Courier 27 October 2000 Page 3

Unanimous rejection of plan for Telephone House

A plan to demolish Telephone House and build 43 flats in Church Road, Tunbridge Wells, has been thrown out by the borough council.

The unanimous vote came after worried residents submitted a 42-page document slamming the proposal over fears of traffic congestion and damage to the environment.

Joint applicants Kent-based Crest Homes and British Telecom firm Southgate, were told their bid to build four blocks in less than one acre was "a fallacy" (1) by York Road residents’ association speaker Annemarie Topliss.

Crest Homes land director, Andrew McPhillips, warned councillors at a tense planning meeting on Wednesday last week this proposal could be the only way to get rid of the current "eyesore".

But planning chiefs hit back and said they would not approve the application on the grounds "they might get something worse".

It is the second time the companies’ application has been refused by the council. It would have seen one five-storey, one four-storey and two three-storey blocks built, with six flats allocated for affordable housing.(2)

The 19m high Telephone House, which has been unoccupied for almost two years, lies in a Conservation Area and was built in 1962.

Mr. McPhillips refused to comment after the meeting.

(1) "a fallacy" [deviation from truth] was used in connection with the officers’ report.

(2) 8 flats of affordable housing were planned, not 6!

The Telephone House Development - a guide through the Local Press