A Large tract of Calverley Grounds will be closed to the public for two years once work begins on the Civic Complex development, it has been disclosed.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is legally bound to publish maps showing the full extent of the area affected by the works which when completed will see a new theatre, office block and underground car park built adjacent to the park.

Several areas will be permanently appropriated for the project, including the Mount Pleasant Avenue car park, the Great Hall Car Park and the entranceway to Calverley Grounds, which is due to be widened and turned into a public square.

Much of the land within Calverley Grounds itself will only be temporarily appropriated whilst the work is ongoing between September 2019 and December 2021. All of the land being used is owned by the council itself.

The main entrance from Mount Pleasant will be sealed off for the duration of the work.
Members of the council who back the project say the maps could be a bit misleading as much of the area highlighted for use will not be permanently boarded off.

Councillor Tracy Moore explained: “What is closed to the public is a lot smaller than the map shows. The map is what we legally have to show for the appropriation letters which are required by law. There is a lot of scope for misunderstanding.”

Cllr Moore said some people had misinterpreted previous letters sent out to businesses near the project site, believing they were plans to buy out the shops and restaurants.

This is not council policy, she said, adding: “I think it is important to explain the context so the issue of appropriation does not get exaggerated.”

In addition, much of the area covered by the hatched lines is simply included because of the overhead ‘crane swing’ – the area covered by the full rotation of the cranes used on the project.
Further parts of the hatched area are to be used to deposit topsoil that will be planted with grass seed.
The Times understand approximately half of the hatched area will be behind hoardings and out of access for the entire two years.

Cllr Nicholas Pope, of the Tunbridge Wells Alliance who was elected in May on a platform opposing the development said people are going to be ‘shocked’ when they see the appropriation plans.