Town businesses still facing 'hardship'
PUBLISHED: 09:18 12 May 2015 | UPDATED: 09:18 12 May 2015
Budleigh people have been urged to make sure they support local businesses, which are yet to see a recovery from recession.
That’s the message from Budleigh Salterton Chamber of Commerce chairman Christine Bentley, who said the effects of economic recovery were not yet being felt by the town’s traders.
Mrs Bentley was speaking at the chamber’s annual meeting, where she was re-elected to serve a fourth year as chairman.
She said: “The recession really hasn’t gone away in this corner of the country.
“I do implore you, where you are able to, to use local services, as many of our businesses are still suffering real hardship.
“We have seen two of our banks closing [Barclays and NatWest] leaving just one [Lloyds]. Who would have thought this possible just a few years ago?”
The meeting also discussed how the chamber itself could do more to help, and to this end it has agreed to work more closely with cultural organisations in the town, and also to establish a closer link with fellow traders’ group Budleigh in Business.
Chamber committee member Ian Tait said: “There appears to be a very real lack of active support for the chamber.
“A lot has to do with the change of economic environment.
“Also, the existence of Budleigh in Business, I think, is causing confusion among our residents and businesses. People don’t understand why we should have two organisations in the interest of business in Budleigh.
“The chamber needs to revitalise itself, and, in so doing, address the changes that have occurred in the business environment and establish and extend a relationship with Budleigh in Business.
“The executive committee has agreed the chamber should consider broadening its role by engaging more actively with cultural organisations in supporting and promoting events in the town.
“We have agreed we should approach Budleigh in Business with the proposal of exploring ways of jointly promoting business interests of the town, and there have been two meetings where we have agreed in principle to pursue the objective of joint cooperation.”