The Telephone House Neighbours Association, Royal Tunbridge Wells
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Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre Neighbourhood
Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre Neighbourhood - THNA 2007
2007
dcms - department for culture, media and sport - www.culture.gov.uk - Heritage Protection
Heritage Protection for the 21st Century
White Paper Consultation 08.03.2007-01.06.2007 LINK to - March 2007 - Tunbridge Wells Borough Council participation in the Heritage White Paper Consultation

Heritage White Paper: 'Encourage local authorities and local communities to identify and protect their local heritage;
Local designation provides a means for local communities to identify and to protect the buildings, sites and spaces that matter to them.'


December 2007 — Compilation of a 'Local List' of Heritage Assets in Royal Tunbridge Wells

There has recently been some News about the production of a "Local List" (cataloguing items of heritage value in Royal Tunbridge Wells) compiled by Philip Whitbourn and his friends from the Civic Society.
call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comment— We had a look at the 'Local List' and came to the conclusion that the group has taken its work too light-hearted.
It does not contain any selection criteria; none of the items listed have a description and explanation why they are worth listing. Additionally some items like the Victorian sewer posts, lamp posts, red pillar boxes are listed in one area and not in another etc. etc.; sites and spaces as part of the 'Local Designation' are left out.
The same folk who should have been in the frontline as whistle blowers when the decline of the town centre started, try now to save the last remainders of a more glorious past. - However, if one declares everything looking a bit old, a valuable reliquary and forces planning to consider it, does it not diminish the value at the same time of the real assets we have like the Opera House, the Great Hall, the Congregational Church, Trinity ??? - But do these people have a long-term strategy for those buildings? One has to be afraid they don't. And with Trinity Theatre's (financial) foundations virtually shaking, another long-term grot spot is in the lurking.
If this list of 2000 items would become material planning consideration it has to pass a different consultation process than just a few people walking down a road like "vagrants en passant" and deciding what has to be protected without telling us why they think so.
The press release of the Civic Society states that they worked together with the RTW Town Forum on the document.
The Telephone House Neighbours Association representative confirms that apart from Philip Whitbourn no-one of the Town Forum had seen the 'local list' prior to its release at the Civic Society's AGM .

The intention was certainly good; but we call for: 'Abort? / Retry? / Fail?'

Grot Spots - The Local Press reports on Grot Spots in Royal Tunbridge Wells
Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre, Church Road, Tunbridge Wells
Arts Council slashes funding LINK to - October 2007 - Tunbridge Wells Borough Council funding


21 December 2007 — Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre, Church Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells has had its Government funding slashed from £77,000 to nothing. The Trinity Theatre said it was appealing against the announcement from the Arts Council, a quango responsible for using public money to develop and promote the arts across England; the appeal will be heard in January and if it fails funding will stop from March 2008.
Belvedere Terrace, Church Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells, 13.12.2007
Belvedere Terrace, Church Road
is occupied mainly by offices. In autumn 2007, No. 25 changed its use from office to a residential unit, but changes of Nos. 21-23 were withdrawn.
Link to Comments to Licensing Policy 2007 Residents would support the conversion of these offices; however, planners should take into consideration:
- The notorious problem with waste bins close to residential areas.
- The likeliness of "chatter noise" coming from close-by bars/pubs needing to find outdoor solutions for smokers.
- The problem of car parking of "night visitors" in the inner town residential roads.

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comment 11 December 2007 — At the Meeting of the Environment, Safer and Stronger Communities Select Committee, TWBC, residents learnt that 80% of waste in the Borough is commercial and only 20% is household waste!

Will TWBC seek control over collection times of commercial waste and influence the routing of vehicles?
- Reason: To protect the residential amenity of the locality.
ROYAL TUNBRIDGE WELLS REGENERATION LINK to - June 2007 - Royal Tunbridge Wells Regeneration

— In June 2007 Tunbridge Wells Borough Council sought a Development Partner to assist it with the regeneration of Royal Tunbridge Wells town centre (over a ten year period).
— In November 2007 three short listed parties revealed their visions for the borough; St Modwen, John Laing, ING Estates were bidding to work with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to revamp Royal Tunbridge Wells.
— On 20 December 2007 the chosen partner was named: John Laing/Gladedale, and is expected to be formally endorsed at the Full Council Meeting in February 2008.
Appointment of Development Partner to revitalise Royal Tunbridge Wells
call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Questions December 2007 — Is the finalist aware of the nagging 'grot spots' in the town centre?
What footprint will John Laing/Gladedale leave in this so neglected 1 square mile area, where over 90% of all economy and activity of the borough happens?

RTW town centre - Mount Pleasant Road/Uphill-Downhill - Grot Spots - Nov 2006

Former Cinema and Shops - Mt Pleasant, Church Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells
Cinema Design Competition
Mount Pleasant/Church Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells

12 December 2007 — Press Conference, Committee Room B, Town Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells - Wednesday 12.12.2007 9.30-10.30am
Briefing on a new project coordinated by RIBA, the Royal Institute of British Architects (Helen Wren, Regional Director, RIBA South East) in partnership with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (Cllr Roy Bullock, Leader of the Council and Rob Cottrill, Director of Planning and Development). The project will enlist six architectural practices to produce concept designs for a new scheme (until 31.01.08) for the former cinema site in the centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells.

The Competition and Supporting Information (plans/photos/links/previously approved scheme)
6 Architects: Hazle Mc Cormack Young (RTW), CTM (Hythe) and Avanti, FAT, Panter Hudspith, Stanton Williams [all 4 from London]
call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Questions . . . . . an inspiration from Boston, Massachusetts? — Look @


RTW Town Forum - www.townforum.org.uk RTW Town Forum Meeting 25 October 2007The Cinema Site was discussed and the Town Forum considered it a disgrace and a shame for the town that the site had been left to decay. The Town Forum resolved to write to the Leader of the Council, Councillor Roy Bullock, and the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Development, Councillor Mrs Thomas expressing their very strong view that at the least the existing site should be demolished. This would be better visually and would encourage local residents that things were moving forward. It was suggested that if the site was demolished it could become an open space until a final decision of its use was agreed.

Conservation Area Consent to demolish the buildings (former cinema and shops) on the site was granted on 23 March 2006 !
When will it happen? - When will be Grot Spot Demolition?
The cinema is empty for , - since December 2000.

Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre, Church Road, Tunbridge Wells
Financial irregularity at Trinity Arts Centre


7 December 2007 — Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre, Church Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells - run by a registered charity and heavily funded by local taxpayers - uncovered a problem. A member of staff resigned.
Cotswold Outdoor, Royal Tunbridge Wells, 01.12.2007 - Habitat closed 11.02.2007
Cotswold Outdoor / Ismail (Cafe) / UK Cycles
'to be part of our landscape'

30 November 2007 — is opening day link to Habitat
after weeks of redecorating the Grade 1 Listed building
call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comment Will Cotswold Outdoor adhere to Planning Conditions?
— e.g. "There shall be no servicing of the building, no goods shall be loaded or deposited and no vehicles shall arrive, depart, be loaded or unloaded, within the application site before 08:00 or after 13:00 hours Mondays to Friday, before 08:00 or after 13:00 hours on Saturdays, or at any time on Sundays or Bank Holidays."
- Reason: To protect the residential amenity of the locality.
LDF Core Strategy Consultation 30.11.2007 - 11.01.2008
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE OF THE TOWN AND THE BOROUGH
— Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Local Development Framework (LDF) – Core Strategy: Preferred Options

30 November 2007 — The Core Strategy is a planning document that will provide a spatial vision for the borough from now to 2026. The Borough Council will be hosting several exhibitions on the Preferred Options Report: — in Tunbridge Wells (Camden Centre): on Tue 4 December and Sat 8 December 2007.

In March 2007 - 'Issues & Options' was the first stage in the process of producing the Core Strategy. link to info: THNA submission to Core Strategy questionaire, 27 March 2007
This time, the full 'Preferred Options Report' will be available for comment from 30 November 2007 to 11 January 2008.
To view and comment on the Report, please go to the Borough Council's Consultation Portal:
LDF Core Strategy - Online Consultation
Tunbridge Wells Common - www.friendsofthecommons.org.uk
TWBC's bid to buy the Commons turned down

29 November 2007 — Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has been told its bid to buy 250 acres of historical common land has been turned down. The agents handling the sale of Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons told that the land would be sold as a package along with The Pantiles arcade.

A spokesman for the agent, CB Richard Ellis, said more than 10 bids had been received and that legal proceedings for the sale were under way. The asking price for The Pantiles, was £10 million. Offers over £850,000 were being sought for the Commons and the title the Manor of Rusthall, which includes two cricket grounds, two car parks and other properties. - The agents hoped they would be able to announce the new owner before Christmas.

