As outgoing president, I will keep my address short, to avoid onset of early boredom.
The obvious current topic of conversation is the fire last Friday at Ukay Fuels depot in Crockatt Road. We are thankful that, due to swift action by the fire service, it was only those premises which were directly affected. The Chamber has held a meeting, on the estate this year, which was open to the wider industrial community, and at which various issues were discussed, including security, and we will be holding a further meeting shortly. During a meeting with Sue Dawes of Babergh today, we may be able to tap into some funding that Babergh have available, to assist with the supply of a CCTV system. The outcome of this will be reported at the next estate meeting, to be held shortly. Similar meetings are held for the retail members, one result of which has been the establishment of the loyalty scheme which was launched this month.
During my time as president, I have attended various events representing the Chamber, as an example what seems to have become the annual season ticket attendance at Plant Parts Queens Award for Export Achievement, which shows just what a company can achieve, even in today’s challenging times. I have attended various meetings of the Suffolk Chamber, at which there is interface between the various Chambers in the county, and which are usually addressed by speakers dealing with relevant issues. There have also been meetings taking place with Babergh and Mid-Suffolk Councils, particularly concerning their amalgamation of services, but also on the issue of parking charges. The Chamber was instrumental in maintaining the status-quo on this, and continues to be involved in discussion with other Chambers over this on-going issue. We are in constant contact with the Councils concerning the further application by Tesco, and have now submitted further copies of our traffic survey, together with copies of previous correspondence on the subject.
The Chamber again hosted a stand at the Hadleigh show in May this year, supported by various local businesses. Although in a different location this year, we still generated a fair amount of community interest. There was one rather skeletal presence outside the stand which caused comment, usually related to lack of food.
Our annual barbecue at Priory Hall in July was greatly affected by the weather this year, with heavy rain during most of the day and in to the evening, but those hardy souls who ventured out were more than happy with the evening. I would like publicly to extend our thanks to Cyndy and Tony Hilton for hosting the event once more. The Chamber additionally extends its grateful thanks to the many other local residents who have given freely of their time and resources to assist us, for the benefit of the whole community. That this support continues to be given in the current economic climate is, in my view, a measure of the interest that local people have in the town and the surrounding area, something of which I think we should all be proud.
During the year, our regular programme of monthly breakfast, and quarterly lunch, meetings continued to attract speakers of both local and general interest. However, we seem unable to generate very much interest from the wider business community in Hadleigh, so if anyone has any suggestions that would generate a wider appeal, please let a member of the new committee know, as if we cannot generate more local interest, we will need to review the need for these functions.
The ‘Hanging Baskets of Hadleigh’ have again been impressive, this being the fifth year since they were introduced. This is again the result of not inconsiderable effort by Cyndy Hilton and her sub-committee. These baskets are funded entirely by local residents and businesses, and in order to continue to build on the display year on year, we need to increase the numbers of businesses involved, so if anyone would like to contribute, the Cyndy is always willing to take your money..
The committee has been continuing its work within the community. Amongst other things, we have maintained our support of the Porch Project in various ways, both as a Chamber, and as individuals. We have arranged the supply and erection of the Market Place Christmas Tree, and have worked with local schools to produce decorations for the tree that have been made by the school children.
By taking part in projects like this, as well as things like the hanging baskets, and the annual placement of the Christmas tree on the Market Place, the Chamber will be seen as an integrated part of the town, and not just there for businesses alone.