Parish Council Report - December


Parish Council Report
December 2017



The View from the Pavilion (note by the PC Chairman)

I am pleased to report that Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has approved the designation of the whole of the Parish as the area for our Neighbourhood Plan - thank you to those residents who wrote in support of the application. A consultancy has been selected to help us with developing the Plan; it is expected that they will be starting work after Christmas. In the meantime, I should like to thank the residents who have volunteered to join the Steering Group, or to act as a Champion for the Plan; the Council greatly appreciates their generosity.
Grateful thanks are also due to Beverley and Martin Holmans for organizing the annual clear-up of Matfield Pond, a task that is of much benefit to the Parish - and to the residents who so generously gave their time to help. Concern has been expressed about the small number of volunteers, and of the absence of councillors. In both instances, I think it is fair to say that that was due to people giving priority to other commitments, rather than a lack of interest.

You will be aware that the pond is not looking its best, and, if you have been following the reports that the Clerk has been issuing, you will know what is being done about it. A further progress report is provided elsewhere in these pages. Please bear with us - we’re getting there!

One of the main issues occupying the attention of the Council is developer activity in the south of the parish, where Savills are acting for Crest Nicholson. We have heard reports of unprofessional behaviour towards some residents and have urged those affected to report their concerns to the management of both companies, and to the industry regulator. Where the Council is formally notified of the concerns of individual residents, it will make representations to the relevant bodies, within the limit of its lawful responsibilities. To summarize the actions already taken by the Council:

• a policy statement on large-scale development has been published. It is available on the parish website, and from the Clerk;
• we have written to Savills, requesting a meeting with them;
• Greg Clark has been contacted to respond to comments that he supports development in the south of the parish, and we have circulated a letter from him, confirming that he has not expressed any such views; and 
• a letter has been sent to the borough council, to alert the Head of Planning to the reports we have received, and to request any information she may be able to share with us. 

I would urge the residents in the south of the Parish, who are concerned about the activities of developers and their agents, to consider forming an ‘action group’, to get organized and to share resources and information; it will be the best way of engaging with the planning department, and a positive means of supporting the efforts of the Parish Council.

Chris Woodley,
Parish Council Chairman