Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Lisa and Graham served on the executive committee of the Chamber of Commerce from 2000 to 2017

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The history and future of Melksham Chamber of Commerce

The Melksham Chamber of Commerce was one the founding 6 members of the Wessex Association of Chambers of Commerce, which has now grown to 17 members and shares offices, staff, intelligence, training facilities, marketing and more across Wiltshire and a somewhat beyond. You can find old reference to "The Chamber"'s archive documents at the National Archives - Melksham Chamber of Commerce Meccari Programme 30 years ago, for examples.

In 1992, Leekes Store opened on the outskirts of Melksham (Leekes History - Link), and this caused great controversy in the town. The Chamber of Commerce supported the new business, but the town's traders were strongly opposed, fearing that it would suck business from the town centre. They set up the Melksham Trader's association to look after their interests, splitting The Chamber.

Although the Trader's association appears to have been quite short lived (I can find no references on line), memories are long, and the Chamber has remained quite weak in terms of town centre representation for (now) 18 years. Lisa and I moved to Melksham at the tail end of 1999, and became actively involved in the town from 2000 onwards - and it was natural for us to join The Chamber. From 2006 onwards, with a hotel in the town, it became all the more appropriate for us to be more deeply involved, and we're now both on the executive committee, and I have been elected at President.

It was very sad, going around the town at the tail end of last year and talking to long established businesses about "The Chamber". We should all be working together for Melksham - making it a destination that people want to visit, a town that people want to trade in, somewhere that people want to live ... alas, I was challenged in several places along the lines of "you represent the Chamber of Commerce, do you? I'm surprised that you dare show your face ....". What made it so sad? That nearly 20 years on, people were still looking back, and are still so mistrustful.

The Chamber's AGM was held ... last week ... at Well House Manor. And as part of the evening, we heard about plans to open a new stretch of about 3 miles of canal from the Kennet and Avon at Semington into the River Avon below Challymead (the bypass) bridge. See [here]. A navigable waterway through the town, a new 'cut' up the old line of the Wilts and Berks ... and we'll become part of a canal ring which will revitalize the river front - look at the river Thames towns or Bradford-on-Avon as examples of the benefits this can bring.

In July, the Chamber will be visiting the new Melksham Oak Community School - brand new, and with places for 1400 pupils. It replaces the near-life-expired George Ward, currently with around 1000 pupils, and will provide education for young people growing up in the new housing being built by Bloor Homes and others to the East of the town. These new homes will give significant extra "footfall" in the town if we attract the new owners, rather than having them drive to Chippenham or Trowbridge to do their shopping.

The "Spot the Oddity" competition - arranged by the Chamber around the High Street and other shopping street stores - will encourage families to walk that little bit extra around, and perhaps find shops they didn't know existed or had forgotten about. The "Best of Melksham" that we plan to run in the autumn will showcase some of the best of customer service (Melksham is such a friendly town!).

Seated around the table at a recent meeting, we came to realise just how much water has passed under bridge since "Leekes", and just how much the Chamber has changed since. There are just a handful of members who were involved in the early 1990s, and the Chamber is a very different "beast" these days. Our online poll to ask people about Countrywide - whether they should be given planning permission - brought a vote of 70 in favour and 2 against; it's good to listen to our members, and to our non-members too, to represent them, to help them, and to speak up for Melksham for the greater good of everyone in the community.

Business isn't just town centre business. Melksham has a whole series of industrial estates and areas - from factories such as "The Avon" [Cooper Tires] and Knorr-Bremse though to smaller one-man companies, and a very great deal of "distance" (on line / internet) business too.

As the town grows, so industry grows, internet business grows. And with extended leisure time, tourism will grow too. That calls for improved transport links (we know we have a few issues!), improved use of resources and the environmental, and all this in a world where our economy is currently picking up the bills for some of the things that have been going on in the lsat ten years.

Ahead ... there will be challenges. But Melksham is well placed to serve them. And the Chamber of Commerce is now well placed to serve Melksham.

