Subscriptions for 2019/2020 are now due.
We have had two lunches in February and April and attendance has averaged 28 which is extremely good for a chamber of our size. Over the next couple of months, we will be holding a breakfast meeting, a barbecue and our annual trip to Windsor races will take place, arranged by our very own tipster Simon Double.
The AGM was held on Wednesday 10th and some 23 members attended. The elections were:
- Chairman Pete Elsworth
- Secretary Felicity Webb
- Treasurer Shirley Hall
- Committee Members Pat Daley, Susan Dobinson, Simon Double, Jon Gerry, Mikaela Morgan, Ian Reay and Richard Thompson.
The Chairman stated that BDCC had shown a growth of members during the year and that there were now over 100. He also stated that we were running more functions. The Treasurer presented the accounts which showed a surplus of £2,900 in the year.
The awards were given for the Business of the Year 2018/2019. The winner was Café Epicure and the runner up was Three Piece Bar. Congratulations to both companies.
Questions were taken from the members present and a number of issues were raised about parking in the Town, see the section on parking. The meeting finished at 6.55 PM and afterwards Father Mike Eggleton gave an illuminating and extremely interesting presentation and tasting of unusual and Portuguese wines. The wines and presentation were excellent.
BERKHAMSTED HIGH STREET
A few comments were sent to us regarding the High Street. There was a suggestion that Berkhamsted is promoted more widely in London; this is something that the Chamber could look at, but it also ties up with the recent report on our heritage received by the Town’s Heritage Hub committee. Although the Chamber has been involved as an interested party, perhaps we should be more involved. I know most of our committee are interested in promoting Berkhamsted and our heritage could be the way to increase footfall. One of the outcomes that was raised in the heritage report was: “should Berkhamsted have an annual or bi-annual pageant/carnival?” Our committee certainly believes that we should consider this, but all comments are welcome: please send to email@example.com.
We received comments about rent reduction and business rates. Taking the rates issue first, this is set by Central Government and I would recommend protesting to your MP. With rents we would like to know what different businesses are paying in the High Street and generally in Berkhamsted; if we had a concept of the price per square foot in different parts of the Town, we would be able to give advice. Yet whatever price you pay and contract with your landlord it is legally binding.
A question of making change of use easier was raised. I know that DBC are looking at this and a new plan is due out in September. We have invited James Doe, Assistant Director of Planning at DBC, to talk about this plan in our November breakfast meeting, and he has accepted the invite.
At the AGM, some retailers raised the issue of parking in Berkhamsted and that the closure of the Lower King’s Road car park has affected their business. Furthermore, the reduction of hours at the Water Lane car park from 4 to 2 has caused problems with both elderly residents and long-term shoppers. There was a temporary car park made at the Moor off Mill Street, but during the last couple of months this flooded and was closed, although it has now been re-opened. It was pointed out at our AGM that the publicity for the Moor car park was poor, and signage inadequate. We have raised this issue with Berkhamsted Council and have been informed that Cllr David Collins spoke about changing the Water Lane hours back to 4 hours at a recent Dacorum Borough Council meeting, but this was turned down as it requires a full consultation taking a minimum of 3 months prior to making a decision.
For those of you who missed the original consultation, it was Order 2017 Borough of Dacorum (Off-Street Parking Places) and is on their web site but the period of consultation was July 4th to July 25th 2018. In the same order the hours in St John’s Well Lane car park were increased and the temporary car park at Mill Lane approved. We will investigate how we can get on the list of those consulted by DBC.
After the local elections on May 2nd we will raise the issue of the differential parking rates between Berkhamsted, Hemel and Tring. Berkhamsted is the most expensive, and Tring has the first hour free. Finally, there is the matter of charges for the new multi-story car park and whether any provision has been made to allow BDCC members to have long term stay parking, which will also be raised with DBC.
Yvette Lynch – Yvette’s chocolates
The Old Bakery, 21a Water End Road, Potton End, Berkhamsted, HP4 2SH – Local award-winning chocolatier, specialising in handcrafted chocolates offering bespoke commissions for both corporate and individual clients. There are also chocolate workshops for individuals and groups.
Fran Martin – DENS
The Hub, Paradise, Hemel Hempstead, HP2 4TF – They are a homeless charity looking after people in Dacorum facing poverty and homeless exclusion. They run an emergency hostel with 44 beds, a foodbank, furniture warehouse and other services.
Our next Breakfast meeting is on Wednesday 15th May 7.00 – 7.15 AM at the Berkhamsted Cricket Club. Price £15 for members, £20 for non-members. The speaker is Susan Dobinson of Beautiful Ceremonies and the subject is “How to do Death”.
The barbecue will be held on Wednesday June 12th at the Berkhamsted Cricket Club from 6.00PM. Tickets are £15 for members and £20 for guests. Rumbles are the caterers and the menu includes burgers, sausages, chicken, veggie burgers, salads, rolls, baps, and baguettes and Rumbles chocolate brownie with crème fraiche. On arrival there will be a glass of fizz, after that a cash bar.
