'Keep local contracts in the area'
EDENBRIDGE should follow the lead of Surrey County Council in reserving contracts for local firms, according to Eden Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber chairman Peter Kingham said the new community centre had seen little gain for local companies with just one, JCC Engineering, winning a contract.
Surrey County Council has announced plans to create a pool of 130 local firms to be used for 60 per cent of its contracts.
These would be in architecture, structural engineering, surveying and property management.
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Mr Kingham said: "If they can do it there then I don't know why we can't do the same here."
Mr Kingham raised the issue as contracts were awarded for the town's Kenty County Council-run community centre, which opens in October.
The owner of High Street shop Magnolias hoped to provide blinds and rails but the contract went to a Nottingham firm.
The council admitted the closest contractors were from Tunbridge Wells, Lamberhurst, Maidstone and Canterbury.
Mr Kingham said: "They should have given local firms the opportunity to quote."
At a town meeting earlier this year, Jonathan White, council capital projects manager, said: "Procurement laws don't allow you to favour the location of a business, or workers."
A Sevenoaks District Council spokesman said: "While we do not operate a select list of preferred suppliers we advertise many of our contract opportunities locally."