Since the council published its plans for a new theatre development on the site of the Great Hall car park, Hoopers has been inundated with enquiries from customers, staff and the general public for its views on the proposal and the possible impact on its business.
Whilst Hoopers is extremely supportive of the concept of a new theatre in town, it has fundamental concerns with the site of the proposal with its overwhelming reliance on access through Hoopers customer car park and delivery service area in order to achieve long term operational viability. The threat of a compulsory purchase order on the customer car park to achieve this access will have a potentially devastating effect on Hoopers ability to function effectively.
Hoopers believes that if the council's planned access route comes to fruition, it would create an existential threat to the current operation and viability of an iconic independent retail business, affecting not only the store in Tunbridge Wells but the operation of its three other stores in the group that rely upon services from this store. The group itself provides employment for over 500 people of which 170 are based in Tunbridge Wells.
Hoopers considers the design of the theatre should be capable of including the requisite access arrangements within the site and the existing street layout without threatening the viability of a significant local business and major retail employer. Hoopers has detailed its concerns to the representatives of TWBC.