Appeal for Town Hall to stop taking pot shots at rifle club

Nusrat Ghani
TRIGGERED: The TWTSC is in the Council's sights

The rifle range used by Tunbridge Wells Target Shooting Club [TWTSC] in Warwick Park is in the Borough Council’s sights for redevelopment to help the Town Hall pay its Covid debts.

The club was founded in 1903, when Lord Abergavenny donated the land to the town after he learned of the poor marksmanship of British soldiers during the Boer War.

The site, which can accommodate five houses, has been earmarked for residential development on a number of occasions over the last 13 years.

The Council, which is currently looking for assets to offload as it seeks more than £2million to replenish its cash reserves following the Covid crisis, is promising to relocate the 115-year-old rifle club when eventually they sell it off.

Club Chairman Nigel Bent was unable to comment, but he did say they were in talks with Greg Clark, MP, and were seeking further clarification from the Council about their future, but councillors are worried any attempts to now sell off the rifle range could ‘kill the club’.

Local Lib Dem councillor and former army officer James Rands said he would raise the issue of the Council selling off sports facilities in a motion at Wednesday’s Full Council Meeting [July 7], and was urging fellow councillors to ensure a replacement venue is in place before any site is sold.

He told the Times: “I want to raise the issue for a number of reasons. Firstly, we are obligated to find them a new home under the national planning framework, so it is worth reminding the Council we are not doing the rifle club a favour, we’re obliged to do it.

“Secondly, I don’t want clubs like this to have to find a new home because it will kill the club. It doesn’t matter what type of sport it is, whether it is a rifle club or boxing club, if they have to stop for any amount of time, people will leave or move on – it kills the club.

“Thirdly, the Council has to be careful as this land may not be worth as much as the cost of finding equal or better facilities for a new rifle range, which could end up costing up to £1million.”

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council say no formal decision has been made on whether to ‘dispose of this site for residential development’, but a spokesperson added: “A planning application has been made and following the planning decision a report will be made to Cabinet providing full options for the site. Cabinet members will consider the report and take a decision about the site.”

Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter