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Northallerton meeting will test support for new chamber or business association
7:59am Friday 12th October 2012 in News
RETAILERS and businesses in Northallerton are being invited to attend an open meeting aimed at increasing communication between traders.
Northallerton’s chamber of trade has been dormant for more than six years, leaving no unified voice for traders and others with an interest in the commercial viability of the town.
Without a formal means of communicating effectively even between High Street neighbours and trading estate areas, calls have been made in recent weeks for more collaboration.
The meeting will take place on Thursday, October 25 at Northallerton Town Hall.
After the sudden introduction of an additional September Fair to the town, many shop holders felt they had been left in the dark and had not been allowed to have their say on whether the fair should come to town twice a year.
This led to local councillors calling for a chamber of trade to be re-introduced so that a single group could be addressed rather than each individual business.
Organiser Gareth Dant, former journalist with Darlington and Stockton Times who runs a PR company in the town, said: “Even going back to the late 1990s there was no effective collective voice for Northallerton’s retail interests.
“The chamber of trade did a valiant job, but I’m told it tended to be same people making all the running and bothering to turn up.
“We have a wonderful town but we can’t just sit back and wait for someone else to make noise on our behalf.”
Mr Dant, who has worked with a wide variety of businesses and organisations, from Lewis & Cooper to Herriot Hospice Homecare, said he had discussed the issue with political representatives, retailers and business owners in the town.
“If the chamber folded because of lack of support then that’s probably not the best model to follow,” he said.
“Even if we just end up with a Facebook group and an email database that would be better than nothing.”
The group has a provisional working title of Northallerton Retail and Business Forum.
The town council is providing the venue for the meeting, which will be chaired by Malcolm Warne, editor of the Darlington and Stockton Times.
Also in attendance will be Northallerton Chamber of Trade’s last chairman, Atlantis pet shop owner Jim Turnbull, who has recently joined Northallerton Town Council to represent the central ward.
The meeting will be held in Northallerton Town Hall at 6pm on Thursday, October 25.
Those unable to attend can visit the group’s Facebook page, follow @NorthallertonBz on Twitter, email email@example.com or call 01609-765149 to register an interest.
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