COMPLEX NEEDS Part of the council plan

And another thing…

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This ‘silent majority’ is lying low – and it seems the objectors are, too

Regarding your article [February 7] concerning Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s consultation on the new civic development, it should come as no surprise that one of the few people in the consultation strongly in favour is a prospective Conservative council candidate.

The first question that was asked of candidates being interviewed by the selection committee to become Conservative candidates in the May elections was to establish their views on the new civic development.

Any candidate expressing doubts about the scheme was rejected as unsuitable. I should know as I was one of them. Conservative candidates opposed to the scheme are likely to prove a little thin on the ground.

We are told that there is a silent majority of the public in favour of this scheme. If anyone has had a sighting of this ‘majority’ perhaps they can let the rest of us know, although a search for UFOs or the Loch Ness Monster might prove a bit more fruitful.

Robert Mayall

Tunbridge Wells

And the local Conservative Party’s response…

The Times invited comment from Andrew Kennedy, the Conservative Party Campaign Director for West Kent:

“What happens at an interview is confidential,” he said, “and quite rightfully we would never disclose what was said or why.

“This protects the applicant and the integrity of the process.

“However I can confirm that each applicant was asked a series of questions, and these questions were the same for all applicants.

“The applicant’s view of any specific policy (including their view on the proposed Civic Development) was not one of these questions.

“To state that the applicants’ view on the Civic Development was the first question asked is simply not true.

“Nor were candidates stating opposition to the Civic Development rejected.

“In fact, a number of incumbent councillors and new applicants who have expressed doubts about the plans were reapproved and will be standing for election as Conservative Candidates in May.”

Candidates are not so candid?

I was amused to read in your recent article ‘Criticism of Civic Complex continues with consultation’ [February 7] that only one response was in favour of the project, and he is a prospective conservative councillor.

Rumour has it, after the last round of selection meetings, that there is not a single new Conservative candidate who opposes the plan.

Kay Williams

Via email

BBC is a waste of parking space

So the BBC is objecting to the building of the Civic Complex and theatre on land adjoining Calverley Grounds, claiming the plans for the £90million development are ‘simply unworkable’ [February 14].

The corporation, through its lawyer Thaddaeus Jackson-Browne, says it does not oppose the plan in principle but believes the impact on the studios of BBC Radio Kent and South East Today will be considerable with lack of parking and noise and other pollution.

It declares: “The amount and level of disruption to the BBC’s day to day operations in respect to the logistics of deliveries, servicing and car parking for staff and visitors is simply unworkable and jeopardises the entire BBC operation at The Great Hall.”

Yes there will be some considerable disruption, there might be some dust, and you might have trouble parking – welcome to the real world.

I believe the BBC has around 30 parking spaces that will be temporarily lost, which means staff will have to do the same as hundreds of other local workers – find another parking space.

Many people use the car park on Major Yorks Road and walk the few hundred yards into town. Would that really be so bad? Plus the BBC would probably pay for the parking. Sorry, the licence payers would foot the bill for the parking.

It all begs the question as to what does having the BBC contribute to the local community?

Very little when put up against the benefits of having a new Civic Complex and theatre.

Michael Poulter

Via email

It’s our own little Brexit right here

Can you spot the similarities? An incoherent and ill thought through, largely Conservative ideology forcing hard Brexit upon us nationally and, coincidentally, a local Conservative cabal forcing the expenditure for an unwanted new Civic Centre upon us locally.

Well, they say you get the politics you deserve. Don’t be asleep at the wheel!

Wake up and lobby your councillor with your common sense.

Martin Dawes

Via email

Tonbridge council for me any day

The Boundary Commission is proposing that the village I live in, Bidborough, changes from the constituency of Tunbridge Wells to Tonbridge & Malling.

I hope that this will also mean our borough council will change to Tonbridge, so that I and my family will not be burdened with our share of the £90million debt the borough council wishes to spend on the Civic Complex.

I can see what the borough of Tonbridge & Malling spends some of its money on; if you walk down Tonbridge High Street, you can see evidence of that.

We have lived in the borough of Tunbridge Wells for over 20 years, and I am struggling to think of a single thing the council has actually improved in that time.

All I see is a cinema site that has remained derelict for 17 years, roads that are more congested than ever, and shops closing down everywhere.

I cannot imagine an extra £90million of debt will improve things in the borough.

Ian Lash

Bidborough

Bobbies know when they’re beat

Reading that Dave Pate is set to step down as Chief Inspector for Tunbridge Wells [February 14], he might have chosen a good time to go.

Severe budget cuts to the force have seen an estimated reduction of 20,000 officers since 2010, when a certain Theresa May became Home Secretary.

When Mr Pate started out in 1988, he had a foot patrol in The Pantiles, and the fact he said the idea now sounds ‘alien’ sums it up.

As new types of crime trend develop, such as the horrific drug gangs he mentioned, the police have less and less manpower to deal with it.

Unfortunately, the police are now less able to respond to calls and have to resort to spreading reassurance through posts on social media rather than having a physical presence.

It shocked me to read that the police are now considering bringing in more volunteers [January 24], presumably to make up the numbers.

The replacement for Mr Pate is yet to be named, but he certainly has a very tough job on his hands. I wish him the very best of luck.

Terry Campbell

Tunbridge Wells