It is believed the chosen bidder is Targetfollow, which leases the Corn Exchange on The Pantiles, and announced plans for a cinema in the Pantiles last week.
Trinity Grounds - Corsican Pine Nov 2007 -
Replacement of Tree at Trinity Gardens

21 November 2007 — With the support of TWBC parks officer Peter Every:
a Pinus nigra var martima, Corsican Pine, has been planted near to the stump of the old Lawson Cypress (felled 15 March 2007) in Trinity Gardens. It is small at the moment but will be an excellent replacement. The tree complements the other existing pines planted around the boundary of the cemetery. The tree was introduced in 1759 and used extensively in churchyards therefore fits in well with its current surroundings.
Report Nov.2007 - CABE - Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment - www.cabe.org.uk
Cemeteries, Churchyards, Burial GroundsContemporary benefits

11 November 2007 — Cemeteries, churchyards and burial spaces are often highly valued by communities for their spiritual as well as place-making and place-marking qualities.

Urban burial grounds in the 19th century were originally envisaged as public open spaces, and were professionally designed to be attractive places to visit in their own right.
Today, many cemeteries are neglected, with little to attract anyone apart from those visiting specific burial plots. link to Enhancement Projects - Tunbridge Wells Borough's Heritage and Environment
This lack of design, planning and ambition means that the potential health and environmental benefits of these grounds are not being realised.

There are four different kinds of value which churchyards represent to today's society:
historical, ecological, education and leisure (or amenity) benefits.
The most important benefits of Trinity's former burial ground/churchyard: link to Environs of Trinity, sites with an area of heritage value
architecture, landscaping, wildlife and local amenity.

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comment We agree with this report that lack of care and maintenance can have a particularly depressing or debilitating effect on surrounding communities.

link to Trinity Grounds / Trinity Gardens In the Town Centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells this is further aggravated as every open space seems to be useful only as a car park. - And here, too, the Local Plan for the town does not highlight the conservation of cemetery land as valued historic environment.

No consideration to
"the designation of an important Green Open Space in the Royal Tunbridge Wells town centre and the Environment/Amenity surrounding Trinity Theatre & Arts Centre, Royal Tunbridge Wells"
for , - since 9 November 2005.
Felling of lawson's cypress - Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre in the background - 26.10.07
Monstrous Lawson's Cypress felled

26 October 2007 — We got rid of this overbearing and obtrusive evergreen coniferous tree (adjacent to the footpath leading from York Road to Trinity Theatre & Arts Centre) with the support of TWBC tree officer Dan Docker.
— We are looking for a replacement through the Kent Tree Scheme (Kent High Weald Project).
Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre, Church Road, Tunbridge Wells
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council's grant


25 October 2007 — TWBC's Cabinet Members were updated on the current budget projections for 2008/09

— Following decisions regarding Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre were taken:
(1) That a grant for 2008/09 of £90,000 to support the Trinity Business Plan be made (a reduction of £40,000 on the 2007/08 grant), and that, in line with the Council's grant policy, officers agree a series of financial and performance targets to be associated with the giving of the grant;
(2) That further consideration be given as to whether the grant to Trinity be a one year settlement or part of a three year settlement subject to the financial and performance targets being met in line with the Council's grant policy;

TWBC Cabinet Decisions 25.10.2007


Outdoor Amenity, Open Spaces, Civic Spaces
— In 2005 we advised the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council that Green Spaces in the town centre have to be retained. We suggested the designation of an important Open Space in the RTW town centre: land surrounding Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre, Trinity House, The Priory, Hanover House and opposite the York Terrace (Nos. 6 - 14 York Road)
Reasons: — to safeguard the setting of the listed buildings; — to preserve amenity space for residents; — not to further damage this part of the Conservation Area.

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comments Based on the core principles of the Heritage White Paper: "encourage local authorities and local communities to identify and protect their local heritage"; "local desigenation provides a means for local communities to identify and to protect the buildings, sites and spaces that matter to them"; and especially the announced TWBC's Town Centre Action Plan (Master Plan) and the upcoming Local Development Framework / Core Strategy
. . . . . . we lobby, lobby, and lobby again that this part of the Conservation Area is finally safeguarded from ruthless speculation.

Comments to Licensing Policy - THNA submission 07.10.07
Draft Statement of Licensing Polciy — TWBC Licensing Team

— Will our input be taken into consideration?

7 October 2007 — Submission of comments (major concerns in the town centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells)
"so that they can be taken into consideration in the final draft which will be presented to Full Council for ratification on Wednesday 12 December 2007, and becomes policy."
TWBC Licensing Committee Meeting is scheduled for Thursday 18 October 2007.

Link to: Leader of the Council - Online Forum
Ask the Leader of the Council - Online Forum

18 September 2007 — Post Cllr Roy Bullock your questions or comments on any aspect of the Council's work or more general concerns about the Borough and view the comments and responses to the concerns of others.

Link to: Review Parking Zone C - 11/2006
Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre — Parking Zone C
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council's second Survey (previous Review Survey was held in November 2006)


15 September 2007 — Town Centre Residents are asked to participate in the Parking Zone C Review.
Surveys have to be completed by 12 October 2007.

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Questions TWBC's three recommendations have to be confirmed with YES
  • Do you agree that residents should be able to buy "Visitors Permits"?
  • Do you agree that restrictions should be changed to 1 hour limited waiting Monday to Saturday 8am to 5pm;
    and "Permit Holders Only" 5pm to 8pm?
  • Do you agree that Sundays should be included in the restriction change?
Parking Zone C Survey 09/2007 TWBC ONLINE SURVEY — RTW Town Centre Parking Zone C
Your views are important!

former Habitat, Royal Tunbridge Wells - closed 11 Feb 2007
Habitat - Mount Pleasant/York Road
A Planning Application TW/07/02223 has been filed: "Alterations and Change of use of existing A1 Retail Shop to a Mixed Use of A1 Retail Use and A3 Coffee/Tea Shop and - the Change of Use of part of the pavement as outdoor seating area 95-97 Mount Plesant Road Tunbridge Wells"

HABITAT and its neighbourhood in RTW - call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comments 26.07.2007 — Little or nothing was done to inform neighbours. We therefore took the liberty to direct our concerns to the planning department and applicant ('grot spot' maintenance, deliveries, staff parking, refuse bins, storage trolleys, disruptions in a residential area, ventilations/extractors).

Habitat - Mount Pleasant/York Road (closed since 11 Feb 2007)
Everybody asks: "What is the future of the Grade II Listed Building ?" link to info: Habitat closed on 11 February 2007

HABITAT and its neighbourhood in RTW - call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comments We are extremely worried would any restaurant move into the former Habitat building, adjacent to the listed York Terrace. We have to rely on Robert Cottrill's (TWBC Director, Development/Planning) report that this empty site in the town centre is to remain in shopping use (06.02.2007). A restaurant would be unsuitable and a high risk for this building and area. — see example: 8 May 2007 — BBC News - Blaze fought at Elvis Restaurant (next door: Church of King Charles the Martyr, Chapel Place)

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council - Enhancement Projects & Heritage Grants

In order to take account of the Council's priorities link to Strategic Plan 2007-2010 - TWBC Corporate Priorities
the approach to the preservation and enhancement of its heritage will be changed (12.04.07):
  • Projects aimed at preserving and enhancing buildings, structures, monuments and spaces of heritage value may be eligible, not just those which are listed
  • Projects will be favoured where they address the Council's broader objectives, as well as simply improving physical condition
www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk - TWBC Heritage Partnership GrantTWBC Heritage Partnership Grant Leaflet - July 2007
"Working with partners in the upkeep, regeneration and promotion of the boroug's built heritage"

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Questions/Comments11 July 2007 — The day . . . . . Tunbridge Wells Borough Council puts into action

- its Corportate Priorities, - the Community Plan, - the Heritage Strategy, - the proclaimed new direction in working with partners in the upkeep, regeneration and promotion of the borough's built heritage, - the new approach to Conservation Area Management Plans: - The Borough's Heritage and Environment (06.07.07)

. . . additionally considers

the announcement of the Communities Secretary: - Neighbourhoods (05.07.07)
"Neighbourhoods across England will be given new opportunities to direct extra resources at the issues they care about . . . . . . councils must move away from simply relying on the old orthodoxy of distributing grants and look at new ways to devolve power and control to community organisations."

