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Newspaper Columns

Times of Tonbridge Column - Tonbridge - 27 February 2019

Our town is on the up. Visit Kent’s latest figures on tourism in Tonbridge tell a wonderful story.

Tonbridge has long been recognised as being one of the nicest places to live, visit and work in Kent. And rightly so. It’s proven by over 3 million trips that were made to the borough last year. That demonstrates just how many people want to come here. With so many attractions around, such as Tonbridge Castle and Ightham Mote, it is no surprise.

But you don’t just need historic attractions to bring people in. You need to maintain it. That’s why I’m pleased that investment keeps coming into Tonbridge. Not just from our wonderful businesses, which I have mentioned so often in this column, but from our local council too.

Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council have a reputation, rightly, for being one of the best councils locally. It’s no wonder we are the envy of many across Kent. Over the past few years they’ve made it easier for small businesses to invest, providing personal support, and put on some excellent networking events in locations as historic as the Castle, and quirky as the Old Fire Station. They make sure there is something for everyone.

Our proactive councillors are at the forefront of this investment. They lead from the front and deliver this and more on top of the basic services. All for less than £4 a week. It’s no wonder its auditors have, yet again, judged that the Borough Council delivers value for money.

But there is more to our town than statutory services, such as collecting the bins and picking up litter, promoting tourism and facilitating economic development. The events across our town, most organised by the council or excellent groups such as Rotary and the Lions, are testament to the hard work of many. The Medieval Fayre, Food and Drink Festival and Christmas Festival couldn’t happen without everyone working together.

Every day we’re seeing investment in the town delivering for everyone. There are now 242 allotment plots across 7 sites in the town, all looking excellent. And the plight of homelessness is being tackled by the Council, making sure there are more local places for people to temporarily stay before they can get a home of their own. 

There’s a reason people want to invest in Tonbridge. It’s because we’re a well-run town, with excellent support from all in the community. I’m delighted that people have come in such numbers to visit us too. 5,235 local jobs are a direct result of the 4.7million trips people make to our town and surrounding villages. It’s crucial that this is maintained and improved and I’ve every faith that Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, under its current leadership, will do just that.

Georgie Welford