huw Roberts of the Cricket Club.
Any Other Business
Clive Knowles said that tomorrow night there is a meeting where everyone is invited to discuss the opposition to pylons. An MP from Montgomeryshire is attending. The meeting is 7-7.30pm at the British Ironworks and there are 6 speakers at the event.
HN mentioned the charity market taking place on the 6th June 2014 at Bailey Head.
Also on Friday 6th June there is a Castle View Innovation Event from 8am until 10.30pm regarding what type of support is available business to business and the discuss the Eureka project. This is about innovation and it is run by Wolverhampton University Innovation Team. It is free to attend. You can go on Eventbrite to book or ask Heather for the details.
Mike Coppock explained about how the charity tin was stolen from his shop and the money was meant for Wales Air Ambulance. Mike wanted to do something charitable so he is doing the zip wire in Snowdonia which is a mile long, takes 1 minute and it is 500 foot above the quarry. He is doing the zip wire this Sunday and he is looking for sponsorship. Each flight of the Wales Air Ambulance costs £1500 so he is trying to raise enough for one flight.
John Waine said that the Oswestry Food Festival will take place on the 12th/13th July 2014.
Hazel Wakefield stated that under the umbrella of food and drink, Marcus Bean is holding an evening on the 12th July where you can come and dine with Marcus at the Scholars Restaurant, Oswestry Campus.
The beer festival is also on the 12th July 2014 too.
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