We’re seriously concerned about impact of losing Spalding Flower Parade

THERE was an excellent attendance at our third annual general meeting at the Broad Street Business Centre.

Considering we are a fledgling organisation, it is amazing how active and involved we have become in the town and district.

Jason Rooke, the outgoing president highlighted a long list of Chamber activities during the past year which included: planning a new bus stop opposite the water taxi, new Christmas lights for 2012, setting up business forums for tourism, logistics and retail with a night time economy forum due to meet soon, monthly money-saving vouchers in the Spalding Guardian, town clean ups, a Christmas Festival and CRASH (Crime Reduction Action in South Holland) which became part of Chamber from July 1.

CRASH is operated by retailers who are members. They are linked together by radios with the aim of reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.

I was delighted to present an engraved carriage clock to Jason and flowers for his wife with gratitude from all members for the sterling work and commitment he has made to the town and Chamber.

Jason has worked tirelessly for Chamber of Commerce during his two years not just establishing this new Chamber, which now has more than 100 members, but providing a business network which represents businesses in the Spalding area.

I know that Jason felt that he had been “dropped in it” when he became president but he has enjoyed the challenges and the support of his council members.

Jason handed over the presidency to me for the next two years with David Norton, chief executive of Springfields Horticultural Society as vice president.

The guest speaker at the AGM was Terry Huggins, chief executive of South Holland and Breckland councils.

He informed us of the changes being imposed by the government on local authorities. He highlighted the Localism Bill and the pressures on the council to maintain services from the reduced monies from central Government.

It seemed somewhat ironic that having listened to Terry warning us of the severe cuts being made that both Lincolnshire County Council and the district council have announced that they are unlikely to fund the flower parade beyond next year’s event.

I think most of us in Chamber were not surprised at the news, but we are seriously concerned that we will lose this wonderful opportunity to showcase the area to more than 100,000 visitors, many of whom return for future visits.

I hope the councils will not lose the opportunity to consider building on the new food festival being arranged (this year’s event takes place on August 11 and 12 at Ayscoughfee Hall) and making this bigger and better.

Why not add static displays of flowers that can be positioned around the area which would encourage visitors to get out and explore the town?

Readers with businesses in South Holland, please put this date in your diary and join us at our next members’ meeting on Tuesday, September 4 at 5.45pm at the Broad Street Business Centre.

You will be most welcome.