See the Melksham Chamber of Commerce web site at www.melkshamchamber.org.uk

(written 2010-05-25, updated 2010-05-26)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Z402 - Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  [4738] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - my final Presidents report - (2017-05-10)
  [4672] Annual review of Melksham Matters for Chamber of Commerce AGM - (2016-05-15)
  [4399] The Campus in Melksham - name, logo, and livery choice - (2015-01-18)
  [4278] Future Swindon - Westbury train services. At current level into the future? - (2014-05-25)
  [4170] Herman Miller coming to Melksham - the Chamber of Commerce is briefed - (2013-09-10)
  [4164] Melksham Market - every Tuesday - (2013-09-03)
  [4151] Tell me a bit about Melksham - (2013-08-10)
  [4103] Questions from children about Melksham Campus - (2013-05-26)
  [4097] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - Report for AGM, 21st May 2013 - (2013-05-21)
  [4046] Over a hundred welcoming businesses - Melksham Town Centre - (2013-03-17)
  [4041] Report on the last year - Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Melksham Without Parish Council - (2013-03-11)
  [4014] Costa Coffee in Melksham - is it a good idea? - (2013-02-22)
  [4002] Images of Melksham you havent seen before - (2013-02-13)
  [3987] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - join us in our future - (2013-01-21)
  [3948] Quiet little town? Advanced Technology Centre? - (2012-12-08)
  [3889] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - whence in 2013 and beyond? - (2012-10-12)
  [3880] Chamber of Commerce - looking forward in Melksham and in Wessex - (2012-10-04)
  [3867] The difficult interface between the business, council and voluntary sectors - (2012-09-19)
  [3850] Bus times - Chippenham Station to Melksham, with London connections - (2012-08-25)
  [3818] Making things happen - litter and ASB and lost dogs in Melksham - (2012-07-25)
  [3812] The Melksham News - July 2012 - Part 1, Campus and Chamber of Commerce - (2012-07-22)
  [3787] Melksham Pride - the Chamber of Commerce, and the future - (2012-06-29)
  [3768] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - looking to our future shape. Pivotal meeting next Tuesday - (2012-06-19)
  [3767] How well do you know Melksham? - (2012-06-17)
  [3752] Melksham Visitors Map - Bus routes and train lines to and from the town - (2012-06-04)
  [3751] Public transport for international arrivals into Melksham - (2012-06-04)
  [3748] Not everyone has a computer - 9 more ways to learn about the Melksham Campus - (2012-06-03)
  [3739] Go green - business seminar in Melksham - (2012-05-21)
  [3732] Ten more visitors to your premises every day? - (2012-05-14)
  [3714] Just 12 winners? Or 371 or more? Town Centres. - (2012-04-30)
  [3710] Encouraging business in Melksham and its neighbourhood - keep business local?? - (2012-04-27)
  [3706] An exciting Chamber of Commerce AGM - sound like an Oxymoron? - (2012-04-25)
  [3700] Why do people use chains rather than independent traders? - (2012-04-18)
  [3697] Events in Melksham - read all about them, and tell us about yours - (2012-04-15)
  [3696] Melksham government and business organisations - (2012-04-14)
  [3693] Wiltshire Business Support Service - (2012-04-11)
  [3682] Melksham Business Newsreel - (2012-04-03)
  [3677] Some advise for guest speakers at meetings - (2012-03-31)
  [3672] Melksham Train Service - please support the TransWilts case for regular trains - (2012-03-25)
  [3663] Changing shops and organisations - Melksham, the last and next five years - (2012-03-21)
