Rusthall Village Association

DATE: Wednesday 20th July 2016
VENUE: Rusthall Village Club
TIME: 1930 hours

Committee members present: Alex Britcher: Chair, Sue White, Hazel Duncombe, Beryl Woodall, Nigel Suckling

Apologies received from the following committee member: Ann Tyler

1. Alex Britcher welcomed everyone to the meeting, including 2 new members who have joined.


Karen Gardner - Rusthall Arts Festival

While at Rusthall Fete, Karen and her team had conducted a survey on the recent Arts Festival, and she reported the results. 22 people of a mixed age range had completed the feedback forms. Also over 100 cards were printed to hand out which included ways to keep in touch with the Festival organisers (Facebook, Twitter, website, email). The key findings of the survey were:

  •   59% (13) respondents indicated that they knew an Arts Festival had taken place this year

  •   45% (10) respondents indicated they knew free workshops were being held this year

  •   14% (3) respondents indicated that they attended at least one of the free workshops

  •   77% (17) respondents indicated that they would like to attend free workshops in 2017, the most popular from 2016 being ceramics, drawing, and screen printing. Other popular workshops were crocheting, drumming, mono printing, photography, book making, singing, storytelling, guitar playing, maquette building, plaster casting, poetry writing, improv, and haiku writing.

  •   68% (15) respondents indicated an interest in additional activities for 2017, including: an Arts and Crafts fair, calligraphy, costume design, customising clothing, video making, experimental music making, mask making, computer communications, dance, a fashion show, willow and tissue paper installations on the High St, youth orchestra and jewellery making.

  •   The most popular channels for being kept informed of future developments were by Facebook, Word of mouth, email and posters. Other less popular were by Twitter, Website, Streetlife, Courier, Rusthall Life, High St stall. The range of channels emphasised the need to communicate both on line and through more traditional methods in order to engage with as many members of the community as possible.

  •   There was very little response for people to take an active role in admin or creative help for the next Festival.

It was noted that a donation of £1,000 has been kindly pledged by a local resident for the next Festival. Also a nomination for the AXA PPP Heart of the Community Awards has now been submitted, which is an opportunity to win some funding. John Barber volunteered to help with the registration of the Festival as a charity. Karen will send him the research she has done to date on this. John Davis of KCC is also very supportive of the venture.

For Rusthall Arts Fest 2017, consideration will have to be given to the time of year this will take place. A number of other arts events were taking place at the same time this year, so rather than compete it was felt it may be better to collaborate. There may be a particular theme next year – so far 'Repitition' has been suggested, - any other ideas to Karen please.

A steering group meeting is to take place on Sunday 24th July to discuss next year's Festival.

Barry Edwards – Rusthall Fete 2016

Barry reported that although as yet no accurate figures had been worked out, it seems as though the numbers were up on last year's fete. Approximately £1,000 had been taken at the gate, so with an adult entrance fee of £1 and less for children there could have been c 2,500 people attending. The weather was excellent, the layout was an improvement on last year and there were some different attractions as well as the old favourites. It seemed from speaking with the stallholders that there were quite a lot of people who came to the fete but who did not live in the village.

Alex Britcher – Photographic Competition 2016

Alex introduced the photographic competition, which is running for the 4th year. Entries should be sent to Nigel Suckling before the closing date of 11th September, and should be shots taken within the last year in Rusthall. It is not necessary to live in Rusthall to enter. Leaflets about the competition are available and many were handed out at the fete, others were delivered to the school and will be distributed around the village. There are 2 categories of entry – Adults and Under 16s. The photographs will be judged by Gary Francis, the photographic editor of the Courier newspaper. Each person may enter up to 5 photos, and there will be cash and other prizes for the winners and runners up. It is hoped that a calendar will be produced using the entries.

20's Plenty

Alex also let the meeting know that the parish council had had majority support for the 20's Plenty campaign, and that signatures had been collected for a petition at the fete. The petition was available at the meeting if anyone else wished to sign it.

