Monmouth and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce

Newsletter November 2016

At the November meeting of the Chamber kindly hosted by Waitrose , there was a warm welcome to new Chamber members Green and Jenks, Wye Media, Monmouth Rotary Club and Development Integration.

There was a huge turnout of 63 with presentations from Mewscraft on shop layout and Cooke and Arkwright on the business rate revaluation (see seperate page). About half of the meeting was dominated by the business rate issue.

The Chairman, David Cummings, thanked Gabbys, Fingal Rock, Mon Teas and RT Jewellery for their responses to his request for feedback on the effects of the Brexit decision in June on their business. 4 retailers however are not a representative sample of 210 retail businesses in town. He must have feedback from at least 30 businesses for his meeting with MCC on 6th December. If you are a Chamber member or Monmouth business please respond now to chairman@mdctc.co.uk!

David gave a short business round up at the meeting and on subsequent developments as follows:

  • The next Chamber meeting will be kindly hosted by Bridges on Tuesday 24th January. It is proposed that after the meeting there is a tour of the new Premier Inn with drinks and nibbles to follow.

  • Over a dozen potential new members attended the Chamber meeting and Mandy Mardell, Suzy Mills and Gill Franklin are kindly following up to get them to sign up for Chamber membership.

  • Despite a huge amount of effort on David’s part he has still not been able to arrange a meeting with the Markets Manager at MCC.

  • Again despite a huge amount of effort on David’s part he says he is still no wiser in knowing if the non hotel part of Portal Road site has been sold.

  • David said he had been chasing up progress on the letting of empty shops . At the very least the Chamber will endeavour to get some sort of display up in each for Christmas.

  • Some for you will have had your lives and businesses disrupted by the six week pavement work at the bottom of Hereford Road. It is David’s understanding that because this is a Conservation Area that when  the kerbs are replaced then the pavement has to be changed to Tegula blocks . This seems like a waste of money to me when the pavement could have been done in tarmac in less than one week. David said he will be raising this whole issue of disruption caused to businesses by roadworks at the quarterly meeting of the Chambers of the county with MCC on 6th December.

  • There is still no news on the new plans for the Dixton roundabout Retail development.

Newsletter April 2016

The retail sector has begun 2016 in very positive territory. The builders have done a great job on the Commerce House building and it is now to be let to a national restaurant chain. The retail sector is likely to benefit substantially from the vastly expanded for 2016, Wye River Festival in May and the Eisteddfod in Abergavenny in July/August. Currently the Chamber is looking in to ways to promote Monmouth via the Eisteddfod website and providing leaflets on our town to hotels in a 50 mile radius of Abergavenny, which will host visitors to the show.

Work has begun on the Premier Inn on the Portal Road with work due to finish in December 2016. The icing on the cake of visitor experience will be the construction of the new Hotel and Spa on the Wye on Hadnock Road, which goes to planning in May.

The Chamber is actively working with Smartwater (see www.smartwater.com) and CADROW to improve security on the Wonastow existing estates.

What more can be done to improve the shopper and visitor’s experience of Monmouth? Well plans are afoot to improve the appearance of the public toilets by old Monnow Bridge. We have also been lobbying the town council about repainting the A40 pedestrian underpass, which was last undertaken in 2011 in an initiative by the Chamber, Haberdashers Monmouth School for Boys and MCC.

We are actively seeking some new coach parking spaces on a temporary basis until the non hotel part of the Portal Road site is sold; the plans for which include 5 coach parking spaces.

Overall, the Chamber remains confident that 2016 will be one of the best years ever for businesses in Monmouth.

David Cummings, Chairman, Monmouth and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce. chairman@mdctc.co.uk

Newsletter December 2015

Autumn 2015 has indeed been an exciting time in the retail sector with many new shops and restaurants opening. From upmarket housewares, children’s’ clothes, ladies and gents outfitters, to an Italian restaurant. Work is under way or will be shortly on the old Clarks shop, the Learn IT centre and Commerce House, although we don’t know yet what these further editions to our retail offering will be. Business sentiment is very strong and in 2016 we may even reach the heady heights of 100% shop occupancy, which is likely to be a first in the UK.

Looking forward to 2016, several infrastructure projects that the Chamber has lobbied for over many years are likely to come to fruition. Premier Inn will begin their build on a new 60 bedroom hotel on the Portal Road in March.  A new 94 space free car park on Rockfield Road will begin about the same time and the very long awaited car park behind the Queens Head is also likely to come to fruition later in 2016.

Plans have just been submitted for an exciting new spa hotel and restaurant on the large empty industrial site on Hadnock Road.  Plans are also in for a large expansion by successful local company Siltbuster on the new Wonastow Road mixed use development .

