REPRESENTATIVES from local businesses gathered at Bridlington Spa for the re-launch of the Bridlington Business Forum.
The forum is being revived by the Bridlington Renaissance team after it wound down around four years ago, to give the local business community a say in how the Area Action Plan (AAP) – which was deemed sound by a planning inspector in August – is developed.
John Lister, the head of Bridlington’s Renaissance team, told the Free Press last month that the AAP has attracted interest from a number of local businesses, and the forum is one way to channel this interest and try to boost businesses in the town.
Speaking at the launch event on Tuesday, Mr Lister said: “The real benefit is to get the engagement of the business community into the AAP.
“We need to be careful not to leave the existing town centre and its businesses behind once development begins, we want people to have a say for the future. The sooner we get engagement, the sooner we know what they want and what we can provide.”
While meetings will not be held every week, the forum is hoping to hold regular get-togethers to continue to create a cohesive Bridlington business community – acting as a think tank, with potentially quarterly public meetings to which local businesses will be invited.
David Dowson, of Bridlington firm Lloyd Dowson Chartered Accountants, said: “It is going to co-ordinate all the existing activities and add some new ideas.
“We are entering a decade of opportunity in Bridlington with the AAP approved, the potash mine to the north and Siemens at Hull to the south.
“If we do not take advantage of it then someone else will.
“Hopefully local businesses can work together with the local authorities and create what is my dream, a coastal brand.”
Andy Wheeler and Ian Buckton, of NatWest, said that they were looking forward to the networking opportunities the business forum would bring.
Mr Wheeler said: “It is going to help business to business relationships in the town.
“I’m sure that there are businesses in Bridlington that could provide services for others in the town, work that at the moment goes outside Bridlington because people might not know they are here. It can keep money in the local economy. You will also have a collective voice as a business community, which can only be a useful thing when regeneration is taking place.”
Tracy Hamilton, who runs Frou-Frou, a pre-owned clothing store on Quay Road, and Vicky Bembridge of Vicky Bembridge Creative, were also positive about the re-launch.
Tracy said: “It cannot be a bad thing. It will be a great meeting of minds and will introduce business people to each other so that more money will stay in the town.”
Vicky said: “It gives us more of a presence, and business opportunities could possibly come from it. It is important that local business has a voice and hopefully that will happen.”