Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society - Newsletter Winter 2001 / 2002

Introductory Notes

Planning .... - Telephone House

For lovers of Tunbridge Wells the Telephone House Appeal was not the happiest event of 2001. The result was not what we wanted, and the town is left with a bill for legal costs.
The Director of Operational Services was asked to consider what lessons could be learned from the affair. His report sought to avoid the issue of blame. Reading it, though, the phrases that most readily spring to mind involve right hands not knowing what left hands are up to, and houses divided against themselves not standing.

The report makes various recommendations: a more flexible approach to these large scale developments; encouragement of developers to engage the community in the early stages; earlier briefings of members on larger applications; and more training for members in the details of planning law.

We must hope that these recommendations are followed up. Over the last forty years the various regulations that protect our historic towns and countryside have been greatly strengthened. But we need a conscientious team of officers, and councillors who are knowledgeable and determined, and prepared to respond to public concerns, to ensure that they are applied.
The fact that the report did not seek the views of anyone outside of the Council is not encouraging.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council's Internal Inquiry into
the Telephone House Debacle

The Telephone House Neighbours Association, Tunbridge Wells
The aims are to heighten peoples' awareness and concern for the controversial high density development on
Telephone House site, Church Road / York Road, Tunbridge Wells.