At the December meeting of the Weymouth & Portland Chamber of Commerce, members received a presentation from Mickey Jones, CEO of DJ Property who introduced a brand-new business leaders’ advisory group which has been created to advise on key economic growth projects in South Dorset with Dorset Council.

The new group will be known as the South Dorset Business Advisory Panel (SDAP) and was initially created at the request of Richard Drax MP.  The primary aim of the panel is to provide local business insight and advice to the new unitary authority (Dorset Council) at a strategic level. Mickey Jones, CEO of DJ Property who spoke on behalf of the panel said “Previous councils struggled to engage with local business and the formation of the new unitary authority was the catalyst for the new business group.  I was invited to join the panel and being a Weymouth boy with strong views and a no-nonsense approach I was keen to get involved to ensure that the unlocked potential that we have in South Dorset was realised.  The panel is a very easy way for me to keep informed and to pass information on to the businesses that I deal with daily.”

Panel members were individually invited to represent a broad range of business activities including healthcare, leisure and entertainment, land development, manufacturing, port operations and Dorset Council officers.  Tods Defence, Agincare, ASM, Ultra Electronics, Merlin, Portland Port, DJ Property and Dorset Council sit on the South Dorset Advisory Panel. Each panel member connects with at least six other local business leaders in order to broaden the panel’s knowledge base, enable quick and easy consultation for Dorset council and secures a greater engagement with the business community.  The total number of businesses engaged in the panel is 48. The geographical area that is covered by the panel begins in Bridport and arcs across the Swanage to form the South Dorset area.

Mr Jones went on to say “So far the SDAP meetings have discussed and identified areas of key focus including the North Quay site in Weymouth, Quay regeneration project, Hardy Blocks on Portland, Transport links in Weymouth, Portland and Chickerell and the Bridport Gateway.  In the future we will be consulting on the Dorset Council Local Plan 2023, parking, housing, education and training plus the development of the Pavilion Peninsula.  The ultimate aim of the SDAP is to make the area around Weymouth and Portland the most desirable area to live and work”.

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