Parish Chairman Notes March 2023

It was pleasing to see a large turnout of 70-80 residents at the emergency meeting of the CCA on February 6th. Seven new trustees were elected along with more volunteers for the management committee that runs the Village Hall. It is hoped the influx of fresh ideas will mean a positive future for the Association with greater involvement by the community and closer co-operation with the Parish Council in planning a way forward. The questionnaire about the future of the hall produced by the Neighbourhood Plan working group had generated 138 responses at the time of writing. Most respondents wanted a replacement village hall that could be used by the pre-school and local residents at the same time and would provide a social space as well as facilities for drama and sport.

At its meeting on 30th January the parish council considered the plans for a new solar farm on Alders Road. CPC’s advice to the Borough Council was to refuse the application on eight grounds including highways, flooding and impact on the AONB and adjoining listed buildings. Several other consultees had also required more information from the developers.

The draft Neighbourhood Plan has been submitted for screening by TWBC for environmental and heritage impacts. At the time of writing, we hope to have it back by late February so the working group can make any necessary additions before it goes out to the community for consultation. We hope this will happen in the Spring and further details will follow.

The welfare cabin for Network Rail has been installed on the former under-fives play area to allow them the facility to carry out urgent safety work on the railway line. It is surrounded by a secure wooden hoarding and is not otherwise visible. The resulting rent will be spent by CPC on parish facilities.

Parish councillors have provisionally agreed a supplier for an upgraded CCTV  system following a tendering process. Subject to agreeing the detailed specification this will cover not only the Village Hall, but also the pavilion, the MUGA and play area, and the allotments.

Advance notices:

  1. The Annual Parish Meeting will take place in the Village Hall at 7:30 on April 3rd. The Head of Planning at TWBC has been invited to speak on the way forward with the Tunbridge Wells Local Plan.
  2. May 7th – proposed community picnic on the Recreation Ground (or Village Hall if cold/wet) to celebrate the coronation of Charles III. Further details to follow.