24 AUG 2011

A joint statement issued by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Morrisons plc and Greg Clark MP

The Leader of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and officers met with property executives at Morrisons on Tuesday (Aug 23rd) to discuss the unoccupied Morrisons site in the town.

Following the meeting, which took place in the Town Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Councillor Bob Atwood said:

"I am very pleased that following our intervention Morrisons asked to have a meeting with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and that Greg Clark could join us.

"In my view the meeting was constructive and we were able to find a sensible way forward.

"I am happy to accept Morrisons' assurances that they will hold discussions on the possible future use of the site. At this juncture the expectation is that these discussions will be concluded by late September and a further announcement will follow.

"Personally I will be delighted if our meeting sees the beginning of the end of the saga of the empty store."

Terry Hartwell, Property Director for Morrisons, said:

"We have met with the Leader and officers of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and Greg Clark MP and we all have been listening to the strong views of the people of Tunbridge Wells about this store. We had a constructive meeting and we pledged to work together to determine a future for this store.

"It has taken longer than we would have liked but we are committed to finding a swift resolution that is also in the best interests of Tunbridge Wells. We expect to provide a further update by late September."

Greg Clark, who last week, met Morrisons' Chief Executive Dalton Philips at the company's Bradford HQ said:

"I am grateful to Morrisons for having come to Tunbridge Wells so soon after my meeting in Bradford with them last week.

"The meeting gave me hope that the years of blight at the site will come to an end. Bob Atwood and I were very clear that the people of Tunbridge Wells have run out of patience with this grot spot.

"Morrisons recognised this and will now engage in intensive work during the next few weeks to make a full proposal to bring the site back into use quickly and to improve the car park.

"I look forward to this being published, and, in the meantime, Bob Atwood and I will keep the pressure on Morrisons to, at last, redeem their reputation in Tunbridge Wells."

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