Tenterden Town Council has given urgent backing for a strategy and campaign to ‘Support the High Street’ and help local shops and businesses recover once lockdown eases.
At their meeting at the Town Hall last night (11 May) councillors emphasised the importance of local shops and businesses to the town’s position as an important tourism centre.
It was confirmed that, post-lockdown, the council is to advertise for a Town Centre Co-ordinator to focus on initiatives supporting the High Street.
There was also praise for the flexibility and speed with which Ashford Borough Council (ABC) has made available Business Interruption Grants, ranging from £10,000 to £25,000.
Last night’s meeting discussed a report by tourism strategy specialist Seren Welch, which stated that while the town had bucked the national trend of declining high streets up until the end of last year, several independent shops and some chain stores have now gone – Laura Ashley and Oasis are in administration, while Monsoon has declared its economic vulnerability.
The report added: “As lockdown/social distancing is set to be with us for the foreseeable future, this will inevitably further impact on Tenterden’s High Street, especially due to the layout and age of many of the retail properties, who will find the two metre distancing criteria challenging.
“The appeal of the High Street is Tenterden’s core proposition, and by acting pro-actively to support this now will conserve the town’s longer-term touristic appeal in the future.”