. . . and there would be no begging feel

when looking for "Funding for Community Projects": - KCC/TW Local Board Funding
such as: Member/Councillor Community Grants - Small Community Capital Projects - Local Schemes Grants

. . . . . only then . . . Neighbourhoods projects might have a chance. link to info: Environs of Trinity, sites with an area of heritage value

ROYAL TUNBRIDGE WELLS REGENERATION

www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk -  Property Asset Management Plan Nov. 2005TWBC Property Asset Management Plan - approved by Cabinet 24.11.2005 - sets out the Council's approach to the use and management of its property assets (responsibilities, review, processes and key activities).

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Questions 22 June 2007 — What changes would you make to Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre?

Donaldsons are managing the selection process of a development partner for TWBC (tender result due Nov 2007).
The main thing that strikes us is that the development partner will get the right of first refusal on 'current and future property assets' (para 5.1). We can't see how this could be legal - any proposed lease or sale would have to be advertised and competitively tendered, by domestic as well as European law?
More generally of course Donaldsons' whole document is expressed in terms of development opportunities, and largely in terms of the Council's own land holdings. So policy advice derived from the partner would, as we fear, be conditioned by 'low-hanging fruit', rather than approaches to problems. RTW would be left with 'grot spots' nobody wants to touch!

Donaldsons seeking development partner for TWBC / TW regeneration - May 2007

Vandalism in York Road
by TW Flats / TW Lettings,

Monson Road, Tunbridge Wells,

tenant's of Adam Knowlson's
Jersey company Alfern Investments

13 June 2007 — Even if the "won't pay the Borough Council's car park fees" occupiers of the former garden opposite 8 York Road,
TW-Flats / TW-Lettings, might have the impression that the local community has not received the due support from the officials, they have no right to vandalise a hedge and trees (being clearly in the ownership of the adjacent property) within the Conservation Area of Tunbridge Wells.




Peter Ridsdale-Smith of Bracketts Estate Agents, Tunbridge Wells, confirmed: "when I marketed the site last year
I mentioned dimensions of 54' x 15'6".
— Knowlson's tenant, TW Flats / TW Lettings, cares very little about these dimensions. — When asked, the owner, Adam Knowlson, could not provide proof of any other dimensions than those mentioned in the planning application TW/76/0255 (55' x 15').


TW-Flats / TW-Lettings, local estate agents of Tunbrige Wells, seem undoubtedly to become
York Road's "Neighbours from Hell".

Justin Fletcher of TW Flats / TW Lettings wrote last year: . . . we wanted to keep the area looking nice . . .
— obviously now he gave instructions to bring down the residential environment of York Road.
What is the expected outcome of his flagrant provocation?
This unacceptable situation has been going on for , - since 24 August 2006.

TW-lettings/TW-flats' carpark - Adam Knowlson's land opposite No. 8 York Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells
Valuation / VOA Business Rates

12 June 2007 — TW Flats / TW Lettings, estate agents of Monson Road, Tunbridge Wells, breach repeatedly the Valuation Office Agency's rating assessment.
They (www.tw-flats.co.uk/ourteam.htm
or www.tw-lettings.co.uk/ourteam.htm) might think they get away with everything.

Rateable Value: Land opposite 8 York Road - 29.08.2006
This unacceptable situation has been going on for , - since 24 August 2006.

TW-lettings/TW-flats' carpark - Adam Knowlson's land opposite No. 8 York Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells
Kent and Sussex Courier for Tunbridge Wells - www.thisiscourier.co.uk
All Bureaucracy and no straight Action
15.06.2007 — Who would not agree with town centre resident, Tim Pendry:
"The borough may be one of the best places to live in Britain but the town is becoming an anti-social dump.
And the people responsible for letting that happen are in the Town Hall."
(Letter to the Editor of the Courier)

May 2007 — Publication of TWBC Best Value Performance Survey (Sep - Dec 2006):
- 62% are 'very' / 'fairly' satisfied with the way the local authority, TWBC, runs things; 17% are 'very' / 'fairly' dissatisfied.
- 68% are 'fairly' satisfied with the Borough of Tunbridge Wells, as a place to live; 16.2% are 'very' satisfied.
- 24% are satisfied with the housing service.
- 27.7% are satisfied with planning services, down from 33.5% ( - 5.8% ) three years ago.
York Road - Pavement/Kerb Cleaning
Community Call for Action

Environmental Services and Street Scene


5 June 2007 — We asked: "Is there a particular reason why street and pavement cleaning in York Road has stopped since Christmas?"

11 June 2007 — Gary Stevenson, Head of Environmental Services and Street Scene takes our call seriously and responds with a fast action:

York Road received extra attention this afternoon! — THANKS!


www.audit-commission.gov.uk - Audit Inspection: Tunbridge Wells
External Audit Commission Inspection of TWBC Planning Services

INFO: The inspection had been commissioned by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.
Jim Kehoe, Head of Planning Services:
"The Planning Service of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council will be subject to an external review by the Audit Commission from Monday 18 June 2007.
As part of this review the Inspector has indicated a wish to see a cross section of stakeholders who have a close working relationship with the Service. A group discussion session will be led by the Inspector at the Town Hall on 19 June 6 pm."


27.7% are satisfied with TWBC planning services, down from 33.5% ( - 5.8% ), 3 years ago
TWBC Best Value Performance Survey (Sept-Dec 2006) presented by William Benson, Director of Change and Business Support, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, at the Community Plan Partnership Meeting 16 May 2007.

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comments As the Telephone House Neighbours have not received an invitation as stakeholder this time, we will ask the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum's Planning Committee to convey our views regarding 'Grot Spots' in the town centre and planning issues in our neigbhourhood to the Audit Commission's Inspector.
Car Park Charges on Sundays - TWBC Cabinet's Agenda 7 June 2007

It might be seen as a generator of income but possible negative impacts need to be considered:
  • parking bays are occupied by visitors while residents pay for a permit
  • it triggers circulating around in the area to find a space (consequently increase the traffic and disturbance)
  • it encourages more unlawful car parking on pavements in local streets
Comments to Car Park Charges on Sundays - TWBC Cabinet 07.06.2007

RTW car parks - call@telephonehouse.org.uk - CommentsAre residents' wishes put into the equation?
Will the evaluation of the "Parking Control Zone C (Town Centre) Questionaire" of December 2006 be considered? link to info: Parking Control Zone C Questionaire for Residents - Nov/Dec 2006
15.06.2007 — Sunday Parking Charges on way




www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk - www.audit-commission.gov.uk
Audit Commission's Annual Audit and Inspection Letter


Tunbridge Wells Borough Council: ANNUAL MEETING OF COUNCIL - Wednesday 23 May 2007, 10am
The minutes of the FULL COUNCIL meeting held on 25 April 2007 will be approved.
RTW Town Forum - www.townforum.org.uk RTW Town Forum Members' Report for the Town Forum Meeting 24 May 2007

10.05.2007 — Telephone House Neighbours file their REPORT: Complaint to Sheila Wheeler, TWBC Chief Executive and her answer to residents - Planning/Transport/Environment: Land opposite 8 York Road, RTW link to info: Land opposite 8 York Road

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comments Without doubt will you understand that the tone of the reply was not what we expected.
This is a case showing how third parties involved and affected by planning applications (as neighbours or other interested parties) have no legal recourse against planning decisions. As a third party there is no possibility to appeal.
This should be of interest to all Members of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum.



RTW Town Forum Member/THNA's Report for Town Forum 24.05.07


(Grade II listed) Summerhill House, 73 London Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells
Summerhill House - 73 London Road

Everybody wants to know: "What is the future of the Grade II listed Building?"

It is empty for more than a decade; in its dilapidated state listed amongst the 10 Top 'Grot Spots' of the town, selected by the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum:
Top 10 RTW Eyesores (11/2005, re-visited 10/2006)

The officer who took initially the task to find a solution was the Head of Environmental Services Gary Stevenson.
As the building is listed, Heritage and Conservation officer Brian Hayward was involved at some stage, too.
The Councillor of the Culverden ward, closest to the property, and as well Heritage Champion of the Borough, is David Wakefield.


Empty Properties in Royal Tunbridge Wells 
- TWBC Press release 12/2005

Empty Properties in RTW - call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comments8 May 2007 — What happened to ? — "targeting the 'problematic empties' and improving the condition of 'eyesore' properties, through the use of a range of enforcement powers where necessary, to improve the appearance of the street scene and prevent them from being a magnet for anti social behaviour." (TWBC e-news 19 Dec 2005)
Review of Car Parks Charging Periods


8 May 2007 — Cllr David Neve advised that at the Cabinet on 7 June 2007, the Borough Council is reviewing and planning to introduce extended charging periods in car parks to include evenings and weekends.


RTW car parks - call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comments Higher and especially extended car parking charges to evenings and Sundays will likely bring more chaos to the residential streets like York Road, Dudley Road, London Road, Lime Hill Road and others close to shops. - We observe that many visitors are not willing to pay for a car space at any time.

