Parish Chairman’s Notes December 2022

Parish Chairman’s Notes November 2022

The Neighbourhood Plan Working Party (NPWP) met on the 1st November. Considerable progress has been made.  The final version of the Design Codes and Guidance has been agreed while the draft of the emerging Neighbourhood Plan is being finalised. The draft is due to be sent to the Borough Council before Christmas. We hope the text will go out to consultation in the New Year before the final version is considered in a referendum of residents later in 2023. Residents will asked if they want the policies in the Capel Neighbourhood Plan (CNP) to be used along side the Tunbridge Wells Local Plan when considering planning applications. This is the most important way in which local views can influence planning decisions. The CNP, if agreed will apply whether the sites in the TWLP are supported by the Inspector or not. Further details can be found on the Neighbourhood Plan pages of the parish council website:

The NPWP have also put together a questionnaire on the future of the Village Hall, which is available on social media or in hard copy from the post office in Five Oak Green. This was done with the backing of the Parish Council and the CCA, the charity which runs the Hall. All responses will help future planning as we decide whether to replace or upgrade the facility and how to finance the work.

The Parish Manager and Clerk has asked several village organisations if they would like to help a ‘Warm Rooms’ project in the parish over the winter. This would allow people to meet in a warm environment for a few hours to socialise over a cup of tea or coffee. Further news on this will follow in due course.

At their meeting on 31st October and subject to the negotiation of satisfactory terms for the licence fee, councillors agreed to allow Network Rail to use the Village Hall car park for a staff accommodation pod and six car parking spaces between January and August 2023. This will enable important safety work to be carried out on the main rail line, which will be to the benefit of everyone. The staff accommodation will be on part of the on the now disused under fives play area, and the car parking on the unmarked section next to the toilet. At the end of the period the former play area will be re-turfed by the contractor, possibly as a wildflower meadow.  It is not anticipated that the spaces will be used at weekends or for most of the summer. The Parish Council will also need to decide on how to spend the licence fee monies. There are several ideas for suitable projects, if readers have their own ideas please contact the clerk, preferably on the above email.

The Council is also anxious to hear from residents about how they would like the forthcoming coronation to be celebrated. Ideas include a residents’ picnic on the Recreation Ground with the Village Hall booked as a back-up (given the possibly unreliable/cold early May weather). Again, please contact the clerk with any ideas or views.

With best wishes for a merry Christmas and joyful festive season.

Hugh Patterson