Business and Employment

Cllr. Kim Fletcher give an overview of the business and employment opportunities development in the parish can provide.

CRANBROOK HAS been a centre for education since 1560 and this sector is our largest employer. The newly rebuilt High Weald Academy has space to double its pupil numbers, so the housing developments to the east of the borough, (1,700 houses across six parishes) are expected to make this a busy, thriving school again.

Private schools are expected to benefit from the high net-worth families probably coming from outside the area to the new, expensive houses planned by the developers. There will be new posts for teachers and support staff, cleaners and maintenance workers. Local traders will also have new supply opportunities.

Transport of children from home to school will cause traffic jams and gridlock, so developers must build an excellent network of footpaths and cycle-ways to the centre of town, away from the busy, polluting roads.

The parish council hopes to use the 160 car park spaces at the Sports Club in Angley Road and improve the footpaths to the town centre. This will enable employees and pupils to park there, leaving the central car parks for shoppers and visitors who are crucial to the High Street.

Broadband is the enabler for business and running a home. The high number of new houses makes it viable for companies to invest in fibre to the home. This will enable all homes to upgrade and allow more working from home and tech businesses to start and grow.

Businesses need room to expand but the current TWBC local plan only allows for new employment land in the west of the borough, potentially causing greater delays through Goudhurst and Hawkhurst. The NDP believes this should change.

Housing for people who work locally has always been a key part of the neighbourhood plan, but we have little influence on the developers and TWBC, who are driven by profit and central government respectively. Shared ownership housing is the nearest we can get to direct support of local workers. See page XX for more information.

Agriculture and land use businesses have traditionally been a mainstay of employment. Locally, egg farming is a major employer and many smallholders and gardeners keep local businesses alive.

Cranbrook has been a centre for purchasing gifts: years ago it was antique shops, now it is cards, and unique quirky presents for all ages. This makes the town a destination for people to travel to, generating substantial spin-off trade. The High Street is an asset to the parish and needs support from us all.

The planned new hotel at Southborough will, hopefully, enable more local tourism for a greater number of people from out of the area, without damaging our bed and breakfast businesses.

What do you Think? Have Your Say!

Consultation on the neighbourhood development plan runs from mid-October for eight weeks.

All your comments will be taken into account and will help to inform the final version. Your voice matters and can make a difference!

• View and respond at www.cranbrookandsissinghurstndp.co.uk
• Email at info@cranbrookandsissinghurstndp.co.uk
• Or see hard copies and leave your comments at the Parish Office, The Old Fire Station, Stone Street, Cranbrook TN17 3HF.