Last week Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society announced the winners for its annual awards. Eileen Leahy talks to the organisation’s Chair Dr David Wright about which local buildings and monuments have been recognised this year
Eight of the town’s buildings and monuments have been awarded special architectural recognition by the Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society (RTWCS).
Tunbridge Wells’ adjudicators of good taste hosted their annual awards event last Thursday evening (October 12) at Christ Church in the High Street.
Awards celebrate the work behind new builds, refurbishments to homes, restorations to objects and the preservation of historic scenery.
Last week’s ceremony, which saw Mayor Hugh Patterson in attendance, revealed the decisions made by an esteemed judging panel. As in previous years, it was comprised of architects, planners, former English Heritage and lay members.
During the evening RTWCS Chair Dr Wright gave an illustrated presentation, explaining the work of the Civic Society and how the awards were selected. He also explained the society’s role in scrutinising all planning applications as well as offering comments, advice and support.
He even touched on the reasons why the Society objected to the development of the town centre Cinema Site saying: “The main reason for this is the scale of the eight-storey building compared to its surroundings – and the fact that it will be the third facility for later life living in or near the town centre, which has a real shortage of affordable housing for younger people.”
A function of the Civic Society is to work with the council as a ‘critical friend’ and look in detail at all planning applications.
Dr Wright revealed that although a private scoring system is used for the RTWCS awards, the panel were almost ‘unanimous’ in their selection of the top scoring properties which were selected from a shortlist of over 20 candidates.
Awards were given for a sensitively designed wall in a conservation area, new architectural mouldings on an historic bridge and an impressive brownfield development.
Seven awards were given in total – along with a special new Community Contribution award for this year which went to The Kitchen Table on Camden Road.