Southborough Town Council
Annual Town Meeting
Draft minutes of the Annual Town Council Meeting held on Tuesday 14 April 2009 at 7.00
p.m. in the Royal Victoria Hall Theatre, London Road, Southborough, Kent TN4 0ND.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Cllr Bothwell (Town Mayor), Cllr Burbidge (Deputy Mayor) Cllr
Belchem, Cllr Bowie, Cllr Chater, Cllr Elliott, Cllr Ms Hill, Cllr Jamil, Cllr Mrs Jedrzejewski, Cllr
Mrs Markwell, Cllr Marsh, Cllr Mayall, Cllr Mrs Morton, Cllr Oakford, Cllr Ooi, Cllr Poile, Cllr
ALSO PRESENT: Borough Councillor Rusbridge.
TUNBRIDGE WELLS BOROUGH COUNCIL: No officers were available
POLICE: Invitation was not responded to.
FIRE SERVICE: Fire Officer Jason Visser
58 members of the public were also in attendance and 1 member of the press
1. TOWN MAYOR’S WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION
The Mayor welcomed all those present and introduced the representative from Tunbridge
Wells Borough Council and the Fire Service.
County Councillor Bullock Kent County Council
Sheila Wheeler Chief Executive Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.
David Candlin Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
Gary Stevenson Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
Nigel Bolton Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
Jim Kehoe Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
Kim Hills Mid Kent Highways
Clare Trumper Kent Libraries
3. MINUTES OF THE MEETING
It was RESOLVED that the minutes of the Annual Town Meeting held on Tuesday 15 April
2008 be signed as a correct record.
4. COMMITTEE REPORTS
Cllr Bothwell presented the Town Council’s Annual Review.
It has been a very enjoyable year, if not quite exhausting with some eighty engagements, with
all kinds of groups, and presentations, my wife and I have raised £743.00 for Demelza House
Hospice for Children and £593.00 for the Tunbridge Wells Branch of the Multiple Sclerosis
Society, two worthy Charity’s. At this point I must thank my wife and family for their wonderful
As you know we have no senior schools in our town, but I have been working with Tunbridge
Wells Grammar School for Boys who are working in the community, and at present doing film
shows on Wednesday afternoons for the elderly at the Day Centre at Christ Church, St
Gregory’s have got involved with the Euro Youth Group of Southborough and High Brooms.
Being Mayor is just part of the job, I’m also Chairman of the Council and president of the
Twinning Association, SHDOFA, attending their Annual General Meeting in France and in
Southborough, where I had the pleasure of presenting Brigitte Clermont with a medal for her
long service to the Twinning Association.
I am a member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee working with the team
headed by Councillor Peter Oakford, who has done an excellent job and who will report later.
I am also Chairman of the Football Working Group who are working towards the replacement
of the football pavilion, which seems like if is about to come together at long last.
As Chairman of the Joint Steering Group for the Town Centre Development, you will
understand our frustration on a project that has been dragging on for more years than I care
to remember, and I some times wonder if there is a light at the end of the tunnel, if I only had
one wish, it would be to say to you at long last it has come to a conclusion, if only. Having
said that we did bring the Co-Op to the table and pressed them to make a decision on
whether they were going to commit to the project, their answer was no and the land was
eventually put on the market. At today’s date the site is under offer, but we have not been
advised who the prospective purchaser may be, it seems there are a lot of conditions to be
worked out, we all hope that at long last this major project for our town is going to move
We are just coming to the end of our second year of this Council, and all of the new
councillors have found their feet, and now slotted into the right jobs, I feel we have a good
balance of Councillors on all sides and we are working well together, for the benefit of
Finally on a sad note we lost one of our Councillors Jenny Reid- Moore last month, who was a
lovely person and liked by all Councillors and everyone who met her. A by-election for the
north ward will take place on the 4 June 2009.
Cllr Bowie presented a report on the Planning and Transportation Committee.
Cllr Elliott presented a report on the Parks and Cemetery Committee.
The Parks and Cemeteries Committee is the committee responsible for the cemetery and all
the recreational areas and open spaces owned by the Town Council. These include the
Common, Pennington Grounds, Holden Pond and the allotments, to name but a few. As a
town we are fortunate to have an excellent team of ground staff who are responsible for the
day-to-day upkeep of all these areas. I know the rest of the committee and the residents of
Southborough would want to join me in thanking them for all the work they do throughout the
year to keep our facilities in such excellent condition.
It is now over two years since the pond was desilted and cleared of surplus weed and now
you'd never know that it had been touched as it looks so lovely.
The main issues, which have occupied the council in relation to the Parks and Cemetery
Committee, have been the Crundwell Road Play Area, play space provision in High Brooms
and provision of a climbing frame in the Pennington Road Recreation Ground.
