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 2008
2008
TW Flats / TW Lettings
occupy with 6 cars
the 55'x15' land opposite No. 8 York Road

"Love Where We Live"


December 2008 — The unchanged attitude of
TW Flats'/ TW Lettings' - Justin Fletcher,
Adam Pooley, Neil Burton, Catherine Wittenberg -
reflects little appreciation for our neigbhourhood
regarding the Council's well received campaign.

If it this not ignorance, what then?

call@telephonehouse.org.ukYou would expect that agents making their living on promoting real estate would put an effort in keeping areas they are advertising, worth living.
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
RTW Town Centre Open Space - Protection of Trinity's lawn
Environs of Trinity
RTW Town Centre Amenity


13 December 2008
— Protection of Trinity Garden's lawn?

In April it looked like fixing bollards would be a start that the trend is reversed that every open space is used as space for parking cars!
How wrong we were trusting the good intentions!

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Question Who allows this?
What is the purpose to turn this open space amenity into a poorly maintained and disreputable place?
Changing Community Life in Britain - The way we live now

1 December 2008 — Analysis of census data (during the last 30 years) reveals how neighbourhoods in every part of the UK have become more socially fragmented. The study assesses the health of a community by looking at how rooted people are in their neighbourhood.
The causes of social fragmentation are linked to mobility. Increased wealth and improved access to transport has made it easier for people to move for work, for retirement, for schools, for a new life. The decline in marriage, increasing divorce, immigration and a growing student population are also said to be contributory factors.
Cinema site - RTW Top 'Grot Spot'- as seen from opposite, from the Town Hall's roof
Royal Tunbridge Wells'
top grot spot


12 November 2008 —
The former ABC Cinema,
Nos.10-15 Ritz Building Church Road,
Shops in Nos.51-67 Mount Pleasant Road,
Hill House and Clanricarde Medical Centre, Clanricarde Road,
will finally be demolished and redeveloped after Councillors of the Western Area Planning Committee approved plans and drawings by applicant Rydell Properties TODAY.

In September 2008 Panter Hudspith Architects, the winner of the design competition for the "Cinema GROT SPOT", submitted their planning application for a New Hotel/Office and Retail Development.
The cinema is empty for , - since December 2000.
Tunbridge Wells Gateway - opening 3 November 2008
Tunbridge Wells Gateway — TWBC's Customer Services

The Town Hall will be closed to the public from Monday 3 November 2008
when all Council services will be delivered from the new Tunbridge Wells Gateway
at 8 Grosvenor Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells (not far from Fiveways - opposite Cafe Costa - close to Cafe Nero).

Open: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 9am - 5pm; Thursday 9am - 6.30pm; Saturday 10am - 4pm.

Get access to various Council Services and Partner Services (inc. Kent County Council) - e.g.
-- Acquire Zone C PARKING PERMITS for RESIDENTS and CONTRACTORS (e.g. builders, plumbers dispensation notices)
-- Find out about planning applications, housing, private rented sector, volunteering
-- Pay your Council Tax, parking penalities
-- Report grot spots in the street scene, issues with food hygiene or noise nuisances
RTW Information Drums in 2008 - High Density Development of Telephone House site in 2000
Norfolk Grange

"Telephone House Development 2000-2007"


October 2008 —
on the new information drums' posters in Royal Tunbridge Wells:

a far fetched artistic interpretation of the crammed high density development on the former Telephone House site (Church Road / York Road)
call@telephonehouse.org.uk - QuestionWould we not all have been happy 'that vision' had been followed through in 2000?
Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre, Church Road, Tunbridge Wells - Directors
Trinity Theatre — Changes:
Arts Centre's Director leaves - The Cafe's New Lessee: "Morello@Trinity"


16 October 2008 — Jonathan Salisbury (artistic programme) will leave again, after 2 years, in February 2009.

Board of Directors: Fiona Fountain, Chair - Carole Wanless, Vice Chair - Cllr Peter Bulman, Company Secretary (since 2007) - Stephen Mason, Finance Director - Caroline Elliott, Peter Emanuel, Felicia Foreman, Cllr Len Horwood, Hugo Wuyts.
audit commission - external inspections www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk - CPA 2008
Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA)
of the Borough Council

undertaken by the Government's Audit Commission
October 2008 — The corporate assessment will look at the way in which the council conducts its business, its ambition for the community, the way in which it works with partners, its capacity to improve, its leadership, how accessible it is, its effectiveness and its community leadership role.
As a starting point the Audit Commission will use the council's own self-assessment which illustrates TWBC's journey
since it was found to be a ‘weak’ Council in 2004.

TWBC Self-assessment At one time we only reacted to criticism, now we lead by example...
TWBC Case Studies "I made a difference!"

