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Borough-wide recovery process begins

A new group, Covid-19 Panel, has been set up by the Council, to oversee the borough-wide recovery process following the coronavirus lockdown, met online for the first time on Tuesday 26 May 2020.

As the lifting of the lockdown measures is announced the Panel will have oversight of the Council’s and key stakeholders’ approach to recovery and the delivery of Council services within the current government guidance.

Members of the panel include the Council’s Cabinet, representatives from the Council’s other political parties, Kent County Council, Royal Tunbridge Wells Together BID, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Citizens Advice and the Tunbridge Wells Town Forum. Parishes and town councils from across the borough are represented by the Kent Association of Local Councils.

Making sure local businesses can reopen safely

Council leader and Chair of the panel Cllr Alan McDermott says: ‘The Council will play a key role in making sure local businesses and retailers can reopen in a safe and effective way as the lockdown eases. This is not a political committee and so we are able to bring many organisations together so they can share expertise, information and ideas about the best way forward. Much work has already been done by the Council and its excellent staff, but this Panel will provide further help and input to ensure our economy and community recovers from the pandemic.’

FSB’s Kent Development Manager Alison Parmar says, ‘It is great that Tunbridge Wells Borough Council are being proactive and encouraging an open teamwork approach as we begin to emerge from lockdown. I’m pleased to be included in this and to represent the self-employed and small businesses in the area.’

Ross Feeney, Chief Executive, Royal Tunbridge Wells Together says: ‘Our local businesses need a quick recovery to help them remain viable and open. We are working hard to ensure they can open effectively and safely, but local residents will only come back into the town if they feel safe and confident to do so. The new Panel is an effective way of bringing all the key stakeholders together to help our business community, and ensure the town centre is both an enjoyable and safe place to visit once again.’

Providing direction

The Panel will provide direction as decisions are made about how to re-set the life of the borough post-coronavirus, as residents and businesses adapt to changing ways of living and working.

The Panel will be looking at, among other things, reopening of Council buildings, transport and parking, safe movement around retail areas and ongoing support for businesses.

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