02.05.01 - The Public Inquiry - Speech of Committee Member Peter Scott

The Civic Society, ignoring the residents - The Telephone House Development, Tunbridge Wells


My name is Peter Scott. I have lived at Church Road for the last 20 years.

My case for the rejection of the appeal is that the Civic Society, the council officers and Crest have failed to properly consult the people of Tunbridge Wells.

One meeting was held on July 27, 2000 between the above parties and some local residents. This meeting was closed by Dr. Philip Whitbourn (president of the Civic Society) before the main concerns of the residents had been heard.

There are no records of the July 27 meeting but the Civic Society in its Autumn 2000 Newsletter states that " the York Road residents who attended the July meeting were particularly concerned at the impact of development on the existing car parking spaces. "

This is not correct. Their particular concerns lie with the density of the development and the impact on the Conservation Area as well as the effect on the already inadequate car parking spaces in York Road.

There follow two further meetings on the 2nd and 17th August 2000 between the Civic Society, Crest and the Council - local residents were not invited.

The Civic Society did not respond to requests by The Telephone House Neighbours Association to discuss the matters.

Referring to the Evidence of Trevor Sutter I wish to draw your attention to:
" I met again with council officers and the Civic Society on 17.8.00 when I issued updated drawings to both parties. The details of this meeting are confirmed in my meeting core document 29). I felt from comments made at the meeting that the Civic Society members were generally happy with the scheme. D. Joyce, a member stated that he now accepted the revisions as tabled and P. Whitbourn, felt more work of traditional detailing would be acceptable to him. "

The Civic Society have decided not to oppose Crest’s appeal.

The object of my statement is to point out the fact that the Civic Society’s view, i.e. grudging approval of the application, is in conflict with both those of the local residents and hundreds of inhabitants of Tunbridge Wells who have signed the THNA leaflet opposing the scheme and that the Civic Society’s view should not be used by the appellant to support his application.

T H N A letter to the Civic Society 18 Dec 2000
T H N A e-mail to the Civic Society 17/01/01
T H N A e-mail to the Civic Society 23/03/01