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - QuestionTunbridge Wells - The People, Place and Council: "Have you made a difference?"
Do you need Planning Permission? — Important changes to the rules

1 October 2008 — There have been a number of important changes to planning legislation which alter what can and cannot be done without the need to make a planning application.
The changes affect the size and location of extensions and outbuildings that can be built, the provision of solar heating panels and the formation of hardstandings in front gardens (construction of a driveway or other paved area).

New Rules for Permeable Surfacing of Front Gardens — Pros/Cons - Do/Don't
Cinema Saga since 2000 - 'Grot Spot' elimination? - exhibition model - KM/120908
Cinema Site -
"Building on the Ritz"


25 September 2008 — Panter Hudspith Architects' presentation materials for the former Cinema Site / Ritz Building (Mount Pleasant Road / Church Road) in the town centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells

New Hotel/Office and
Retail Development
(Views, Model)


12 and 13 September 2008 — Public consultation will take place in 59-61 Mount Pleasant Road (formerly Jones Shoes). An exhibition is organised by Panter Hudspith Architects and Lordland Europe.
Leave your comments regarding the redevelopment of the Cinema site / Ritz building!

Send your comments regarding the redevelopment to planningcomments@tunbridgewells.gov.uk (ref: 08/03119 Demolition and 08/03126) TWBC Planning Application Search (the former cinema site, Nos.10-15 Ritz Building, Church Road; Nos.51-67 Mount Pleasant Road; and Hill House and Clanricarde Medical Centre, Clanricarde Road)
The cinema is empty for , - since December 2000.
Tunbridge Wells Heritage Open Days 11 - 14 September 2008
CABE - Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment - www.cabe.org.uk - Public Space
Public Spaces - Creating civilised spaces

18 August 2008 — As the Olympic Games reach a climax in Beijing, CABE is challenging every local authority across the country to create public spaces fit for 2012. "2012 will be a massive test of the quality of our public space.
Not just in London, but right across the country when people gather in all the major civic spaces to watch and celebrate. - So are we ready?"


Standards for great public space against which local authorities can judge their parks and squares:
  • An inclusive space: does everyone feel welcome and safe?
  • A distinctive space: does the space contribute to local character?
  • A healthy space: does the space encourage active lifestyles?
  • A sustainable place: is there a long-term plan for effective management and maintenance?
  • A green place: softer, greener, natural surfaces will adapt much better to climate change.
call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comment We agree that radical new thinking in urban design may point the way forward.
"The future of design should emphasise on people and environment and NOT on cars!"
link to info: Core Strategy - various stages Jan 2007 - March 2008
- Comments to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council - Local Development Framework - Core Strategy – 2007/2008
Consultation 07.08.2008 - 30.10.2008 -  localaccountability@communities.gsi.gov.uk
Consultation until 30 October 2008: Improving Local Accountability


7 August 2008 — Improving local accountability consultation is the first in a series of Communities in Control consultations flowing from the recent White Paper (July 2008). This consultation covers the implementation of the overview and scrutiny provisions in the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007. It seeks views on how to develop overview and scrutiny powers to hold local officers to account and how to facilitate the work of councillors.

WRITE to: localaccountability@communities.gsi.gov.uk
www.communities.gov.uk - NEWS 09.07.2008
White Paper: Communities in Control


First, the announcement of the plans for The Empowerment White Paper (5 March 2008), link to info: Plans for The Empowerment White Paper - 5 March 2008
followed by the Community Empowerment Bill (15 May 2008) link to info: The Empowerment Bill - 15 May 2008

9 July 2008 — The White Paper "Communities in Control" is published !

Communities in control: real people, real power - The key barriers to greater participation include lack of interest or understanding about local governance; negative perceptions and lack of trust in public institutions; lack of awareness of how to get involved and inaccessible recruitment practices and scepticism about the difference participation will make.
English Heritage - heritage sites at risk 08.07.2008
Heritage at Risk — One in Twelve heritage sites 'at high risk'


8 July 2008 — English Heritage has announced the completion of the first phase of Heritage at Risk, a register that Lord Bruce-Lockhart, its chairman, referred to as a Domesday Book of heritage sites. It covers almost 500,000 historic buildings, monuments, battlefields, shipwrecks and landscapes. "The first results of this new report reveal that overall, of the 70,000 protected heritage sites assessed so far, no fewer than one in 12 is at high risk of neglect or decay or inappropriate change," said Lord Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, the former leader of Kent County Council (1997-2005) and the former Chairman of the Local Government Association.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council - Enhancement Projects / Heritage and Environment link to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council - Enhancement Projects & Heritage
Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre, Church Road, Tunbridge Wells - Open Air Play Summer 2008
Open Air Theatre — at Trinity Gardens


5 July 2008 — "Twelfth Night" - Shakespeare’s classic comic tale - from Tuesday 15 July to Sunday 20 July, 8pm
(Sat and Su matinee 3pm)
KCC - Zone C Residents Parking Tunbridge Wells - 4 July 2008
Parking Zone C - Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre (Culverden ward / partially Park) link to info: January 2008 - Parking Zone C
4 July 2008 — On Friday 13 June 2008 public notices were placed in the Kent and Sussex Courier and in those roads affected by the proposed amendments. Following a three week support/objection period, the proposals shall be reviewed in light of any comments received and the Orders can be made and implemented in due course.

