Courier 19 April 2002 Page 5


Telephone House talks welcomed

By Mary Harris

The developers of Telephone House came face to face with its Neighbours' Association and .Tunbridge Wells MP Archie Norman.
[ also present: Kent County (Tunbridge Wells Town Centre) Councillor Roy Bullock and Tunbridge Wells Culverden Ward Councillor Leonard Price ]
The politician arranged the meeting on Friday to discuss the contentious development which has probably caused the biggest stir in the town's planning history.

Developers Cala Homes, which has inherited the permission to build 43 flats from Crest Nicholson, said that it was prepared to talk.

Mr Norman said: "The bulldozers may move in this summer but, at best, the meeting provided the start of better communication between residents and the developers. "We now have a face behind the name and I am grateful to Arthur Mann, the land director at Cala Homes, for taking the time to join us. He told us Tunbridge Wells is a town they are keen to be involved in. At least they have taken the courage to come and meet with us."

Describing the meeting at the Town Hall as an important step forward, Mr Norman said there were a number of points Cala Homes had promised to consider before it began building works expected to take between 17 and 22 months.

After the meeting Cala said it was keen to keep people informed of its plans particularly those neighbours living closest to the site who would be most affected by building works.

Telephone House Neighbours' Association, which campaigned tirelessly against the plans which it considered too dense and out of character with the streetscape, was heartened by the meeting.

A spokesman said: "We are hopeful because Cala Homes has demonstrated it is prepared to engage in a dialogue. It will be in the interest of all parties if the new developer takes the opportunity to review the plans which nobody in Tunbridge Wells finds acceptable."

For the first time the association mooted plans to buy the site and venture with a developer to produce a scheme which would fit into "the sensitive area".

Notes of the Meeting 12.04.2002:
The Telephone House Neighbours Association and CALA Homes (South), Staines, Middlesex

A guide through Tunbridge Wells Local Press since August 2000 - "The Telephone House Debacle"