Wednesday, February 27, 2013

If I won the lottery I'd....

If I won the lottery I'd buy 19 bags of crisps. But if I won more than a tenner and more like a few million I would certainly invest a good chunk of it in reviving Tonbridge High Street. I'd back businesses who had a passion for setting up another traditional bookshop, a family bakers, a green grocers, a farm shop, an independent boutique or whatever the idea may be. I'd help them set up, part finace them, pay a large percentage of their business rates for the first few years and offer advice as and when they required it. I'd do this because I understand how hard it can be when up against big store groups and internet traders. I'd do all this if I could because I think it's vital that the High Street stays fresh and is full of thriving independent shops. The thing is I'd love to do all these things and can't and the local government is in a position to do some or all of these things but chooses not to. The council should tell us what their strategy is to revive Tonbridge High Street with real measures which will make a difference in the short and medium term and tell us soon?  

3 comments:

manofkent said...

The council hve told you their strategy. Its called the plan for the Angel site to include a cinema, a new sports centre and 5 new good size shops that they say retailers have been crying out for. With these occupied then the crowds will return to the town to shop so they say. Simple plan and it will cost the council nothing thanks to Sainsburys.
There dont appear to be any extra car parking spaces in the plan and I wonder what a saturday afternoon will be like when a good few hundred people come to the cinema in their cars. Maybe they wont come if they cant get free parking as they cant at the Tunbridge Wells cinema.

No mention of Beales in the plan.

manofkent said...

Maybe you should open an indepenent restaurant in the north end of the high street if you win big, I see that The Olive Room closed last week and ASK closes today.

Paul Bailey said...

I'm no fan of big business in general and Sainsbury's in particular, but in these cash-strapped times we find ourselves in we ought to welcome the council's plans, especially as (if they are to be believed), the proposed development will be at no additional cost to local residents.

I don't make much, if any, use of the sports facilities, but the new sports centre must be good news for anyone who likes to keep themself in trim. Equally, the proposed cinema is to be applauded, and I will certainly make use of that.

Obviously there is no such thing as a free lunch, and Sainsbury's will do very nicely out of the deal, with a much larger and enhanced new store (what will happen to Beales?), but one can't really criticise them for this. I just hope that the five "good sized shops" will be let at reasonable rates and will attract businesses that enahnce the appeal of Tonbridge as a place to shop.