A voice for Market Harborough’s business community

Ian Joule handing the president's official chain of office over to Alastair Campbell.
Ian Joule handing the president's official chain of office over to Alastair Campbell.

If Alastair Campbell could improve one thing in Market Harborough, it would be the traffic.

“The High Street seems really choked up with traffic at times,” said the new chairman of Market Harborough Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

“The road network needs to be designed better, to deal with the volume of traffic that we’ve now got on the roads.

“That would be the one thing I would do to help improve the town - getting the traffic flowing better.”

Alastair, the managing director of the Ideal Marketing Company, based on Union Wharf, Market Harborough, has taken over from outgoing chamber chairman Ian Joule.

The two of them have fronted a relaunch of the chamber, making it bigger, more involved and more dynamic.

Members currently include High Street shops, accountants, solicitors , financial advisers, manufacturers, a cleaning firm, a travel company and a funeral directors.

“But we’re keen to get more of the independent shops and businesses in the town to come along to the meetings,” said Alastair.

“We want meetings to be an information point about what’s happening in the town in terms of the business community.

“The idea is to a big, vibrant, useful group and to be the real voice of the business community.”

There’s an unusual quirk about Market Harborough that makes groups like the chamber and the town’s Civic Society more important.

Market Harborough has no town council.

Harborough District Council, based in the Symington Building on Adam and Eve Street works for the whole district, of course.

But most towns would have a lower tier town council too - Lutterworth does, for example. Even villages have their parish councils.

It leaves a vacuum which groups like the chamber could fill.

“We want to talk about new developments that are happening in Market Harborough and try to gauge public opinion about them,” said Alastair.

“I think it’s really important, because successful business, and in particular a successful town centre are such vital parts of the town.

“They are so many places around the country that have created these out of town shopping centres, and the historic town centre had died.

“It hasn’t happened in Market Harborough.

“And what is great about this town is that when one shop does close down it’s not long before another one opens in its place.

“As long as that still happens, then Market Harborough is thriving.

“And you’ve also got a successful market in town, which is a good place for people to try out a business idea, before they go on to hire a larger unit.

“I know the district council realises how important all this is too.

“It’s sensible for everyone to keep a strong focus on the vibrant town centre.

“It’s what people in the town like, and it’s also why so many people visit Market Harborough.”