SEVENOAKS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE                                  NEWSLETTER                AUTUMN 2006

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SEVENOAKS PLAYHOUSE                                   SEVENOAKS HOSPITAL
                                                      Uncertainty over the longevity of Sevenoaks Hospital has
As you are all now aware, it is with deep             once again leapt to the fore, with health chiefs refusing to
sadness that the Sevenoaks Playhouse closed           say whether the new man in charge will keep the promises
on Friday 28 July, 2006. There have been              made by his predecessor. In July David Meikle, chief
conflicting reports in the media. On the one          executive of the cash-strapped South West Kent Primary
hand it was reported that a New Organisation          Care Trust alleviated fears that the hospital would be
wouldl be formed to raise funds, long-term for        closed by declaring ”The future of Sevenoaks Hospital is
the new theatre and cinema and at the same            secure.” The relief that swept through Sevenoaks has
time the Playhouse building‟s owner has said it       been replaced by unease once more. From October the
cannot make any promises that the venue will          South West Kent PCT will cease to exist, and will be
open. There has been a tremendous                     incorporated into the much larger West Kent PCT. This
response to the consultation on the future of         new organisation will be led by chief executive Steve
the Sevenoaks Playhouse that ran in the foyer         Phoenix, with David Griffiths as Chairman, Mr. Meikle lost
of the complex and on-line. Hopefully after all       out on the top spot. MP Michael Fallon, who was a key
the facts are in there will be a positive outcome     player in galvanising townsfolk to fight for the hospital,
and we can all look forward to having the             said: “I am seeking an early meeting with the new PCT
Playhouse open again in the near future. We           chief executive. The people of Sevenoaks were very
definitely need this type of venue in                 clear that they wanted their hospital‟s future secured and
Sevenoaks, so hope the opinions of the local          not subject to continual review.” We will wait to see what
community will be taken into account.                 transpires as this facility is vital for people in the
Following on the above, it was reported that          Sevenoaks area, especially the elderly, who will find it
Council chiefs were running out of words to           very difficult to travel greater distances for treatment.
describe the public response to the month-long
Sevenoaks Playhouse consultation which                On the spot fines to tackle neighbourhood nuisances
ended on Thursday 31 August. More than                Sevenoaks District Council has agreed to adopt new
2,100 people visited the building‟s foyer to          powers to hand out on-the-spot fines to those caught
register their views plus 1,500 paper                 littering, fly posting, carrying out graffiti, failing to keep
questionnaires and 566 people on-line, so this        their dogs under control and making a neighbourhood
bodes well for the future of the Playhouse.           noise nuisance.
Hopefully we will see the re-opening of the           The new fines can be issued by both the Council and by
Playhouse very soon.                                  the District‟s ten existing Police Community Support
                                                      Officers, which is expected to further increase over the
                                                      coming years. Sevenoaks District Council is already in
CCTV IS NEXT PRACTICAL STEP                           discussion with West Kent Police about the new
                                                      arrangement that could begin in the next few weeks.
Unfortunately, due to several incidents at The        Cllr Felicity Broomby, the Council‟s cabinet Member with
Vine, Sevenoaks, it has been proposed to              responsibility for the environment, says: “The
install CCTV. It would be a shame for this            overwhelming majority of our residents take pride in living
beautiful and historic site to be spoiled by just a   in a clean neighbourhood and they will welcome these
few, so hopefully if the CCTV comes to pass,          new powers. We hope that these penalties will change
the Vine will carry on giving so much pleasure        the behaviour that can disproportionately impact on
to all who frequent it.                               peoples‟ quality of life.”
ROGUE TRADERS                                                      Borough Green Bypass
                                                      This matter is still on-going. The Deputy Managing
For any complaints on Rogue Traders,Contact           Director of H&H Celcon has said he remains positive
Trading Standards Rogue Hotline: 0845                 about the prospect of defending its new factory plans at
450210.                                               the forthcoming public inquiry, which could pave the way
                                                      for the Borough Green bypass. Kent County Council
High Street Roadworks                                 gave firm approval for the plans on May 16 , but the
After all the turmoil in the High Street, it was at   Government Office for the South East announced on
last re-opened on 1 September, to the relief of       August 9 that communities secretary Ruth Kelly had
all the shop-owners. It was very difficult to         decided to call-in the application because of its potential
