Chamber Blog

Community Column July 2019

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The Chamber continues in its efforts to promote and protect local commerce and this month saw the completion of the independent Town Audit which supports our anecdotal view that Helensburgh is indeed punching above its weight as a small town and is well above national averages when audited against similar town centres.

It enjoys more shops per head of population, has many award winning businesses and the retail offering is strong. Business confidence is above average in a diverse and attractive town centre with a good range of facilities and services along with a busy calendar of events, testament to a strong and active voluntary sector.

Well done to all who contribute to this very positive overview of our town.

Further good news this week on confidence in the town comes with news of new companies investing in town centre businesses and preparing to open and the many bids received for the Santander building all helping to keep our vacancy rates for premises well below the national comparators.

The Chamber will use this evidence based audit in our continuing representations to both officers and councillors of Argyll and Bute Council as we try to protect local businesses from the nonsensical decisions that are being taken by them with little or no regard to the detrimental impact on commerce.

The most recent example of this cavalier approach to our traders is the decision to remove coach parking from the seafront during the three year construction of the fiasco which is now the seafront development.

The obvious potential to lose thousands of tourists each year prompted one of our members to ask at a Chamber meeting, “Why does our council hate local business as they are always attacking us without regard to our wellbeing?”

A realistic but disappointing assessment endorsed by all - so; plenty of challenges ahead for the Chamber in the weeks ahead including inputting in to the Town Centre Conservation Area debate and endorsing the excellent submission from the Community Council on this plan.

Vivien Dance, Chairman

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