I read, with interest, the various letters over the last couple of editions and thought it time I wrote to state more clearly the stance of the Thornbury Chamber of Trade vis-à-vis the retail "foot print" of Thornbury.
Let me make comment on two key issues that seem to have arisen. Leaflets: I was castigated by Sheila Wilmot about a leaflet put out at short notice by the chamber. The sole purpose of this leaflet was to encourage the former clients of Somerfield to use local traders instead of traipsing up to Tesco; hence its title "Where do I Shop Now?" - that was all. Somerfield did not sell jewellery, clothes for country gentlemen or a myriad other products on show in our members' retail outlets, and therefore there were some gaps in the list of traders on our pamphlet.
I have apologised, on behalf of the Chamber, to members who thought they should have been represented on the leaflet. The leaflet was produced on a voluntary basis and cost about £20. The Chepstow leaflet, on the other hand, is produced from grant money from the Welsh Development Agency and probably costs tens of thousands of pounds. If Sheila Wilmot would like to arrange council funding for a comparative leaflet for 2008 then my members would be absolutely delighted Let me, on record, thank the members of the Chamber who swung into action and got this leaflet out with 48 hours' notice; you all did a great job.
Membership: The Chamber of Trade has grown in the last two years and now boasts nearly seventy members. This is a voluntary organisation and membership costs very little. Our purpose is not political. We exist purely to promote our members' businesses in town.
There are many businesses in Thornbury, including some of the major employers, who have yet, despite expert canvassing and cajoling, to join the group and this is regrettable.
The Chamber supported the Peer Group's application for the major new development and would support any business development that promised the citizens a better spread of shops in this town.
Let us all become more positive about Thornbury. Free Parking, a great range of shops, beautiful flowers in summer and lights for Christmas, some of the finest restaurants in the county, a great new supermarket opening soon, and another food "mini-market" in the planning stage. Let us all patronise the businesses that we have rather than drive to the Mall.
Tim Pearce Proud to be Chair - Thornbury Chamber of Trade High Street Thornbury