Friday, September 11, 2015

Shop closures in Tonbridge....

We've all read about Perfect Platters closing down after about ten years trading super size sandwiches next to the Police Station, and the shop unit, which was formerly the insurance brokers, has lay vacant for quite some time; but I'm also hearing other bad news for the South end of town. A reliable source tells me that Graham's hairdressers is about to shut it's doors for the last time, the guitar shop is thinking the same way and even the cop shop itself is rumoured to be closing in about three years time. Don't arrest me for suggesting the last one but that's what Tonbridgeblog has heard on the grapevine. How it would be possible to effectively police the town without a proper station is beyond me. Mind you they already close at 8pm for the evening which also defies all logic to me so I suppose illogical decisions happen all the time. Perhaps the police chiefs in their ivory towers have worked out a way of keeping all crime in the daytime by asking burglars to politely refrain from their activities after dark! I digress, because we were talking about shop closures weren't we.
On top of the recent closure of Homebase, I also hear that B&Q are closing soon enough. Now you'd think that, in the absence of the local completion, the DIY chain'd be raking it in (no pun intended!) but apparently not. By all accounts the store is screwed! (Pun definitely intended!) Even Halfords, it is rumoured, are also considering wheeling away from our fair town. I for one will be devastated if this happens as I am a frequent visitor to the bike hut there and find the staff incredibly helpful on all matters bikey. On the bright side though we are getting a drive through McDonalds so we can all console ourselves by sitting on our backsides in the Drive Thru and going large!

5 comments:

Colin Hill said...

I would be amazed if the Police Station closed as it is the only modern station with an up to date custody facilities in the whole of West Kent. I know it has been downgraded from a divisional HQ with a loss of 20% of its officers to just a normal station but this would be a step to far.

Tonbridge blogger said...

Totally agree but only reporting what I've been told....

Anonymous said...

Maybe a few hundred more flats on the B&Q/Halfords site? Now that the take over by Poundland has been confirmed, it looks like the 99p shop will be shut.

Paul Bailey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Bailey said...

Like many townsfolk I’m really surprised about B&Q closing; especially as they now have the monopoly on the DIY trade in Tonbridge, following the closure, earlier this year of Homebase. If the rumours about Halfords are true, it points to the owners of that estate having other plans; possibly yet more high-end apartments.

I am certain someone in the council must know what is going on, but if so they are keeping very quiet about it. Pretty disgraceful really, when you consider they are our elected representatives, whose remit is to ensure the town develops in a way which enhances the lives of all of Tonbridge’s residents; something which clearly is not going to happen if we have to drive over to North Farm for our DIY items and car/bike parts.

Regarding the small shops at the south end of the town; as we all know, small businesses come and go. I sold my own business when I was offered a job back in the industry I had worked in for many years. I would have been mad not to as, much as I enjoyed serving good beer to my loyal customers, and sourcing interesting examples of Britain’s finest ales on their behalf, working all hours, seven days a week, with very little time off, just couldn’t compare to taking a position which offered a substantial increase in income, regular hours (8.30am – 5pm), five weeks paid holiday, plus Bank Holidays, pension, along with all the other benefits which just aren’t available when you are working for yourself.

You mention Graham’s Hairdressing; well whilst this is obviously a shame for Graham's loyal customers; there are more than enough other barbers in the town to take up the slack. As for the Guitar Shop, either the demand for Gibsons and Stratocasters just isn’t there or, like me, the owner may have had a better offer. It is something of a coincidence though, that two businesses in that parade of shops have closed recently, and that a further two are rumoured to be closing. I wonder if the properties are all owned by the same landlord, and the rents are due for revue.

Business owners retire as well. Olive, who for many years ran the Hectorage Road Post Office, latterly known as Olive’s Party Shop, served her last customer a couple of months ago, and I know for a fact that Susan and Dick Adams have been trying to find a suitable buyer for their High Street Printing & Stationary business, so they can retire and enjoy their own place in the sun.

To return to my original point, TMBC ought to be very concerned about the big name stores which are pulling out of the town. However, as they will pick up far more in council tax from the inhabitants of all these new dwellings than they would in business rates from the likes of B&Q and Halfords, they probably couldn’t care less!

Re-posted, with a few additions.