News

The Latest news from Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce -

Keep up to date with the latest news and stories from across Dumfries & Galloway.

 

Money from Scottish Investment Bank Could Help Reshape High Street

More than 400 bank branches, shops and local businesses have closed or have been winding down in Scotland since the start of 2016, according to a report published by the Fesderation of Small Businesses.

DGChamber President Kenny Bowie commented: "This reports tells us what we have known for some time,

At least 414 banks, shops and government offices have closed over the past four years, according to this research,

It said around 300 were bank branches, along with 80 to 90 shops, as well as several courts, tax offices and other public sector premises. Although shops formed a minority of closures, it said chain stores shutting in smaller towns had a ­disproportionate effect on local ­economies.

The report is calling for a £90 million annual investment for Scottish towns from the Scottish National Investment Bank and the UK Stronger Towns Fund.

We feel that part of this money could make a real difference to helping bring new life to towns accross our region, developing empty properties into shared retail or office spaces, redefining department store premises into cultural areas such as theatres or art galleries. This money could help us start to reshape towns accross the region which will help us on the regeneration journey for future generations."

Tune In to Local Radio in More Places Than Before

Dumfries’s long-established and popular Community Radio Station, Alive 107.3, has been awarded its second extension to broadcast since it first gained its OFCOM license in 2007.

 

Dave-Macfarlane-Show-Page

The newest license enables the station to broadcast to the community of Dumfries until the end of August 2024. Alive 107.3 has been broadcasting for the last ten years is the only licensed Community Radio Station broadcasting via FM transmitter to the town of Dumfries.


Chairperson, David Macfarlane, said, “This is fantastic news, not just for our team of volunteers who have worked tirelessly over the years but for our loyal listeners and the people of the Dumfries area! I’m delighted that Ofcom have agreed to extend the license for another 5 years; it shows they have confidence in what we do. There’s a real buzz about the station and we’re very excited about the future.”


One week later, the Alive team were delighted to receive more good news from OFCOM, who also approved the Community Radio Station’s application to extend the coverage of their FM Transmissions. This important application means Alive will soon be able to increase the transmission output from their Dumfries Transmitter, meaning many more people living in and around Dumfries will be able to tune in every day from their radios at home, work, and in the car. Alive’s technical team will now be working on the practicalities of increasing the power on the transmitter before a final inspection and approval by the OFCOM engineer.


David added, “There is much work still to be done before the extra power can be switched on, but we’re delighted by this additional news. The License extension and Transmission extension are an indication of OFCOM’s confidence in Alive as Dumfries’s only Community Radio Station. Alive is unique in this area as we’re run for the benefit of the entire community. Our programming is incredibly diverse – there’s something to suit everyone. Most of our programmes are made right here in Dumfries. Locally and nationally we’re an award-winning station, our presenters have won awards and some of our unique output has been picked up by other stations in the UK. It’s a great station to listen to local talent too. The license extension also allows Alive to continue the important work it does within the community. The volunteers do a tremendous amount of work around the town and region and have supported countless festival, events, and fun days this year. Alive also works with schools, colleges and community groups to give young people an insight into radio broadcasting and pass on transferable skills to benefit them as they pursue careers. These extensions will allow all this important work to continue and Alive can continue to go from strength to strength, thanks to the incredibly talented team we’ve got!”

 

Alive 107.3 is broadcast on 107.3fm in Dumfries, on-line at www.aliveradio.net and through dedicated Alive smartphone apps and on RadioPlayer.

MSP URGES NEW WEST COAST RAIL FIRM TO IMPROVE SERVICE AT LOCKERBIE STATION

South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Colin Smyth has called on First Group to commit to improving services for passengers at Lockerbie Railway Station following the announcement that the company is taking over the running of the West Coast mainline train route from December.

 

Colin Smyth at Lockerbie

 

Along with Italian stated owned firm Trenitalia, FirstGroup replaces Virgin Trains, which was barred from bidding to keep the route to run trains from London Euston to Glasgow. At present only, a fraction of services stop at Lockerbie Station and Colin Smyth has written to the Chief Executive of First Group Matthew Gregory to urge the firm to commit to increasing that number. He has also called on Mr Gregory to commit First Group to making a contribution towards the cost of increasing car parking at the station.

