Cromer chamber unveils new image as president reveals challenges ahead

Cromer Chamber of Trade and Business president Gary Dickenson, right. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY

Cromer Chamber of Trade and Business president Gary Dickenson, right. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY - Credit: Archant

It has given businesses in the town a voice for more than half a century.

Business leaders in Cromer promote free parking in the town on December 3 and 10. Picture: ALLY McGI

Business leaders in Cromer promote free parking in the town on December 3 and 10. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY - Credit: Archant

However, the future of Cromer and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce was thrown into doubt earlier this year following a drop in membership.

A recent resurgence in the voluntary organisation followed a successful campaign against the introduction of on-street parking charges in the seaside town.

And now, with the appointment of new president Gary Dickenson, the chamber has been relaunched and renamed to make it more relevant to local business and ensure it is prepared for challenges in the future.

Now known as Cromer Chamber of Trade and Business, the group's new logo includes the image of a crab, a local delicacy the town is famous for. It was unveiled at a networking event in the Red Lion Hotel on Thursday night and volunteers are keen to net new members to give them a greater say.


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Among the challenges they face is confirmation that more national chains, including budget hotel Travelodge, are set to move in to the resort.

The chamber also hosted a public meeting on plans to build a new car park at North Lodge Park and then helped members add comments in support of the application on the district council's website in a bid to drive more shoppers to the town.

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Mr Dickenson, who runs a marketing agency, said: 'We wanted to have a fresh start and thought it was important to have a new brand that really represents the direction that we want to move in.

'There are a lot of challenges and we need to look at the pros and cons of some of the brands being talked about. We're very keen to have more visitors come to Cromer but we understand we have B&Bs and guest houses and they will have concerns about Travelodge. But they offer different types of hospitality and should be able to stand out.'

He added: 'The trouble with asking: 'Do you want a chamber?' is people maybe don't understand what a chamber is. 'Do you want someone to represent your business interests in town?', 'Do you want someone who has got a bigger voice?' And the answer to those questions is yes.'

Membership of the chamber rose from around 50 to 69 ahead of the meeting and it is targeting 100 by this time next year.

Meanwhile, it is promoting the switch-on of the town's Christmas lights on Saturday at 5.30pm and free parking in all district council run car parks in Cromer on December 3 and 10.

When asked where Cromer would be in 10 years time, Mr Dickenson said: 'I don't have a crystal ball but we have a great range of independent shops, we have some nationals as well. We have a really good thriving high street and we want that to continue. Business owners need to respond to the requirement of visitors and what people want for the high street so there may be some change involved there.'

To join Cromer Chamber of Trade and Business, pick up an application form from Sticky Earth, 15 Church Street, Cromer.

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