During last year's consultation process (Nov/Dec 2006) for Parking Zone C, it sounded that most locals would be ready to accept that parking bays in their streets could be used by non-residents Monday - Friday, 9:00 – 16:00.
In other words: Members of THNA would wish to have the town centre's residential streets PARKING FOR RESIDENTS PERMITS ONLY: Mo - Fri, 16:00 - 9:00 and all Saturday and all Sunday (availability of visitors' parking vouchers is requested, too).

Further one should not advance a decision into raising car park charges pending another document: LDF - The Core Strategy - Question 15k. It was the view of THNA members that congestion charges would be a more suitable way to raise funds related to cars coming into the town centre – Question 15j.


Car Park Charges (current 25.04.07 and proposed as of August 2007) - List of Car Parks in Royal Tunbridge Wells
Charging Hours: Mo - Sat, 8am - 6pm (current: no changes to the hours of charging - FREE: evenings, nights, Sundays)
www.communities.gov.uk - Residential Car Parking Research - May 2007 May 2007 — Residential Car Parking Research:
This report considers expected levels of car ownership and the factors which have a significant influence on car ownership and car parking demand.


Council Election 2007 - Culverden ward in Royal Tunbridge Wells
Labour lost its only councillour and so have been wiped out in Tunbridge Wells, as the Tories increased their stranglehold on the spa town, winning 15 out of 16 available seats.
( There are now 74 councils where there are no labour councillors at all. )
We welcome John Miller as the new Councillor of the Culverden ward.

Of 537 seats up for grabs in Kent, the Conservatives took 352, followed by Labour on 87, the Liberal Democrats on 72 and independent and other parties on 26. Turnout was below 40 per cent in most polls.
www.communities.gov.uk - Councillors Code of Conduct - 3 May 2007 3 May 2007 — "Simpler, clearer code of conduct for local councillors":
The order, which came into effect on 3 May 2007, to coincide with the next round of local government elections, will remove rules which have stood in the way of councillors acting as advocates for and leaders of their local communities.
Civic Trust - www.civictrust.org.uk
"Paving the Way"
2 - 3 May 2007 — Two one-day workshops for Community Organisations and Civic Societies
The "Heritage" day covers the role of Historic Environment Champions, Conservation Area Appraisals, Building Preservation and case studies from successful heritage projects like Heritage Open Days ( www.tunbridgewellsheritageopendays.org.uk ).

The "Built Environment" day covers the role of Design Champions ( www.urbandesignlondon.com ), working with Local Authority Planning Departments / Planning Inspectorate ( www.planning-inspectorate.gov.uk/pins ), the Civic Trust's Built Environment Network and case studies from successful local building award and other schemes.

Paving the Way - Workshops organised by Civic Trust for Community Organisations and Civic Societies
Consultation on TWBC Strategic Plan - THNA submission 12.02.07
Strategic Plan 2007-2010 — TWBC's approach to delivering its Corporate Priorities

Audit Commission's Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA)

The Council is undergoing the
— Cultural Block Inspection (Leisure, Sport, Parks) in March 2007
— Review of Partnerships in April 2007
Planning Review in May 2007
— Peer Review in the summer 2007
— proposed Council wide CPA re-assessment in January 2008
The whole Council (cabinet, councillors, management team and staff) is up for the challenge . . .

Strategic Plan (Corporate Priorities) inc. foreword by the Leader of the Council, Melvyn Howell, and the Chief Executive, Sheila Wheeler, was published 27.02.07.

Council Election 2007 - Culverden ward in Royal Tunbridge Wells
Conservatives — Key Priorities and Objectives
Caring for our environment: balance of conservation of natural/built enviro & development.
Enhancing conservation areas, protecting listed buildings.
Developing safer and stronger communities.
Continuing with Clean Neighbourhoods Initiative (graffiti, fly tipping,abandoned cars).
18 April 2007 — all new requests for postal votes have to be registered at the Town Hall
25 April 2007 — new proxy votes have to be registered at the Town Hall
Culverden is among the 16 Tunbridge Wells Borough wards with elections this year.
dcms - department for culture, media and sport - www.culture.gov.uk - Heritage Protection
Heritage Protection for the 21st Century
8 March 2007 - 1 June 2007 — White Paper Consultation

16.04.2007 — Compilation of a 'Local List' of Environmental Heritage Assets in Royal Tunbridge Wells
RTW Town Forum - www.townforum.org.ukRTW Town Forum Community Alerts

The White Paper: 'Local designation provides a means for local communities to identify and to protect the buildings, sites and spaces that matter to them.'
In the light of this, Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum is undertaking a 'local community' project by compiling a list of local heritage assets that matter to local people, but which are outside the scope of the nationally prepared statutory lists (grade I, grade II listed monuments/buildings). In the first instance, we are looking towards this within the present Conservation Area of Royal Tunbridge Wells.
We are seeking more members of the public to help with the compilation of the draft 'Local List' and would welcome any heritage asset identified by you. — Please contact: improve-RTW@townforum.org.uk

Heritage Protection for the 21st Century - White Paper - Consultation 080307 - 010607
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Listed Buildings Strategy / Heritage Strategy

12 April 2007 (TWBC Cabinet Meeting) — "This report of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council's Head of Planning proposes that the Borough Council takes a new direction in working with partners in the upkeep, regeneration and promotion of the borough's built heritage."

www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk - TWBC Heritage Grants StrategyTWBC Heritage Grants Strategy

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Questions April 2007 — Taking TWBC's Corportate Priorities, the Community Plan and the Heritage Strategy into consideration

— can TWBC's Chief Executive Sheila Wheeler dismiss THNA's complaint as 'a minor case', link to info: Complaint to TWBC Chief Executive ref: Land opposite 8 York Road
the Head of Planning having allowed a commercial car park on the land opposite 8 York Road,
in a purely residential street in the Town Centre's Conservation Area?
— how could up to now TWBC ignore the designation of a green open space in the environs of Trinity link to info: Environs of Trinity
with its many listed buildings surrounding the former Decimus Burton church?

NEWS 29.03.2007 - CABE - Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment - www.cabe.org.uk
Manual for StreetsThe dawn of 'slow streets'

29 March 2007 — The new guidance, which has been produced by the Department for Transport and Communities and Local Government in partnership with CABE, will lead to a transformation in the quality of new and existing streets. In the future we are likely to see safer roads, with slower traffic, more local features and less clutter.

Manual for Streets 29.03.07 (146 pages)
LDF Core Strategy - Consultation - Submission to TWBC's online questionaire 'Issues and Options Report'
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Local Development Framework — Core Strategy
The Core Strategy will set out how, where and when all types of development will take place up to 2026

— Will our input be taken into consideration?


27 March 2007 — Submission to TWBC's online questionaire 'Issues and Options Report'
We were missing the 'empty homes' topic which should be considered when trying to fulfill the housing target of dwellings to be built!

CABE Housing Audit (Feb 2007): 82 per cent of new housing built over the last five years failing to measure up on design quality. . . . Fewer than one in five developments was assessed as good or very good, and 29 per cent are so poor they should not have even got planning permission.
Commons Conservators Open Spaces Policy - Draft March 2007
Commons Conservators — Open Spaces Policy - Draft
www.twcommons.org

Following the problems encountered last summer 2006 over the planned Spafest events - especially the licence application for the events on the Common's Lower Cricket Ground (London Road/Church Road) - the Borough Council gave an undertaking to produce an Open Space Policy.

22.03.2007 — Although the Commons Conservators are not bound by the Open Spaces Policy of other bodies, notably Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, they submitted a draft policy for discussion purposes to the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum. Members of the Town Forum (e.g. The Telephone House Neighbours Association, Inner London Road Residents' Association and the Friends of the Commons) were in favour of the draft. The Town Forum asked that the policy makes reference to the Tunbridge Wells Improvement Act, 1890 (so far as it relates to the Tunbridge Wells Commons) and the Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons Bylaws.
www.friendsofthecommons.org.uk

We welcome that the Commons Conservators will not apply for a "general premises license"; TWBC will be in charge for the consultation regarding any forthcoming licence application (Commons Conservators' quarterly meeting Th. 22.03.07).


Commons Conservators Open Spaces Policy - Draft March 2007

Former Cinema and Shops - Mt Pleasant, Church Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells
Former Cinema and Shops, Mt Pleasant/Church Rd, Royal Tunbridge Wells

19.03.2007 — Another GROT SPOT
to complement the former Cinema and Shops on Mount Pleasant
- THE DONOVAN CINEMA CAR PARK

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Questions Does the owner pay BUSINESS RATES?
- for the empty shops, the empty cinema and for the car park.

