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North Kent business organisation goes bust

PUBLISHED: 12:31 19 January 2011 | UPDATED: 15:16 19 January 2011

Thames Gateway Chamber of Commerce

Thames Gateway Chamber of Commerce

Archant

A leading business organisation has gone bust due to the harsh winter and poor finances.

Thames Gateway Chamber of Commerce, which covers north Kent, ceased trading on Friday and former chief executive, Tracey Manley, who resigned in October, filed a claim with an employment tribunal.

A winding-up petition is about to be presented to a court for the compulsory liquidation of the chamber, which was based at Medway City Estate, Rochester.

Chairman Kamal Aggarwal said financial information last September had caused the board “great concern” but by November things were looking better before the extent of problems was realised.

He said: “Unfortunately, events in December and the beginning of January have conspired against us. We had expected December to be a quieter month in relation to income from export services due to the Christmas and New Year shut down.

“However, poor weather conditions experienced meant that many of our export customers were unable to move stock, and income was down considerably from what had been expected.

“It was also discovered that membership numbers were considerably lower than had been understood by the board – this had a serious impact on income and cash flow.”

Formed in 1891, it is thought the chamber had about 350 members. Links are now being investigated with neighbouring chambers to take on the workload.

Mr Aggarwal added: “We as a board have not been prepared to allow the position of creditors to worsen since matters came to light in September.

“None of us is prepared to work on the basis that we continue to increase debt and carry on on the basis that everything will be all right one day.

“The board consists of successful local business and professional people who have not and would not operate in this manner. We have been saddened by a number of matters that have come to light.”

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