Times of Tunbridge Wells 23rd December 2020

Page 10



Local News

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Wednesday December 23 | 2020

Business group eyes corporates to help save the town centre By Richard Williams A GROUP of business leaders are campaigning to bring large corporate offices from London to Tunbridge Wells, which they say has all the infrastructure in place to tempt organisations from the city. The #TWWorks group was set up in the wake of the town being plunged into Tier 3 restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19, with the intention of finding new ideas to help save the high street. Tunbridge Wells is already home to a number of corporates including insurers AXA and Markerstudy; law firms such as Cripps Pemberton Greenish and Thomson Snell & Passmore; as well as creative agencies Southpaw and Ginger May.

Experienced Ross Feeney, CEO of Tunbridge Wells Together, who is spearheading the #TWWorks Group, said: “As a group, we believe the time is right to attract more corporates to Tunbridge Wells, whether this is for a large regional office ‘spokes’ or to sponsor and support employees’ flexible working requirements post-Covid by paying for local office space for them. “Either way, Tunbridge Wells has all the elements to support businesses growing in the town. “We believe strongly that there is ample opportunity for investors to develop new grade A office space in the area, due to the growing demand for both small office operations and for larger corporates looking to escape Londonpriced floorplates. “Given the year we have all experienced, it has also never been more important to consider better wellbeing and ways to better ‘support local’.” Gavin Tyler, CEO of Cripps Pemberton Greenish says the pandemic has led people to realise the benefits of more flexible working. He said: “Many people have now seen the benefits of a good work life-balance, something we have always encouraged at Cripps. “This may mean people commuting into

End of the year promotions at world’s oldest law firm TUNBRIDGE Wells Thomson Snell & Passmore has announced 11 new promotions as the year comes to an end. Three new partners have been created at the law firm, which this year celebrated its 450th anniversary. Five Senior Associates, one Associate and two Legal Executive Associates have also been created in the end of year promotions. These new roles are in addition to the appointment of two new Equity Partners at the firm in summer 2020, and further reflect the firm’s commitment to growing internal talent organically.

Dedication Joanna Pratt, Senior Partner at Thomson Snell & Passmore, said: “I offer my warmest congratulations on these promotions, which are testament to the hard work and dedication demonstrated by all involved. “This is especially true this year, where we are still in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. “As we all continue to navigate these strange times, I am confident our clients will continue to benefit from the diligent, trustworthy legal advice that our lawyers provide.” Thomson Snell & Passmore has been recognised as the world’s oldest law firm by the Guniess Book of Records.

London less regularly and looking for roles where they can work from home or, equally, finding flexible, co-working spaces closer to home. “With big residential property developments like Royal Wells Park, Knights Park and Hollyfield being built over the last five years, more professionals have moved to our town and will be seeking to continue that work-life

‘Covid-19 has brought this issue to the forefront of developers’ minds, as remote working has been embraced’ balance they’ve enjoyed over the past six months. “This will have a positive knock-on effect for our local businesses. Tunbridge Wells Business Park, if approved, will also provide much needed space for businesses to expand, and enable new businesses to set down roots in

Tunbridge Wells.” The group has pointed to some developers who are already considering integrating flexible office space with new residential developments, which bodes well for the town’s objectives. Rupert Home, Development Director at Dandara, said: “We have long considered how mixed-use schemes could work across our South East developments. “Covid-19 has brought this issue to the forefront of developer’s minds, as remote working has been embraced and the possibility that big city offices may be a thing of the past. “We have several large strategic sites in the region and are looking at how flexible workspaces can be incorporated into these residential led schemes.” The groups added that with office rents as low as £10 per sq ft in Kent, vs £52.50 for most areas of Central London, corporates stand to make huge financial gains by taking space in towns such as Tunbridge Wells. For more information about the #TW Works visit: www.tunbridgewells.works

CORPORATE CENTRE Cripps Pemberton Greenish is one of a number of South East firms that choose to be based in Tunberidge Wells

Digitom celebrates a decade in pictures A TUNBRIDGE Wells based production company has celebrated a decade in business with winning a prestigious award. Digitom, which was founded in 2010 was awarded ‘Video Production Specialists of the Year’ in the South England Prestige Awards 2020 and ‘Best Video Production Company – Kent’ in the UK Enterprise Awards 2020. The company creates video and animated content for clients in the private and public sector. Digitom’s founder and creative director Tom Chown spoke of the company’s adaptability: “The variety of work we undertake means no two briefs are ever the same, but we’re very fortunate to be able to trade on our reputation. We have worked with some amazing clients who have then referred and recommend us to their colleagues. “The creative sector is highly competitive. I’ll be honest, when I set the company up in 2010 I just wanted to make films, but I very quickly learnt that to succeed as a small business owner you have to be responsible for everything, from the IT and equipment to marketing and making the coffee. He added: “2020 has been an emotional

roller-coaster. When the first lockdown came the biggest impact was undoubtably the juggling between work and sharing home-schooling with my wife, adapting to the constantly changing guidance and trying to maintain some sense of normality. This year has definitely aged me! My beard’s going grey and I have more wrinkles. I don’t think I’ve ever worked harder on the business – it was exhausting – but we’ve got some really exciting projects in the pipeline for 2021 that we’re looking forward to working on.”

10 YEARS IN BUSINESS Founder, Tom Chown