New play equipment was installed in September 2007. As reported last year a local survey
had been carried out indicating a desire for a ball games area to be provided for local
children. Local residents whose houses back onto the play area were consulted as we had to
ensure that whatever was provided took account of their wishes as they might be adversely
affected. Taking their views into account the Committee eventually decided to provide a
landscaped area of trees and seating. Two Hornbeam trees have been planted which will
provide shade when matured together with two seats with a litter bin between. A dog waste
bin has been installed adjacent to the path.
As reported last year after many years of planning and discussion it became apparent that the
Wheeler’s Field site is unsuitable for use as a formal recreation area as the site covers a
former sanitary landfill site and your Council has agreed not to proceed any further with the
project. It can still be used for informal recreation.
There is a lack of formal playing space in this part of the town and an alternative use of the
funds currently being held by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council are still being discussed.
There is an area of land adjacent to Hornbeam Avenue, which it was thought could be
acquired for use as a play area and this has been investigated, but is already designated in
the Local Development Framework as future development land.
Following representations made to the town council and discussions at last years Town
Meeting, your committee has given approval for the provision of a 6 metre high climbing
frame to be sited on ground currently occupied by the pitch and putt facility which is little
used. A planning application has been submitted to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council for
approval, and it is hoped that this will be installed in May or June.
Football in Southborough to report that little progress has been made towards the provision of
a new pavilion since last year's meeting. The Council continues to recognise the great
opportunities provided to young people in the town by the football clubs and wants to ensure
that they have the facilities that they need.
Cllr Oakford presented a report on the Finance and General Purposes Committee.
The main role of the Finance and General Purposes committee is to monitor the income and
expenditure of Southborough and High Brooms Town Council ensuring the best value for the
town residents is obtained. One of the key tasks is to develop the annual budget in
November/December each year and to take into account the various level of expenditure
required by each committee to maintain and improve the level of support to town residents.
These include the maintenance of the common, play areas, parks etc and the various local
organisations that the council supports.
Based on these requirements in February this year the Southborough Town Council set a
council tax increase of £7.55 per annum. For an average Band “D” household an increase
from £81.89 to £89.44 per annum.
This increase is necessary for a number of reasons - to ensure support to the community is
maintained at the current high level. To meet the changes in government Heath and Safety
legalization – an area we have had to spend some £10,000 on during 2008. We have also
seen another year of increases in pension and employee costs with this area now accounting
for 61% of your councils total expenditure.
From this budget your town council also continues to support a number of very important local
organisations including Age Concern, Citizens Advice Bureau, the British Legion and the Kent
The Victoria Hall continues to thrive with confirmed bookings already above the same period
last year. The annual Christmas Pantomime is just one example of the quality of productions
staged within our town. As always our continued thanks go to Bob Shaw of the council’s
team for his ongoing focus and coordination of the Hall and Brian Hampton for his help in
However, the RVH is one of the key areas of focus for your Southborough and High Brooms
Town Council this year. Following years of neglect there is an urgent need for a total re-wire
of the theatre, although not considered dangerous at this time we have been advised that the
work must be completed as soon as possible.
There is other improvements and restoration work that needs to be completed therefore a
decision has been made to do all required work at the same time as this is the most cost
effective method. A cross party working group is now focused on this and speaking with
experts from within the theatre world to identify a professional project manager that will help
with the fund raising and development of full scope of works for the tender process. We have
allocated £65,000 from town council reserves to begin this project and increased the
maintenance budget by 17.5% to ensure the theatre can operate safely until this work starts.
Following years of inactivity the Town Centre Hub Development project has been brought to a
head during 2008 with the Coop being forced to declare their hand, which has resulted in the
land being sold on. We expect to know the purchaser within the next few weeks and to bring
this proposal into reality. We have allocated a £50.000 contingency from reserves as
Southborough and High Brooms Council’s contribution to the tri-party funding of STC, TWBC,
KCC to kick start this project.
In addition we have reserves allocated for projects including the refurbishment of the Bowls
Pavilion, High Brooms Rest Gardens, the Football Strategy, improvements of the play areas
and the ongoing management of the common.
We also need to acknowledge the ongoing efforts of two sub-committees that we are pleased
to continue to financially support. Although most people are only aware of these two events
when they happen “Southborough in Bloom” in the Summer and the end of year “Christmas
Lights”; an enormous amount of work goes into both these programmes throughout the year
and it would be remiss not to thank the councillors, members of the public and naturally the
local business for their continued support of these events.
