Dear Members,

As seems to be normal in these times things have changed from my last newsletter, we have had another Lockdown and have been released from it to a new set of rules, where all shops are open, but restaurants and pubs can only serve alcoholic drinks with a “substantial” meal. This has led to the definition of whether a Scotch egg is a substantial meal or not, and the same with a Cornish pasty. Yesterday I was sent a copy of a bill allegedly from a wine bar in Great New Street, London which read:

63 Pints of Peroni £409.50
12 Gls Pros Spumant £83.40
1 Chorizo Scotch Egg £7.25


I believe it is made up but illustrates the confusion. Another interesting question is, if your “substantial” meal takes 45 – 60 minutes to cook should you continue drinking whilst waiting for it? I am aware of this happening to a nephew, who told me on the following day he had a hangover. The first time for several months.

However, the knowledge that we have a vaccine, or several, is very good news. I am just waiting to find out how they will be delivered.

Of course, by next year Brexit will happen and we may or may not have some form of a deal. The Chamber would be interested to know if any of you will be directly affected by Brexit, whether selling a service or goods. If so, please contact


The lockdown certainly put a stop to our campaign to ask all shops on or near to the High Street to open late on a Thursday night. But this has now been overtaken by the Government removing late night restrictions from all shops for December and January. If they wish they can open for 24 hours each day, with the exception of Sundays. Sunday appears to be under different legislation.


Tom Suttill, Stowe Family Law LLP

Berkhamsted House, 121 High Street, Berkhamsted, HP4 2DJ


Tel: 07719 422580

Family and divorce lawyers


High Street Parking

The changes are still on-going.

Festival of Light

Although the festival could not be held, the lights are lit, and the tree is decorated and in position. Below is a photograph sent to me by the Mayor:


Berkhamsted School

They have resubmitted their planning application for a Sixth Form Centre at the school which will mean that three buildings on the Castle Street site will be demolished to enable the construction to take place. From a business viewpoint this will generate more employment into Berkhamsted and will offer another facility to encourage economic growth in the Town.

Contour Architecture

Congratulations are due to Philip Bailey and his team on their fifth-year anniversary operating their business from a standing start in Berkhamsted. They have won a number of commissions during this period and have been certified as Passivhaus Designers.

For information:

Passivhaus buildings provide a high level of occupant comfort while using very little energy for heating and cooling. They are built with meticulous attention to detail and rigorous design and construction according to principles developed by the Passivhaus Institute in Germany. They can be certified through an exacting quality assurance process.

If you want to know more, please contact Philip at


Paul Franc from Rotary has sent in information regarding this year’s Santa sleigh:

Santa’s Sleigh – December 2020


The Sleigh has been going around Berkhamsted at Christmas since the 1970’s. The current sleigh was built around 1982 by a number of then Round Tablers and it was run by Round Table until 2010 when Lions took it on as there were insufficient active Round Tablers. Lions also had a minibus fitted with a tow bar which was used to ferry collectors and the sleigh around the town. In 2018, Berkhamsted Rotary took over the reins (!) and developed it with new innovations such as a Tracker, Card Reader donations as well as Just Giving and Text to Donate – all available through

The sleigh has been rebuilt over the years, once by the Mount Prison and it was rewired in 2018. The reindeer are in fact Rocking Horses with antlers – hence the hooves on tiptoe. These are in need of restoration though it is a very specialised and laborious process with both fibreglass and painting required. BUT it operates at night so most people don’t notice!

The Sleigh goes out during December and is helped each night by different Community Groups who provide the Collectors. All the takings from each night are put into a big pot and then divided between the participating Community Groups and Rotary – some routes are more lucrative than others so this is the fairest division.

Last year, some £10K was distributed and over the 45+ years the event has been staged, it must have raised in excess of £400K in today’s money. Long may it continue!


As a Chamber we receive information from various sources, one of which is the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (Hertfordshire LEP), who have notified us that the number of people registered for Universal Credit in the county is just over 37,000 which is three times higher than this time last year. People like to help others at Christmas so BDCC does have charities as members and if you wish to donate to any of them here is some information

AgeUK Dacorum

This local charity covers Hemel, Berkhamsted and Tring and has had to adapt rapidly to the pandemic. All their support network of clubs, visits and meetings have had to stop, and this has created feelings of loneliness and sometimes despair amongst their clients. Virtual meetings and befriending telephone calls have helped but are not a total answer. As with other charities AUKD have had resource problems particularly as they are looking to provide new services such as a community garden allotment, an information resource technology centre, and information on computer scams. If you believe you can help with a donation or as a volunteer contact AUKD at 01442 259049 or email

Berkhamsted Old Town Hall

Perhaps not a well-known fact, but the Old Town Hall at 196 High Street is owned in trust for the people of Berkhamsted and surrounding area, not by Dacorum Borough Council. The Town Hall is a grade 2 listed building and is managed by a board of trustees, all of whom are local.