Explanatory Notes:
1.) "Part Two of this Order amends the existing no waiting 8am to 6pm restriction to include Sunday in those roads listed in the schedule."
2.) "This Order introduces limited waiting on a Sunday, reduces the timed restriction to between 8am and 5pm and introduces a residents parking only restriction between 5pm and 8pm.
- The inclusion of Part Five in article 14 means all residents in Zone C shall be eligible to purchase visitor's permits."

Town's Car Park Charges 2008/2009 implemented from 13 July 2008
In the evening, after 6pm (4pm on Su.), and during the night, until 8am (10am on Su.), the town's car parks are FREE !
Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre, Church Road, Tunbridge Wells
Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre


9 June 2008 — Trinity introduces 'Pay and Display' car parking (Mo - Sat 8am - 6pm).
The most important benefits of Trinity Garden (former burial ground/churchyard): link to Environs of Trinity, sites with an area of heritage value
architecture, history, landscaping, wildlife, green open space, local outdoor amenity
for the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre
www.lovewherewelive.co.uk
Love Where We Live - THE BIG CLEAN UP!
1 June 2008 — The "Love Where We Live" campaign is a campaign to celebrate community pride, embrace it and to grow it so that those who live here now and future generations can benefit. The campaign will launch with a "Big Clean Up" across the borough on Friday 6 June 2008, for which TWBC is encouraging borough residents to clean up areas where they live or where they feel need for it. — Love Where We Live - The Big Clean up!

CONTACT: streetscene@tunbridgewells.gov.uk
www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk - Overview and Scrutiny
Troubled of Tunbridge Wells?
26 May 2008 — "If there’s something that concerns or frustrates you, an event or an issue,
in fact anything that affects you as a resident in the borough then let TWBC's Overview & Scrutiny know and
the committees will consider starting a Scrutiny review to investigate further."


Overview and Scrutiny plays an important role in the efficient running of a Council. Its aim is to hold the executive to account, carry out policy reviews and engage with the public on issues of local concern.

TWBC Overview and Scrutiny function is carried out by three Select Committees, coordinated by a Management Group:
- Corporate Services Select Committee
- Environment, Safer and Stronger Communities Select Committee
- Local Economy and Housing Select Committee

RTW Town Forum submissions to Scrutiny Team 25.05.08 and 08.06.08 - www.townforum.org.uk RTW Town Forum submissions to Scrutiny Team / Overview & Scrutiny Committees
Results of Residents' Parking Zone Review - Zone C - 20 March 2008
Parking Zone C - Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre (Culverden ward / partially Park) link to info: January 2008 - Parking Zone C
19 May 2008 — Gary Stevenson (Head of Street Scene and Environmental Services):
"Orders to advertise the NEW Zone C will be announced at the end of the week commencing 26 May 2008."

— On Friday 13 June 2008 public notices were placed in the Kent and Sussex Courier and in those roads affected by the proposed amendments.
Taxis at the end of York Road - 'ASK THE LEADER' www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk
Taxis at the end of York Road

15 June 2008 — The situation is calm at the moment.

29 May 2008 — . . . (TWBC) Licensing Team have a good working relationship with our Private Hire Operators, and by contacting them by letter, and follow up phone calls to the major operators, should stop Private Hire cars parking in York Road. — RB

16 May 2008 — The Licensing Team are aware of complaints regarding to the taxis at the end of York Road and are currently looking into the matter. — RB

14 May 2008 — FIVE taxis? . . . . . How about 13 on Saturday last, between 10.30 pm and 3.30 am, and TWO taxis waiting for the off at 5.00 am (among these, all numbers noted, the Town's Hackney Carriages, distinctive by the red light on top of the cab).
On Sunday last, 21 taxis came into, parked, and left York Road between 6.30 pm and midnight. All numbers recorded.
No, I did not sleep on Saturday. The night was very warm, and the constant door slamming, talking and laughing
(o.k. the drivers are entitled to laugh and talk), engines kept running when a driver of a cab/cabs decides to stop alongside his chums - usually two parked on Habitat's (double) yellow lines and one car parked on the side opposite (single yellow line), therefore leaving no room in the road - has a chat for 3 minutes, and goes on his way.
- Laughable, but simply not fair. Why York Road, Mr. Bullock? - York Road is a residential road. Your Hackney Carriages most certainly should not be parked here, so I am afraid your answer to Mr. Cassidy is incorrect.
Last night (Tuesday), before midnight, there were FIVE cars ready to roll!
It has got to stop. There is plenty of room in Calverley Road, outside Jaeger, the lighting shop and the pub. Here, there are no residents to disturb. — BC