Tunbridge Wells Empty Property Strategy 2006-2011:
"The longer a property has been vacant the greater the danger of it becoming a dilapidated 'eyesore' and providing a focus for vandalism, anti-social behaviour and even arson. Empty property not only represents a wasted financial resource for the owner but also reduces the value of adjoining properties and the wider area and adversely affect the neighbourhood. In addition, dealing with the associated problems places an avoidable burden on the resources of the Police and Fire Services as well as local authorities.
Local authorities have also been given the power to reduce or eliminate the Council Tax discount on empty homes.
As a result and to remove any financial benefit from leaving a property empty Tunbridge Wells Borough Council eliminated this Council Tax discount with effect from 1 April 2004."
When will it happen? - When will be Grot Spot Demolition?
The cinema is empty for , - since December 2000.

Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre, Church Road, Tunbridge Wells
Trinity boss sees cash crisis looming


16 March 2007 — Kent Messenger Report
(Jonathan Salisbury is the 4th director of Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre during the last 10 years)

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - 
Comments No surprise for the neighbourhood as we believe staff and volunteers seem not really to care about the appearance of the grade I listed building and its environments. link to environs of Trinity
Tunbridge Wells Open Space Study 2006
PPG 17 — Sport, Recreation and Open Space Study


Planning Policy Guidance 17: Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation (July 2002)

Open space is defined in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as land laid out as a public garden, or used for the purposes of public recreation, or land which is a disused burial ground.
Open space should be taken to mean all open space of public value, including not just land, but also areas of water and can also act as a visual amenity (even without public access, people enjoy having open space near to them to provide an outlook, variety in the urban scene, or as a positive element in the landscape).
Open spaces help create urban environments that are attractive, clean and safe. Green spaces in urban areas perform vital functions as areas for nature conservation and biodiversity and by acting as 'green lungs' can assist in meeting objectives to improve air quality.

March 2006 — Final Report by Strategic Leisure Ltd, Manchester (for TWBC - 12/2006)

Tunbridge Wells Open Space Study 2006

Heritage Protection for the 21st Century

8 March 2007 - 1 June 2007 — White Paper Consultation

This White Paper responds to the public call for change. It sets out the vision for a new heritage protection system.
The proposals
- are based on a unified vision of the historic environment that enables a simpler and more efficient system.
- are focussed on opening up heritage protection to greater public scrutiny and involvement.
- recognise that heritage protection needs to be an integral part of a planning system that can deliver sustainable communities.

dcms - department for culture, media and sport
department for culture, media and sport — www.culture.gov.uk
Heritage Protection for the 21st Century
White Paper and Regulatory Impact Assessment

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - 
Questions Will Tunbridge Wells Borough Council participate in the government's consultation?


Heritage Protection for the 21st Century - White Paper - Consultation 080307 - 010607
RTW Town Forum - www.townforum.org.uk RTW Town Forum Members' Report for the Town Forum Meeting 22 March 2007

08.03.2007 — Telephone House Neighbours file their REPORT:
"Planning/Transport/Environment: Land opposite 8 York Road, RTW" link to info: Land opposite 8 York Road
as part of the next Town Forum ("Agenda: - 9. Members' Reports") with the request from Fellow Town Forum Members to accept this report and endorse a complaint to TWBC's Chief Executive Sheila Wheeler.


call@telephonehouse.org.uk - 
Comments This report puts more or less everything we have heard in the past about Community Plan and Corporate Priorities ad absurdum!


RTW Town Forum Member/THNA's Report for Town Forum 22.03.07


TRANSPORT and ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT in the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre :
The street scene — noise and vibration — fumes — ugly and excessive signs, railings, posts — lighting — cemented over front gardens and increased run-off — parking on grass verges — unpleasant / frightening spots to be.
Transport / Parking Problems in our NEIGHBOURHOOD
York Road - Mount Pleasant Road - Church Road - London Road

22.02.2007 — At the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum - Transport Committee Workshop we brought forward our main problems and issues in our neighbourhood in the Town Centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Parking on Pavement in the Town Centre, Royal Tunbridge Wells Parking on Pavement is UNLAWFUL, DANGEROUS, COSTLY



Residents' Parking Zone (RPZ) Review


08.02.2007 (TWBC Cabinet) — Report of the Head of Environment and Street Scene, Gary Stevenson:
TWBC's 'Parking' Traffic Regulation Orders and KCC's 'Safety and Movement' for the Town Centre

. . . Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is responsible for 'parking' traffic regulation orders (TROs), whereas those relating to 'safety and movement' are the responsibility of the Kent County Council.
". . . Zone C review must clearly be high on any list of priorities. This is the area where pressure on parking is at its highest and traffic conditions are at their most congested. Any measures or schemes, which would improve the way in which this area is managed should be top priority."


call@telephonehouse.org.uk - 
Questions February 2007 — Taking Tunbridge Wells' "Parking, Safety, Movement" problems into consideration
— how can TWBC justify a commercial car park on the land opposite 8 York Road link to info: Land opposite 8 York Road
in a purely residential street in the Town Centre's Conservation Area?


Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Corporate Enforcement Policy

8 February 2007 — "Planning Enforcement and Compliance Strategy" with all the amendments put in by Cabinet needs to be read in conjunction with the "Corporate Enforcement Policy" also adopted by Cabinet. Both documents are now to go to Full Council on 22 February and are subject to "call in".

TWBC - www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk / RTW Town Forum - www.townforum.org.ukTWBC Corporate Enforcement Policy

Safeguarding our Environment - call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comments We fear that those entertaining the hope that the Corporate Priority and Community Plan Aim "Safeguarding our Environment" (Conserving and Improving the Built Environment / Protecting and Enhancing the natural Environment and Landscape / Reducing the Local Contribtuion to Climate Change) will be enforced and adhered to, are due for a rude disappointment.

07.02.2007 - 'Building for Life' - CABE - www.cabe.org.uk
Building for LifeDelivering great places to live - 20 questions you need to answer

7 February 2007 —
Planning policy statement 3 (housing): Local authorities should be aiming to create: "Places, streets and spaces which meet the needs of people, are visually attractive, safe, accessible, functional, inclusive, have their own distinctive identity and maintain and improve local character."
PPS3 (housing): Local planning authorities should consider if a development: "Creates, or enhances, a distinctive character that relates well to the surroundings and supports a sense of local pride and civic identity."
PPS3 (housing): Local planning authorities should consider if streets are: "Pedestrian, cycle and vehicle friendly."
PPG17 (planning for open space): "Local networks of high-quality and well-managed open space help to create urban environments that are attractive, clean and safe and can play a major part in improving people's sense of wellbeing."

Building for Life - call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Questions . . . and our local authority Tunbridge Wells ?
Consultation on Strategic Plan - THNA submission 12.02.07
Strategic Plan — TWBC's approach to delivering its Corporate Priorities


In October 2006, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council's Cabinet agreed to produce a Strategic Plan in a two-stage process:

(a) 2007-2010 Interim Strategic Plan based on the Community Plan 2006 and the Corporate Priorities (January 2006) setting out key priorities for the Council and its delivery mechanism for the short–term. This would be developed in parallel to the Medium Term Financial Strategy and adopted in February 2007. The Council would also begin the process of developing a 20-year Vision for the Council during this period.


TWBC - www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk / RTW Town Forum - www.townforum.org.ukTWBC Draft Strategic Plan 2007-2010

(b) 2008-2013 Strategic Plan: A much more comprehensive Strategic Plan, setting out the Council's Vision and ambitions for the future. This Plan would be underpinned with a five-year Medium Term Financial Strategy, considering areas that are not priorities for the Council (and therefore including disinvestment proposals) as well as outlining key strategic investment opportunities for the Council to deliver its Vision.

"The Strategic Plan will strengthen medium term planning; develop a clear vision for the Council to deliver its commitments in the new Community Plan; inform and support the Audit Commission's Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) Culture Block Inspection in March 2007 and the proposed Council wide CPA re-assessment in January 2008."
(Nazeya Hussain, Head of Community and Corporate Planning)

TWBC - www.tunbridgewells.gov.ukTunbridge Wells Borough Council's Key Priority Objectives 2006/2007


call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Questions February 2007 — Taking TWBC's Corportate Priorities and the Strategic Plan into consideration
— how can TWBC justify a commercial car park on the land opposite 8 York Road link to info: Land opposite 8 York Road
in a purely residential street in the Town Centre's Conservation Area?
— how can TWBC ignore the designation of a green open space in the environs of Trinity link to info: Environs of Trinity
with its many listed buildings surrounding the former Decimus Burton church?
The Civic Trust has joined a coalition of the UK's leading environmental and social organisations
to campaign against recommendations in the recent Barker Review of Land Planning.
Campaign to Protect Rural England
Friends of the Earth
The Wildlife Trusts
The Civic Trust
The Ramblers
RSPB
Transport 2000
The Woodland Trust
"The group believes that recommendations will have an adverse impact of the natural and built environment and will not allow local communities to have any involvement in planning decisions. The coalition is holding a Parliamentary reception to explain their views to MPs on 7 February 2007, and have launched www.planningdisaster.co.uk where the public can email Gordon Brown to express their concerns."

