Dartmouth Business Forum could change name

A CHANGE of name may be part of a new image for the Dartmouth Business Forum.

Chairman Dave Cawley said committee members wanted to revert back to the former chamber of trade title.

The group is also looking to establish its registered office as the Guildhall, which Mr Cawley said would be a sensible move.

‘Once we receive back relevant documents, including three bank accounts, from former chairman Paul Reach, we will be able to make further decisions,’ he said.

The business group is also looking to recruit more members.

Last week it suffered a blow when two directors resigned shortly after an unfortunate Facebook posting, which Mr Cawley later apologised for unreservedly.

Michael Ghersie, of accountancy firm MG Associates, resigned as a member, director and accountant for the chamber after Mr Cawley posted a message saying his firm’s offices in Victoria Road were being cleared out by bailiffs. This turned out to be untrue.

Mr Ghersie said: ‘The implication of this message is obvious to everyone.

‘It was posted in spite of Mr Cawley having already received an email from me explaining that we are relocating our staff and records from our Dartmouth office to our other offices in Torquay and Kings­bridge.

‘That this message was posted by the chairman of the forum about the business of one of its directors, without so much as checking first what the position was, is truly a sad indictment of the attitude existing in some parts, albeit small, of the Dartmouth community.

‘Is the purpose of the chamber to work together as a community to try to improve the business environment in Dartmouth, or to spread vindictive rumours designed to achieve exactly the opposite?

‘This behaviour together with the fall out from the BID make for a gloomy outlook for Dartmouth. But it does vindicate the decision to move out, as all too many businesses have already done.’

Mr Cawley told him: ‘This is indeed regrettable and something that cannot be turned around.

‘The post was made in good faith from information received and before any emails were received from anyone. The post was made in my own name and did not mention the business forum.

I made two errors. The first not checking my facts. The second when alerted to what had happened, and then not removing the post.

I have made an apology and can’t do any more. I’m not aware of any businesses moving out because of the BID.’

The following day, solicitor Owen Hill, of Wollen Michelmore, added his resignation from the chamber in an email to Mr Ghersie, saying: ‘I am sorry that you have had such a rough ride in this town and completely understand your frustration.

‘I am also now going to through in the towel, so I ask the others to acknowledge that this is my formal notice of resignation.’


By Karen Perrow in Business



We wonder how many Forum members support this change, as the decision to change to Business Forum was supported by members unanimously in 2012.

Name change requires Directors approval and this has not been sought or accepted. I am now the only remaining director and will not approve this change until the majority of members vote in favour of the change.


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