9 May 2008 — My understanding of the legal position posed by your questions is as follows - driving on the pavement is a matter for the Police to enforce. Private Hire vehicles can park on any public roads whilst waiting for a booking from their operator however they must not ply for hire. — RB

16 April 2008 — It seems that Streamline Taxis have decided that York Road is their new parking space
as over the past few weeks as many as five taxis have been parked on the pavement by the Police parking bay. link to info: parking on pavement
This is always on a Friday and Saturday night. I presume this isn't legal? — CC
www.communities.gov.uk - NEWS 15.05.2008
New Community Empowerment Bill to harness petition power


15 May 2008 — Three new rights to right local wrongs (Communities Secretary Hazel Blears) link to info: The Empowerment White Paper - 5 March 2008
  • A new right to ask for a stronger say on spending decisions that affect them or their communities.
  • A new right to ensure councils consider the sale or transfer of under-used properties, lands or parks to local community groups, co-ops and social enterprises.
  • A new right to force a debate on specific local issues onto the council agenda.
Hazel Blears also called for a stronger, more talented, and more diverse league of Councillors - what she described as a 'new generation of leaders' of all ages and disciplines to recruit to local Councils, and for employers to release more talent from the business world into councils.

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Questions What happened to the agendas of Culverden Councillors? Will Culverden Ward Councillors deliver their agendas?

Culverden/KCC TW-West Councillors' Agendas since 2005 If elected I will . . . . . . — Councillors' Agendas since 2005
(Leonard Price, John Miller, Ronen Basu - Culverden; John Davies - Kent County Tunbridge Wells West
Disguisable alternative to a satellite dish: The Sqish
New Disguisable Alternative to a Satellite Dish: — The Sqish

May 2008 — The Sqish can be aimed at mid and high powered satellites including Astra, Hotbird and Eurobird. It can be used to receive Sky and Freesat in the UK.

Reasons to use a Sqish:
· Discreet - extra discreet with 'sqishoflage' sticker
· Small - 48cm wide and 26cm high, 7cm deep
· Coastal towns - no rust!
· Areas sensitive to planning restrictions (minimise environmental impact)
· Conservation areas and listed buildings (subject to regulations)
· Mobile use - caravans, mobile homes, etc.
· Dish stigma - "don't want a dish!"

It can be camouflaged to help it blend into its surroundings with the addition of a 'sqishoflage' sticker created from a digital photo. Take a picture of the location where the Sqish will be sited and a UV-stable matt finish sticker will be provided.
www.twconservatives.com
Next Local Elections (CULVERDEN ward) will be held on 1 May 2008

— Tony Benn (former Labour Member of Parliament) in SICKO
(Documentary Film 2007 - Michael Moore)

"Democracy is the most revolutionary thing in the world, far more revolutionary than socialist ideas or anybody else's idea. - If you have power you use it to meet the needs of you and your community. And this idea of choice which capitalism always talks about 'you got to have a choice' - choice depends on the freedom to choose and if you are shackled with debt you don't have a freedom to choose. People in debt become hopeless and hopelss people don't vote. See, they would say everyone should vote but I think if the poor, in Britain or the United States, turned out and voted for people representing their interests there would be a real democratic revolution. And so they don't want it to happen. So, keeping people hopeless and pessimistic I think there are two ways in which people are controlled:
- first of all, frighten people; - and secondly, demoralise them.
An educated, healthy and confident nation is harder to govern and I think there is an element in the thinking of some people 'we don't want people to be educated, healthy, and confident because they would get out of control. The top 1% of the world's population own 80% of the world's wealth. It is incredible that people put up with it but they are poor; they are demoralised, they are frightened, and therefore they think perhaps the safest thing to do is take orders and hope for the best."


call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Comments - QuestionsCorporate Peer Review - Tunbridge Wells Borough Council October 2007 - analysed:
"the peer review team identified that staff morale was low in some areas and we suggest that the council gives consideration to seeking out further opportunities."

What is the demoralising factor at the town hall? - But, do 'they' take orders?
Urban Front Gardens
Front Gardens and Patios - RTW Town Centre Amenity

RTW Town Forum is seeking the prevention of recurrence of the conversion of front gardens into off road car parking spaces. The result is a gross deterioration in the appearance of the RTW Conservation Area and alters the character of the RTW Conservation Area beyond all recognition.

