Business & Local Economy

The Business & Economy Working Group is led by Steve Simmonds and covers the needs and aspirations of traditional local businesses such as farming and forestry, the needs and future development of our larger businesses (Benenden Girls School, Benenden Hospital), the development and growth of smaller local businesses, new start-ups, working from home. They are responsible for identifying potential economic development sites and issues regarding change of use from business to residential. Critically important are protection of pubs, the Post Office & Community Shop, and other small businesses which also offer key services to the community. They are also keen to understand issues that impact on local businesses such as Business Rates, local services (Police, local Planning, mobile, broadband and mobile coverage).

Their primary task is to undertake a survey of the needs of local businesses, building on the information in the 2015 Parish Plan, and the feedback from the initial Business & Economy / Transport & Infrastructure workshop on 9th Dec in the Village Hall.

Working Group Members are:
Steve Simmonds
Bev Beveridge Tim Dwyer
Peter Nuttall Gordon Reynolds
Nancy Tolhurst

Our Objective: We will identify the risks and issues facing local businesses and develop planning policies to encourage appropriate, sustainable business growth in the area.

Business & Local Economy, Transport & Infrastructure workshop outputs:

  Biggest Opportunity Biggest Threat
Community Infrastructure •   Enhance existing facilities or increase use of existing eg Tennis / Golf clubs. •   More houses will require expansion of local infrastructure eg Café / Shop at capacity.  Make sure we get infrastructure to accommodate any growth.
Physical Infrastructure •   Investing money in building houses requires more money for improvement eg road, signs & control of speed. •   Impact of more houses, cars, road-safety, & demand for services – expansion in demand.
Transport •   Focus development near key employment centres. •   200 houses = 400 cars.
•   Starting a Hopper-bus to go round the settlements to reduce car journeys. •   Increase in school size & position in village
Business & Local Economy •   Offer a special Rate for new business start-ups, convert agricultural buildings. •   Traffic from larger businesses on small roads.
•   Affordable accommodation for local employees. •   Sustainability of some existing local small businesses.

They’ve held a further workshop for local businesses, organisations and farmers on 14th June, in The Bull, and shared the latest information from their survey of local businesses and their employees.  An overview of their findings was published in the Parish magazine in August (see Growing Local Businesses for Local People in the News section for a copy).

They will provide a further update at the next Village Exhibition in Iden Green in September.