And another thing…

    Southborough Hub Render

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    The Southborough Hub:
    One of the ugliest designs I have seen for years – where is the imagination?
    Ptolemy Dean [September 21] is so right. I have a very wide vocabulary, but can find no words that describe my horror at the proposed design for the Southborough Hub.

    It is one of the ugliest designs I have seen for years, and is of the kind of design and materials that in a few years’ time will age disgustingly and become an embarrassing, depressing eyesore. I have seen that design all over the UK, it is not unique, but despairingly is becoming more popular with ‘architects’.

    It reminds me of most of the 1960s designs for buildings, and I bet there isn’t one 1960s-type modern design that has stood the test of time and is regarded as a ‘beautiful old building’ that one points out to visitors.

    I love modern and minimalistic interiors, and have one myself, but I have yet to see that beauty in these kind of layered ‘prefab’-type buildings.

    Where is the imagination, where is the beauty of bricks and other building materials? Where is the roundness and softness and quality. Where is the awe and delight?

    It must not be allowed to go ahead. It will be a canker, a spreading sore, on the beautiful skin of Tunbridge Wells and its environs.

    Jebby Hall
    Tunbridge Wells

    BGT: Taking advantage of people
    I couldn’t help but laugh at the lack of turnout [September 14] for the Britain’s Got Talent auditions. To be clear, I have no doubt that our vibrant town has multitudes of undiscovered talent just waiting for their moment in the spotlight.

    But I really doubt (and it seems that the residents of Tunbridge Wells share my opinion) that this vacuous show, which takes advantage of the desperate and the deluded for cheap laughs, is the positive way to career fulfilment.

    If you’ve got a talent you should work hard at it all the time as you make your way up from the bottom.

    I believe we should not tolerate people being humiliated on national television as they are deceptively coaxed into thinking they may have a shot at success.

    I hope the rest of country follows Tunbridge Wells’ example by not showing up to auditions and we can put this show behind us.

    Nigella Thornton
    Via email

    Cyclists: Going round the bend
    Cyclists in Tunbridge Wells are driving me round the bend.

    It’s bad enough that those of us who live in the country have to put up with gangs of Lycra-clad freaks coming down from London and treating the Garden of England like a theme park – would they ride in a ‘peloton’ on Tonbridge High Street? Or The Strand, for that matter? No they would not.

    But now cyclists seem to think it’s okay to ride on the pavement in town. It’s just downright dangerous, and it’s not good enough for them to say that they can get out of the way because they are so talented at riding a bike.

    How can they anticipate how an old gent or a young kid might react to seeing some brute on two wheels speeding towards them?

    I seem to recall that there was a time when you were only allowed on pavements if your wheels were of a certain small size – in other words you were a kid. And there’s nothing wrong with that, we can all live with errant toddlers weaving around if it keeps them off the roads and out of harm’s way.

    But we don’t have to put up with overgrown kids trying to save two seconds of their valuable time because there’s a car in their way.

    So get back on your cycle paths…

    Robert Grant
    Via email

    Grammars: Inflexible dogma and prejudice
    Those who claim there is no evidence that grammar schools promote social mobility are unfamiliar with the history of selective education.

    When such schools were available throughout the country they provided a means for those who were academically inclined, regardless of their economic background, to receive an appropriate education, leading on to worthwhile careers.

    It is only since the ideologues of the educational establishment have succeeded in reducing the number of such schools significantly that they have been regarded as elitist.

    The solution is not fewer grammar schools, but a full restitution of the number that existed before inflexible dogma and prejudice were allowed to undermine what was a ladder to success for pupils from even the poorest families.

    Colin Bullen
    Via email

    Grammars: Not the meritocracy they promise to be
    As a self-professed optimist, I applaud Cllr Hall’s vision [September 14] of a Britain full of grammar schools, where the best rise to the top and catchment area premiums are a thing of the past.

    The statistics, however, do her argument no favours. Only 3 per cent of grammar students receive free school lunches compared with a national average of around 20 per cent.

    Factor in the private tutoring that many children from privileged backgrounds will receive, and suddenly grammars aren’t the meritocracy they promise to be.

    I should remind her that high house prices are a problem for the whole of the south east, not just Kent, and they can be explained in one word: London.

    They will not drop here unless May’s Government acts, rather than talks about incentivising growth and investment in other parts of the country.

    Cllr Peter Lidstone
    Lib Dem Cllr for St John’s

    Local apples: Imported bananas are cheaper
    I note that we shall have a bumper crop of English apples this year (again).

    Perhaps someone can explain to me why, despite the plentifulness, English apples grown five miles away cost £2.50-£3 per kilo, whilst bananas grown over 4,000 miles away cost 72 pence per kilo?

    And does the glut mean that we shall see entire crops left to rot unpicked, as in previous years?

    John Ward Moorhouse
    Via email

    Calverley: His use of the third person
    The writer has been away and has only recently caught up with [columnist] Calverley’s response [September 14] to his criticism of Calverley’s use of the third person – in particular, referring to himself as ‘Himself’, a capital no less.

    The writer is always flattered to be included in the Letters Page, but in being referred to in Calverley’s esteemed column the writer’s cup over-floweth.

    Whilst the writer is, self-confessedly, old-fashioned, the writer does not regard this as a limiting factor – unless it is in the writer’s inability to understand Calverley’s tailpiece to his response.

    The writer remains, faithfully yours,

    Ben Hardy
    Tunbridge Wells