* Break for Raffle ticket sales and socialising *


RPC Cllr Barry Edwards

1. Barry reported that he had spoken to the Director of Highways at KCC about the natural spring at the cross road of Rusthall Road and Lower Green Road. It has been established that this is a spring which will need to be diverted. A meeting has taken place with Steve Budden, the Commons warden, to discuss the way forward. The trough will need to be temporarily moved in order to divert the course of the spring to the other side of the road. Significant costs will be involved in this, but as yet no-one is taking responsibility (KCC / Southern Water).

2. The Gas company will be digging up the High Street to lay new piping from the 25th July, for up to 8 weeks. As yet it is not known how this will affect Arriva buses. Jenny Blackburn reported that she had spoken to some of the shop owners and they said they had not been informed of what was going on as yet. Jenny also expressed concern about the brickwork pavings and hoped that no damage to them would take place.

RPC Cllr Jenny Blackburn:

1. Jenny reported that the wildflower meadow which has been planted in the bay outside the church centre is still in a good state. Steve Budden, the Commons warden, will be putting up signs to indicate that this will be an ongoing project.

2. A local business, Flower Sisters, has been set up and they use home grown flowers to create hand tied bunches. These are available at the Daily Bread. Their details will be put on the RVA website.

3. Southwood Windows – this is another new local company run by Keith Panyer – more information on the RVA website.

4. The deadline for articles in the Rusthall Life magazine is the 1st week in August. More articles are needed.

RPC Councillor Maggie Fraser

Maggie, as a governor of the Rusthall Primary School, reported that the school continues to go from strength to strength. An Ofsted Inspection took place a couple of weeks ago, and the school was given a 'Good' report. They were just short of 'Outstanding' due to some absenteeism.

Borough Councillor reports

Both Borough Councillors had sent apologies to the meeting

6. A.O.B

1. Alex Britcher reported that John Davies, Tunbridge Wells Councillor will not be standing for re-election. He has been hugely supportive of the RVA, the Parish Council and of Rusthall in general. John is also involved in the Sea Cadets, who have a new boat, which has been named 'The Rusthall'. Alex thanked John for all his support

2. Alex asked the RVA members if they had any suggestions for future meetings: The following were suggested:

  •   Jenny Blackburn said the next Patient Participation Group meeting was to be on mental health issues, maybe this could be a topic for a future meeting

  •   Dennis Penfold may be able to suggest some speakers who do not deal with historic issues (i.e. separate from the History Society)

  •   Maggie Fraser suggested we ask the Borough Councillors to talk about issues affecting T Wells and area – such as plans for new town hall etc

  •   Alex Britcher gave a brief update as to developments at the Royal Victoria Place, which will be a 2 year build starting mid 2017. The plan is to provide more evening entertainment, including restaurants and an 8 screen cinema at the Camden Road end of the building.

3. John Barber gave an update on the proposed crossings of the Langton Road and Major Yorks Road. Some development has taken place with markings being put in place on the Langton Road. He said that ideally the working on the crossings should take place at the same time, as one may be more problematic than the other.

4. Dennis Penfold reported that at the invitation of St Paul's church, the Local History group will once again put on an exhibition for the Heritage Open Days on 8th - 11th September. This year's display will be based on a painting by Charles Tattershall Dodd, which is a panorama across the top of Lower Green Road. The title of the exhibition will be 'From Workhouse to Farm' and will feature information on every building shown in the painting.

5. Eugene Gardner had sent an update on the Rusthall Community Cinema. A recent survey of members asking for votes for films showed the following results:

  •   Friday 12th August – The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and her Lover; Sat 10th September – The Grand Budapest Hotel; Saturday 8th October – Bridge of Spies; Saturday 29th October – Under the Skin

  •   Doors and bar open at 7pm, shorts and trailer starts at 7.30pm and discussion group starts immediately after the main feature film.

  •   Winners of the free cinema ticket competition were Simon Boyd and Christine Gorham.

The raffle raised £18

Meeting closed at 21.00

The next meeting will be on 21st September

Chair – Alex Britcher 07967 011 467
Website editor Nigel Suckling 01892 544345

Minutes: Sue White