And Another Thing… Letters to the Times of Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge

    The Nevill basks in the sunshine as Kent take on Sussex last month

    Cricket week combines community with a boost to our town’s economy

    Tunbridge Wells is blessed with one of the most beautiful cricket grounds in the country. It is a short stroll from the station along the old High Street with all its shops, cafes and businesses, and past The Pantiles, our historic centre.

    Cricket week is an advert for the town and provides both an immediate and long-term boost to local businesses in the shape of visitors and people looking to move here.

    The numbers bandied around about the cost of the event are unclear, but whatever the true number, it will be less than the boost to the local economy it provides.

    More important than that, the matches themselves are wonderful community events with a strong history.

    The council and my fellow residents should be fighting to keep, strengthen and capitalise on cricket week rather than argue over the cost.

    Whilst we’re at it, the council should consider and protect similar events in the town – such as the jazz, the markets, food festival, the music festivals and anything to do with theatre.

    All of these combine business opportunity with community, and should be the ethos of our wonderful town.

    Toby Brandon

    Tunbridge Wells

     

    We need more room for events

    Lionel Hanmore [June 7] comments on the council’s apparent lack of interest in maintaining sports facilities, in contrast to its enthusiasm for enormously expensive and chancy capital schemes.

    This is the way of the world now: Capital expenditure is good (kudos for the politicians) but maintenance expenditure is bad (boring).

    Look at Dunorlan Park. The Lottery-funded refurbishment raised it to an excellent state, but clearly maintenance expenditure has been insufficient to keep it in such good condition since.

    On the western side, where the events field is located, the path surfaces are in disrepair, the paths and accesses are obstructed by overhanging vegetation, and scrub remorselessly encroaches on to the sward.

    The walked paths that have not been surfaced are poached by heavy foot traffic, exacerbated by regular running events for large numbers putting far too much wear on the grass.

    I am not against running (I go for the occasional stagger myself), but Dunorlan is not the Ashdown Forest, and does not have the size or resilience for constant intensive pounding by large organised events.

    Instead of speculating millions of our money on the gamble of a fantasy theatre project, why doesn’t the council maintain its existing assets properly, and indeed acquire more land to meet the need for recreation space for all the residents of the town, and provide a venue where large events could be accommodated? Call it a country park, if you like.

    Unless priorities change, Grosvenor & Hilbert Park will follow the same pattern as Dunorlan, and all the good work and efforts of staff, contractors and volunteers will be wasted as it goes backwards once the Lottery effect wears off.

    John Telling

    Tunbridge Wells

     

    Abuse services charity needs help too

    Thank you for drawing my attention to the important work done by the Domestic Abuse Volunteers Support Services, otherwise known as DAVSS [June 7].

    I had no idea an organisation like this existed locally. Although I am not a victim of domestic violence myself, it is good to know that charities like this one operate on a local level, working with both female and male victims.

    It is also encouraging to learn that DAVSS are fully supported by the Kent Police & Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott, and are receiving vital funding, although it is probably nowhere near enough.

    That is why coverage such as yours will hopefully help to raise further awareness of DAVSS’ important work and, of course, shine a spotlight on the ongoing issue of domestic violence, whether the victims are men or women, and encourage more people to speak out about it.

    Sally Evans

    Via email

     

    Clark paid for letting his town down

    I am not surprised that more than 6,400 people in the borough of Tunbridge Wells decided not to vote for [MP] Greg Clark this time around.

    Many people in this town are proud to represent the silent 48 per cent who did not want Brexit.

    The fact that we were the only part of Kent that chose to stay in the EU makes us feel different – and in this day and age I’m happy with that.

    But Mr Clark is such a toady to the Tory elite, he refused to back the views of his constituents. How can he expect them to keep supporting him?

    And just before Parliament went into recess, there was the small matter of Mr Clark voting to scrap the Dubs Amendment, which Lord Dubs – who was given sanctuary in this country after fleeing the Nazis – set up last year to provide protection for 3,000 unaccompanied child refugees.

    I don’t know what kind of people Mr Clark thinks live in our town, but I’m not one of them. Bring on the next election! And the one after that.

    David Sharp

    Tunbridge Wells

     

    Some concerns you just can’t spin

    What a mess we’re in – the unattractive offer of heartless strength and stability under the Maybot has been rejected by the British electorate.

    Why, even the Labour movement is seeing a resurgence in Tunbridge Wells, the best in 43 years according to your front page [June 14].

    That’s right, the middle of Middle England saw more in Jeremy Corbyn than they did in even Tony ‘Don’t worry vote for me, I’m actually a Tory’ Blair.

    What could it all mean? I would suggest that the offer of still more austerity for schools and hospitals was just something that even the best Conservative campaigners found hard to sell.

    It is all well and good to say there is more funding than ever, but when your elderly relative is stuck in A&E for hours and your child’s school is asking you to pay for textbooks then that spin just isn’t going to work.

    The middle class has a heavy tax burden placed upon them, but they want to see something in return. When fundamental services appear to be crumbling in front of your eyes, the pretence that everything is fine and dandy just won’t cut it – even if you are the disgusted of Tunbridge Wells.

    Francis Stone

    Via email

     

    Support Brexit till the bitter end

    Last week Brexit was placed at risk by a weak, unstable and incompetent Conservative Government, propped up by the DUP, who are only looking out for the interests of Northern Ireland and not the country as a whole.

    It’s been pointed out, and will be several more times over the next few weeks and months, that UKIP is done, it no longer has a place.

    Those people are wrong. The events of the last week have only strengthened our position. UKIP are the only ones that will hold the government to account to deliver Brexit.

    Make no mistake, we are still here and we will campaign to the bitter end. I urge those who voted to leave, or those who have changed their mind, to hold the government to account.

    Naz Mian

    Chairman, UKIP Tunbridge Wells

     

    CALVERLEY: Observations on life and more important things

    VARIOUS descriptions have been used to describe Tunbridge Wells, but the one Calverley heard the other day takes the biscuit. It came from comedian Stewart Lee, who trooped into town for his show at the Assembly Hall and then, after enjoying our hospitality, later wrote in his column for The Guardian newspaper that Tunbridge Wells is ‘a town so solidly middling it has been twinned with Carluccio’s’. The man also told the audience that he much preferred performing at the nearby Trinity Theatre than the Assembly Hall. Just wait till we have our new council theatre, you won’t get an invite.

    ANOTHER thing that caused Himself to chuckle last week was an encounter with Health and Safety. His newspaper colleagues were invited to set up a table at an Assembly Hall event they were ‘partnering’, whatever that means. Nothing to it really, you might think. Wrong. Along came the request for them to carry out a Risk Assessment. People were deeply worried about ‘the long hours’ people might have to stand up if ‘they are not used to this’. It would never enter their heads to grab a chair and sit down. Happily, the newspaper did not accept the invite to put up a table. Hey ho.

    CALVERLEY noted a comment by Kent’s new top-ranked spin bowler, Pakistan’s Yasir Shah, who said how much he was looking ‘forward to playing in front of the Kent supporters at Canterbury and Beckenham’. No mention of Tunbridge Wells, where the row rolls on over the state of the pitch and the possibility of no more county games in town. Maybe he knows more than we do. Not too hard, that.

    ONE more sign of inflation. Himself was forced to call at the Esso garage at Cross in Hand to put some air into the old Silver Cloud. Imagine his shock when he was required to deposit £1 in the slot just to get the air pump working. It used to be 20p. One despairs.

    Chin, chin readers