Monmouth and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce

Notice of public meeting....

NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING CALLED BY MONMOUTH CHAMBER OF TRADE AND COMMERCE (MDCTC) TO BE HELD AT THE BAPTIST CHURCH, WHITECROSS STREET AT 6PM ON 17TH NOVEMBER 2009. QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION ON THE MONMOUTHSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL (MCC) LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN (LDP) PREFERRED STRATEGY

You will be aware that in the summer the Town Council held a number of meetings to gain the public's response to proposals to consider for development a number of sites around the town for housing development and, in several cases, mixed housing and commercial development. These sites were put forward by MCC after they received submissions of land for consideration from, mainly, local landowners. These sites are called "Candidate Sites".

A number of larger Candidate Sites have already been reviewed by MCC staff and a preferred Strategic Mixed Use site (CS 0219) , located going out of town just past the Wonastow Road Industrial Estate has been put forward by MCC as the preferred new site to take 400 new homes in the ten year period to 2020. The other 421 new homes proposed, have already been built, are planned to be built, or are on small infill sites.

In view of the fact that many Chamber members are also residents of the town, the Chamber committee decided to make a review of the proposals and submitted to the Development Plans Manager in July , a list of members' comments and concerns. The Chamber, in our submission, also requested a series of further public meetings at which residents could raise their concerns with the county council officers responsible for the selection of Candidate Sites. One or more Candidate Sites would be put forward in 2010 for later consideration by the Inspector appointed by the Welsh Assembly Government in 2011.

MCC have now agreed to take part in one meeting at which the Development Plans Manager and the Head of Planning will be available to answer questions on specific Candidate Sites. This meeting will be chaired by MCC Area Working staff. MCC staff will bring to the meeting to be displayed, a map of the town and surrounding area clearly showing all individual Candidate Sites with the Candidate Sites (CS) reference.

It is essential, in order to gain maximum benefit and understanding of the current situation with Candidate Sites, that all those attending familiarise themselves, prior to the meeting, with the overall concept of the LDP and the meaning of the words "Candidate Sites". This information can be found on the MCC website at www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/ldpconsultation and then click on Studies and Candidate Sites .This will not be a meeting to discuss the LDP in general. For those without access to the Internet there is a copy of the Local Development Plan (LDP) for the public to view at the MCC Monmouth One Stop Shop. It would also be useful for those attending and asking questions, if they were able to refer to the individual Candidate Site(s), which were of particular interest to them.

Please note that if you have any questions prior to the public meeting, relating to the LDP and Candidate Sites, these should be referred to MCC and not the Chamber of Commerce.

David Cummings

Chairman, MDCTC

£10 MILLION EXPRESSION OF INVESTORS CONFIDENCE IN THE TOWN....

11th September 2009.

£10 MILLION EXPRESSION OF INVESTORS CONFIDENCE IN THE TOWN

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

"The Chamber is very encouraged by £10 million plus of private and public investment into Monmouth that is underway, or is due to start in the next two years, on various projects. Major projects include the Shire Hall , 20-24 Monnow Street and the new hotel planned for the Portal Road; the latter two projects subject to normal planning applications.

Work has begun again on the shops at the St Mary's Church end of Church Street now that planning obstacles have been overcome, and we understand that some have already been let. It appears that Monmouth, despite the economic down turn, has not suffered from the image of decline experienced in some towns and cities where empty shop levels reached 15% with no demand from new businesses. Indeed, September in Monmouth will see the continuation of a six month period of new shop, restaurant and café openings, with yet more to come in the next few weeks.

We are very pleased to hear from Monmouthshire County Council that the successful bidder for the development of the Portal Road site for a hotel has been notified and look forward to communicating directly with that company at the end of the exchange of contracts period. Readers will be aware, from previous statements made by the Chamber, of the paramount importance that the creation of more serviced accommodation capacity is to the town and the likely immense benefit this will give to local business.

2009 has been a year of great events including the Women's Festival in March, the Festival in July and the extremely well attended Monmouthshire Show last month. 2010 promises to be an even more exciting year in commemoration of the Centenary of the Death of Charles Rolls, including a possible flypast by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight over the town on 12th July and the procession of 200 vintage Rolls Royce cars on 25th July , which is Carnival Day. The enhancement of pre existing events is planned from January to October under the umbrella title of the Festival of Air promoted by Adventa. The Chamber is setting up a new website at www.monmouthevents.co.uk to keep visitors, businesses and locals notified as to what events are going on.

2010 will also be the year of the Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor and we will in October be uploading a page to the Chamber website to provide the latest information with links to key sites. We understand that tickets have now been allocated from the first ballot , with accommodation providers being contacted ticket holders and that contractors will know soon if they have been selected to undertake work during the event. For more information go to www.rydercup2010.com

Monmouth maintains its interest to the shopper with a wide and expanding range of goods on offer from small, independent shops to larger, national chains. For the visitor, there is also our unique blend of historic buildings and outdoor activities. The Chamber applauds the efforts made by all proactive citizens of the town and area to enhance the profile of Monmouth locally, nationally and internationally and the Chamber of Commerce will continue to be an active participant in this quest to ensure the future economic sustainability for the town.

The focus of the next Chamber meeting on 28th September at 6pm , kindly hosted by Nine Yards patisserie and deli, will be "Support for business" and the Chamber would like to welcome any new businesses to the town to the meeting. Also, anyone who is just thinking about setting up a new business in the town . Please email our secretary Brian Ramsey at enquiries@mdctc.co.uk if you would like to attend on behalf of your business."

