IN OUR last article we started to look at the purpose and relevance of a local Chamber of Commerce in a small town such as Bicester and the surrounding area.

Looking back over the years the chamber has been central to securing a number of positive outcomes for the local business community including:

•Working with district council officers to improve the lay out for visiting markets in Sheep Street so that they didn’t obscure shop fronts and block accesses.

•Maintaining ‘pressure’ and dialogue with Cherwell District Council over the parking tariff in the town and its potentially detrimental affect on the town centre. Including getting this ‘called in’ for scrutiny by the council.

•Ensuring that those displaying ‘A’ frame advertising boards in and around the town during the town centre development were not prosecuted under planning law for so doing.

•Successfully supporting the town traders, physically delivering and presenting their petition to the county council to defer potential works to the Market Square until after Pioneers Square was completed.

•Meeting with officers and elected representatives of both the district and town councils throughout the year to ensure that the interests of local businesses are conveyed and brought to the attention of the appropriate people.

•Pushing for the matter of the London Road level crossing to be maintained as a priority and seen as critical to the commercial sustainability of the Town Centre.

•Worked with our members and local schools to deliver career events, work experience placements and improve local business/education links.

•Arranging and promoting during the town centre development support and guidance in applying for reductions in Business Rates due to the high degree of disruption during the building process.

•Supported and promoted business networking opportunities in the time for members and non-members to attend.

To bring this up to date; much of the work the Chamber does is ‘behind the scenes’, perhaps intangible and delivers to benefits to members and non-members in equal measure.

Without this activity we are certain the businesses of Bicester and the surrounding area would have a much less noticeable and almost inaudible voice.

So, if for no other reason this alone stands as the ‘why’ local businesses should be Chamber members.

Find out more about the Chamber via and we welcome enquiries to join and help us in being the consistent and constant voice for businesses in the town.