The Town Hall is funded by renting out its halls to local clubs, classes and is available for weddings, receptions and parties. There is both disabled access and disabled washroom facilities.

The pandemic has seen most of these activities cancelled over several months and consequently the Town Hall has seen its income decimated. If you wish to make a donation to the Old Town Hall please contact the manager Ian Hall by phone 01442 862288 or email


Normally at this time of year DENS is supported by local businesses through festive fundraisers and food donations. This year they find themselves in very different circumstances. Their foodbank levels remain high however the pandemic has had a big impact on their Community and Events income and they now need help to recoup some of this lost income and ensure that they can keep supporting local people in Dacorum.

They kindly ask that instead of donating food, clothes and time please give a donation to help them now, and in the months to come.

Please visit their web site and click on the Donate button. If you wish to post a donation their address is DENS, The Hub, Paradise, Hemel Hempstead, HP2 4TF

Open Door

Open Door is a community and arts space on Berkhamsted High Street (opposite VAR’s) and have delivered over 1500 meals to vulnerable people during lockdown, as well as hosting a community pantry. They normally can run a number of cafés for the community where all are welcome and help them out by making a donation for their coffee and/or cakes. Their income has been hit and they are looking for support. Please contact them on 01442 461965 or email

The Hospice of St Francis

Carolyn Addison has asked that if you wish to help the Hospice, they are running a virtual Christmas party for bereaved children this year and would like a donation to be a small Christmas present for their bereaved children. All the presents will be delivered directly to the child’s home; she states that you can either bring the presents to the Hospice or they would be happy to collect. If you want further information, please contact Carolyn on 01442 869555 ext 224 or email


We are looking to restart both the breakfast and lunch events in 2021. Obviously, this will be dependant on Government rules, however we are considering possibly March but probably April as the starting month. We have tried a couple of Zoom meetings in 2020 but the second was not successful as many of us are Zoomed or Teamed out. However, if anyone has a potential idea please let me know and we will try it again in early 2021:


Berkhamsted Town Hall second-hand book stall

One of those little-known facts of Berkhamsted, the Old Town Hall book stall can be accessed via Lower Kings Road going through the passage near Bailey and Sons. It sells all types of books from nearly new to antiquated has an amazing range of genres, including an excellent children’s section. Prices are 10p for a magazine, 20p for a paperback and 30p for a hardback. Payment is via an honesty system by the door of Re-create. Donations of excess books are always welcome. The book stall is looked after by a volunteer Joan Aldous and is open during the day.

Town Hall Book Stall

Civic Central

Along with a number of other local organisations BDCC has put its name to the proposal to develop the site behind the Civic Centre for potential social and community use. This has been co-ordinated by B Hive and has arisen as an adjunct to the Dacorum local plan, which has been recently published. A letter signed by the Chamber, the Citizens Association, History Society, Town Hall Trust, Berkofest, Friends of St Peter’s, Sunnyside Rural Trust and others, has been sent to James Doe Assistant Planning Director at Dacorum Council requesting a meeting to discuss this project. As we get more information, we will keep you informed.


Headed by Matt Lindop, a Berkhamsted resident, this is a not-for-profit consortium who have created a digital store for the whole of Berkhamsted so that any local shop or restaurant can use it to take digital orders. Their aim is not to decrease high street footfall but enabling locals who would normally shop online to do it locally. They state that the bar set for digital shopping is normally too high for many retailers, but their system will allow retailers to use a digital service.

Furthermore, Loql believe that the explosion in online shopping has had an adverse effect on the environment as more vehicles are creating pollution on our roads. In conjunction with another local company Estarli they are about to start piloting a zero-emission electric vehicle service for the town’s businesses to be able to use. If you want more information please contact Matt Lindop:

Locl Electric Vehicle


Finally, one can see some light with the pandemic, but the vagaries of Brexit are looming, yet may I, on behalf of the BDCC Committee, wish you a Happy Christmas and New Year.

Pete Elsworth – Chair

07901 515381 –