  [3627] Meeting Report - Tuesday 21st Feb - to Melksham Chamber of Commerce from Shadow Community Operations Board - (2012-02-27)
  [3598] Melksham Civic Awards - report and pictures - (2012-01-29)
  [3560] Melksham, Month by month through 2011 - (2011-12-23)
  [3527] Melksham - changing times, an opportunity for the future - (2011-11-23)
  [3496] Melksham - Business to Business Speed Networking - build ahead for 2012 - (2011-10-26)
  [3495] Looking forward - Chamber of Commerce has 2012 and beyond on the agenda - (2011-10-26)
  [3492] Upcoming events in and about Melksham - more dates for your diary - (2011-10-22)
  [3481] Some thoughts in answer to some Melksham Campus questions - (2011-10-14)
  [3475] Havant - Shop Frontages. - (2011-10-12)
  [3470] Currently pictured in Melksham - (2011-10-09)
  [3438] Melksham to become a part of Trowbridge? - (2011-09-13)
  [3427] What is on the Melksham Agenda? - (2011-09-09)
  [3423] 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 12? - (2011-09-07)
  [3420] Making best use of the new enthusiasm for Melksham - (2011-09-05)
  [3383] Are people who walk into Melksham being asked to subsidise parking? - (2011-08-09)
  [3380] Melksham Jelly - An Occasional Office for Home Workers - (2011-08-06)
  [3343] Summer Sunday Train Service Starts - Swindon Chippenham and Melksham to Weymouth - (2011-07-03)
  [3340] Summer Sunday Timetable - TransWilts Trains - (2011-06-30)
  [3334] A lesson from the sporran market? - (2011-06-25)
  [3325] The Olympic Torch, and Melksham House - (2011-06-14)
  [3307] Melksham Community Radio launches - (2011-05-28)
  [3299] Presidents Report to Melksham Chamber of Commerce, 24.5.2011 - (2011-05-24)
  [3279] Letter to The Editor - (2011-05-06)
  [3275] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - grows to appoint new Press Officer. Welcome. Sam - (2011-05-02)
  [3272] Melksham Car Parking - current charges and limits - (2011-05-01)
  [3249] Events - Spring and Early Summer 2011 in Melksham - (2011-04-17)
  [3246] Melksham - the way forward. 26th April, Well House Manor - (2011-04-13)
  [3217] Vandalism and riot from the minority - the effect - (2011-03-28)
  [3214] Melksham Campus - any last minute inputs from Melksham businesses? - (2011-03-26)
  [3193] Melksham Campus - what, why, questions, concerns and how you can input - (2011-03-04)
  [3188] What proportion of the British Workforce still works a Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, week? - (2011-03-01)
  [3173] What is the Melksham Chamber of Commerce? - (2011-02-18)
  [3172] On consultations, car parking, and Melksham town centre - (2011-02-17)
  [3162] Keep your business customer-friendly! - (2011-02-09)
  [3141] Wiltshire Rail services - a golden opportunity - (2011-01-21)
  [3117] Opportunities for Melksham - new businesses in the town - (2011-01-01)
  [3113] Trowbridge and Melksham to Chippenham - more roadworks, even slower journey over the winter - (2010-12-30)
  [3088] Melksham - two many councils? - (2010-12-16)
  [2995] A river in Melksham is not just for boaters. - (2010-10-11)
  [2982] Travel, Transport and Tourism - A vision for Melksham, 2026 - (2010-10-03)
  [2959] A Melksham news roundup - (2010-09-18)
  [2957] Welcome to Countrywides new Melksham store - (2010-09-15)
  [2932] Getting into and out of Wiltshire towns .. a.k.a. Car Parking? - (2010-08-23)
  [2891] Wiltshire Council ask how they can help businesses - (2010-07-27)
  [2883] Melksham Oak - photos of the new community school - (2010-07-22)
  [2872] Moved - Melksham Lorry Park - (2010-07-15)
  [2867] Cycling in Melksham, and looking forward - (2010-07-11)
