Here is a selection of stories in this week’s Times of Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells. For more stories and the latest news, make sure to visit our sister site theknow.guide.

BREAKTHROUGH FOR BUSINESSES AS COUNCIL PLEDGES OFFICE PROTECTION

Moves are being made to stem the flow of offices in Tunbridge Wells being converted into residential properties with the borough council naming 20 sites that it wants to protect from developers.

In the past five years 22 per cent of office space has been lost causing some businesses to move out of the town centre.

It is estimated another 22 per cent of space is at risk, an issue highlighted by the Times in articles over the past 12 months. This is largely because in 2013 the government relaxed Permitted Development rights.
This made it easier for landlords to turn workplaces into housing as local authorities had little power to stop planning permission being granted.

Read the full story here.

THE TONBRIDGE COMMUNITY CAFÉ THAT NEVER OPENED IS UP FOR SALE

UNCERTAINTY surrounds the future of the community café at Tonbridge’s River Centre after it was put on the market.

The two-storey Gateway Café has proved to be a white elephant in the town because it has never been used in the six years since it was built.

The two-storey ‘landmark’ building on Medway Wharf Road is being sold by estate agents Bracketts with a guide price of £650,000 to £675,000.

Read the full story here.

TASTING SUCCESS AT TONBRIDGE’S POPULAR FOOD AND DRINK FESTIVAL

THE third Tonbridge Food and Drink Festival attracted more than 16,000 visitors to Castle Lawn over the weekend of May 26-27.

Around 60 stallholders dished up a range of treats from around the globe, while also showcasing some of the finest produce from the region.

Alongside Kentish cheeses, cakes and confectionery there were Balkan kebabs, Ghanaian stews, Thai curries and Mexican burritos.

Find out more here.

EX-POLICE DETECTIVE IS JAILED FOR POSSESSING INDECENT IMAGES

A former police detective inspector has been jailed for 18 weeks for possessing more than 22,000 child sex abuse images.

Max Holway, 54, of Boyne Park, Tunbridge Wells, was based at Tonbridge Police Station but left the force in March last year.

He admitted three offences of possessing indecent images of children last month and was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court last week.

Full details can be found here.

ROYAL VICTORIA PLACE SALE TO BRITISH LAND CONFIRMED

Major developer British Land has bought Royal Victoria Place, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has confirmed.

The deal was completed on Monday [May 21] with previous owners Hermes thought to have sold the shopping centre for around £96million.
Read more here.