On Monday 1st July we have our annual trip to Windsor Races and its Ronnie Scott tribute night, which is run by Simon Double of Solario Racing. Please contact Simon if you wish to come at firstname.lastname@example.org as tickets are selling out.
If any member wishes to run an event to promote their business and invite chamber members, please let me know email@example.com
Age UK – Melanie Clark, Operations Manager at Age UK, won a Dacorum Everyday Heroes award for services to the community 2019, in setting up 5 COGS clubs in the area. These clubs are for people with dementia. This was presented to Melanie by the Mayor of Dacorum Cllr Rosie Sutton at the annual civic reception at Shendish Manor on March 1st.
Berkofest – The new Berkofest Book Festival is being held on Sunday May 12th from 9.30 AM to 6.00 PM at both the Old Town Hall and Rectory Lane Berkhamsted. Tickets are £5 on the door. There will be a number of authors local and national, workshops, children’s competitions and lots more. For information go to www.Berkofest.com.
Beautiful Ceremonies – In conjunction with Open Door at 360-364 High Street Berkhamsted, Susan Dobinson has formed the Finale Club which is a community group providing education and support on traditional taboo issues relating to end of life planning, death and bereavement. Contact Susan Dobinson firstname.lastname@example.org
DENS – They are holding a Black-Tie Charity Gala Dinner at The Gatsby Berkhamsted on Wednesday 25th September 2019. The theme is “Meet me at Paris” with a three course French dinner and jazz music with the David Mellor Concert Sextet. Tickets are £65 per person. Tickets and more info can be found on Fundraising@DENS.org.uk or tel 01442 800268.
Haines Watts – They have two seminars over the nest couple of months. Firstly, in conjunction with Machins Solicitors on GDPR which, is a breakfast event on Wednesday 8th May. Secondly at their Berkhamsted and Aylesbury offices workshops on the “Making Tax Digital” which runs on different dates in May, June and July. For more information and to book into these seminars visit their website www.hwca.com/berkhamsted and locate the ‘Events’ tab.
JGK Financial Management – They are sponsoring a charity event at the Gatsby on Wednesday 22nd May 7pm to 11pm which is entitled ‘Gin and Jazz’ and is in aid of a UK Trust set up to support pre-schools in Langa Township Cape Town. Tickets are £37 each and are available from Gordon Gaddes Gordon.email@example.com or book through Eventbrite “Gin and Jazz at the Gatsby”. I am informed that there are only 30 tickets left.
Open Door are running a memory café at 360 High street every Friday 10.30 to 12.30 for anyone who has memory problem, carers looking for support or just seeking a friendly chat over a cup of tea. They are also holding a Promises Auction on Thursday May 16th at All Saints Church Shrublands Road Berkhamsted HP4 3HY. Tickets are £10 each, which includes vegetarian supper, drink on arrival, entertainment and a bar. The auction starts at 7.30PM and is being run by Stephen Hearn of Tring Market. The promises include: Guided tour of Wembley Stadium, tea with David Gauke MP at the Pugin Room the House of Commons, Secret Supercar Racetrack Experience with Driftlimits and many more. Tickets are available from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Raydens Solicitors – In support of the St Francis Hospice are holding a Black Tie Gala evening of Dinner and Entertainment with the star of the West Ends ‘Rat Pack’ Gary Williams on Wednesday 26th June 2019 at the Gatsby. Tickets are £65 per head which includes a glass of fizz and 3 course meal from 7.00 PM. Tickets via Eventbrite www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/rayden-solicitors-gatsby-gala-2019-tickets-57782918264.
Berkhamsted Comrades – At Broadwater, Lower Kings Road on Sunday August 25th they are holding a charity 6-a-side tournament celebrating 100 years since our comrades returned from the 1st World War, bringing football to our community. The two charities are The Hospice of St Francis and Help for Heroes. Other than football there will be an array of stalls and attractions, including Punch and Judy and a coconut shy.
By Voice Alone – For those of you who love classical music, By Voice Alone offers classical singers the chance to take part in a major competition. Melanie Lodge the organiser attended our last lunch meeting and asked could we let our members know. The competition final is on 20th May at Kings Place London if you want more information contact www.byvoicealone.com
Many of you would have seen the flyer for a new hospital replacing West Herts as it would appear the local Health Authority has to spend up to £350 million on improving West Herts, which could be spent on a new hospital. There is a campaign to raise funds to challenge the Health Authority by making an appeal directly to the Department of Health. To do this the campaign needs to raise £38,000 to pay for experienced hospital architects to help make their case. If you wish to help out there is a crowdfunding site. Meanwhile if any of you are interested in helping in any other way, or require further information go to www.westherts21chospital.com
You can find information about many other events on our sponsored web site www.eventsberko.com
Please check out your entries on our web site www.berkhamsted-chamber.co.uk . Many of you have not sent your logos in, which does make you stand out. I look forward to seeing all of you over the next few weeks
Pete Elsworth – Chair