Statement from the Political Group Leaders of the Council
When the Covid-19 pandemic first struck and restrictions were imposed on residents, businesses and Council services we jointly wrote to express our concerns for those affected, to set out the impact of the crisis on the Council and to thank all local residents, businesses and voluntary groups who have stepped up to help support our communities and protect the vulnerable.
Since that time, over the past 11 weeks, we have continued to be amazed by the way in which residents and businesses have continued to look after one another as restrictions on our daily lives have been tightened and, in recent weeks, loosened. The Council has done its best to play its part –we have provided food and household essentials to vulnerable and isolated residents, provided wellbeing calls and promoted good mental health (including through the twsocial.co.uk website). We have handed out over 1,900 grants to local businesses worth over £25m, we have provided support to local charitable organisations and we have provided advice and support to thousands of local residents and businesses. Politics has been put to one side and councillors of all political groups have been working closely to ensure that we do whatever it takes to respond to the crisis and plan for the recovery.
Working to ensure safe and sustainable opening
With the announcement that non-essential shops can open from 15 June, we have also been working closely with businesses, parish and town councils and Kent County Council to ensure that high streets across the borough can open safely and sustainably and that measures are in place to protect the health and wellbeing of shop workers and shoppers/visitors.
Over the past 11 weeks it has been great to see so many businesses adopting new approaches to trading including delivery and collection services and it has also been most gratifying to see so many residents supporting businesses in the Borough by ‘buying local’. We hope that residents will remember how businesses have worked very hard to support them and that they will continue to support local businesses into the future – helping to promote the local economy and the environment.
Looking to the future, it is clear that the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to have a significant impact on the lives of us all for some time. The Council will continue to do everything it can to support those who have been affected by the crisis and to support businesses as the restrictions on our lives continue to be lifted.
Clearly this is a national/international situation and events are moving at a rapid pace. As well as paying attention to the government and NHS websites, we are providing regular updates on our website (tunbridgewells.gov.uk) on Council services, details of arrangements being made for the reopening of the town centres and support that is available to residents and businesses.
Cllr Alan McDermott
Leader of the Council
Cllr Jane March
Deputy Leader of the Council
Cllr Ben Chapelard
Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group
Cllr Dianne Hill
Leader of the Labour Group
Cllr David Hayward
Leader of the Tunbridge Wells Alliance Group