Civic Awards celebrate hard work behind great feats of architecture

Pam Mills

Mayor Len Horwood presented certificates to architects, visionaries, builders and committee members behind some of the most eye-catching projects finished this year.

Awards celebrated the work behind new builds, refurbishments to homes, restorations to objects and the preservation of historic scenery. 

The ceremony inside Town Hall on Thursday [October 11] also saw The Spa Valley Railway presented with the Community Contribution Award.

But judges decided there were no suitable candidates for their Shop Front Award with the overall standard ‘not very high’.

Brian Lippard, Civic Society Chairman, said: “We are keen to ensure the economic wellbeing of the town.

“We hope that architects will play a good part in shaping the town, so it’s not just developers making a buck or two. Our town needs to see really good architecture.”

Around 200 people, mostly from community groups around town, attended the ceremony inside the council chamber.

The Civic Society was founded in 1959 and is the official amenity society for the town. It is an independent association, representing the interests of all those living or working in the town.

Working alongside Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, the society comments on planning applications. It also organises Heritage Open Days and helps publicise historical insights into the town.

Concern about town centre projects

A FUNCTION of the Civic Society is to work with the council as a ‘critical friend’ and scrutinise all planning applications.

Members are well-placed to have an opinion about major developments in the town, and have cast concerns about some of the multi-million pound projects.

David Wright, Chairman of the Civic Society Awards committee, used part of his presentation to share his views on the town’s future landscape.

He said: “We are concerned about the Calverley Square civic complex and theatre.

“We are also concerned about the future of the present Town Hall and worried about the impact on Calverley Grounds – a Grade 2 listed park. We have no opposition to having a new theatre in principal.

“We consider the cinema site to be too large and bulky. If we are not careful Tunbridge Wells will end up looking like Croydon.”

Recognition for late festival organiser

THE success of the CAMRA Real Ale and Cider Festival was noted as The Spa Valley Railway was given the Community Contribution Award.

Now in its eighth year, the festival will return next weekend [October 19-21] and is expected to attract thousands to events – held along the train line from Tunbridge Wells West to Eridge.

The festival is the single largest fundraising event to keep the heritage railway on track and was originally the idea of Iain Dalgleish, who sadly passed away last year.

His widow Carole Dalgleish is still actively involved and was present at the awards ceremony alongside West Kent CAMRA Chairman Craig Beeson.

Winners of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society Awards



Reasons for award win

Award recipients

202 Forest Road, Tunbridge Wells

Transformation of family home into striking design

‘Remarkable example of drastic remodelling of a house not much more than a generation old’


Owners: Richard and Tara Gatt

Designers: Richard and Tara Gatt

Architect: Derek Briscoe, Acuity

Building Contractors: Ash Building Contractors Ltd


The Pantiles “Phoenix” Crest Restoration

Restored historic plaque in The Pantiles

‘Highly skilled reconstruction.

‘Very high finish of paintwork and gilding.’


Owners: Targetfollow

Restorers: Joseph McCarthy Ltd

Installation Contractors: RDF Maintenance Ltd


57 High Street, Tunbridge Wells

Renovation of one building

‘Sympathetic restoration of the oldest property in the high street’


Owner: Jean Barling

Architects: Jeremy Lodge, Kilo Architects Ltd

Building Contractors: Neil Johnson, Design & Project Management Ltd, Chiddingstone Causeway


Dunorlan Park Chalybeate Spring

Restoration of historic water feature

‘Careful conservation of a piece of Tunbridge Wells History’

Owner: TWBC

Project Initiator and Manager: Kasia Olszewska, TWBC Parks Technical Officer

Building Surveyor: Grant Hazell, TWBC

Building Contractors: Burslem Stonemasons, M.D. David Hall

Supporters: Friends of Dunorlan Park, Peter Russell, Chair


Samara, Camden Park

Stylish new-build home

‘Bold design with modern lines but still an unassuming house’


Owners: Daniel & Suzanne Howard

Designer/Architect: Neil Penfold, Penfold Architectural

Building Contractor: Jamie Cue, Ace Carpentry & Building Ltd


Castle House, London Road

Conversion of an old hotel

‘Attention to detail, both inside and out’


Owners: Newcourt Residential & Construction Ltd,                              MD Mr Karl Elkhadraoui and Director Mr Anouar Elkhadraoui

 Architects: Lytle Associates

Building Contractors: Newcourt Construction in Association

With STP  Steve Pepperal and Paul Jones, Directors


11 Calverley Park

For the Reinstatement of the Exterior of a Grade II* Listed House


‘High standard of design with matching stonework and windows’


Owners: Richard and Louise Mercer

Architect: Gordon DS Burles

Building Contractor: David Ablitt and Son

Stonemason: Southern Stone Ltd


The Studio, Cambridge Street

Refurbished house

‘No conflict with neighbouring properties’

Owners: Kate & David Azurdia

Architects: Kate & David Azurdia and Elly Ward Architects

Building Contractors: Liam Harbour (LDHC) Construction

Waterdown House, 51 Frant Road 

Recital Room Extension


‘Imaginative, yet sympathetic extension’

Owners: Richard Burnett MBE and Katrina Burnett

Architect/Designer: Laurence Peskett

Building Contractors: Derek Lefroy, Delfroy Contractors

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