Rumours are untrue says council but future of River Walk is still...

Rumours are untrue says council but future of River Walk is still a mystery

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Tonbridge Citizens Advice

Tonbridge Citizens Advice will have a new home in offices at the castle from next Monday but fears over the future of its current site in River Walk remain.

Residents took to social media to voice their concerns after rumours began circulating that the attractive character property, which is not listed, was going to be demolished to make way for a complex of apartments.

Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council has since refuted the rumours as being unfounded.

Citizens Advice, which has been located at River Walk since 2007, is transferring to vacant office space at the town’s castle as part of a review of community services.

Kent County Council has also confirmed plans to move its Gateway Services – which focus on skills learning, housing advice and access to voluntary groups – from the castle to an as yet undecided location in the next nine months.

April Clark, of West Kent Green Party, hopes the River Walk building can be retained for community use, and believes there should have been greater public consultation over such a move.

She said: “The Citizens Advice site has offices that have been used as public meeting rooms. This will now be lost when it moves.

“We’ve also seen development nearby at The Wharf in Lyons Crescent, on land previously used by the public, and people are concerned this might be happening with the Citizens Advice site.”

Adrian Stanfield, Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council’s Director of Central Services, said: “There has been no decision to sell or demolish the building occupied by the Citizens Advice in River Walk.

“We believe the move will benefit both the Citizens Advice and the council with no adverse effect on the important services it delivers.

Tonbridge Citizens Advice 2

In fact there will an additional advantage for residents who will be able to access both Citizen’s Advice and council services at the same location.

“We are reviewing a number of our assets in the town centre but any proposals that come out of that review will be reported to members for further consideration.”

Angela Newey, Chief Executive Officer of Tonbridge & Malling Citizens Advice, said the organisation was grateful to be offered space at the castle by the borough council.

The organisation dropped the use of the word bureau in its name last year as part of a customer rebranding exercise.