Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tonbridge Town Centre "regeneration"

A note from Tonbridge Civic Society I thought I'd share as the proposed plans are pretty significant for Tonbridge. Plus here's a link to Tonbridge and Malling BC's information about the project 
"This note is to give you details of the Public Exhibition concerning Sainsbury’s and the Council’s plans for the town centre.


The Exhibition will be held in the Council Chamber at Tonbridge Castle:

·         from 10am to 8pm on Friday 11 October and

·         from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 12 October.


We have been informed that the Exhibition will be set out in two parts, with a common theme of economic regeneration for the town centre.

·         Sainsbury’s will be presenting proposals to develop new facilities including new shops and restaurants to complement the existing town centre, a new larger Sainsbury’s supermarket, and a multi-screen cinema.

·         The Council will be displaying its plans for a proposed new leisure and community centre on Bradford Street car park.


This public exhibition is intended to provide the opportunity for local residents and businesses to come and see the proposals and to discuss them with representatives of Sainsbury’s, the Borough Council and their advisers.


The Council has indicated that feedback received from the exhibition will be used to refine the plans before planning applications are submitted."
Anyone got any thoughts on this. Shall we just let Sainsbury's do whatever they like with their our town? Happy to lose Tonbridge's only department store, Beales??..



Anonymous said...

Thoughts yes.

Parking and Parking.
1. They are to build on Bradford Street first before knocking down the Angel Centre. What will the parking arrangements be with the loss of parking in Bradford street in the short term?
2. Bearing in mind there will be a cinema and possible extra retail space, how many extra car parking spaces will there be when the project is finished and where will they be?
3. Will they be any parking concessions for the cinema users bearing in mind that most multiplexes offer free parking?
4. People have stopped using town centres for shopping due to free parking out of town and on-line shopping. So why to the council think Tonbridge shoppers are any different. Town centres are shrinking in terms of the number of retail units that are required. Whats to stop existing High Street retails just relocating and leaving holes in the High Street has as happened elsewhere?

Paul Bailey said...

Councils seem to regard car parks, and motorists, as "cash cows" to be milked dry at every available oppotunity. Having said that, car parks do need a certain amount of maintenance (not much admitedly), but I would have thought the revenue they currently raise pays for this many times over.

Dave is correct about shoppers stopping using town centres because of parking charges, and I restrict the times I bring my car into Tonbridge town centre to Sundays and evenings (after 6pm), when parking is free.

Councils don't seem to realise this, and assume that motorists and shoppers will carry on stumping up the charges they levy in order to park in town centres. This shows a level of short-sightedness and naivety which only local authorities could be capable of, but I fear they are not likely to change any time soon.

Anonymous said...

When Beales closes Tonbridge looses the following :

Toy shop,
Shoes shop (only budget shoes shop in Town),
Bed shop,
China and Kitchen ware shop (cheap items in pound shops and some in Dyas),
Household lines shop, (some in pound shops),
Luggage shop,
Mens clothes shop,
Branded womens clothes shop.

So at least eight new shops would be needed to replace Beales and give Tonbridge shoppers the same choice.

Tonbridge blogger said...

Dave: yes that's 8 opportunities for some people willing to take on the risk....

Tonbridge blogger said...

If ever there was a time for M&S to make a move on Tonbridge then this would be it....

Anonymous said...

I doubt whether 8 separate shops would be viable. As a dept store Beales enjoys being able to buy in bulk and from what I can see employs a lot less staff than 8 separate units would require.

tontweet said...

With M&S opening in Sevenoaks and a store in TW and North Farm already, i can't see them opening here too. I hope i am wrong though

Paul Bailey said...

Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend the Public Exhibition on the Council's (Sainsbury's) plans for the town centre.

I would be interested to hear the views of those who did manage to get along, though.

Anonymous said...

You are in luck Paul, the meetings are not until this week!

Friday 11 October from 10am to 8pm

Saturday 12 October from 10am to 4pm

Paul Bailey said...

So they are, Dave - that will teach me to pay more attention! Good job I didn't go along to the castle yesterday!!

Have to say I'm really sorry, and sad, that the town will be losing Beales. A real backward step for the town - thank you, Sainsbury's!

Anonymous said...

The plans are now available on line by following your link Mr Books.
On first sight it looks like load of car parking spaces will be lost.
Bradford street will have very limited parking, mainly for disabled.
The main angel site looks like they are building on 60% of the site.
But there will be a car park under the Sainsburys store.
I need to visit the exhibition this pm and ask them to tell me how many spaces there are across thetwo sites now and how many there will be after development.

Anonymous said...

Visited the exhibition and and its just a blown up copy of the info available to download online.

Seems to me there will be a loss of car parking spaces but the person I spoke to could not answer.
The lack of extra parking could be a problem with 300 extra employees forecast, the trade to the cinema and of course the expected increase in retail customers.

But with a "free" leisure centre on offer it looks like a done deal.
I presume that the cinema building will belong to Sainsburys so if it fails as a cinema they can put it to retail use - the cinema being one of the big selling points for the folk of Tonbridge.
Speaking of the cinema not opening or closing after a short time, I have suggested on the council feedback form that Sainsurys should lodge a £5 million bond payable to the council in this unlikely/likely event to compensate.
Its worth pointing out that the leisure centre and the new Sainsburys will be built first and there will be a loss of 66 space in Bradford street and 369 in the rear Angel car park where the new supermarket will be built (with parking underneath) whilst building takes place.

The loss of Bradford street parking plus the fact that you will not be able to enter the Angel front car park as you do now may have a detrimental impact on trade from people that only want to visit the High Street. The only entry to the Angel car park will be down Vale road and into Avenue Du Puy near where the current roundabout is situated. So parking just behind the Post Office will mean a bit of a detour.
I have also suggested on the feedback that the council take the opportunity with the single access point Angel car park to install pay on exit machines, something most people would be in favour of. They could even have a 20 min free parking period.

I am also concerned that the likes of Boots, WH Smiths, Robert Dyas, Monsoon and even Macdonalds will vacate the High Street and move to the new retail units leaving big gaps.

Finally it looks like no other supermarket will move to the Colas site. Morrisons were looking at the site last year.