February’s meeting of Chamber members gave everyone the chance to input ideas to the projects that the Chamber will progress over the next few months.
It was a convivial, lively and very interesting evening with an action plan being agreed for the Chamber which would help to support local businesses and maintain the current vibrancy of the town.
An update on BIDS and the Seafront Development initiated discussion on what members felt should be prioritised for the area and these included progressing the concept of a Town Audit which would provide clear evidence on the attributes of the town and identify projects that would further enhance and sustain the area as the economy and changing patterns of consumer spend continue to challenge all town centres. Funding would need to be sourced for the Town Audit as, through the Chamber’s membership of Scotland’s Town Partnership, a company had been identified to undertake this work.
It was agreed that the Chamber should take a proactive role in the planning around the implementation of the new Seafront Development, particularly around parking awareness, communication and publicity, including signage, to ensure that impact of the construction phase on the area is minimised.
The Chamber would be represented during the finalisation parking element of the new development as a commitment on this was given at the Hearing at which the Chamber made representation, particularly with regards to coach parking and disabled parking. It was agreed we should request that a senior member of the council’s Economic Development team be asked to attend a members’ meeting for a general discussion on the seafront project including such matters as the fireworks display and the adjacent pier.
The Community Council offered to assist with this and request permission from the voluntary group working on the pier, HSDP, to share their bulletins and this has now been done and regular updates will be given at the monthly Chamber meetings.
Members felt very strongly that future plans for the retail element of the seafront should be vigorously monitored by the Chamber and work on this would begin next month and discussions would continue with the Community Council on the planning issues around the seafront area.
Members also felt that the role of the Chamber should be to keep ahead of the game in respect of local developments and ensure that the voice of commerce was heard during the discussion and planning phase and the monthly meetings would provide a forum for updates on progress and where further action would be productive.
It was agreed too that the Clyde Sea Lochs Trail publication should be financially supported again this year and were pleased to hear that Visit Scotland was about to put this road trail on their website after repeated requests from the Access Trust and since the meeting it has been confirmed that this is well in hand and the route should be featured soon.
This is where the Chamber provides a role in supporting the promotion of the town through the work of voluntary groups many of whom are now members of the Chamber.
Members noted that a number of new members had joined the Chamber in recent weeks and it was hoped they would attend meetings and bring forward ideas which would be beneficial to local commerce.
It was agreed that the Chamber needed to communicate more regularly with members and more help from individual members on this would be welcome including new members joining the Board and assisting with the routine tasks such as a Minute Secretary.
Get in touch if you could give a hand.