Economic development a priority - Roe Valley Chamber

With the revelation that nearly 300 business units are lying vacant in Limavady Borough, Roe Valley Chamber of Commerce is urging all statutory organisations to make economic development of the Borough their priority.

Marc McGerty from Roe Valley Chamber of Commerce said: “Over the past 12 months we have been working with the Mayor of Limavady to get all of the key economic development organisations together to develop an integrated and strategic Economic and Tourism Development Programme.

“The Mayor is currently planning to host an inaugural round table meeting in the next fortnight, and we are confident that this is the first stage of the development of the much needed Economic and Tourism Development Programme.

“We believe the figure of 299 vacant units is skewed significantly because Limavady Borough has a number of factories and workshops that have been separated into individual commercial, office and retail units.”

The Chamber said whilst the headline figure is worrying, it “clearly demonstrates that the Borough has the workspace capacity to support future economic recovery and growth”.

“It is also worth noting that Aghanloo is Invest Northern Ireland’s largest industrial site, and the development of the Economic and Tourism Development Programme will hopefully provide specific goals, objectives and renewed vigour for statutory partners including Invest Northern Ireland,” said Mr. McGerty.

Chamber President Philip Kingston concluded by encouraging local businesses to joining Roe Valley Chamber of Commerce.

“Whilst Membership of the Chamber of Commerce is strong from all sectors with representation from businesses all over Limavady Borough we still need more businesses to become members. Strong representation makes it much easier for us to lobby Council, Stormont and other statutory partners so every new member gives us new momentum and added strength.”

“To become a member of Roe Valley Chamber of Commerce only costs £50 for the year. All of the Committee Members give up their time voluntarily and all income raised by the Chamber goes towards helping the local economy. To join the Chamber contact me on 028 777 22400 or email info@roevalleychamber.com

Limavady trader, Julie Brolly said steps need to be taken to alleviate the ever increasing pressure on small – medium sized businesses.

“The Small Business Relief is a start and the Finance Minister, along with the others must be credited for this initiative. It must be expanded immediately to help a greater number of retail outlets in the towns before it is too late,” she told the Journal.

“Government fails to recognise the seriousness of the situation. This can be seen by the very fact that our politicians did not realise and were surprised at the deteriorating position in the retail sector. It might be beneficial to local and provincial politicians, along with their advisors, to meet and consult with retailers on the high street and not in remote government buildings. Maybe then they will get a truer picture of what is happening ‘on the high streets’ before it is too late.”