Land Use Planning System — "Not in the picture ?"
"The Treasury has decided that the planning system is a barrier to business.
They want to remove what they see as obstacles — including you and your community getting involved."


Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre, Church Road, Tunbridge Wells
What is wrong with the Marketing of Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre?


1 February 2007 — Trinity Posters in the Town Centre

. . . the Council is undergoing Cultural Block Inspection in March 2007, a review of partnerships in April, a Planning Review in May and a Peer Review in the summer. The whole Council (cabinet, councillors, management team and staff) is up for the challenge . . . (Chief Executive Sheila Wheeler, TWBC Strategic Plan)


Waiting for Cllr James Scholes' (Cabinet-Portfolio Leisure) reply for ,
- since 1 February 2007.
Planning Enforcement
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council's Enforcement and Compliance

01.02.2007 — Will our request lead to a result this time? - as the tree planting season progresses!


Since August 2006 we have made TWBC (Daniel Docker, Tree officer; Martin Holmans, Compliance officer; David Scully, Landscaping officer) aware of the non-compliance of conditions of the planning application regarding CALA Homes' Norfolk Grange. The development on the former Telephone House site lies in the town centre's Conservation Area.
  • TREES

    >> Church Road (Norfolk Height):
    instead of 5 big trees only 3 trees were planted; additionally the landscaping is poor.

    >> York Road (Cambridge Villas / Suffolk Mews / Alexander Court (Housing):
    in April 2005, 4 trees were planted; but 2 trees died and need replacing.

    Approval of Hard and Soft Landscaping 3 April 2003

30 June 2006 — Kent Messenger Extra reports:
"A dedicated squad to respond to breaches of planning regulations could be set up by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.
It is recommended as part of a Government funded report into making the council's planning service more effective.
The enforcment team would be tasked with ensuring developers and residents do not abuse the planning system and will take action against any breach of conditions."


call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Questions What happened to this resolution ?

24 January 2007 — Report of Jim Kehoe (Head of Planning Services) and Alan Bringloe (Enforcement Team Leader)
for Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Western Area Planning Committee

TWBC - www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk / RTW Town Forum - www.townforum.org.ukTWBC Planning Enforcement and Compliance Strategy
TWBC - www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk / RTW Town Forum - www.townforum.org.ukTWBC Enforcement Activity Oct - Dec 2006

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Questions Are Councillors fully aware what they will approve? (Cabinet Meeting Thursday 8 February 2007)
especially as 1.05 states: "When considering what enforcement action to take it is important to note that Planning Authorities have powers, but in most cases other than very specialist areas, no duty to enforce planning legislation."

Land opposite 8 York Road, between the gardens of No.9
 and No.10 York Road - occupied by TW Flats / TW Lettings
ONLY GREED? . . . RETALIATION? . . . SCHADENFREUDE? . . . ?

After having requested

— to preserve amenities for residents;
— to safeguard the setting of the listed buildings;
— not to further damage this part of the Conservation Area
especially after the Telephone House DEBACLE
(CALA Homes' development on York Road / Church Road)

TWBC planning officers throw yet again a jargon filled case at residents!
This unacceptable situation has been going on for ,
- since 24 August 2006.

What is TWBC officers' agenda? TW-lettings / TW-flats' carpark - Adam Knowlson's land opposite No. 8 York Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells

 call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Grot Spot Report to the RTW Town ForumSeptember 2006 — "Grot Spot" Report to the RTW Town Forum
Jersey resident Adam Knowlson's land opposite 8 York Road (occupied by TW Flats / TW Lettings) was reported as "Grot Spot" to RTW Town Forum's 'Townscape and Streetscene Committee' with a request for action by TWBC

15 January 2007 — Letter to Jim Kehoe, Head of Planning Services, TWBC
with THNA's request for revocation of the Certificate of Lawful Use regarding the 'Land opposite 8 York Road'
— We hope Jim Kehoe's answer will not be guided by allegiance to his collegues but professional integrity will prevail.
20 February 2007 — Unsatisfying answer of Jim Kehoe, Head of Planning Services, TWBC
No satisfying answer for , - since 15 January 2007.


dcms - department for culture, media and sport
department for culture, media and sport — www.culture.gov.uk
How do planning developments affect listed buildings?


What else was of interest for the neighbourhood in 2007? - The Telephone House Neighbours Association, Royal Tunbridge Wells
WHAT ELSE WAS OF INTERST IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD ? — in 2007

What else was for interest for the neighbourhood in 2007? - The Telephone House Neighbours Association, Royal Tunbridge Wells

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre Neighbourhood - THNA 2006
2006
Noisy deliveries and refuse bin collections

21.12.2006 — We informed TWBC Environmental Services (John Smith, Environmental Protection Team) of some of the nagging disturbances town centre residents face regarding deliveries and refuse bin collections.
Residents hope that TWBC will pick up some of these notorious cases.
No answer to our letter or any reaction for
, - since 21 December 2006.


Environmental Problems in Town Centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells


Congregational Church and Town Houses of York Road
HABITAT (Mount Pleasant Road / York Road)
former Congregational Church and former 2 / 4 York Road
(the 2 listed townhouses were demolished)

HABITAT and its neighbourhood in RTW - call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Questions "But what about us, the neighbours?"

08.12.2006 — We did not like Habitat's way of treating us as their backyard.
Their move is not unwelcome, nor is it a surprise.

— Will we be ignored again despite needing to tolerate the aftermaths of Blue Sky thinkers and
the escapades of future occupiers?
Habitat, Tunbridge Wells
The Future of the Grade II Listed Building ?

The Courier 27 October 2006
HABITAT closure (11 February 2007) sparks fears
Planning blight alert as listed building faces uncertainty

HABITAT - RTW Town Forum "Grot Spot" Register January 2006

HABITAT and its neighbourhood in RTW - call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comments "Posh shop was not our ideal neighbour"

November 2006 — Why would we, the residents, not start thinking about a suitable replacement?
Top of the wish list seems to be the transfer of the Museum to this place and
if that is not feasible a covered market - like in Oxford: http://www.oxfordcity.co.uk/shops/market/
but we definetely do not want another restaurant in the vicinity.

Listed Buildings in the environs of Trinity
Statement of Community Involvement

— Has our input been taken into consideration?

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comments We precisely tried to avoid "unscheduled periods of public participation identified in the Statement of Community Involvement; leading to delays in the production of the LDF" by proposing and being involved early in the process, rather than finding ourselves in the postion of commenting only when matters have reached an advanced stage and suggestions become difficult to accomodate.



The proposal - "designation of an important Green Open Space in the Royal Tunbridge Wells town centre /
no change of land-use"
- for the Environs surrounding Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre, Royal Tunbridge Wells
["for the reasons of: — safeguarding the setting of the listed buildings; — preserving amenity space for residents;
— not further damaging this part of the Conservation Area"]

has not been taken into consideration yet.

December 2005 — Louise Lowe, Senior Planning Officer, Strategy and Development, TWBC: link to info: Environs of Trinity
"I will retain your document for future consideration."

No consideration to the designation has been given for ,
- since 9 November 2005.


Listed Buildings in the Environs of Trinity, Royal Tunbridge Wells
The Future of Communities and Neighbourhoods?

11 November 2006 — During the meeting of the Community Plan Partnership Sheila Wheeler, Chief Executive of TWBC, talked about Town and Parish Councils.

Key Points of 'The White Paper 2006' (as of 26 October 2006)

Neighbourhood and Parish Plans 
- call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comments The residents of the town Royal Tunbridge Wells, the people living the unparished part of the Borough Tunbridge Wells, could have more say by forming "parish" or "community", "village" or "neighbourhood" bodies, detached from the borough council.

Consultation on Tunbridge Wells Borough Community Plan 2006 - THNA submission 21.06.06
Tunbridge Wells Borough Community Plan 2006 - 2011


— Has our input been taken into consideration?

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comments 21 June 2006 — THNA Comments to the Community Plan 2006 (issues in the town centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells)
It was regretted that we had been refused to view a document, which was quoted as Research and Guidance Material to the Community Plan Draft: 'Recreation and Open Space Study (2006)'.
— Therefore we re-submitted a detailed proposal for the environments surrounding Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre, Church Road / York Road, in the town centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Community Plan 2006 - THNA submission 21.06.06


call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comments November 2006 — Sadly we have to admit that very little of our input was taken into consideration.
— exceptions were made to: 'GROT SPOTS' which by now cannot be concealed anymore and
'facilities for the screening of films in RTW town centre' (2008 onwards).