19 April 2008 — "Home buyers and sellers believe that a garden can add as much as 17 per cent to the value of a property, while nearly 3/4 of people said they would be instantly attracted to a property that had a well-tended front garden." — propertyfinder.com / kentnews.co.uk
call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Questions Then, why does it appear that more and more front gardens / patios are lost in the town and every open space is used as a hard standing area for parking cars?
Look @ — e.g. Beulah Road, Boyne Park, Clanicarde Gardens, Claremont Road, Lonsdale Gardens, Mount Ephraim Road, Queens Road, St James Road, Upper Grosvenor Road, York Road
Parking on Pavement
call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Questions 18 April 2008 — This isn't legal?

Parking on the pavement may also cause damage to the kerb, the pavement, or the services underneath. Repairing such damage can be costly and local authorities may face claims for compensation for injuries received resulting from damaged or defective pavements.
In some areas pavement parking is prohibited by a local Act of Parliament, and it may be prohibited elsewhere in particular streets or parts of streets by traffic regulation orders. Enforcement may be a problem unless TWBC is able to take on the responsibility through the arrangements being developed under the Road Traffic Act 1991.
Various physical measures are however largely self-enforcing.
Is this Royal Tunbridge Wells? - Grot Spots and 'Highways: High Standard?' - revisited in April 2008
Is this ROYAL TUNBRIDGE WELLS in 2008? — Grot Spots revisited

10 April 2008 — RTW Town Forum Powerpoint Presentation:
Grot Spots in Royal Tunbridge Wells (Nov 2005, Oct 2006) and Highways Grots (March 2006, May 2007)

All pictures are examples only of the various topics:
dilapidated buildings, empty buildings, untidy land - sign clutter, real estate signs, town signs, road signs, direction signs (damaged, not maintained, dirty) - lampposts (defect, strapped), stumps - commercial refuse bins, litter, cigarette butts - bollards, info drums, railings, benches - graffiti - dog fouling - maintenance of pavements (tarmac, bricks, ATMs) - parking - front gardens, forecourts, patios
RTW Town Centre Open Space - Protection of Trinity's lawn
Environs of Trinity - RTW Town Centre Amenity

9 April 2008 — Protection of Trinity Garden's lawn

The trend that every open space (with or without lawn) has to be used as a hard standing area for parking cars, must be reversed.
— Fixing bollards at Trinity Gardens — this is a start!

TWBC Validation Advice Note - April 2008
Development Control Validation Checklist — TWBC Planning Services

03 April 2008 — The Validation Checklists and Advice Note have been amended to reflect many of the comments received during the consultion (18.02.08-28.03.08).
The Advice Note seeks to assist to ensure that planning applications contains all the necessary information and that TWBC can deal with them effectively and efficiently (prepared in conjunction with the Kent Development Control Officers Group).
"Average traffic flows in the borough are about twice the national average".
(Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Strategic Plan 2008-2011)
Results of Residents' Parking Zone Review - Zone C - 20 March 2008
Parking Zone C - Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre (Culverden ward / partially Park)

Parking Zone C - changes, visitor permits, additional parking bays
call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Questions 28 March 2008 — One step further? - and what happens to the other issues? link to info: January 2008 - Parking Zone C
Finally, the letter was posted to residents!
The red tape is getting longer. ". . . the Traffic Regulation Orders will be advertised and any objections received be reported to the next meeting of the Joint Transportation Board but if no objections are received the order be made . . . "
LDF Core Strategy Consultation - 3rd stage - Submission 22.03.2008
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE OF THE TOWN AND THE BOROUGH
— Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Local Development Framework (LDF) - Core Strategy

Will our input pass the 'pink blinders test'?

22 March 2008 — Submission to Core Strategy - third stage - 'Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment - Methodology'
Comments to Core Strategy, 3rd stage, 'Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment - Methodology' - 22 March 2008

In January 2008 - 'Preferred Options' was the second stage in the process of producing the Core Strategy link to info: 7 January 2008 - Submission to Core Strategy, 2nd stage - Questionaire

In March 2007 - 'Issues & Options' was the first stage in the process of producing the Core Strategy link to info: 27 March 2007 - Submission to Core Strategy, 1st stage - Questionaire
which will set out how, where and when all types of development will take place up to 2026.

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Questions Royal Tunbridge Wells' new housing is mainly built on windfall sites (sites not identified in the Local Plan).
Why is this trend continuing despite the Government calling for the opposite?
Planning Advisory Serives - www.pas.gov.uk
Getting engaged - How to involve communities throughout the planning process

March 2008 — Councils should start early, keep communicating and ensure that as many people as possible feel able to make a difference to their local area.

