Lively start to 2023
Members were able to kick off the New Year with a social get together at the Stoke Inn where Mark Gill narrowly came out on top after an exciting finale with Mark Thompson.
It’s good fun to get together face to face and it was especially nice to welcome new members, Kim Hambley from Yoga Chew Valley and Andy and Lorraine Allan from Greenlands B & B.
Our meetings always throw up useful information and this time we heard about some new regulations from the Revenue service and also about significant rises in the cost of leasing computer software which are bound to contribute to rising prices.
Before the skittles, we got the ball rolling with a brief discussion about housing supply, one of the longest standing issues facing the Chew Valley, and something that will be central in the creation of a new local plan and economic strategy for Bath and North East Somerset.
There was complete agreement about the problem – a shortage of especially affordable housing which would allow young people to continue to live and work in the area where they were brought up.
But members agreed the solution was tricky to find. Developers will only build houses if they can make a profit. Land is expensive and difficult to come by, and quite often there can be local resistance to new schemes.
However, there was broad consensus that it is right that more houses are built in the Valley which will benefit businesses, providing homes for staff and customers alike. Members thought very large developments would not be suitable for our area, but it was reasonable for modest numbers of new houses to be built in our villages, especially where there was an opportunity to infill between existing properties.
Reference was made to the Dairy Way development in Chew Stoke, where a former factory site has been re-developed to provide homes, a medical centre and some work space. Young families have moved in and older people have been able to downsize, which has been a benefit to the village.
With this kind of measured approach our members believe more houses could be made available across the Chew Valley, without damaging the local environment and at the same time helping to sustain the local economy for the long term.
If you would like to find out more about Chew Valley Chamber of Commerce have a look at our website: www.chewvalleychamber.co.uk