I would to close by acknowledge the effort and achievements of all our town council
employees led by Brenda Wickens our Town Clerk. It is through their efforts that we are able
to maintain the level of service to the community and keep the common, play areas and parks
within Southborough in such good condition.
Please see the attached table of questions and answers.
Councillor Mike Rusbridge spoke to those present and commented on the problems with
Barnetts Wood, explaining that they were matters of the past and cannot be changed – There
is a need for play provision, which the Town Council acknowledges and will be working
towards, hopefully on a non political basis.
6. CIVIC AWARDS
Civic awards were presented to Mr Martin Tranter, Mr Peter Young and Mrs Rosemary
Blanchard for services to the Town.
There being no other business the Mayor thanked everyone for attending and closed the
meeting at 8.15 p.m.
Southborough Town Council
Annual Town Meeting
Town Meeting 14 April 2009
Question From Question Question To Answer
Mr Venner Why can’t the public toilets in Cllr Bothwell The removal of the toilets is in hand
Pennington Road be knocked down with TWBC.
The toilet block is not owned by the
Letter sent to Mr Venner 16.04.09
Iris Veness The council tax has gone up by Cllr Oakford The increase raised £34,000 half of
9.3% - why. which covered the RPI. A total of
Salisbury Road 14p per week. Therefore in real
High Brooms A request was made for an terms the increase was £17,000.
explanation of the budget.
A copy of the budget is available to
anyone who would like to see a
Copy of budget sent 15.04.09
David Rose What play development is going to Cllr Elliott This is an area of concern and
be provided for Barnetts Wood meetings have taken place. The
Horizon Close vacant land at Hornbeam Avenue
Tunbridge Wells belongs to TWBC and is due for the
development of houses and to
include a play area. Cllr Ooi
explained that he would like to see
the play area built first, not wait for
Mrs Burns Why are the dog fouling signs so Cllr Bothwell Police are working very hard and
high up on the lamp posts. Why have a large area to cover.
Colebrook Road can’t there be metal signs on posts
High Brooms on the green at Colebrook Road.
The green at Colebrook is not within
Why is there so much dog faeces the Southborough and High Brooms
on the footpaths in High Brooms. boundary.
Vandalism in the High Brooms / Letter sent to Mrs Burns 16.04.09
Colebrook area is now very bad, but
nothing seems to be done about it.
Col M McFarlane Pleased to hear that a climbing Cllr Elliott The zip line was waiting repair
frame is planned for Pennington following wear and tear. Parts had
Holden Park Road Grounds. been ordered and would be fitted as
Southborough soon as they arrive.
Visited the Grounds recently to find
that the zip line wasn’t working –
Simon Wilshaw Are the Council responsible for the Cllr Bothwell No it belongs to TWBC.
green at Colebrook Road.
What is happening to the old This vacant land is part of the Local
Speldhurst Road allotment site Development Framework and is
under discussion at the Borough
David Rose What is happening to the public Cllr Bothwell No decision had yet been reached
toilets in London Road with regard to the removal of the
Horizon Close public toilets owned by TWBC. The
Tunbridge Wells Town Council has requested that
they be allowed to stay and be
maintained until such time as the
Hub has been built.
Mike Scott What is happening to Pennington Cllr Bothwell Work is in hand at Kent Highway
Road in relation to the car parking Services following a request by the
problems which were making the Town Council to provide
improvements in the form of a one-
way system. This will be the subject
of a consultation with residents.
Mr R Walker If the bus lane is closing as Cllr Bothwell Unable to comment as the plans as
described in the K & S Courier described had not been seen.
Hunters Way couldn’t cars park in the available
Tunbridge Wells space at the side of the road.
Mr Venner Why did so many of the TWBC Cllr Bothwell A total of 14 guests were invited. It
Officers send apologies and not is unknown why no one attended to
Pennington Road attend the meeting represent the various services
Southborough within the Borough Council.
Mrs Venner What was happening with the Cllr Bothwell Work is in hand at Kent Highway
Pennington Road alterations Services following a request by the
Pennington Road Town Council to provide
Southborough improvements in the form of a one-
way system. This will be the subject
of a consultation with residents.
Mrs Jeffery Why has the Petanque been Cllr Bothwell Lack of support for the game and
shelved lack of land owned by the Town
High Brooms Council in High Brooms suitable for
the game. Not shelved, but still
hoping to find a suitable site.
Brian Waters Why is the Council Tax the highest? Cllr Bothwell We were not aware that this was the
highest – answer already given
Pennington Place earlier.
Why are there no recycling facilities Nearest recycling facilities are
in Southborough. I am travelling a certainly no more than a mile from
round trip of 8 miles to the industrial Pennington Road at the Swimming
estate Pool on St Johns Road.