Friday, March 23, 2012

Tonbridge Mary Portas Bid....

I received a letter today from someone at Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council telling me all about Tonbridge Town Team's proposed bid for the government grants of £100,000 for deserving High Streets which, you will remember that this is part of the Mary Portas review of our (not so) great British high streets. In true council fashion the specially set up email for expressions of support failed to work and therefore my emailed response bounced back to me! So I though it a good idea to share it with you. This is what I wanted to say:
"Hello and thanks for the opportunity to express my support for this bid. Your letter was music to my ears. You may have noticed in my locally focussed blog, Tonbridge Blog, that I've been banging on about how our town should be better used for some years now. With my shop, Mr. Books, I am fortunate enough to be able to read old books about the town. One thing that comes out loud and clear from some of these books is how markets were right in the very heart of Tonbridge, how these market days were long standing traditions, going back to medieval times. In those old days there was definitely more of a community spirit about the place as businesses, retailers and shoppers all fed off each other. I'm sure that, with the right focus and drive, some of this spirit could be recaptured. I whole heartedly support this initiative and anything that help smarten up the High Street and improve footfall can only be a positive thing for everyone,"
Best of Luck and regards
Share your own thoughts by commenting below and they may be noticed and included in the bid proposal....


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your letter of support, heres hoping that "The Bid" will receive many more.

To reassure, I have checked the email address myself and with my colleagues in IT Services and it appears to be working.

Kind Regards

Anonymous said...

With at least 10 towns with more than 35% of their shops empty and the national average of 14.6%, I doubt whether Tonbridge reaches 10%empty shops.
So with 2700 towns/cities in the country Tonbridge will be near the bottom of the pile if it does make a bid.
The government is being cynical and is just going for headlines with this 1 million pound gimmick. Just 12 towns will benefit out of the 2700.

I dont understand how TMBC has staff spare to work on this lost cause.
Maybe TMBC could use some of the increase in council tax to give a bit more free parking to encourage shoppers to the town.

Anonymous said...

I read about the Portas Bid with interest, and have done some homework - more than the last blogger has done!
The Portas Report and it's recommendations are not all about towns that are failing / down and out. Come on think about it, 100g is not going to rejunivate a town that's on it's knees. But may be the shot in the arm a town like Tonbridge needs. Therefore I think Tonbridge stands a chance, the gov want success stories from this competition not towns where 100g will be a drop in the ocean and makes sweet fa difference.
Also reading the report and comp details on the web, my understanding is a bid is not a local council thing, but is made by a town team. I may be wrong and stand to be corrected. The car parks always seem quite full to me, so don't understand what difference free parking will make to the vitality of Tonbridge ? Anyway I always combine a visit to sains or wait and get my refund - so pretty good deal.
I love Tonbridge - I've moved about but come back, so not that bad. I don't know if residents letters of support count but I've sent one to the email in the courier.
Good luck Tonbridge

Anonymous said...

Anon 9.33, if you read the statement by the minister Grant Shapps you will see that he intends to help high streets that are “unloved and unused”. Tonbridge is not in this category.
Recent surveys of the High street by the Tonbridge Green party show that more shops are open now than a year ago.
The 'town team' has only 6 days to get its plans together and get its bid in.
And if the car parks are full as you say then it confirms that the town is certainly used. But I doubt if your observation about the car parks are correct. They may be full at peak times but often there is plenty of space.

Some of the schemes for Tonbridge High Street involve pedestrianisation so that the dangerously high level of polution is reduced at the same time as providing a better shopping environment. TMBC have a legal duty to reduce polution levels but pedestrianisation will cost millions not 100k.
Indeed 100k woud not even pay for consultants to draw up a plan.

Paul Bailey said...

100k for consultants to draw up a plan for pedestrianisation of the High Street! A bunch of schoolkids could do it for a fraction of that.

If councils (and other organisations) are stupid enough to fork out those sorts of sums then small wonder the country's in the mess it's in. Any fool can set themselves up a a "consultant"; think I'll set myself up as a consultant in the bleedin' obvious!