Friday, 15 August 2008





– Friday 15th August 2008 - 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF - 0845 257 4236 – 01732 355185 – Mobile: 07747 036192

Steve Dawe, who is Green Party prospective parliamentary candidate for Tonbridge and Malling, did a survey of businesses in Tonbridge town centre after becoming concerned at an obvious rise in empty premises. His report (available on the web at under Resources). provides a background to current economic conditions, summarises what he found and suggests possible solutions. Some excerpts from it:
There are 13 empty properties in the Tonbridge town centre area(1), with two further premises up for sale
Whilst there is still considerable diversity, a wider choice of Bakers, a butchers, a fishmongers, a cinema, an art gallery and a 6 day a week source fruit and vegetable shop would be useful additions
Recession prone businesses include estate agents, solicitors, letting agents, the higher price supermarkets and the town centre’s 18 male/female hairdressers especially the luxury ones
Probably recession proof businesses include the cycle shops, as motoring is becoming more expensive, the 13 charity shops, the lower price supermarkets and the antique shop.
Regeneration of the Botany-Sovereign House area would do well to follow the multi-level shopping centre approach used, for example, in Norwich. This includes underground parking, one underground shopping floor and then additional shopping floors on top. This makes very good use of space and maximises the space for pedestrians at ground level. Like Tonbridge, the City centre in Norwich is quite low-lying and has appreciable flood protection.Steve Dawe adds:“If we want more people to be able to walk around an enlarged shopping centre in Tonbridge, rather than go elsewhere, then the imaginative use of our central area is essential. But this will not work unless we get a radical reduction in High Street traffic. This could be achieved by a bus and taxi only rule for the High Street between specified hours 6 days a week.” ENDS c 308 wordsFURTHER INFORMATION: Steve Dawe on 01732 355185, 0845 257 4236 or mobile 07747 036192. Contact address as above. The full report isat under Resources.
1. Now 14, as the Your Move estate agent has closed.

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