What more can be done to improve the shopper and visitor’s experience of Monmouth? Well plans are afoot to improve the appearance of the public toilets by old Monnow Bridge. The Chamber is a contributor to the Active Travel plan for pedestrians and cyclists. Go to http://www.mdctc.co.uk/active-travel for more details. New coach parking spaces are planned close to the new Premier Inn and we will shortly be raising again the issue of improving long distance coach travel to and from Monmouth.

A very big thank you to the Town Council for agreeing, on 7th December, to financially support CCTV for another 3 years. This not only provides reassurance to the businesses of our town, but also to tourists and residents alike when they visit our vibrant town centre and surrounding areas, at any time of day or night”

Only one major uncertainty remains at time of going to press.  Will new plans be submitted for the Dixton Road retail development following our successful campaign against the initial plans for a Marstons Pub, McDonalds, Costa Coffee and Pets at Home?

Overall, the Chamber remains confident that 2016 will be one of the best years ever for the businesses of Monmouth.

David Cummings, Chairman , Monmouth and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce

September Chamber meeting provides an open debate on important topics

David Cummings, Chairman of Monmouth and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce commented:

“Our September meeting was kindly hosted again by the Gatehouse pub and restaurant.

The meeting opened with news from Phil Ramsden of the sumptuous Christmas fayre available in the restaurant.

There was a presentation by Andrew Cotton on the Young Enterprise initiative and businesses were given the opportunity to volunteer to help develop business ideas created by our youth.

There was a lengthy and open discussion about the MCC consultation document on protecting our Primary Shopping Frontages and I explained the Chamber’s considerable input to helping get the message across with the Welsh Government Active Travel plans to benefit walkers and cyclists.

I gave a detailed summary of progress on many issues important to local business and of new shops opening in the run up to Christmas.

The next Chamber event will be a joint one with the Hotel and Spa on the Wye at 6pm in the Shire Hall on 11th November.

For more details of the Chamber and its support for local businesses, or events planned, why not email me at chairman@mdctc.co.uk ? “ 

Chamber celebrates its succeses in 2015

David Cummings , Chairman of Monmouth and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce commented . “ 2015 has been one of the most succesful years for the Chamber in helping improve the infrastructure of Monmouth in probably the last 20. We have played a pivotal role in working with MCC to secure planning for a new 60 bed Premier Inn on the Portal Road and for the new Rockfield Road car park;  both due for completion in 2016..

We were also the initiator of new road signage for the town, the new Town Centre signs for Glendower Street car park and the new interpretation panels on the mercantile history of our town. We have been a key contributor to the new Monmouthshire Cycling Strategy document and the Welsh Government Active Travel plan and also worked with the Town Council on relocating the cycle parking from outside the bus station to more useful locations for visitors and locals.

We continue to work with the county council on finding a use for the non hotel part of the Portal Road site that will not adversely affect the businesses of our town, which will include coach parking and possibly a new National Express coach stop.  Also to create 60 new long stay parking spaces at the top end of town to ease congestion in Glendower Street car park.

If you have a business in town then being part of the Chamber ensures that you are aware of any new developments that will affect your business. The role of the Chamber is to support, lobby and help the networking of local businesses. Why not join the Chamber ? You can join in September for less than £1 a week!

If you are a business owner and want to “try before you buy” then why not come to our next Chamber meeting, which will be kindly hosted by the Gatehouse Pub and Restaurant in their function room on Tuesday 29th September 2015 from 6pm

What do you need to do if you want to come along? Simply email chairman@mdctc.co.uk with your name, business name and the number of people in your party.”

AGM and GENERAL MEETING

18.05.15

The Chamber AGM was again kindly hosted by Richard and Jo Morris of Ancre Hill Vineyard. Chairman, David Cummings presented the Annual Report and treasurer Andrew Kyle the accounts of the year ended 30.03.15. All committee members remained in post.

Following the end of the AGM at 6.45pm, there followed an open format General Meeting.

David Cummings gave updates on A boards, including the meeting on 27th May, a business roundup,  including details on the situation with empty shops, car parks the Premier Inn Hotel, Gateway Wales  the new Interpretation panels and cycle parking in town.

Bob from the Rotary Club gave details of their activities in Monmouth and asked Chamber members to support their activities by sponsorship or by personal assistance at events.

Mark Lindley – of Logiplex gave details of offers to members and an invitation to 4Networking breakfasts.

David Cummings read out a statement from David Evans of Platform One about celebrations for Agincourt 600, to take place on the weekend of 22nd and 23rd August at Monmouth castle.

Those at the meeting voted to support Agincourt 600 from Chamber funds to the tune of £200.

The meeting closed at about 7.30pm and was followed by a tour of the magnificent new winery at Ancre Hill vineyard and a wine tasting with a selection of local cheeses and we heard news of plans ot open another vineyard. . The Chamber would like to thank Richard and Joy Morris for once again hosting our May AGM and meeting.

The Chamber next meeting will be held in late September.