Chamber to fight attack of the clones

New Harborough Chamber of Trade and Commerce president Ian Joule, left, with new vice-president Alastair Campbell
New Harborough Chamber of Trade and Commerce president Ian Joule, left, with new vice-president Alastair Campbell

Battling against Harborough becoming a “clone town” will be high on the agenda for the new leadership of the town’s chamber of trade.

The Harborough Chamber of Trade and Commerce elected a new president and committee at its annual meeting last Wednesday.

Ian Joule, who runs the long-established Harborough business Joules Yard and Eating House off the High Street, is taking over the role of president.

The chamber plans to hold a more diverse range of monthly meetings, attract more members and to campaign for causes to put Harborough on the map.

Mr Joule was delighted to take over the role following a vote at the meeting, held at the town’s Angel Hotel.

Speaking afterwards he said: “It’s a real honour to be elected by members from the local business community.

“I will focus my time on making a positive difference to the town.

“The message we want to promote is that Harborough is a unique place, a special place to live and work.

“We don’t want Harborough to turn into a ‘clone town’ – we want to encourage growth in the town centre to keep it a vibrant, successful and lively place.”

Mr Joule recently staged an overnight vigil on The Square in protest against Tesco’s ultimately successful bid to get planning permission for an out-of-town store in Rockingham Road. He has been a businessman in town for 53 years.

Alastair Campbell, the managing director of Harborough PR and marketing firm The Ideal Marketing Company, was voted in as vice-president.

Mr Campbell said: “In the weeks before the election Ian came up with some great ideas on how the chamber can support the town’s business owners and I’m sure he will be able to bring a lot of time and energy to the position.”

Jane Gifford-Tiny, from The Harborough Small Business Alliance, and Shaun Downs, from St James Place Wealth Management, will share the role of membership secretary.

Steve Alden, of Alden Electrical, remains as social secretary, and Martin Hill, from legal firm Bray and Bray, will continue as treasurer.

Retiring president Pete Whelan, of Infonote Datasystems, becomes joint secretary, sharing the duty with Doug Andrews, of Globe 2.

Mr Joule added: “We are fortunate to live in a town that has survived the economic downturn fairly unscathed compared to other places.

“We hope the chamber will put forward some new ideas to ensure we remain a prosperous and positive community to live and work in.”

It costs £45 a year to join and is open to all Harborough area firms. For more details, see the website.