Chippenham restaurateur Chris Bonsor wants to use his time as president of the town’s chamber of commerce to make the town more appealing for new businesses and to help young people find work.

Mr Bonsor, 31, of Malmesbury Road, Chippenham, and his friend Steve Smith run The Bridge Brasserie and Bar, which has gone from strength to strength since they opened it in 2010.

He now wants to encourage other new businesses to the town and would like to see free short-term parking introduced.

He said: “Improving the perception of Chippenham, making it more appealing to potential businesses and consumers is obviously high on the agenda for the chamber.

“I know parking is an important issue and it would really help the town if we could get an hour or even just half an hour of free parking in the town centre.”

He is also committed to the chamber’s work with young people and is pleased it now has good links with local schools.

He said: “We have mentoring schemes and various other initiatives being implemented to ensure school leavers get support in preparation for their futures.”

He wants to continue working closely with Chippenham Vision and Cherish Chippenham’s Business Improvement District initiative.

Mr Bonsor, who last year was vice president of the chamber, has swapped roles with former president Debbie Neale.

He said: “I wouldn’t have considered the role were it not for Debbie and the other members of the executive committee who have done, and continue to do, an amazing job.

"The wealth of business experience available is incredible, and they are happy to share it.”

Mrs Neale said: “The chamber continues to work hard for the benefit of its members and I am confident that Chris will do an excellent job as president.”

Mr Bonsor’s own business has doubled in size since he and Mr Smith opened in New Road in 2010, catering for around 30 covers. They moved a year ago to The Little George, where they can seat around 60.