access that part of town, even as a pedestrian,       conflict with national planning policy. The Company is
as one had to walk right down the barrier to          due to submit a “statement of case” to the Planning
cross over to the other side of the street. But       Inspectorate by mid-September. Despite the company‟s
saying that, many intrepid shoppers were seen         focus on expanding the business, many local Borough
out and about during this period! Hopefully           Green residents want the relief road which hinges on the
this is the end of all the disruptions.               success of H&H Celcon‟s plans. But on the other hand
                                                      many residents of Wrotham & Ightham feel the Green Belt
COMING SOON:                                          land should be sacrosanct and strongly reject the
A21 Misery ahead, motorists warned                    development of the factory even if it means the road won‟t
Motorist using the A21 between Sevenoaks &            be built. Michael Fallon is keeping an eye on this matter
Tonbridge will soon be facing possible                and will notify us of any developments.
disruption until the end of the year. On                Council adopts new air quality management areas
September 11 the Highways Agency will                 After concern over the „hot spots‟ in the „Air Quality
begin a three-month project to shore up the           Management Area‟ in:
Medway Viaduct which takes traffic on the                   High Street, Sevenoaks
trunk road across the River Medway. To cut                  High Street, Seal
congestion the works will be carried out                    Bat & Ball (junction with A25 & A225), Sevenoaks
overnight, leading to frequent lane closures                Swanley Town centre including the High Street,
between 10pm and 6am. The main disruption                      London Road (east) and Bartholomew Way
will be during a 16-day period when all                     High Street, London Road, Market Square &
southbound traffic will be diverted through                    Vicarage Hill in Westerham
Tonbridge for eight days, immediately followed        The Council has now declared AQMAs, in these areas.
by the same scenario for motorists heading            The Council will draw up and implement an Action Plan by
north. The Highways Agency is replacing four          March 2008 to improve air quality within them.
of the parapets on the bridge over a 2km              Perhaps the reason that there is this problem, especially
stretch. The works are due to be completed            at the Bat & Ball, is because the traffic lights are set at
by 4 December but the Agency has said                 such long periods and motorists sit with their engines
disruption should be kept to a minimum but            running, which surely contributes to the high levels of N02
urged people to be patient and careful during         (Nitrogen dioxide)!
the works.                                                              Recycling
Humour Corner                                         It is not only weather records that have been broken in the
The not-present present                               summer, recently released figures show that residents of the
At a recent social gathering, my friend said,         District have achieved a new recycling record.
“It‟s my husband‟s birthday today. This is            Figures for May 2006 showed that residents recycled nearly 34%
                                                      of their household waste during the month – the highest rate
his present.”
                                                      every achieved, exceeding Central Government‟s current target
I wondered what it was, as her hands were             for Sevenoaks District of 30% and national average of 25%.
empty.                                                The Council has now set itself an ambitious local target of
She laughed and told me, “My being here is            recycling 35% of the District‟s household waster every month by
the present he chose. He wants to watch               March 2007.
sport on television without me                        Cllr Felicity Broomby, the Council‟s Cabinet member responsible
interrupting.”                                        for recycling says:” Our residents have always shown great
(Read in a „Woman‟s‟ magazine recently!)              enthusiasm for recycling but have surpassed their own excellent
                                                      efforts with these results.” So let‟s keep recycling!
                                                      Plans to convert listed building into restaurant
AGE DISCRIMINATION                                  The new owners of a Grade II listed building in Sevenoaks
From October this year it will become unlawful      town centre are looking to convert it into a restaurant.
to discriminate against an employee or job          Formerly the Job Centre, which receives listed status due
applicant on the grounds of age. The                to its age, has been bought by Blighs Meadow Ltd. The
legislation, which will cover employment and        company is hoping to create a ground floor restaurant with
vocational training, will impact on every           a newly constructed terrace extending out towards London
business throughout the United Kingdom,             Road. An overwhelming number of Sevenoaks residents
including your own.                                 think that there are already too many restaurants in the
For info: call 0845 715 2000                        Sevenoaks town centre. A final decision will be made
Email:                         between late September and early October.

