And another thing… Letters to the Times of Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge (14th June 2017)

And another thing... Letters to the Times of Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge

Size of bill for civic complex is making councillors lose sense of perspective

The annual pay-back sums for the new £72million town hall and theatre are ‘peanuts’ according to our dear leader, yet the cost of a referendum on it is a ‘matter for consideration’, according to Cllr Huggett arguing against one [Times issue dated June 7]. There seems to be a serious lack of perspective here.

She goes on to argue about ‘the cost of not going ahead’, but this is pure speculation. If she has a crystal ball, perhaps she should take a punt on the National Lottery and save the taxpayer a lot of money it doesn’t have.

As for a referendum being ‘entirely within the gift of the council’, well, let them try that one on and get away with it. Anyone want to chance it? 

One leader down and another in troubled waters; now that is worth a punt.

Edward Baker

Tunbridge Wells


Flexibility needed for dramatic change

Calverley Grounds is a gem and should be left alone. For an up-to-date theatre, gut the existing Assembly Hall, remodel it internally by providing a flexible seating and performance space and match theatres like The Young Vic, Manchester Royal Exchange, Hull’s Gulbenkian or the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough.

Flexible seating tiers mean you can have any configuration you wish, thrust, end stage, traverse, in the round, etc. If you want scenery, have it – but without flies (note how few London shows use flats today); you can use projections, symbolic hangings, floor decor, etc to add an informative visual element.

Flexible seating means the central performance area can be used for artists (think Lang Lang or Kissin in the Albert Hall), for bands/singers/stand-up comedy and so on. 

You can also have a removable film screen, not to compete with quality films at Trinity but for blockbusters that attract large young audiences.

As for multi-use, redesign the foyer, make it a bar and café; build out at first-floor level with a cantilever-supported restaurant overhanging the road.

Yes, this will cost, but less than a Calverley scheme, and it will not destroy a Victorian jewel. 

There’s also a convenient large car park alongside the existing theatre – a free bonus.

John Elliott

Via email


Surely you must live here to really care

Cllr Jukes [Leader] does not understand the democratic process. While he sat relaxing in calm and peaceful Crowborough last week, town residents were suffering unacceptable noise into the early hours from MooMoo nightclub and the Alfresco festival. Meanwhile, the members of Tunbridge Wells Cricket Club were seeding and repairing their wicket and outfield, which had been left unplayable for a prestigious Kent county match by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s appointed contractors Sodexo.

Perhaps Cllr Jukes will take some of his £72million peanut pot and use it to sort out the true concerns of residents he was elected to serve.

Our borough does not need a property developer in charge, encouraging congestion in our traffic-clogged streets. 

It is obvious that to really care about Tunbridge Wells you do have to actually live here!

Kay Williams

Tunbridge Wells


We need fewer rights, not more police

We can double, or increase by tenfold or a hundredfold, the number of police on the streets, but this will not prevent these terrorists, so arguments about ‘police cuts’ are spurious. 

You could put a policeman, armed or otherwise, on every street corner and it would not guarantee success. Armed police ensure containment – possibly – not prevention. 

A more fundamental approach is needed now and – much though I say it through gritted teeth – I am prepared to forsake some of my rights to tackle this scourge.

We’ve got to stop pussyfooting around and being so bl**dy PC about it and remember: The good guys have to win every time; the bad guys just once.

John Ward Moorhouse

Tunbridge Wells


Pushing the boundaries of knowledge

John Hurst [Letters, June 7] shows a singular lack of understanding of how the Boundaries Commission works: It is independent, not in the hands of any government; and it is there to ensure a continuing and proper ‘representation of the people’, designed to recognise demographic shifts and to ensure, so far as is possible, that MPs continue to be elected by equal-size constituencies.

It is not for [MP] Greg Clark to ‘float the idea’ as
Mr Hurst says. The decision is not within his or any other politician’s gift.

As for his recommendation to vote for any colour except blue, he should remember that one of his colours – orange – pulled the plug on the Boundaries Commission’s planned reorganisation when Nick Clegg withdrew his support in a fit of pique when he was deputy leader of the coalition government.

There is no gerrymandering, the process ensures that no ‘rotten boroughs’ evolve, and the next commission will examine and call for a reduction in the number of MPs.

His recommendation to vote for colours other than blue is risible and a total waste of a vote, too.

Ralph Steerpike

Tunbridge Wells


Sir Roger Moore – for your eyes only?

If Bryan Darby [Letters, June 7] is convinced that Sir Roger Moore lived in Harland Way, Southborough, for several years, I wish that he would kindly inform the Southborough Society (telephone 01892 532708) with dates and house number, please. We have heard the rumours but no one has been able to provide the evidence, and we really would like to know.

Maxwell Macfarlane



Labour coverage doesn’t get my vote

I have been impressed by the balanced local coverage that the Times has given to the general election, with fair space given to all parties.

However, I was concerned to see the opposite on your national coverage page [May 31]. You published two articles on the Conservatives attacking Labour and reported a mistake Jeremy Corbyn made on the radio. 

There was no mention of well-reported Conservative gaffes, such as Michael Fallon on defence and Theresa May’s failure to debate – or any of Labour’s criticisms of the Tory party.

With reported concerns over the Conservative bias in much of the national print media, it is worrying to see this pervade our local press. 

Mary Arigho

Via email


More cricket at Nevill would be big hit

I feel, as many cricket fans do in Tunbridge Wells, that Kent should play more county cricket at the Nevill. 

Not only is it a lovely ground, it is easier to get to than Canterbury, the crowds are good and it is a great boost for tourism.

If enough people put forward the same opinion as myself, hopefully the cricket authorities will take note.

Steven Larmour

Tunbridge Wells



Observations on life and more important things…

NOT often you hear this, but three cheers for Southeastern. Calverley was at Tunbridge Wells station last week when a young woman, obviously close to giving birth, shouted out of the door of a train: “Get on quick, mum, it’s about to leave.” The mum raced to the nearest door only to see it slam shut in her face, whereupon she screamed: “My daughter is on that train and she’s heavily pregnant and I have to be with her. You have to let me on.” The message got passed down the train and lo and behold the doors reopened and all ended happily. Commuters will know Southeastern normally refuses point blank to reopen doors.

OFF to hear this chappie address a local networking event where he mentioned graduating from a top notch university and winning a major industry award. Being a suspicious type, Himself just had to check out his background. Seems the speaker never actually graduated and he didn’t win the prestigious award – he came second. Why do people have to peddle such blatant untruths?

HAVE you ever heard of such a thing as a stag-do rehearsal? No? Don’t worry, Calverley hadn’t either until the other day. But they do happen. This groom-to-be went away on such a trip with a group of friends. During the long weekend in Latvia he jumped into a pool and busted his ankle, then fell over and knocked out a front tooth. He had to cancel the real stag night, but had a tooth implant in place on the big day. You live and learn.

RINGPULLMAN is alive and well. Calverley popped into the TEDx speaking event at the Assembly Hall over the weekend and there sat in the back row was the man himself. He first appeared on our streets two years ago zooming round town on his power trike raising money for charity. And today we still have no idea who he is. Some say it’s Council Leader David Jukes. Himself is not wholly convinced.

Chin, chin readers

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