TWBC - www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk / RTW Town Forum - www.townforum.org.ukTWBC Community Plan 2006 - Consultation Draft - May 2006
TWBC - www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk / RTW Town Forum - www.townforum.org.ukTWBC Community Plan 2006 - Consultation Draft - Action Plans - May 2006

31 October 2006 — Following consultation on the Draft Community Plan, the Community Plan Partnership has made changes to the document and now seeks approval and formal adoption of the revised Sustainable Community Plan for Tunbridge Wells Borough by Cabinet (16.11.2006) and Full Council (December 2006).

Review Parking Zone C
Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre — Review Parking Zone C
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council's Survey

— Will our input be taken into consideration?


15 November 2006 - Telephone House Neighbours are asked to participate in the Residents Parking Zone C Review. Questionnaires relating to permit allocations have to be returned by 8 December 2006.

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comments Big problems in York Road are:
  • parking on pavements makes the road inaccessible to fire brigades and ambulances
  • presently, residents are not entitled to purchase 'Visitor Parking Permits'
  • residents' seem to want a parking space in front of or at least close to their dwelling
Review Parking Zone C RESIDENTS PARKING ONLY would be desirable, especially as Telephone House Neighbours live in the Town Centre, the Central Access Zone [Residential], defined in the Local Plan 2006 as Policy TP6.


Residents' Parking Zone (RPZ) Review link to update - Parking in RTW - February 2007
08.02.2007— Report of the Head of Environment and Street Scene to TWBC Cabinet

York Terrace - cast iron railings
Cast iron Railings in York Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells

— Restoration work at York Terrace (Nos. 6-14 York Road)

September/October 2006 - Due to the vandalism incident of the railings at No. 8 in June and as No. 10 restored its railings in 2003, neighbours took the initiative to restore the listed railings along the whole terrace.
Cast iron replacements of this unique 'fleur de lys' finial and rods had to be cast in order to replace, repair and re-instate the railings set into the listed York stone slabs
[laid by stone mason Jabez Scholes in 1847].

At the same time the railings opposite Nos. 12-14 York Road and No. 9 York Road were redecorated.


RTW Town Centre Grot Spots - Comments - call@telephonehouse.org.uk 04.09.2006 — Most worrying RTW town centre stories: "Up the hill — Mount Pleasant Road"

— List of 'Grot Spots' in Culverden Ward, handed over to Greg Clark, MP, 15 September 2006 :
Morrisons - Station - Clanricard Road Development - Homeopathic Hospital - Cinema / Ritz Building (shops) -
Trinity Theatre / Trinity Grounds - Habitat - Monson Road Colonnade/Balcony - Five Ways - RVP Shopping Centre - Tesco

According to this list of "GROT SPOTS" — RTW townscape has not a bright future !
To avoid the endemic causes of decline the Town needs investment.


RTW town centre - Mount Pleasant Road - Grot Spots - 4 Sep 2006


RTW Civic Society AGM Presentation: Grot Spots 2006 09.11.2006 — "1/2 mile, Up the hill, Mount Pleasant" (Railway Station - Tesco)
Powerpoint Presentation - RTW Civic Society AGM


Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre, Church Road, Tunbridge Wells
News


The Courier 4 August 2006Artistic Directors:
Adrian Berry (since November 2002) will be replaced by Jonathan Salisbury (London, Camden People's Theatre).

25 - 30 July 2006 — Tunbridge Wells Theatre Club performed in Trinity Gardens:
Summer Lightning by P. G. Woodhouse (directed by Michael Elliott) was staged outside for the first time by the TTC - Victor Clements, Emma Doyle, Andrew Leitch, David Meacham, Stephen Yeo.


Outdoor Amenity, Open Spaces, Civic Spaces
In 2005 we advised the Council that Green Spaces in the town centre have to be retained.
Designation of an important Open Space in the RTW town centre: Land-use surrounding Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre, Trinity House, The Priory, Hanover House and opposite the York Terrace (Nos. 6 - 14 York Road), should not be allowed to change.
Reasons: — to safeguard the setting of the listed buildings; — to preserve amenity space for residents; — not to further damage this part of the Conservation Area.

The Value of Public Space
The Value of Public Space

July 2006 — How high quality parks and public spaces create economic, social and environmental value

The research cited in this brochure summarises a CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) commissioned literature review from the Department of Landscape, University of Sheffield and the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London.

Introduction
The Economic Value of Public Space
The Impact on Physical and Mental Health
The Benefits for Children and Young People
Reducing Crime and Fear of Crime
The Social Dimension of Public Space
Movement in and Between Spaces
Value from Biodiversity and Nature
References


Value of Public Space - CABE July 2006

www.audit-commission.gov.uk
Audit Commision — Progress Assessment Report — 30 March 2006
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

Summary
"6. - Services have improved overall since 2002/03. In 2004/05, 64 per cent of key performance indicators improved, up by 18 per cent from the previous year. But some services, like planning, remain in the worst quartile."

What is the Council trying to achieve?
15. - The Council is making some progress though its intentions are not yet matched by its performance. The CPA report highlighted the absence of community involvement and influence on the Council's direction and weaknesses in strategic leadership. The Council is addressing its deficiencies, but impact to date has been limited. Progress on developing clear aims has been slow and the cabinet has only recently agreed these. The aims are backed by detailed actions plans on the priorities of Promoting and maintaining a thriving and diverse local economy; Caring for our environment; Having housing suitable for local people; and Developing safer and stronger communities. . . . . . However, the slow pace of producing a longer-term vision and the lack of a clear articulation of relative need for the area means that the current medium-term financial plan does not drive an agenda for longer-term improvement.
18. - Scrutiny processes are not effective or well understood. . . .

What has the Council achieved/not achieved to date?
27. - The Council is not achieving well in all services. Poorly performing services include planning, with the speed of determining minor applications being in the worst quartile, as is the quality of planning service checklist.


call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comments 06.04.2006 — Most of the problems in our neighbourhood seem to stem from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council's Planning or Strategic Development departments ignoring residents' comments to planning applications.

link to update - December 2006 There are raising concerns among neighbours that reported noise nuisance and environmental issues are not tackled.

Land opposite 8 York Road
Land opposite No.8 York Road

— Were neighbours unduly alarmed when this sign went up ?


20 March 2006 — Telephone House Neighbours' research revealed that this plot never had a planning consent to be used as a car park. The planning investigations officer could confirm the removal of the ghastly oversized advertisment board. Therefore we believe that without immediately confronting the rush tactics, implications would not have been reversed easily.
Autumn 2006 — we had to ask:
What is TWBC officers' agenda? What are the motives of those involved?

ONLY GREED? . . . RETALIATION? . . . SCHADENFREUDE? . . . ?


Land opposite 8 York Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells


Outdoor Amenity, Open Spaces, Civic Spaces
In 2005 we advised the Council that Green Spaces in the town centre have to be retained.
Designation of an important Open Space in the RTW town centre: Land-use surrounding Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre, Trinity House, The Priory, Hanover House and opposite the terrace 6 - 14 York Road, should not be allowed to change.
Reasons: — to safeguard the setting of the listed buildings; — to preserve amenity space for residents; — not to further damage this part of the Conservation Area.


Former Cinema and Shops - Mt Pleasant, Church Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells
Former Cinema and Shops, Mount Pleasant/Church Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells
Planning Application in the Conservation Area - TW/06/00369/CAC/RCC

— Will our input be taken into consideration?

February/March 2006 — Telephone House Neighbours proposed:
. . . the open land after the demolition, being detrimental to the Conservation Area, shall not be used as an interim carpark in competition to TWBC carparks and revenue.
. . . with respect to the prominent location, the 400th Anniversary celebration, the Tour de France in 2007, the perimeter hoardings on Mount Pleasant/Church Road should look interesting and decorative, - e.g. big screenprints of old engravings/postcards of RTW.

Case officer Ruth Chambers confirmed: "I have notified the agent (Broadlands, Paul Carter) for the development of your comments and suggestions in relation to the importance of the way the appearance of the site is dealt with during demolition/construction."

TWBC Public Access - COR Information 24/03/2006 reveals planning consent was granted without any conditions.

RTW Cinema Demolition/Construction - further application March 2006
The cinema is empty for , - since December 2000.

Online-Consultation on Local Development Framework (LDF) - Alterations/Extensions - THNA submission 26.02.06
LDF — Alterations and Extensions — Supplementary Planning Document
Local Development Framework — Royal Tunbridge Wells

— Will our input be taken into consideration?


