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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 April 2006, 12:20 GMT 13:20 UK
Traditional town wants big shops
Tonbridge High Street
The plans aim to make Tonbridge High Street attractive to investors
Residents have called for bigger and better shops as part of the development of a Kent town, the council has said.

Tonbridge town centre is characterised by traditional small retailers but a consultation exercise revealed the public wants more well-known stores.

"We need to provide larger units for multiple retailers," said Tonbridge and Malling planning boss Steve Humphrey.

"The important thing is to link any development into the High Street so existing traders benefit too."

Reduce traffic

The council plans to develop the town into four distinct "quarters" - Castle, Old Town, Eastbank and Botany.

Its new masterplan envisages a transformation of the Botany quarter around the station and northwards to the Botany River.

It wants more cafes and restaurants and to reduce traffic in the High street to make it more pedestrian-friendly.

Mr Humphrey said the traditional small shops were one of the strengths of Tonbridge.

"But it is time to move on and get investment in leisure and community facilities as well as retailing."

He said the finance would have to come from the private sector, although some of the land was owned by the council.

"We have got to provide sites that are attractive for private sector investors."




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