Councils can do this by: developing an integrated approach - engaging early (under the new planning system communities must participate in the initial preparation of LDFs and at key stages throughout the production of plans; communities should also be involved during pre-application discussions on development proposals affecting their area.)
- building up communities to participate - providing independent advice and mediation - investing in broad community engagement - providing feedback - evaluating engagement (Nov 2007)

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Questions 'til such a document is even accepted by our Local Authority
much more water needs to run down Royal Tunbridge Wells' "Mount Shabby"!
www.communities.gov.uk - New Code of Conduct for Local Councillors 03.05.2007
The Empowerment White Paper


5 March 2008 — Communities Secretary Hazel Blears announced plans for a new White Paper, The Empowerment
White Paper, to be published in the Summer 2008, focused on empowering citizens. A new survey reveals that:
  • 6 in 10 people do not feel they are given an adequate say on how local council services are run;
  • more than 9 in 10 people believe accountability of councils (officers and councillors) could be improved;
  • nearly 4 in 10 people do not feel councillors are representative of their communities
  • 6 in 10 do not believe councillors adequately reflect their views.
The Empowerment White Paper, will aim to reverse this trend. Working with local councils and community organisations,
it will help to put more communities in control. Local people will have new opportunities to reconnect with their councils and to provide input to improve local services.

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Questions What happened to the Urban White Paper - 16.11.2000 ?
What happened to the order of the Code of Conduct for Local Councillors - 3 May 2007 ?

In Tunbridge Wells only effective 1 October 2007, the Borough Council resolved to have addtional clauses which reduce the power of this document Code of Conduct for Local Councillors - TWBC addtional clauses
'Grot Spot Elimination' - Competition Winner Feb 2008: Panter Hudspith
Former Cinema and Ritz Building, Mt Pleasant/Church Rd
Grot Spot Elimination - Competition Winner:

27 February 2008 — News

Plans/photos/links/previously approved scheme:
The Competition and Supporting Information


Panter Hudspith Architects are the winner of the competition to provide the concept designs.
www.ProblemNeighbours.co.uk
How to deal with 'ProblemNeighbours' . . .

19 February 2008 — Very comprehensive public interest website - www.problemneighbours.co.uk - focusing on coping with noisy, aggressive or inconsiderate neighbours (Be a Good Neighbour, Respecting Neighbours, Neighbour Issues, Resolving Issues, Rights, Taking Action).
RTW Town Centre Open Space - Environ of Trinity
Environs of Trinity - Town Centre Amenity

15 February 2008 — The contribution of urban green space to quality of life.
"Our open spaces, parks, streets, 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."
(Government acts to cut environmental crime - July 2004)

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


15.02.2008 — £2.5m of council tax dodged by residents
in the Tunbridge Wells borough

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Questions Why only talk about non-payment of residents' council tax?
How often have business rates been dodged by businesses in the Tunbridge Wells borough? Which figures have gone uncollected during the past 5 years?

Spring 2007, last year's question was: —
Does the owner pay BUSINESS RATES? - for the empty shops, the empty cinema and for the car park, link to - former ABC cinema, empty shops of the Ritz Building, car park - Mt Pleasant/Church Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells
as empty property reduces the value of adjoining properties and the wider area and adversely affect the neighbourhood.

The answer is: — "The total amount charged since 2000 is £85,388.92. Parts of the site were still occupied in 2000";
- that means that effectively only about £10,000 of that amount came back to Tunbridge Wells!
At present there is no Valuation Office Agency's rating assessment. (www.voa.gov.uk)
The cinema is empty for , - since December 2000.

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre - Millineum Clock / Five Ways - Town Centre Indicators Report 2007
Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre Health Indicator Report

Ten key indicators are used to assess the health of the town centres of Royal Tunbridge Wells:
evening economy floorspace, retail floorspace, vacant retail property, footfall, retail yields, retail rents, retail sector employment, crime, transport and air quality.

Town Centre Health Indicator reports are produced each year for 17 town centres in Kent. The latest reports have been produced in February 2008 (data/information of 2001-2007). The report will be updated in January 2009.

Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre - Indicators Reports 2007 - published Feb 2008
(Grade II listed) Summerhill House, 73 London Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells
Summerhill House - 73 London Road

28 January 2008 — Finally, some progress to bring the empty house into use,
one of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum's Top Grot Spots! link to - What's the future of the Grade II listed building - empty for more than a decade

Part change of use, conversion and alterations to form seven apartments comprising one bedsit, five one-bed and one two-bed apartments, alterations to existing cottage at rear, and associated access and parking
Applicant: Sion Holdings Ltd - Agent: Broadlands, Royal Tunbridge Wells

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Questions Neighbours can comment until 27.02.2008 (8 dwellings, 6 parking - 0 for visitors)!
— This proves that the Council still has to go a long way to become credible regarding involvement with third parties at very early stages! (ie neighbourhood & Town Forum).
- And? Has the impact on the community's infrastructure been considered? link to Community Infrastructure Levy

End of March 2008 — Bob Dunn gives the go-ahead for 8 dwellings ignoring neighbours comments to lower the density.
10 April 2008 — Jim Kehoe, Head of Planning: "we did have pre application discussions with the applicants. The current National and Local Development Plan policies point us towards maximum car park standards rather than minimum, so is why that we did not have a reason for refusal on those grounds."

