Monmouth and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce

Notice of meeting to be held on 19th March at 6pm in the Learning Room of the Shire Hall to discuss county council proposals for the charging of advertising on the public highway

Dear Monmouth Business,

You wil no doubt be aware that this issue has been deliberated for more than 12 months and,  possibly due to representation from the Chamber of Commerce to the MCC Cabinet meeting on 3rd December, a final decision was delayed and it was directed that further consultation should be made with those affected.

Why is it relavant to your business?

The proposals affect any businesses with advertising boards , displays,  tables and chairs etc on land owned by Monmouthshire County Council,  which includes all pavements in public areas and the paving outside the Shire Hall. There are also proposals for advertising opportunities in car parks and on roundabouts etc.

What is the purpose of the meeting?

To find ways for businesses to effectively promote, in a cost effective way, their goods and services, whilst taking into account the special needs of the disabled and find a way for the county council to ensure all displays on county council land are authorised and controlled.

What happens if you don’t attend the meeting?

Then it is possible that your particular concerns will not be addressed and this opportunity for dialogue with Monmouthshire County Council will be lost.

It is particularly important that reatilers in Beaufort Court, Swan Court and the Oldway Centre attend this meeting or send a representative,  as currently they display A boards more than one metre from their premises and on land owned by the county council.

Who will be at the meeting to hear your concerns?

Roger Hoggins, Head of Operations at MCC who is the officer in charge of the proposals,  will be there to discuss the issues you have. I wil be there to introduce and chair the meeting.  

If you want to come long what do you have to do?

Retailers affected by these proposals are most welcome to attend and take part, but must pre book with me, David Cummings, by emailing chairman@mdctc.co.uk.

Many thanks

Charge for the use of A boards

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

Beacon readers will be aware about the Chamber’s opposition to the proposal by Monmouthshire County council to charge for the use of A boards and other street furniture on the public highway.

Retailers will be aware of the recent efforts the Chamber has made to make them aware of the proposals in the recent 152 page report by MCC and our opposition to the majority of its proposals, which took the form of a letter sent to MCC to be read out at the Cabinet meeting on 3rd December.

We welcome the decision by Cabinet to delay making a decision on the proposals in the report so that cabinet members can seek further clarification from interested groups before taking any decision.

We look forward to the opportunity to discuss in more detail how we can help the council find a policy that supports local enterprise,  but also allows the council to fulfil its obligations in keeping clear routes for pedestrians and in particular the visually impaired or those with mobility problems. “

Chamber meeting on 19th November

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

There was an excellent turnout of Chamber members and invited guests to our November Chamber meeting, kindly hosted by Bridges Community Centre in their magnificent ballroom. Mark Walton of Bridges announced that Bridges had reached its 30th anniversary and highlighted, not only the many achievements of the centre over the years, but also its hopes for the future.

Guest speaker, Dr Nicola Bradbear of Bees for Development highlighted their essential charity work in helping subsistence farmers in east Africa become self sufficient by providing the skills necessary for bee keeping. Details of the four new exciting interpretation panels to be installed around town on its mercantile history were shown by David Cummings, with artwork and content supplied by local heritage experts Platform One and 100% funded by the Regional Development Plan through MCC.

Roger Hoggins, Head of Operations at MCC gave an update on the proposed new 90 free space Rockfield Road car park opposite the fire station.

Grahame Thomas of the Civic Society gave details on the urgent need for funding to restore the pavilion in the Nelson Garden.

James Woodcock of Monmouthshire Enterprise gave important update information on financial support for business rates for this year and the possibility of support for 2015/16.

David Cummings explained that MCC had kindly granted three free parking days in the run up to Christmas, namely 6th, 13th and 20th December.

He went on to outline continued efforts by MCC to charge for A board advertising and for tables and chairs on the public highway.

The evening closed with an uplifting and humorous presentation by David Tovey of Mon Teas on the multitude of speciality teas available and their origins and tea coffee and nibbles during the networking session.

The next meeting will be in the third week of January 2015.

Chamber expresses concerns about proposed new charges for A boards and also changes to the enforcement regime

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

“Beacon readers may remember that the Chamber informed local retailers about MCC proposals to raise charges for the use of A boards on the public highway, way back in February of this year. As a result, many retailers wrote in to MCC voicing their opposition to the imposition of an initial charge and then a yearly licence fee. The Chamber still opposes the imposition of a charge.

