Francis Nathan – Jack Nathan Ltd

Last year, with two partners, I set up a new company called Jack Nathan Limited, whose primary aim was to open a few retail outlets to sell steel tubes. At this point I decided to become a member of Chiltern Chamber, which I thought would be the right organisation to help us start off the business.

I contacted the Chairman, Vee Bharakda, who was ever so helpful. She introduced us to the UKTI, who assured us that they will help to promote our products through their trade missions throughout Europe.

We then found a vacant commercial premises in Amersham and took up a lease for 20 years. The existing building was substantially renovated and we applied for planning permission to build a metal building in the rear yard. This proposed new building was to replace 6 shipping containers, and dilapidated timber and metal structures. Our new signboard Jack Nathan Steel Tubes attracted much attention, and our planning permission was rejected by the council due to numerous objections from neighbours.

We decided therefore to open a hardware shop, Jack Nathan Hardware, whilst awaiting planning permission for the proposed new building.

Jack Nathan hardware store Amersham Buckinghamshire

I contacted Vee Bharakda and told her of our predicament. Very quickly she made an appointment for me to meet an Amersham Councillor, who arranged a meeting with the planning unit in Amersham.

Vee arranged a site visit with the head of planning enforcement and the case officer, and took time off work to attend the meeting.

A revised application was again met with more than 20 objections. Again with Vee’s advice, we managed to obtain close to 200 signatures on a petition from people who supported our business. Vee drove with us to the council offices and submitted the petition on our behalf.

I am please to say that we finally obtained planning permission for the rear extension. My partners, my family and I were truly overwhelmed with the help from the Chamber, and in particular Vee.