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - QuestionsWhere could "the scheme for the provision of Youth and Adult Recreation Open Space" go, when the area surrounding the house (former front and rear garden) "shall be retained as vehicle parking spaces for the use of the occupiers and visitors" ?

TWBC Planning Portal - 73 London Road, RTW



Information on an empty property in the town Royal Tunbridge Wells can be e-mailed to: housing@tunbridgewells.gov.uk
Report an Empty Property - The Kent Empty Property Initiative: www.no-use-empty.org

Around 1,400 homes in West Kent are known to be empty for six months or longer
(about 600 across Sevenoaks district, 460 in Tunbridge Wells borough, and 288 in Tonbridge and Malling)
Link to: Review Parking Zone C - 11/2006
Parking Zone C - Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council's surveys in November 2006 and again September 2007


"Average traffic flows in the borough are about twice the national average".
(Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Strategic Plan 2008-2011)
Joint Transportation Board - Meeting 21.01.2008JOINT TRANSPORTATION BOARD - 21 JANUARY 2008

Conclusion — 'As the majority of residents who respond voted in favour of the proposed changes we should proceed with the proposals' (survey Sep/Oct 2007):
  • residents should be able to buy "Visitors Permits"
  • restrictions should be changed to 1 hour limited waiting Monday to Saturday 8am to 5pm;
    and "Permit Holders Only" 5pm to 8pm
  • Sundays should be included in the restriction change?
Overview and Scrutiny Local Economy and Housing Select Committee - Meeting 17.01.2008OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY LOCAL ECONOMY AND HOUSING SELECT COMMITTEE - 17 JANUARY 2008

Conclusion — 'TWBC Cabinet (Meeting on Thursday 7 February 2008) be recommended to':
  1. Investigate the feasibility of introducing free of charge parking for Zones B and C residents
    in town centre car parks on Sundays;
  2. Further review the possible impact of vehicles parking on single yellow lines on Sundays
call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Questions 7 February 2008 — When are we finally there ?
Caroline Elliott, Traffic Engineer, informs: "Once Gary Stevenson (Head of Street Scene and Environmental Services) and Richard Powell (Director for Services to the Community) have approved the letter with the results consultation, the letter will be posted to residents and the Traffic Regulation Orders will be advertised and any objections received be reported to the next meeting of the Joint Transportation Board but if no objections are received the order be made . . . . "

This is red tape at its worst.
P.S. And, - further delays may have to be expected due to Caroline Elliott's maternity leave!

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


1 February 2008 — The Arts Council have confirmed today that they have cut their entire £77k grant funding to Trinity with effect from 1 April 2008.

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - Question And what now? — Believe it or not Trinity had recently a petition going on to gain public support . . . but found it obviously too tedious to gain some sympathy in their immediate neighbourhood !

Trinity still gets £90k - Tunbridge Wells Borough Council's grant 2008/09 link to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council's grant
The most important benefits of Trinity Garden (burial ground/churchyard): link to Environs of Trinity, sites with an area of heritage value
architecture, history, landscaping, wildlife, green open space, local outdoor amenity
for the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre
www.kent.police.uk - West Kent
Announcement of Tunbridge Wells Urban Neighbourhood Policing Team

28 January 2008 — Police Constables (PC) and Police Community Support Officers (PCSO)
Town Centre Royal Tunbridge Wells: PC Paul Ayling, PC Phil Smith, PCSO Ashleigh Allen
Culverden Ward: PCSO Claire Cockburn, PCSO Nick Anderson / Park Ward: PCSO Laura Bryant
Tel: 01892 502104, e-mail: tunbridgewellsnhp@kent.pnn.police.uk
www.communities.gov.uk
The new Community Infrastructure Levy


24 January 2008 — Under the current system, only 14 per cent of all residential planning permissions make any contribution to the cost of supporting infrastructure, and these generally cover the largest schemes.
However, even minor developments generate a need for infrastructure and services in an area.

TWBC's Core Strategy (Core Policy 1 - Development in Royal Tunbridge Wells) quotes under 7.9:
Historically (over the period 2001-2007), some 74% of the Borough's new housing has been built at Royal Tunbridge Wells/Southborough. The majority has been on unidentified previously developed land and through maximising potential of allocated brownfield sites. Change of use, or redevelopment, of commercial premises in Royal Tunbridge Wells and Southborough have accounted for the largest proportion of new dwellings compared with other sources.
(e.g. Local Plan policies - housing allocations)

call@telephonehouse.org.uk - CommentIs this admitting the mistakes of the past?
Notoriously TWBC relied (against government advice) on windfall sites in RTW to fulfill their targets,
seemingly without considering the impact on infrastructure.
Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre, Church Road, Tunbridge Wells
On the other side of Church Road - "Campaign to save theatre"


The impact of the Mega Grot Spot CINEMA site is showing its devastating and demoralising effect on its surrounding.