Holding out for a Green Hero                        The Vine Restaurant
One of Britain‟s first ever „Green Hero‟ awards     The Vine Restaurant has opened at The Old Vine Tavern,
was presented to the Council for its wide-          after months of redevelopment which has been of great
ranging work to improve the local environment.      interest to the people of Sevenoaks. The restaurant is
The award was presented by The Green                run by Kathleen & Bernt Bouverie with the Chef de
Organisation, an independent international          Cuisine, Richard Lee, formerly of the renowned Circus
environmental group dedicated to recognising,       Restaurant in London. The restaurant will serve a French
rewarding and promoting environmental best          & European a la carte menu with daily specials and
practice around the world.                          Sunday roasts.
The Council was recognised for its „Go Wild in      We wish them every success in their venture and hope to
the Garden‟ scheme that helps residents better      persuade them to become Chamber Members in the near
understand and appreciate wildlife, and the         future.
„Walk this Way to School‟ programme that
helps local children to understand the positive     Sevenoaks Library
impact that walking can have on people and
the environment.                                    The Sevenoaks Library is to reopen on Monday 30
Cllr Felicity Broomby, Sevenoaks District           October which is great news for the people of Sevenoaks.
Council‟s Cabinet Member with responsibility        The project cost £1.7 million and was given a grant of
for the environment, says: “I am delighted that     nearly £1 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The
once again we have been recognised for our          Library will provide all the services previously available
work to help improve our local environment.         and has been opened up to join the library, museum and
This award may not have been possible               art gallery together. The main entrance is now opposite
without the help of our green thinking residents,   the bus station with a second entrance facing the Leisure
who have enthusiastically taken part in a           Centre. £50,000 has been spent on new books and the
number of initiatives.”                             public access computers giving free access to the internet
Sevenoaks Summer Festival                           have been upgraded.
The Sevenoaks Summer Festival was a great           The library has a good range of resources for businesses,
success with all the local residents and with       both in book form and on-line. Telephone & Yellow
people coming from further a field. The Town        Pages plus Dunn & Bradstreet Kent Business Register are
centre seemed to be very busy over this             available. A range of newspapers including the Financial
period, so hopefully all the tills were ringing     Times are held plus the Economist & Investors Chronicle
constantly! Let‟s hope this excellent event will    are also taken weekly.
continue for many years to come to show what        There is free access for library members to source
a great place Sevenoaks is to live, visit and       information via the library website
enjoy.                                     at home, your business or
Hanging baskets                                     in the library.
Despite the water shortage, Sevenoaks looked        We hope that the new library will be greatly appreciated by
really beautiful during our lovely hot summer.      all who use it and wish everyone at the Library the best of
The hanging baskets were a welcome,                 luck for the future.
colourful sight.
                                                     Open Evenings
Have you looked at the Chamber web
site recently?                                       It was suggested at the Chamber Board Meeting in July
See the Links – on line business                     that we have informal Open Evening get-togethers hosted
information “ONE SOURCE”                             by Chamber Members to generate more Membership.
                                                     The first of these was hosted by Helen Breeze of
                                                     HelenBreeze Property Management on 24 July. It was a
     BUSINESS TO BUSINESS                            beautiful, warm summer evening and was greatly enjoyed
          BROCHURE                                   by Members and friends who attended. The second one
                                                     was hosted by Helen Page of Sevenoaks Business Centre
                                                     on the 14 September and was a very enjoyable event, as
It‟s not too late to let us have your A5 flyer. We
                                                     Helen had organized a whiskey tasting evening. This
are constantly sending out the brochure to new
                                                     was attended by over 40 people, some members and lots
businesses coming into the area and numerous
                                                     of new faces. Hopefully some new Members for the
other enquiries. Promote your business and
                                                     Sevenoaks Chamber. We have had a very positive
include your information in the “Business to
                                                     response to these events and have evenings lined up for
Business” pack.
                                                     October and November, hosted by Theresa Wallace of
If you need further information, contact the
                                                     Savills and Jenny Ambler of Floss Agency. See Events
                                                     Calendar for information.

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Walker & Walker Solicitors Brian & Marlene Walker of Walker & Walker are situated at 35 High Street, Sevenoaks.
Telephone 01732 450699 or email solicitors@walker&

Tiga Creative Marketing Limited – Alan Bracken – for all your graphic design requirements. Telephone:
01732 779111 or email Also see your Business brochure which includes their

House on the Hill Restaurant/Bar We wish to welcome Andre Woodward of House on the Hill to the Chamber of
Commerce. Give them a call on: 01732 450120 or visit them at: 115 London Road, Sevenoaks. We held a Chamber
lunch there a short time ago and all agreed it was excellent.

Full Circle Property Services Ltd Contact: Mick Thompson for all your requirements - as the name suggests all
aspects of build to extensions, in fact a complete “full circle property service” is offered. Telephone 01732 461225 or

Action International For all your Business Coaching call Jonathon Peat at: 0845 1305477 or email:

The Flowersmith For all your floral needs. Contact Sandra Belton: 01732 741927 or email:
or call in at the delightful shop at 30 London Road, Sevenoaks

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