  [2853] Transport in Wessex - today and into the future - (2010-07-04)
  [2837] Lorry Parking in Melksham - (2010-06-29)
  [2827] Melksham - a gem in Wiltshire - (2010-06-26)
  [2782] Tell the Melksham Chamber or you only have yourself to blame - (2010-05-26)
  [2770] Melksham Chamber of Commerce - Presidents report to AGM - (2010-05-19)
  [2725] How do our tactics help us meet the strategy, for the greater good? - (2010-04-16)
  [2683] Car Parking in Melksham - (2010-03-18)
  [2666] Random thoughts on Melksham Town Planning and development - (2010-03-08)
  [2640] How is your tax pound spent? - (2010-02-18)
  [2594] Melksham Area - your community view is sought - (2010-01-23)
  [2568] Forums for your Melksham and open source discussions - (2010-01-09)
  [2546] How well do you know Melksham - a quiz for Christmas - (2009-12-21)
  [2544] Vision for Wiltshire - (2009-12-20)
  [2540] Rock and hard place .. and the relaxing right one won - (2009-12-18)
  [2531] Melksham - new Tuesday Market - (2009-12-09)
  [2521] Melksham Market - Tuesdays, 09:00 to 14:00 - (2009-12-01)
  [2514] The road show has been - where now? - (2009-11-27)
  [2508] Community Area Partnership - inaugural AGM - (2009-11-20)
  [2495] Planning the future of Wiltshire - (2009-11-07)
  [2487] Melksham Forum - (2009-11-01)
  [2465] Melksham Town - asleep or awake? - (2009-10-21)
  [2459] New Web Site for Melksham Chamber of Commerce - (2009-10-18)
  [2437] Wiltshire Unitary News - Chamber of Commerce Intelligence - (2009-10-04)
  [2328] Melksham - no trains, no southbound buses through the town - (2009-08-08)
  [2289] pre-Inaugural briefing - Melksham Community Area Partnership - (2009-07-15)
  [2288] Wiltshire Community Area Partnerships - (2009-07-15)
  [2260] Important - the future of Melksham / Chamber of Commerce - (2009-06-28)
  [2220] Melksham Traders - where do we go? - (2009-06-05)
  [2194] Melksham Business Map - Chamber of Commerce, Tourist Information and Town Council - (2009-05-21)
  [2181] You cannot please all of the people all of the time - (2009-05-14)
  [2119] Make your business a DESTINATION business - (2009-04-05)
  [2111] Business Networking for Melksham - 23rd April - (2009-04-01)
  [2095] Blue Ridge and Melksham Chambers of Commerce - (2009-03-21)
  [2043] Confidence, Customer Service and Tourism in Melksham - (2009-02-15)
  [1987] One Cheer for Local Democracy - Asda in Melksham - (2009-01-11)
  [1979] Looking forward, in Melksham, in 2009 - (2009-01-05)
  [1934] Lidl opens in Melksham - (2008-12-11)
  [1904] Ruby, Perl, Linux, MySQL - some training notes - (2008-11-23)
  [1892] Melksham Chamber of Commerce and Industry - (2008-11-17)
  [1881] Wiltshire Council says - part 1 - (2008-11-13)
  [1880] Melksham Chamber of Commerce, or the FSB - (2008-11-12)
  [1792] All the pieces fall into place - hotel and courses - (2008-09-10)
  [1748] Hotel room prices - Melksham, Wiltshire - (2008-08-11)
  [1642] Summer! - (2008-05-15)
  [1633] Changing a screen saver from a web page (PHP, Perl, OSX) - (2008-05-06)
  [1507] Comments on proposed Asda Superstore for Melksham - (2008-01-14)
  [1504] Flooding by Asda-s proposed new supermarket - (2008-01-12)
  [1476] Shopping for Christmas and looking forward - (2007-12-17)
  [1432] Wiltshire County Council - Budget Consultation - (2007-11-15)
  [1429] Remembrance day - inside a church and inside the day - (2007-11-11)
  [1250] Business speed networking - a place tonight! - (2007-06-28)
  [1223] Asda opening large new store in Melksham - (2007-06-08)
  [717] A customer service company - (2006-05-11)


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