22 January 2008 — Local residents comment on facebook.com:
"When I look out of the window Trinity is every time in my view. link to Trinity Grounds / Trinity Gardens
If those involved in its running and functioning would see what I sometimes do, they might understand better that it is hard to see dedication by staff and volunteers to keep this place looking like 'prime' and a show case for the Community and the town centre! . . . and that is only about 1/3 of the story!!"

"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."

"What is wrong with the Marketing of Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre? link to info: Trinity Announcement Boards
Look at the display board right in front of the Town Hall, where their events are advertised (with the Assembly Hall)!

"Just to put things into proportion, Arts Council England is axing subsidies to 194 organisations, around 20% of the total that it funds. - And more perspective, it seems that total funding nationally is going up, according to the Financial Times (Sunday 20.01.2008)."
Former Cinema and Shops - Mt Pleasant, Church Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells
Former Cinema Site

CIRCUS OF HORROR
on Church Road/Mount Pleasant, Royal Tunbridge Wells

22 January 2008 —
How much is the impact on the area?
When will be Grot Spot Demolition?
When will it happen?

The Interior - Photos 07.03.2006
The cinema is empty for , - since December 2000.

Cotswold Outdoor, Royal Tunbridge Wells, 01.12.2007 - Habitat closed 11.02.2007
Reinstating Neighbourhood Values

18 January 2008 — Cotswold Outdoor / Ismail (Cafe) / UK Cycles
is 'part of our landscape' since 30 November 2007 link to Habitat

We have assurance of Kevin Allpress, the store manager, that:
Greensolve will collect rubbish at 12 noon on Wednesdays;
warehouse deliveries will be between 8am and 1pm.
Tunbridge Wells Alcohol Control Zones - 1st Schedule June 2006
Proposed extension of Alcohol Control Zones in Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre

14 January 2008 — A review to expand the current zones (2006/2007) was conducted at the request of Tunbridge Wells Community Safety Partnership, following reports of alcohol-related anti-social behaviour outside the existing areas. The proposals drawn up encompass an extra 79 roads in and around the town centre as well as 16 car parks, 3 recreation grounds, Royal Victoria Place Shopping Centre, The Corn Exchange (Pantiles), Woodbury Park Cemetery and additional areas on the Tunbridge Wells Common.
LDF Core Strategy - Submission/Comments to 'Preferred Options' - 07.01.2008
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE OF THE TOWN AND THE BOROUGH
— Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Local Development Framework (LDF) - Core Strategy Online Consultation

Will our input be taken into consideration?
TWBC - www.tunbridgewells.gov.ukTWBC Local Development Framework - Core Strategy - Consultation Draft - 'Preferred Options' - Dec/Jan 2008

7 January 2008 — Submission to TWBC's Core Strategy - second stage - 'Preferred Options'
For the RTW Town Centre the emphasis should be on the people and the environment and NOT on cars!
Comments to Core Strategy, 2nd stage, 'Preferred Options' - 7 Jan 2008

In March 2007 - 'Issues & Options' was the first stage in the process of producing the Core Strategy link to info: 27 March 2007 - Submission to Core Strategy, 1st stage - Questionaire
which will set out how, where and when all types of development will take place up to 2026.
Private Sector Housing Enforcement Policy
TWBC's Private Sector Housing and Initiatives Team (PSH&I Team) is responsible for enforcing a wide range of statutory provisions relating to housing conditions affecting the health and safety of occupants, visitors and occupants, visitors and occupants of adjoining properties.

9 January 2008 — The PSH&I Team will submit to TWBC's Cabinet its report which seeks approval of the draft Private Sector Housing Enforcement Policy for public consultation with stakeholders and the wider community.

www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk -  Property Asset Management Plan Nov. 2005Draft Private Sector Housing Enforcement Policy

The differences between the Government and local landlords start with their understanding of why housing markets fail? The Government's 'advisory' Green Paper that preceded the 2004 Housing Act highlighted, 'unscrupulous landlords (were) often linked to criminal activities such as housing benefit fraud, drug dealing and prostitution. These activities are destabilising communities, creating a range of social and economic problems, and seriously hampering efforts at regeneration.' (NFRL - Successful Renting)
What else was of concern Jan 2005 - Dec 2007? - The Telephone House Neighbours Association, Royal Tunbridge Wells
WHAT ELSE WAS OF CONCERN ? — Jan 2005 - Dec 2007

What else was of concern Jan 2005 - Dec 2007? - The Telephone House Neighbours Association, Royal Tunbridge Wells

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


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