Ruffley Gives Keynote Speech at Stowmarket Chamber of Commerce: 'Stowmarket Must Get Slice of the Greater Cambridge Cake'

Tuesday, 11 November, 2003

David Ruffley is the guest speaker at the Stowmarket and District Chamber of Commerce lunchtime meeting on Friday, 14 November at Brown's Club in Stowmarket. He has been invited by Denis Barnard, the new Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce.

The new Chairman is aiming to make the Chamber more attractive to local business people and he hopes to double the membership from its current 56 during his term of office. By attracting key speakers to the Chamber and introducing other benefits of membership, Denis Barnard anticipates that the Chamber will become a credible voice in the local community.

David's speech will concentrate on the need for regeneration in Stowmarket and, in particular, the need to attract new retail businesses into the town.

David said: 'Stowmarket has great potential but we must be proactive to attract the best businesses into the town. With an expanding population in the area it is essential that we provide the infrastructure and enough high quality shopping facilities to attract customers into the town centre.

One issue that is frequently raised with me is parking charges- this is something that must be addressed- we cannot allow this to put people off.

I am also involved with the project to establish a University of Suffolk.

Recent figures have revealed that the lack of a university in Suffolk is costing the county nearly £1.5 million every week.

The new Chief Executive of Suffolk County Council is personally taking charge of the project to establish such a university and he has asked me to work with him on this. I shall be meeting him very shortly to see how we can give fresh impetus to this vital project that our county so desperately needs.

Stowmarket should be closely integrated in the life and work of any future University of Suffolk. Too many of our young people leave Suffolk at eighteen simply because there are no university opportunities within the county. But once they have gone further afield, too few of them come back.

A regenerated Stowmarket has great potential- we must ensure that it is achieved.'