Lack of venue claims are unfounded says council leader

    Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council Leader, Cllr Nicolas Heslop

    THE leader of the borough council has defended the closure of the Teen and Twenty Club in Tonbridge following a complaint that it means the loss of another venue which could be hired for social events.

    The Chair of the Barden Residents Association, Mark Hood, highlighted the decline of live music venues in the town, claiming that it is ‘impossible to hire a hall in Tonbridge for a licensed weekend’.

    Mr Hood said: “In the past few years we have lost the Wharf to development, Mojo’s will no longer be a venue either, the Nelson Arms [set to close March 2017] held gigs and a comedy club.

    “The Teen and Twenty stopped hiring their hall for events over the last few years and the Angel Centre has removed the bar from the Riverside Room to stop it being used for social events.”

    He pointed to the number of venues in Tunbridge Wells, arguing: “It cannot be right that anyone wanting to attend a gig or go dancing has to get on a train.”

    When the Times put these view to Cllr Nicolas Heslop, who has led Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council (TMBC) since 2012, he rejected the picture that Mr Hood had painted.

    He said that as the Teen and Twenty does not currently hire its facilities for events, its loss will not impact on the number of venues adding: “I do not agree that there is no provision for community focussed events in the town.  The Angel Centre is available for hire and does offer community rates for special events both in the Riverside and the Medway Hall.

    “Other facilities provided by community clubs are also available for hire. Most notable examples include the Angels Football Club and Tonbridge Juddians Rugby Club.  The Castle grounds are a recognised venue for outdoor concerts and the annual music festival regularly includes community bands. There is also West Kent College, as well as a number of schools and church halls available for hire.”