As most readers are aware, the Cirencester Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based organisation that meets on a regular basis every month alternating between evening meetings and breakfast meetings. The idea being that it enables different types of businesses to attend at a time that is most practical for them.
Equally, the Chamber has a number of other roles in the town which we want to share with you this month. Firstly, we champion and promote the businesses in the town and secondly, we act as a powerful lobbying group for businesses to represent their views to other bodies in the town particularly the Town and District Councils. We don’t want to get involved in politics, we simply want to identify the issues.
Cause for Concern – Car Parking in Cirencester
Last year when the CDC put up car parking charges by 30% we presented a petition with over 600 names of businesses and residents requesting that this increase was cancelled – nothing happened.
This was followed by the CDC gradually introducing cashless parking machines and we asked our members for their views and again we got a thumbs down as quite a few retailers felt it would discourage people from coming to the town.
On 15th January, CDC’s cabinet voted to do away with the popular ‘free after three’ car parking on the grounds that it ‘wasn’t an important initiative and was no longer affordable’. At the time of writing, we have once again contacted retailers in the town as well as our members for their views. The responses are coming back and will be published next month but early indications are that shops are very concerned because they do a lot of their business in the afternoon, and they fear this decision would hurt their trade. There’s no doubt that residents enjoy it and use it to the full as well.
So let us hope it is ‘third time lucky’ and that ‘free after three’ will be reinstated.Cause for Celebration – 2022 Business and Community Awards
Starting from 2011, the Chamber has run an annual Business Awards Event which culminates in an Awards Dinner held at a local venue. These have included both the Royal Agricultural University and the Kings Head Hotel. The Awards celebrate individuals and businesses, entrepreneurs, retailers and the professional sector.
After 10 years and the difficult time we have all had through Covid, where volunteers and community organisations have gone the extra mile – we all felt we should broaden the Awards to embrace the wider community and so we are planning to hold a combined ‘Business and Community Awards event’ in July of this year.
We are delighted to announce that we will be planning to work with our partners – the Church and Town Council, as well as liaising with the District Council and the Cirencester Community Development Trust, to stage a big event in St John the Baptist Church.
We hope to launch the event in the next few weeks so watch this space and when the Awards applications come out – please enter!
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