26 February 2006 — Telephone House Neighbours decided to participate in the Alterations / Extensions Consultation Draft to make TWBC once more aware that lessons have to be learnt out of the Telephone House debacle.

Is there proof that town planners were wrong?

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comments 26.02.2006 — This SPD will become a quasi-legal/judicial document but is not really allowed to 'help' or 'advise'.
As the document's implication goes beyond 'Alterations and Extensions' ("Although the document concentrates on residential properties, the principles are also applicable to other buildings and uses in residential areas, which affect existing residential dwellings.") it is too full of assumptions and generalisations.
— We believe that there is a need for early advice on project-by-project.


Online-Consultation on Local Development Framework (LDF) - Recreation Open Space - THNA submission 26.02.06
LDF — Recreation Open Space — Supplementary Planning Document
Local Development Framework — Royal Tunbridge Wells

— Will our input be taken into consideration?


26 February 2006 — Telephone House Neighbours proposed changes to the Recreation Open Space Consultation Draft.

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comments 26.02.2006 — We do not agree that this SPD refers to Recreational Open Space only as defined by National Playing Fields Association. The defintion given in the National Land Use Database by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM): U040 - RECREATION AND LEISURE and the wider definition stated by the Sport of England should be added.
— We advised that the important Open Space Assessment Document by Strategic Leisure, Manchester, should be part of reference material.


RECREATIONAL OPEN SPACE — RECAPITULATION (2 May 2001)

Residential and Visual Amenities - The Telephone House Development, Tunbridge Wells
The Public Inquiry - May 2001

The developer's agent Barton Willmore is reluctantly agreeing a commuted sum. The developers have stated a lack of young children and families as a reason for not developing recreational areas on-site.

The reason for refusing to pay for real on-site amenities or any commuted sum:
"As you will no doubt appreciate, this development is for the construction of luxury apartments, and as such the nature of the intended occupants are not likely to include those with young children, or families. On this basis, .... additional provision is not necessary on site. —
In addition, given the nature of the intended occupants of this site, we do not feel that there is a justification in this instance for any commuted payment in lieu of on site provision, as such a contribution would not be fairly or resonable related to the proposed development, ......"


The commuted sum towards enhanced off-site recreational provision had not been published until Richard Philips, QC (appellant) announced during the Public Inquiry that the commuted sum for off-site recreation open space is BP 14,000.



RECREATIONAL OPEN SPACE — QUESTION:
  • As the town Royal Tunbridge Wells has no Town Council (unparished part of the Borough of Tunbridge Wells),
    how are the funds, received through 106 agreements from developers, managed?
PROCEDURES for both children's playspace and youth and adult RECREATION OPEN SPACE
Recreation Open Space (Draft) - TWBC Local Development Framework Supplementary Planning Document - January 2006

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comments 26.02.2006 — We do not agree that a section 106 agreement can hold a clause for the return of contributions to developers. It makes no sense that agreed funds 'sit in the coffers' and the community does not profit out of the contributions.




Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (TWBC) Section 106 Planning Agreements for 2004/2005

Financial Report and Statement of Accounts 31 March 2005

Section 106 Planning Agreements Commuted Payments from developers (for the year 2004/2005) show the following:
  • provivision of transport related or open space facilities for recreational use: — BP 534,000
  • provision for S. 106 Agreements Interest Payments (funding for year 2004/2005): — BP 101,000
  • provision for S. 106 Education Interest Payments (funding for year 2004/2005): — BP 15,000
    [ Explanation to: 'a provision for the future repayment of interest':
    should the recreation and transport contributions not be spent by their expiry date. ]
call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comments— In short, there are in the coffers of TWBC, BP 534,000, for the year 2004/2005, paid by developers, for which there is a provision to pay interest in case "We do not find a spot where to use the monies for Tunbridge Wells' benefit".

What else was of concern in 2006? - The Telephone House Neighbours Association, Royal Tunbridge Wells
WHAT ELSE WAS OF CONCERN ? — in 2006

What else was of concern in 2006? - The Telephone House Neighbours Association, Royal Tunbridge Wells

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre Neighbourhood - THNA 2005
2005
Consultation on Local Development Framework (LDF) - Open Spaces
Green Open Space in the Town Centre — Trinity Grounds and surrounding plots of land
Local Development Framework (LDF) — Royal Tunbridge Wells

— Will our input be taken into consideration?


September/October 2005 — Telephone House Neighbours were consulted on Open Space, Sport and Recreation Provision [Planning Policy Guidance (PPG) 17].

We advised that Green Spaces in the town centre have to be retained. Land-use surrounding Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre, Trinity House, The Priory, Hanover House, opposite York Terrace (Nos. 6 - 14 York Road) should not be allowed to change.

Reasons:
  1. To safeguard the setting of the listed buildings: Trinity Arts and Theatre Centre, Trinity House, the Priory, Habitat (former Congregational Church) and the terrace 6 - 14 York Road. (--> especially: aerial views 1930 - 1970)
  2. To preserve amenity space for residents of York Road and Church Road and future occupiers of the many newly created dwellings on the former Telephone House and the future development on the ABC Cinema site.
call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comments 09.11.2005 — In other words, after the Telephone House fiasco, we do not want that this part of the Conservation Area will be damaged by development. link to info: Environs of Trinity
No consideration to
"the designation of an important Green Open Space in the Royal Tunbridge Wells town centre and
no change of land-use for the Environs surrounding Trinity Arts Centre, Royal Tunbridge Wells"

has been given for , - since 9 November 2005.


Green Open Space: Trinity Grounds and surroundings


The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE)
Parks and open spaces are once again widely acknowledged as central to creating and sustaining the attractive, stimulating, healthy communities in which we all want to live.
Nine out of ten people believe that parks and public spaces improve people's quality of life. But there is a lot of work to do to overcome the neglect that many parks have suffered over the past 25 years.
Fortunately, real change is underway with national and local government increasingly committed to the renaissance of urban green spaces.
With this change and increased profile come new opportunities, expectations and challenges for green space managers.


Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre - no maintenance of the building/environs
Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre, Royal Tunbridge Wells

— We think they have to become a cleaner and more caring neighbour.


Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
GOVERNMENT ACTS TO CUT ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME - Local Environmental Quality Minister Alun Michael - 15.07.2004:
"Our streets, parks, open spaces, town centres, and village greens are great assets. They form the heart of our communities. They should be places where we can all be proud and confident."

The Value of Public Space (CabeSpace 2004) provides an overview of the multiple contribution of urban greenspace to quality of life, including:
  • The positive impact of a high quality environments on business investment decisions and land and property values
  • Enhanced physical and mental health through contact with nature and increased opportunity for exercise, sport and physical activity
  • Higher levels of creative and challenging childrens play in green open spaces, particularly those with trees and woodlands
  • Potential reductions in crime and fear of crime through higher quality design and community oversight of open spaces
  • The ability of properly designed and managed public spaces to promote neighbourliness and social inclusion through a shared 'sense of place'
  • Improved air quality, shade and shelter and increased biodiversity, giving people access to nature 'on their doorstep'
Gleeds Surveyors - Trinity House Listed Building Consent

— Does it mean anything?

22 March 2005 — When the installation of huge ventilators in the curtilage of the Listed Building, "Trinity House", commenced, THNA asked if planning consent was needed. The Planning Department confirmed that advice had been given to Gleeds, surveyors, Church Road, Tunbridge Wells in January, but that no planning application had been filed.

Despite various residents informing the Planning Department of their concerns, the illegal works continued without any attempt by officers to intervene.

22 April 2005 — Gleeds filed a retrospective planning application after all works had been carried out.

27 May 2005 — Gleeds withdrew the retrospective planning applications!! Mr Prentis, Head of Planning Services wrote:
"The applicant has withdrawn the application. As a result we take no further action." - The units were switched on!

28 June 2005 — Gleeds filed 2nd 'part' retrospective planning application.

18 July 2005 — THNA filed again comments to TWBC.

10 August 2005 — David Prentis recommended to Councillors of the Western Area Planning Committee to grant planning consent, hence the works carried out illegally would become legitimate.

21 October 2005 — Gleeds submit details of proposed gates, railings and finials; a planter will be identified once the fencing has been erected. (planning application TW/05/3003/sub/ARJ)

30 November 2005 — John Kaye, TWBC Conservation Architect, reports to Tony Fullwood, TWBC Head of Strategy and Development.

January 2006 — Conditions to the planning consent have still not been met.

End 2006 — No enforcement.
Since 10 August 2005
conditions to the planning consent have still not been met for .


Improvement in the Town Centre, Royal Tunbridge Wells
Recent Improvements in the Neighbourhood


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