Here is our monthly look at what’s going on in the local business world.
The UK’s largest independent seller of used BMWs and Mercedes has plans to expand, creating over 300 new jobs in Kent. The Kent-based Big Motoring World Group has branches in West Malling and Canterbury, and aims to grow to other sites over the next four years, enabling the retention of 250 jobs in Kent and the potential to increase the number of employees to 550 by 2019. Peter Waddell, Founder and CEO of Big Motoring World, says: “We are excited about providing more job opportunities in Kent and becoming one of the key employers in the area.”
Christmas is set to be busy for Tunbridge Wells traders, as the council is lifting charges in all its car parks from 4pm, every weekday from December 17 to 23. A programme of festive events has also been arranged, including the return of the ice rink to Calverley Grounds, from November 20 until January 3. Tourism and leisure cabinet member, Cllr Jane March, says: “The Christmas period is vital to all the town centre businesses. The council is delighted to support this initiative by offering free parking and adding to the town’s attractions with the ice rink.”
An independent fashion retailer in West Malling has been named Best New Business at the Drapers Independents Awards 2015. Monks Clothing of Swan Street accepted the award at The Brewery in London, where the industry elite came together to recognise and celebrate the sector’s achievements. With 13 targeted categories, the awards cover every aspect of the independent fashion industry, from Best Store Design to Lifestyle Independent of the Year. Drapers’ editorial director Eric Musgrave says: “In the 25 years since they were inaugurated in 1991, the Drapers Independents Awards have become a calendar ﬁxture for the industry.”
South East businesses are booming, thanks in no small part to private ﬁnance group, Let’s Do Business Finance. In the last year, LDBF has helped over 60 companies expand, investing more than £900,000 and creating in excess of 200 jobs across the region. One example from 2012 was footballer turned hotelier Simon Colbran, who took over Smart and Simple Hotel in Tunbridge Wells with the help of a £26,000 Business Growth Loan. LDBF’s Head of Services, Ian Smallwood, says: “We’ve helped a range of companies in and around Tunbridge Wells and have funds to lend right now.”