Doing Business in Tonbridge
Located on the banks of the River Medway, Tonbridge is a market town situated in the historical English county of Kent. Noted in the Doomsday Book, Tonbridge has a lot of stories to tell, but its future is just as bright as its past.
Tonbridge: An overview
Tonbridge is well positioned in the South East of England and has a population of 38,657 according to the last consensus conducted in 2011. Good connections to the capital mean that Tonbridge has its fair share of commuters, but business is also extremely well represented in the area too.
Tonbridge is also home to the renowned Tonbridge School. Founded in 1553, Tonbridge School offers both day and boarding education for boys and is a member of the Eton Group with close ties to one of the most established London livery companies, the Worshipful Company of Skinners.
Tonbridge is, along with the neighbouring Tunbridge Wells, considered by the South East Assembly to be a Regional Hub and has a wide range of business sectors operating within its boundary lines. Despite its market town roots, Tonbridge has transformed itself into a major player in sectors such as printing and publishing, light engineering, distribution (thanks largely to its prime position) and financial services. This combination of industries makes Tonbridge a working town; one that enjoys very low levels of unemployment indeed.
Tonbridge has been able to attract modern businesses without losing its traditional feel, so tourism also plays a part in the local economy as well. Tonbridge Castle attracts visitors, both domestic and international, and the local council has outlined its determination to improve the quality of the town centre so that Tonbridge can compete with nearby Maidstone, Tunbridge Wells and the ever popular Bluewater Shopping Centre.
The Economic Regeneration Strategy has laid out the council’s plans for economic growth in the town through to March 2019 and outlines its proposals for key infrastructure funding, business support, and the improvement of the town’s retail centres. The council is pushing the wider borough to adopt an ‘Open for Business’ approach and promises a commitment to ongoing business engagement in order to provide local companies with the support that they need.
Tonbridge is very well served by the rail network despite only having one main station. Tonbridge is actually one of the county’s busiest railway stations which serves around 4.1 million passengers each and every year. The station’s location makes it an important junction, bringing lines together from London, Redhill, Ashford and Hastings.
Tonbridge is only 29 miles to the south east of London, so access to the capital via the road network is also easily achievable. The A21 runs directly into the capital and the town is also situated conveniently close to the London Orbital Motorway, the M25, which provides connections to other major motorways such as the M1 and M4. International travel is also easily accessible, with Gatwick Airport just 40 minutes away by road.
Business in Tonbridge
As we have already touched upon in the economic sector of this article, Tonbridge has been able to attract businesses from a number of different industries. One of the key reasons for this is the local councils ongoing commitment to growth and expansion of the business arena in this part of Kent.
The support offered to businesses here is well regarded, but the council is far from resting on its laurels. The strategic plan for business support outlined in their Economic Regeneration Strategy shows that they are serious about attracting more and more organisations into the region.
There are a number of free events held regularly in and around Tonbridge that encourage local businesses to voice their opinions on what is happening in the town and the council also provides free training events to help those who wish to learn more about regulatory processes. Items on the agenda recently have included things such as planning matters, food law and licensing regulations, for example.
Tonbridge is a town that is committed to business and growth, so it is becoming an increasingly popular location for a number of industries to set up in. With its close proximity to London and an already existing support network in place, Tonbridge is undoubtedly moving in the right direction.