Despite maintaining a good relationship with MCC Highways on issues from subjects as diverse as road signage to car parks, I was not made aware of 152 page report that was put before the Strong Communities Select Committee on 16th October. We had been informed that a report would be submitted on 6th November at the earliest. We am not aware of any consultation with Monmouth businesses by MCC in preparing this report, although it is evident that some Chepstow businesses have been consulted.

The above report covers not only imposing charges for A boards , but also for chairs, tables and advertising on the public highway including in MCC car parks.

Firstly, let me say that the Chamber is sympathetic to the needs of MCC to balance their budget and also to the needs of disabled people in not encountering a hazard on the highways that might cause injury. Retailers have been informed by MCC on several occasions about the requirements concerning the distance an A board can be placed from the business premises and that an A board cannot be permitted where the pavement it too narrow.

On page 35 it states that “‘A Board’ advertising, apart from being an illegal activity…” The Chamber is not aware that A boards have ever been illegal in general. Furthermore,  MCC has previously chosen not  to enforce regulations that an A board should be secured on all four sides or that there be a horizontal white line 3 inches in width across the A board to raise its profile for the visually impaired. If imposed on retailers, this may make existing A boards unusable and incur more costs for hard pressed retailers.

A public survey on attitude to A boards has been conducted by MCC, but in a county with 89,000 people we question whether taking a sample of only 121 members of the public is statistically sufficient.

What does the Chamber propose to do from here?

We will reiterate our concerns about charging for advertising on the public highway and changes to the enforcement regime in a letter to the forthcoming cabinet meeting on the subject, if we can ascertain in good time when that meeting will take place”

http://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/meetings/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2014/10/3iv-Management-of-Commercial-Obstruction-in-the-Highway-Policy-full-report.pdf

Chamber tackles local business issues and takes steps to substantially grow in membership

12.05.14

David Cummings , Chairman of Monmouth and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce commented “For the fifth time in the last eight years we held our AGM in the picturesque setting of Ancre Hill Vineyard. Richard Morris told us of the international awards Ancre Hill had won in far away places like China and gave us a view of the environmentally friendly new winery with its sedum roof and straw bale walls for effective insulation, which also help maintain a constant internal temperature. Ancre Hill Vineyard has not only put Monmouth on the world map, but with it Wales.

At our AGM, Sally Stewart was appointed our new Meetings Secretary and Andrew Kyle the new Treasurer, making a six strong team on the Chamber committee.

At the General meeting members and invited guests heard the latest news of the proposed Dixton Roundabout development, car parks and the discussion document from MCC about charging for adverting boards etc. There was also the latest on business support, our Buy Local campaign and what MCC is doing in the way of business support. If you would like to know more about ways that the Chamber can help your business why not visit www.mdctc.co.uk now?“.

Newsletter February 2014

Press release on Chamber meeting and future objectives of Chamber

David Cummings, Chairman of Monmouth and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce commented:
"After a considerable period of time without a Chamber meeting there was an excellent turnout for the event kindly hosted by the Shire Hall on 21st January. We learnt from county council officers of the exciting news that Monmouthshire will host in June the National Cycling Championships and we also viewed the latest plans for Gateway Monmouth, which, if funding can be secured, will transform the small Cattle Market car park and public toilets into an area of great benefit to locals and tourist alike".

Also on the agenda on 21st was an open discussion on how we can move forward with plans for new car parks for the town and, on the Dixton roundabout proposals, we learnt that the plans, though available for public viewing are not yet ready for public consultation. At the meeting it was decided that the Chamber and its members would wait to make comment on the plans until after they were finalised. In the meantime, we would actively support the Gateway to Wales opposition group to the Dixton development and I would put the business case for opposing the plans at the public meeting to be held at 6.30pm at the Shire Hall on 4th February.

The Chamber remains committed to our ideals of supporting and lobbying on behalf our members and being the premier networking organisation for businesses in Monmouth. Our objectives are to work towards 100% shop occupancy, improve parking and accommodation provision in the town and influence county council policy so that businesses can enjoy economic prosperity. For businesses seeking more information on the benefits of Chamber membership, please visit our website at www.mdctc.co.uk.

Chamber-210114