Businesses form new alliance

A new alliance has been forged by business groups in Alnwick, Amble, Morpeth, Berwick and Hexham to create the Northumberland Market Towns Chamber of Trade. It is hoped the organisation will give the areas it represents a stronger voice on important county issues and prompt changes.

A historic alliance has been forged by business groups in Northumberland to give them a stronger voice over important issues in the county.

The chambers of trade in Alnwick, Berwick and Morpeth have joined forces with the business forum in Hexham and Amble’s business club to create the Northumberland Market Towns Chamber of Trade.

The new organisation says it has been formed to make the county council deliver the goods and it is to demand that the political parties contesting the May election release manifestos making firm pledges regarding their intentions if they gain power.

Vital issues on the agenda include the imbalance of parking charges throughout the county, the attitude of traffic wardens, regeneration and revitalisation of town centres and planning and out-of-town development.

The dualling of the A1 is also a key priority.

The new organisation is headed by Carlo Biagioni, who is also chairman of Alnwick’s chamber of trade.

He is excited about the prospect of the new group.

Mr Biagioni said: “This one big business group will give us a huge voice within Northumberland.

“That is what we are trying to achieve here.

“We are all having to survive in a bleak economic climate. Jobs, entire businesses and the traditional Northumberland way of life are under threat.

“This new organisation is fed up with what it believes are promises, more promises and no prompt action.

“We want the political leaders and influential members of the various political parties to meet us and to listen to our reasoning and prepare to make manifesto guarantees that they will abide by.”

The inaugural meeting of the group was on Valentine’s Day.

The five organisations making up the Northumberland Market Towns Chamber of Trade will also continue to carry out and operate their own local functions.

The new chamber is made up of more than 500 firms, which employ thousands of staff between them.

Vice-chairman John Beynon, who is from the Morpeth chamber, said: “It is a shame that it has come to this but we feel we are not being listened to and more preference is being given to the south east. It is all about the numbers game.”