A historic vote by businesses in Bury St Edmunds to join forces with the rest of the county will “place the town at the heart of economic decision-making”, say supporters of the move.

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Members of Bury St Edmunds Chamber of Commerce voted unanimously to give their executive the go-ahead to work towards a merger with Suffolk Chamber at their annual general meeting on Thursday.

Suffolk Chamber president Dr Peter Funnell described it as the “best thing for Bury and best thing for business”. Bury St Edmunds Chamber chairman Colin Knight said: “It can only be a good thing for everyone.”

Bury Chamber, which was established in 1909 and is a member of the UK-wide chamber network, will enjoy new benefits as part of the larger organisation, as well as providing a “joined-up voice” to county-wide issues.

“We’re proud of our market-town heritage and even prouder of the businesses which operate here,” said Mr Knight. “Bury St Edmunds is home to a wide range of fantastic expertise and this decision means that while we will continue to focus on our town and its economy, our members can draw on the experience and services that our county chamber provides..”

Dr Funnell said: “There is no doubt that the town plays a fundamental role in the economy of West Suffolk. This new partnership means firms across Bury can work hand in hand with colleagues from around Suffolk ensuring we have one joined up voice. It is an important time for the Suffolk economy. We are seeing consistent growth and an increase in people in work but the economy remains fragile.

“Now is the time to recognize the positives and continue to ensure we communicate clearly and coherently to local and national decision makers the need to invest in Suffolk and its hard working businesses.”

“To achieve this we need to strengthen the business voice of the county and the merging of Bury Chamber with the Suffolk Chamber is a crucial part of this process. Bury Chamber brings a history of achievement and success and businesses, the economy and the whole of Suffolk will benefit.”

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