Parish Chairman’s Notes December 2021

Further update on the planning issues from last month:

The Tunbridge Wells Local Plan, which focuses the majority of its housing development in Capel and Paddock Wood (including sites at East Capel and Tudeley – both within the Green Belt) was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on November 1st. We expect the Public Inquiry to take place in the early spring and we will be discussing with other groups in the parish how best to represent the community’s strong views against these proposals to the Inspector.

Capel Neighbourhood Plan (led by the Parish Council with the help of volunteers) is making progress. The Housing Needs Assessment (referring to local housing need) is complete, and work continues on Design Codes. We conducted a transect of Five Oak Green on 11th October, and at the time of writing the Working Group is due to discuss and agree the policies that will form part of the NP at its next meeting on 11th November. The Neighbourhood Plan working group would be grateful to co-opt more volunteers to help with its work. If you have an interest in the future of this community and would be willing to commit a few hours a month over the next year, please email Louise Goldsmith the Parish Manager and Clerk for details. Meetings of the working party are virtual, so it does not involve long meetings in draughty halls!

At its last meeting on 25th October the parish council agreed to apply for trees as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy (Part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations organised by TWBC). Ideally, we would want to plant five oaks in Five Oak Green to commemorate the event and we have also asked for saplings to plant throughout the parish, for example on grassed spaces to improve the kerb appeal of some of our residential roads. The clerk is in discussion with local groups where to plant the trees when and if we receive them.

The Council has agreed to streamline some of its committees. These will be turned into working groups which allow them to meet more flexibly including virtually and involve residents more frequently in their discussions. We will trial this new system for three months to see how it works.

A reminder that Parish Council meetings are always open to the public and are advertised on our website and Facebook page as well as on the parish noticeboards. Meetings during the above trial period will be held on the last Monday of the month at 7:45 pm with a planning meeting at 7:00. In December the meeting will be on Monday 20th because of the Christmas break.

Many thanks to Capel Group who have kindly agreed to donate the Christmas tree again and will look to erect it and dress it with lights during the week commencing 6th December.

We wish every resident in the parish a joyful, healthy, and safe Christmas.

Hugh Patterson