20-24 Monnow Street - an update

The latest plans can be found on the planning portal via www.monmouthshire.gov.uk as follows :

DC/2010/00734 Mixed use development of commercial and residential with car parking Planning Permission

20-36 Monnow Street, Monmouth

Provis (Monmouth) Ltd Graham Frecknall Architects

Monmouth 12 August 2010 350,702 / 212,767

DC/2010/00735 Mixed use development of commercial and residential with car parking Listed Building Consent

20-36 Monnow Street, Monmouth
Provis (Monmouth) Ltd Graham Frecknall Architects

Monmouth 11 August 2010 350,698 / 212,693

Local Development Plan....

Chamber’s Formal Response to the Local Development Plan Preferred Strategy

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

"Many owners of businesses who are members of the Chamber are also Monmouth residents with a keen interest in its future land use development.

We will be submitting a detailed response from the Chamber but , in the meantime, our members had a number of concerns with the Local Development Plan (LDP) Preferred Strategy. Firstly they found the MCC website section on the LDP difficult to use. Secondly the proposed mix used site off Wonastow Road seemed to have flooding, bio diversity and access to public transport issues.

There were general concerns about Monmouth's infrastructure being able to cope with the residents of 400 new homes. They posed the question as to whether it is reasonable for Monmouth to be required to create new sites for 400 (22%) homes, when we have only 10% of the population of the county and that large development may adversely affect the intrinsic nature of the town.

They thought that there will be an increased demand for flats with lifts for the elderly, close to the main amenities of the town, so we should not expect all demand for housing to be on its periphery.

The overall impression is that MCC is following defined procedures from the Welsh Assembly as to potential development sites, without taking a holistic view of land use development for the town as a whole.

We would strongly recommend that once submissions have been received by MCC by 17th July deadline, that a series of public meetings are held in Monmouth to discuss the issues raised, chaired by Area Working , with LDP staff present"

Good News....

PRESS RELEASE - GOOD NEWS - 13.04.09

David Cummings, Chairman of Monmouth and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce commented "We are very pleased to announce that tenders have now been issued by Monmouthshire County Council (MCC) to the hotel developers who have pre- qualified to make bids, following the accreditation process. We believe that the identity of the successful bidder for the Portal Road site, behind the Total garage, will be known by the end of August. MCC have carried out a great deal of preparatory work on the sale of the site, so we are hopeful that work on the building of a hotel can commence early in 2010 , as well as a coach park on land retained on the site by MCC.

Summer 2010 is the 100th anniversary of the death, in a flying accident, of the motoring pioneer Charles Rolls.  Monmouth will be commemorating his life with a series of exciting events, including exhibitions in Monmouth Museum and a spectacular cavalcade of up to 200 classic Rolls-Royce cars.  The full programme is still being developed and details will be published in due course.

Most readers will be aware that the Ryder Cup will be taking place at the Celtic Manor in September 2010. Although the rooms that have been pre-booked are all along M4 corridor, we are hopeful that Monmouth businesses will be able to achieve spin off benefits from the event. Potential ticket holders in the Ryder Cup draw should know if they have been successful in their bid to be able to attend the event in August of this year.

Entry Forms for the Shire Hall banners competition are now available in a number of shops throughout the town; just look for the window poster. There will be big prizes for the winners and the results will run until January 2010. We will have a completely restored Shire Hall building as one of the key historic landmarks and symbols of the heritage of the town in; yes, you have guessed it, in 2010!

The Chamber feels that the importance of 2010 for the economy of the town cannot be understated. We will continue our efforts to lobby and to work closely with the Town and County Councils to ensure Monmouth takes its due benefit from the events of next year. In particular, we will be setting up a task group in the Chamber charged with overseeing and co-coordinating the events timetable for 2010. If we all plan now for next year, there is tremendous scope to maximise on the publicity associated with the events that are already planned in the area and town, to take place in 2010".

Portal Road Site....

Monmouth and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce (MDCTC) very much welcome the exciting news that the Monmouthshire County Council owned Portal Road site, behind the Total garage, has been put on the market with the primary use suggested as a hotel.

Readers will be aware that MDCTC has actively lobbied over the last three years for this strategic site for the town to be used for a hotel development with a section of the site devoted to much needed coach parking.

According to the latest available data from Monmouthshire County Council (MCC), Monmouth has 93 serviced accommodation (hotel or B+B) beds short of the Chepstow area and 383 short of the Abergavenny area. Information from several accommodation providers indicate that bookings are up this year 50% on 2007 and bookings through the Tourist Information Centre are up 100%. Each serviced accommodation bed in Monmouthshire produces a massive £17,605 benefit per year for the local economy and MDCTC cannot envisage a more important way to boost the economy of the town.

MCC has also deemed that the site might also be suitable for office development. MDCTC does not support the use of this vitally important site for the town as offices as a Chamber survey suggests that 16,000 sq ft of office space already exists in and around the town, a doubling of this capacity planned on existing sites over the next few years. We feel that the location of office space is not as vital as the location of a hotel close to the town centre and that , if required , new sites are available elsewhere on the outskirts of the town for office development.

We hope that matters can be moved forward quickly on the sale of the site, so that we have in place the facilities that are essential if local business is able to take full advantage of the events of 2010. Readers will be aware of the Ryder Cup in September of that year, but may not be aware of the celebrations planned for the Centenary of Charles Rolls, the potential to increase visitor numbers as a result of work completed on the Overlooking the Wye project and the Festival of Air . It is also evident from a local resident perspective that currently we have several locations in town where weddings can be conducted, but insufficient bed capacity to accommodate all the guests.

A contemporary hotel of 60 or 80 bedrooms, hopefully of 3 star plus standard, can be built in 36 weeks. We have around 58 weeks left to the beginning of 2010 leaving 22 weeks for the tendering and planning process. The opportunity is there to inject £1million, every year, into the economy of the town, let us all embrace it!