Controversial development due for rebrand

Pam Mills

THE Civic Complex development, which will see a new theatre and offices built in the centre of Tunbridge Wells, is to be rebranded as Calverley Square.

Members of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council were told of the change on Monday with the new name being applied to the project as a whole as of Friday. Names and addresses for the individual components of the new development have yet to be decided.

Explaining the move, Cllr Tracy Moore said: “The name civic development is a little bit dry and does not mean much to many people. Some also associate the word ‘civic’ exclusively with the council.

“Even though we have been talking about it for years we still have people who are not really clear on what it entails.

“So Calverley Square is four elements, it’s the underground car park, the office -  which will allow the council to be run more efficiently as well as create space for local businesses – the new public square between the two buildings, and finally the theatre.”

Cllr Moore said the project will be: “An investment in the town for the benefit of future generations in the borough.”

However, the name change has not impressed many who already oppose the development.

Bob Atwood, leader of the Tunbridge Wells Alliance, said: “You can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig.  I think this old expression describes the proposal admirably.

“Changing its name changes nothing; in fact, it could be described as a blatant attempt to re-brand something which, by inference, the public at large already see as unpalatable and unacceptable.”

Cllr Ben Chapelard, Leader of the opposition on Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, said:  “The re-brand is a desperate attempt by the Conservatives to dress up their unpopular project. No amount of expensive spin or PR will hide that it is the wrong project, in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

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