The big news for January was the launch of the Cirencester Chamber of Commerce Business Awards 2018 held at the Corinium Museum. We were treated to a comedy duo comprised of President Les Stephens and Vice President David Fowles presenting an entertaining Question & Answer session about the Awards, for the benefit of would-be entrants or sponsors. David will give more details about this later in this programme.
Mark Tawn of Davey Law gave a very compelling argument in favour of sponsoring the Business Awards categories, which was so inspiring that almost all the categories had found sponsors by the end of the evening!
Amanda Hart of the Corinium Museum spoke to us of the benefits of entering the competition, and how winning could prove a huge boost to a company or organisation. She should know – last year the Corinium Museum won not one, but TWO Awards!
The entry forms are now up on our website cirencesterchamber.org.uk, ready to download and fill out. Use this as an opportunity to look at your business, see what’s working and what isn’t. Please make sure you get the entries in to us in good time, before the end of March.
After the business of the evening was done, the attendees moved back into the atrium where a large spread had been provided by New Brewery Arts, and plenty of bubbly and fruit juices were available to wash it down. The Chamber makes a point of supporting local businesses wherever possible when promoting its events.
Please get involved. It’s a real boost to your business to get an award!
Design tenders are opening for the proposed Waterloo Car Park decking, though at this moment we don’t know when it will reach the Consultation stage. In anticipation of this work, alternative car parking is being sought for use while construction is underway, given that we will lose a further 200 spaces at that point.
The latest news is that Cirencester Rugby Club has just confirmed they will provide 150 spaces for Monday-Friday use, which will probably be allocated as long stay parking. A very good start!
In the meantime the popular ‘Free after Three’ parking continues in the Brewery and Forum car parks. It is guaranteed till the end of March, but is hoped to continue as it’s proving a great asset for the retailers.
Another well established business has closed down – Jack’s cafe in Black Jack Street. So many cafes, usually part of chains such as Caffe Nero and Coffee#1, have opened in Cirencester over the last ten years that they have proved a threat to independent shops like these. Even more eateries will come with the proposed cinema complex, which now seems inevitable, since Wildmoor demolished the old Jungle shop in December, as a token gesture to prevent their planning permission from expiring. We still have no clear idea of when this might happen, and are currently left with an unattractive abandoned building site to greet the town’s visitors when they park in the Brewery.
The regenerated Market Place is continuing to thrive, and is a very attractive asset to the town, bringing in visitors, and shoppers. However, few of the market traders themselves are local businesses, so it is still to be ascertained if the shoppers spend locally too.
There is still a major problem with traffic flow. A large majority feel that having tested the alternative in Castle Street, and found it unsuccessful; the council should be open to changing the flow so it goes out of the town as before. The Review Our Market Place (ROMP) pressure group continues to push for this.
The new Chesterton Development has been approved despite great controversy and opposition to the huge numbers proposed. ‘Say no to 2350’ has been the cry of the Save Our Cirencester group which has campaigned tirelessly since it was put forward. They feel 1200-1500 houses would be a more sustainable number.
After a cracking start, with a huge celebration in the church with a huge turnout of 500 businesses and community supporters, the Bathurst Friendship initiative has stalled a little. Hopefully, only temporarily. There is definitely the need for a central coordinator to answer all the queries and give guidance.
A lot of businesses and also the Chamber of Commerce will be supporting the World War 1 celebrations this year to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War.
Our Mayor, Councillor Nigel Robbins, is leading this project and increasing awareness amongst both businesses and community alike.
If you have an item of local business news you think may be of interest to us, please email them to me, Jan Sparrow, at firstname.lastname@example.org.