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David Pickles

Please tell us briefly about your career to date and what you are most proud of achieving. 

"Joined the RAF in Sep 69 as an Apprentice.  Did lots of things and saw lots of places culminating in being a Gliding Instructor and also building glider launching winches at the Joint Services Gliding and Soaring Centre before leaving in early 1988 midst deep recession and no work.

1988 founded Shire fourbyfour Ltd, an Independent Land Rover specialist.

1998 formed 4x4 Management notably for the re-design of the Classic Range Rover rear upper tailgate from steel to aluminium.

2008 formation of Eaton Properties, a joint company accumulating a portfolio of retail, residential and commercial properties.

2013 Sold the tailgate rights opening Paintman Paint to run alongside 4x4 Management.

2013 Appointed Chair of Retford Business forum, bringing in Totally Locally with my wife Chris at the helm. During the next 3 years or so worked soullessly on revitalising the Retford High Street.

2015 Founded the North Notts Tourist and Artisan Centre CIC with another Forum member to counter the decision to close the Tourist Information Centre.  Called the Hub, accommodated in an empty retail unit.  Relinquishing control in 2021 to new owners.

2018 co-opted onto the board of Directors of S80 a privately owned company of Bassetlaw District Council."


What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Doncaster businesses today?

"My prediction for the coming year, business re-stabilisation from the historical COVID and BREXIT situations will be a major challenge.  This includes issues including home working, impact of deferred payments, supply chain issues, rising price of commodities, staff shortages and how this will impact on the survival of all businesses.   Nearer to home, my companies have recurring problems through unclear leglislation whilst trying to smoothly ship product to the EU.

In addition to the day to day issues caused by the above the Doncaster Chamber  should delve into and assist more in publicising the raft of re-training, upscaling, upskilling, government aided funding and resources for companies that there is currently available; specifically the zero cost sponsored ones.

A further challenge I constantly hear in conversation for DN postcode businesses, is the inability to expand to suitable bigger premises, likewise new start businesses also struggle to find suitable accommodation.  There is a severe lack of available known empty business stock, however, working with landlords and developers, I am sure there are more premises out there that are badly marketed.

I am sure there are many more issues and challenges that Doncaster businesses are facing today, these are my immediate thoughts."


What is the best thing about Doncaster and what do you think are the borough’s biggest opportunities?

"The best thing about Doncaster is it’s forward thinking and proactive Council.  I hope the Chamber has a close working relationship with DMBC as from my own experience with Bassetlaw District I know how important it is to have access to their resources and a good relationship with Councillors of all parties.

Doncaster has an amazing year to come, hopefully gaining City status.  The Gateway East expansions and the new retail development at that location, coupled by pushing for a rail link will bring new interest in industry coming in, in addition to the I-ports in and around Rossington.

The re-vitalizing of the Stainforth areas in the Unity project, the re development of the town centre including the waterfront projects.  Wow, how many other prospective cities can show such passion and dedicated enthusiasm being injected by developers.

What isn’t there to enthuse about in 2022 for Doncaster.  If all this can be achieved with the collaboration of the Chamber then it’s a win win for 2022."


What would you like Doncaster Chamber’s priorities to be for the next 12 months?

"In my opinion, the priority is to reach out, helping all the forward thinking organisations move onward and upward.  To assist in sourcing readily available pools of labour, sourcing products, thereby encouraging innovative behavior in more businesses.

In short becoming more outwardly thinking.  From an outsider position, I see an inwardly facing insular organisation which is fast becoming a privatised quango style organisation assisting in the mundane red tape areas of industry, which although extremely important, on its own can be quite destructive in the fullness of time.  It’s a bit like a library, very important but becoming old school and losing its importance.

For the positive, the Doncaster Chamber has the most amazing passionate team, it would be a shame to see it starting to slip when the rest of Doncaster is frothing with developments to take it into the 2030s.  Part of my ongoing thoughts is that within the DN postcodes there is a massive source of innovative SMEs and micro businesses that are not being encouraged enough by any forward thinking Chambers or other organisations. These companies are probably doing ok, but with encouragement could do even better… an untapped source of income for the Doncaster Chamber."


What would you like the Chamber to be famous for in three years’ time?

"3 years time…. Doncaster Chamber is already at the top of the game, however, not to be complacent, there is the top and there is the one to be admired by all.  By seriously taking in the needs and foibles of businesses in and around Doncaster you could almost be arriving at a time when a new re-branded Doncaster Chamber is ready to be rolled out in keeping with futuristic thinking.  Whether it became the Doncaster and area Chamber or the South Yorkshire Chamber or another corporate name would be for debate, however the Chamber is in an amazing position to continually excel above all others and become the Chambers flagship organization.  The world has been an odd place these past 18 months and general attitudes will have not changed in the next 2 or 3.  I feel mentoring for more infant and juvenile companies will be a great inclusion at the 3 year point.  Doncaster now has a university and would benefit from using the example of Nottingham Trent University which has an amazing upscaling and post graduate programme.  Partnering in these activities would almost certainly help to harvest the increased financial rewards the Chamber requires for its posterity. "
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