Saturday, 22 June 2013

Old Fire Station Rusthall

Rusthall Parish Council is considering the purchase of the old fire station and turning it into a facility for a youth club and an office for the council.  A Rusthall resident has offered to donate the capital cost of purchase of the property.  This will leave the council to fund adaptation costs and ongoing revenue expenditure for upkeep of the building.  Inevitably this will result in a charge on the parish precept.  So far I have not seen a figure for the likely annual cost to Rusthall residents.

It is a difficult issue. On the one hand a good case can be made for more activities for young people in the village.  The Rusthall Community & Youth Project goes some way to meet the need, as do the facilities at the playing fields on Southwood Road: but more needs to be done.

However two major issues require resolving.  People living near the old fire station are concerned at the possibilities of noise and unsocial behaviour and one should not seek to disregard such concerns or play down the likelihood of problems.

The second issue is the funding of the youth activities. The parish council currently funds some of the work of the Rusthall C & YP but will this funding continue in the event that the parish council decides to fund the work at the old fire station?  We do not know how much this will cost annually.

Would it be possible to construct a made for purpose youth facility on the school site, well away from housing?

Fiveways, Royal Tunbridge Wells

Once Fiveways was a busy traffic intersection.  Then one road was turned into a pedestrianised area.  Later a major road scheme resulted in two other roads being joined up avoiding the Fiveways junction.  The remaining two roads became a restricted traffic zone: all vehicles except buses and taxis being banned from 10.00am to 4.00pm Mondays to Saturdays.  In reality many drivers ignore the restriction and little has been done to deter them.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has taken delivery of CCTV car which will be used to photograph drivers using Fiveways illegally.  Postal fines will be issued on the basis of the photographic evidence.  The Council took delivery of the car last September and latest estimates are that it will be patrolling the area from this August.  Administrative bungling of the first order.

Fiveways is the home of the Millenium Clock, a work of art which has not met with universal approbation by the local populace.  At one time there were underground toilets reached by very narrow staircases.  They were swept away as part of the road scheme.  A letter writer in the local press suggested that a railway station should be built at Fiveways with escalator connections to platforms in the tunnel of the  line which runs beneath the site!

Now a new dispute has surfaced:

Friday, 21 June 2013

Soup Bowl - a year on.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council kicked the Soup Bowl out of its premises with indecent haste a year ago. The efforts of the local MP and the Bishop of Rochester to persuade the Council to change its mind came to nought.

A year on the premises remain empty.  The anniversary of the ejection of the Soup Bowl is to be marked.  The Soup Bowl has issued this:

Next Friday 28th June 2.30-3.30pm,  we shall distribute sandwiches and food bags from the steps of the Town Hall. 

We hope to have a reporter/photographer from the courier present.
This is to highlight that fact that it is a whole year since the Soup Bowl premises were closed and that one year on the premises remain empty, in spite of promises to refurbish them and rehouse families.

This will be a 'peaceful demonstration'

Would you please email anyone who may be supportive to this cause

Friday, 14 June 2013

Dennis Smith MBE

Dennis Smith has died aged 87. He was a former councillor on Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and served a term as mayor.

I met Dennis on numerous occasions at voluntary sector events or at committee meetings of organisations to which we both belonged.  He could come across as being somewhat pedantic with his insistence on precision in the use of words in documents.  In fact he had a very sharp brain and a marvellous very dry sense of humour.

You could rely on Dennis to be at a meeting, such was his devotion to duty.

He will be remembered most for his work with Headway and the care and support he gave to his wife who predeceased him.  His work for many organisations in Tunbridge Wells and Kent bear testimony to his support for the voluntary sector.

I was privileged to know and work with Dennis, to listen to his wise counsel and see in action his determination to make Tunbridge Wells a better place for many disadvantaged people.