Minutes 18th June 2018

 Present:  Cllr Robert Lee (President), Alun Edwards, Cllr Lorrie Desmond-Williams, Peter Fenton, Michelle Smith, Cllr Tracy Hill, Jo Richards, Cllr Mary Emment-Lewis, Barbara Bridge, Bridget Hall (Minutes)

In attendance:  Richard Lee

 1              Welcome

Robert welcomed members to the meeting, as well as Richard Lee, Financial Adviser, who was attending as an observer with a view to addressing members at a future meeting.

2              Apologies

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Chris Smart, Cllr Les Tallon-Morris, Cllr Mike Clarke, John Berry and Stuart Bentley.

3              To approve the minutes of the last meeting

Jo referred to the discussion regarding footfall and questioned the accuracy of the minutes.  Bridget said she had minuted the comments that had been made by those members, as per the transcription, but apologised for any inaccuracy.  The Minutes were otherwise approved.

4              Matters arising

  1. i) Green Room/Sussed

Lorrie pointed out that this room would be unsuitable as does not provide disabled access.  This was acknowledged and unsuitability agreed.  Thanks would be conveyed to Margaret Minhinnick for her kind offer.

Mark said that room hire charges at the Y-Centre had increased and asked members for their thoughts on this.  It was generally agreed that, as this was only a nominal increase, the Chamber should continue to support the Y-Centre.  However, an occasional alternative venue was desirable to offer an opportunity for members to socialise following meetings.

  1. ii) Footfall/Car park charges

Michelle referred to the recent meeting arranged by BCBC to which the public were invited.  Michelle said it was disappointing that one only question per person had been allowed; her question was regarding business rates.  However, she said that this was not satisfactorily answered and only a brief answer and summary of the situation was given by Cllr Charles Smith which only added to her frustration with this matter.  Charles Smith had said that the Welsh Assembly was responsible for the charge.  Michelle said it had already been identified that businesses were eligible but applications nevertheless still had to be made.   The level of charge hinged on rateable value of the premises and if this had decreased then that business would not be eligible to apply for reduction.  Transitional relief was supposed to be available to support businesses.  The Assembly had extended this relief but it would not be available again until October.  Michelle felt this was most unfair as hardly any businesses qualified for rate relief, with a 30% increase on rates.

Mary suggested making the point to BCBC that charity shops received an 80% reduction and with declining footfall then businesses should be receiving similar financial support.

Michelle added that it was concerning to see that footfall was further down by 28% in the previous week.   BCBC has acknowledged that there was an issue with declining footfall.

(Mary left the meeting)

iii)           Car Parking Charges

Mark referred to the proposed changes in car parking charges, with a suggestion of the first 2 hours being free.  Jo said that BCBC allocate £130k for parking in the county but only £98k was spent and the reminder of the funding being unaccountable.

Michelle reiterated her frustration that she did not have the opportunity to raise the matter of car-parking at the recent BCBC meeting.  Also, she felt disappointed that Council Members and Chamber members present had not rallied together to support these various vital issues, i.e. footfall, business rates, parking, etc.  Michelle felt it was a missed opportunity and suggested calling a public meeting to discuss footfall at which Chamber of Trade, Traders and Cllr Charles Smith should be present

Lorrie made the point that it was the Bridgend traders and BID who were paying for a parking subsidy.

The proposal for restricting parking to 2 hours along the seafront was thought to be a good idea but the traffic warden manpower to enforce this was thought to be lacking.

Mark expressed his concern at the inadequate parking provision for the new surgery and members agreed this was likely to be problematic.

5              Correspondence

  1. i) Glamorgan Holiday Home

Robert told members that an email that had been received from Marcus Campbell, Sales Director, Cartrefi Cymru – Disability Holiday Hotel, (Glamorgan Holiday Home) saying that it was scheduled to re-open in July following refurbishment.  Members expressed disappointment that the new surgery had not been transferred there, rather than at the new site.  However, Mark said the building was full of asbestos and would have been a huge cost to renovate.  .

(Jo and Lorrie left the meeting)

  1. ii) Town Centre Manager

Robert told members that the newly appointed Town Centre Manager, Mari-Wyn Elias-Jones, had been in touch and that he and Bridget were meeting her the following day to discuss a number of initiatives.

iii)           Y-Centre

An email had been received from the Y-Centre outlining details of a scheme with the local Coop open to all customers, whereby for a £1 sign-up, 5% cashback would be received on selected Co-op brands + the Y-Centre would receive 1% of spend.  Registration for this scheme was on the following website:  www.coop.co.uk/membership, or call at the Y-Centre for help with signing-up.

  1. iv) Buckaneer Carnival 21st July 2018

Robert said he had received an invitation from Kerry Marlow to be a judge at the forthcoming Buckaneer Carnival being held on 21st July.

6              Financial Report

Mark circulated the Financial Report for consideration.  No points were raised.

7              Membership Report

Bridget said that she would be visiting members/business owners to sign-up for the Christmas Lights initiative.

 8              Events/PR

Robert confirmed that the Council Events Team had now been disbanded.  Tracy added that a new group had been set up called Promoting Porthcawl, who would henceforth be arranging the various events in Porthcawl.  Sarah would still be assisting with coordinating arrangements.  Mark asked if the Chamber would be involved and Tracy said this had not been mentioned but she would ask if there could be a representation.

9             Summer Trip

Bridget quoted prices for suggested Summer Trip to Cwm Deri Vineyard.  Bridget said she would establish possible dates for this and price including transport.

Robert invited all members to a BBQ at his home on Saturday 29th July.  BBQ, with a contribution of £5 per person + bring a bottle.  This was also the date of the Summer Event but it was thought that the daytime event would not clash with an early evening

10           Christmas Lights

Robert told members that he had hoped to secure funding for the installation of Christmas Lights in the town, with a contribution of £2200 from the Town Council and £1500 from the Town Centre Manager.  This left a shortfall of £750 to which it was hoped members/business owners would contribute. This calculation was based on an estimate of 50 traders participating in the scheme, including John Street, Well Street, Lias Road and Station Hill.  Members were in agreement with this proposal.

11           Any other business

  1. i) John Berry

Robert and other members expressed their congratulations to John Berry on being awarded the Order of the British Empire (BEM) on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, for services to young people in the UK and Abroad and the Community of Northern Ireland.

  1. ii) Date of next meeting

The date of the next meeting was agreed for Tuesday 19th June 2018.

The meeting was closed.