Monday, 27 July 2009


27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent -
01732 355185 or 0845 257 4236 or 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 in July 2008 after becoming concerned at an obvious rise in empty premises. Now we are in a recession, and he has repeated his survey in July 2009 – to look at the health of Tonbridge town centre. His report (available from him at ) provides a background to current economic conditions, summarises what he found and suggests possible solutions. Steve Dawe offers a few comments:

“There are few radical changes in our town centre 2008-2009. The biggest change is that empty shop fronts have gone up from 13 to 22. This suggests that the Council and leaseholders should be looking at more short lets and lower rents to increase occupancy. There has been a slight and predictable reduction in estate agents. But in almost every category of business, the number of enterprises is the same in 2009 as it was in 2008.

“It is notable that, despite the serious decline in pubs nationwide, Tonbridge town centre has the 7 pubs as it did in 2008. Our comparatively new 6 day a week veg shop has prospered and the demand for local produce has kept our fruit stall open too, in a sign of the generally increased demand for local food.

“The clear message of the survey is that a lot of businesses have managed to cope with the recession so far. Threats by the two major parties to apply severe public spending cuts, meaning cuts in employment in our local council and the County Council and in the civil service particularly(1), will do damage to businesses unless such cuts are directed at avoidable future spending commitments. For example, road building can be frozen; many areas of defence spending could be cut; expensive and overdue Government computerization schemes could be shelved; subsidies to the nuclear industry could be removed.”

ENDS c 324 words

FURTHER INFORMATION: Steve Dawe on 01732 355185, 0845 257 4236 or mobile 07747 036192. Contact address as above. The full report will appear shortly at under Publications, or can be requested from Steve at

Notes: 1. Many civil servants like in our area and commute into London.

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