Colin Smyth has been campaigning for better services at Lockerbie Train Station since his election in 2016.

Colin Smyth said, “The franchise announcement today which will see FirstGroup and Trenitalia run the West Coast mainline is a huge missed opportunity for the services to be brought back under public control. By returning our railways to public ownership would see profits re-invested in services and rail infrastructure which would improve services from Lockerbie, not taken out of our services for private profits.

I have written to the Chief Executive of FirstGroup to urge the new franchise to increase the number of services from Lockerbie. At present more West Coast Mainline services between London and Glasgow pass through Lockerbie Station without stopping than actually stop and that is a disgrace. More and more passengers want to use Lockerbie Station yet the private rail companies aren’t delivering the services people want. First Group have said they will increase services on the line from Motherwell but they need to do the same from Lockerbie. I have also urged the company to contribute to the cost of increasing parking at Lockerbie Train Station. It is train operators who benefit from the passengers who use the station and any increased parking, so they should shoulder some of the cost and not leave it all to the local council taxpayer.”

MSP Colin Smyth Hits Out at Rip-off Rail Rises

Local Labour MSP Colin Smyth has hit out at the rip-off rail fare rise that will hit passengers in Dumfries and Galloway.

 

Colin Smyth at Kirkconnel Train Station

 

Regulated rail fares increase in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI). As a result, a season ticket fare between Dumfries and Glasgow will rise by £125 in January to £4,601. Season ticket fares between Dumfries and Carlisle will increase by £68 while season fares between Dumfries and Annan will increase by £37 taking the total season rail fare to £2,528 and £       1,377 respectively.

Commuters from Lockerbie Train Station to Glasgow and Edinburgh will also face rip off rail fare rises.

Colin Smyth MSP thinks it is simply unfair that passengers in Dumfries and Galloway are burdened with these rip-off rail fares when passengers are constantly facing delays, cancellations and overcrowding.

Colin Smyth said, “These rail fare rises are unwanted, unwelcome and unnecessary. It is simply unfair that commuters in Dumfries and Galloway are being burdened with these rip-off rail fares for less than satisfactory services.

The cost of rail fares being paid by passengers is simply unacceptable with passengers commuting between Dumfries and Glasgow facing a season ticket rise of £125 and passengers between Lockerbie and Edinburgh facing a rise of £147.

Scottish Labour is clear. It’s high time working people stopped having to pay such excessive fares to simply line the pockets of private companies. Only Labour is fighting for a publicly owned railway which will serve the many, not just the few.”

Dumfries security company appointed QOS match day contract

DGChamber Partner for Business Croma Vigilant have been awarded the contract to provide match day security for Scottish Championship football club; Queen of the South.

 

Croma win QOS Security Contract, Claire, Paul, Billy and Danny

 

Croma Vigilant will be providing customer service focused stewards at all home matches over the following two seasons. Provision kicked off on the 13th of July, where we provided 15 security stewards for Queen’s opening match against Motherwell.

Croma Vigilant officers are high lightly trained to deliver a positive experience for home and away fans visiting Palmerston Park, focusing on the safety of fans whilst also enhancing their experience by serving as a friendly face and match day host.

Claire Rutherford, Commercial Manager commented;
‘We are extremely excited about this contract award and there is a real sense of pride throughout the business to be working with our ‘hame team’. We look forward to building a partnership with the club and supporting QOS through the next two seasons.’

Billy Hewitson, Queen of the South Chairman said:

“We are delighted to have secured a two year deal with local company Croma Vigilant.  We are looking forward to working with them and believe that in partnership with our Security officer, Phil Stewart and his team they will build a good partnership to deliver safety within the stadium.  Croma have already staffed a couple of our games this season and have been well received”.

This appointment underpins Croma Vigilant's strength in the events sector, adding to current prestigious venues to include Heart of Midlothian, The Edinburgh International Conference Centre and Dynamic Earth.