BID boss bids farewell to town as he switches jobs

BID boss bids farewell to town as he switches jobs

THE head of Royal Tunbridge Wells Together has stepped down from his role after a year of leading the town’s Covid recovery.

Ross Feeney took over as Chief Executive of RTW Together, which also runs the town’s Business Improvement District [BID], just as the pandemic struck the UK forcing hundreds of businesses in Tunbridge Wells to close.

The BID has an annual budget of around £450,500, funded by nearly all of the businesses in the town centre area who pay an annual levy in addition to their business rates.

The purpose of the initiative is to promote the town centre area, increase footfall and develop projects and events that benefit businesses.

Mr Feeney replaced Karen Pengelly in February last year, who in turn had introduced the town’s BID in April 2019 after a vote by town centre traders.

A month after taking over the role, the government ordered non-essential shops and hospitality businesses to close.

As a result, Mr Feeney found himself tasked with leading the town centre’s recovery, promoting initiatives such as Covid kits for businesses, the safe return of shoppers and liaising with the Council and other authorities. 

But the BID Chief Executive, who lives in Reigate where he is also an independent borough councillor, has now informed the BID board, including chair Nicki Blanchard who manages the town’s shopping centre Royal Victoria Place, that he is leaving the £45,000 a year position.

He told the Times: “I am really sad to leave this position, especially as we were getting so much done but my ideal job landed on my plate and I had to take it. 

“I have come to know so many of the Tunbridge Wells community, it’s a great town and I know it will be a huge success in the future. 

“I will stay committed to helping Tunbridge Wells Together until they find my successor and look forward to seeing it thrive in the years to come. 

“I shall also continue shopping and eating out here and seeing old friends when I visit.”

RTW Together is now seeking a replacement for the position, with applications closing on May 3, 2021.

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