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East Anglia Future 50

New business group planned to represent 'Central Suffolk'

PUBLISHED: 12:23 12 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:23 12 March 2019

From left, Stephen Britt, Councillor Nick Gowrley, Catherine Johnson, Graham Abbey, Cllr Gerard Brewster, Cllr John Ward and Cllr Simon Barrett  Picture: DAVID GARRAD

From left, Stephen Britt, Councillor Nick Gowrley, Catherine Johnson, Graham Abbey, Cllr Gerard Brewster, Cllr John Ward and Cllr Simon Barrett Picture: DAVID GARRAD

David Garrad

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce is hoping to beef up its presence in the centre of the county with a new business group.

The chamber, which is member-led, wants to improve business support and representation across the Babergh and Mid Suffolk areas of the county by creating a Central Suffolk subsidiary to mirror its business support network in west and east Suffolk.

It aims to recruit businesses to a local board and draw up a manifesto over the next few months to drive the direction of the new body, with a formal manifesto launch planned for autumn 2019.

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Suffolk Chamber is organised into a number of branches, with west subsidiaries Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill & District, and Newmarket & District, and east subsidiaries Lowestoft & Waveney and Greater Ipswich, alongside three sector groups – Suffolk Chamber Business Women, International Trade and Transport & Infrastructure group.

Suffolk Chamber president Graham Abbey said: “We have quite a number of members across the central Suffolk area and listening to feedback felt now was the time to give them the same localised representation as other areas across the county. “As with all other parts of our organisation, Suffolk Chamber in Central Suffolk will provide both day-to-day advantages to our members there and help build a longer-term understanding of their future needs with their local councils, MPs, the New

Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Suffolk County Council, to name a few key stakeholders.”

The new body will work collaboratively with existing town chambers in Hadleigh, Stowmarket and Sudbury.

The plans have been welcomed by Mid Suffolk and Babergh District Councils.

Babergh district councillor Simon Barrett, cabinet member for economy, said: “Once up and running, Suffolk Chamber in Central Suffolk will work together with our business communities across both districts, recognising those needs and helping ventures of all types and sizes to develop and thrive.”

Mid Suffolk district councillor Gerard Brewster, cabinet member for economy, said: “The introduction of Suffolk Chamber in Central Suffolk forms a key part of our Open for Business Strategy, as it will help facilitate a strong and unified voice for the local business community. It will also provide a platform for businesses to lobby central and local government to create the environment, where businesses can thrive and prosper.”

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