Rusthall Village Association

DATE: Wednesday 18th January 2017
VENUE: Rusthall Village Club
TIME: 1930 hours

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

Apologies received from the following committee member: Ann Tyler

1. Alex Britcher welcomed everyone to the meeting.


Jon Weller from IMAGO was unable to attend the meeting due to personal circumstances. Hopefully he will reschedule for the March meeting

Instead 2 local speakers stepped in at the last minute

Dennis Penfold – Rusthall Local History Group

Dennis said that he and Jenny Blackburn had been involved with the Local History group from its inception. Many of the main activities have included events and displays which involve a large amount of research in order for the presentations to be of a good quality. At the beginning the library service was of great help as they directed Dennis where to look for information and how to deal with it. Also, in the early days of the group, St Paul's Church were celebrating 150 years and had the help of a professional, Geoffrey Copus, who in turn offered help to Dennis. Over the years members of the public have leant copies of documents / photographs etc, which have helped to build up a portfolio of information. Dennis has had contact with people from all over the world.

As well as displays, various projects have taken place – on one occasion calendars were produced based on old photographs of the village.

The Local History Group meet 10 times per year, with no meetings taking place in August or December. Speakers have to be booked well in advance. Dennis told the meeting that he finds speakers from various sources: a list produced by the Kent History Federation / from other local history groups / speakers from the local area.

The largest event that the society has been involved in was the opening of the refurbished Rusthall Lodge in 2008. Various City of London walks have been organised by the group, which have proved very popular.

Meetings take place on the last Monday of the month at 7pm at the United Reformed Church.

John Barber – Friends of Rusthall and Tunbridge Wells Commons

The Friends of Rusthall and Tunbridge Wells Commons have produced walking trail maps of both commons, and the interpretation panels are being renewed. Dennis Penfold has helped with the illustrations showing what can be seen in the area, both in terms of places and their history, and the flora and fauna of the area. The maps and the boards have received sponsorship.

Crossings – KCC have now announced that there is too little time in this financial year for the crossing to be done on the Langton Road. John has expressed his displeasure about this and received a guarantee that there will be finance available in the 2017/18 year for both this crossing and the one on Major York's Road. The Friends of the Commons are involved in this as the crossings will link the various parts of the commons.

The updated Management Plan, which will be brought in in July, is looking at the main features of the Commons – rocks, trees, ponds etc. The Cheesewring Rock area has been cleared by volunteers, thus opening out the vistas, and the area round Mount Edgcumbe rocks has also been cleared.

John said he is stepping down as chair and from 14th March Clive Evans will be taking over. During his time as chair, John has tried to bring more focus to Rusthall Common. Membership of the Friends is now 438 and is one of the largest groups in Tunbridge Wells.


Alex introduced the idea of a community litter picking campaign. We aim to start with one area – probably Toad Rock, on a date to be arranged in Spring when the weather is warmer. As well as being a community event, this will also be a social event, hopefully culminating in drinks and snacks at a local pub. Sodexo have offered support with the litter picks, supplying high vis vests, litter picking sticks etc, and may also be able to supply a volunteer. They will also remove the litter afterwards.

John Barber suggested that we contact Nacho from the library, who has arranged litter picks in the past.

Fiona Gifford will head up the campaign, and she collected details of those interested in taking part. Anyone else who would like to take part should contact the RVA.

* Break for Raffle ticket sales and socialising *


Rusthall Community Cinema

Hazel Duncombe updated the meeting on the cinema as follows:

• An open meeting will take place on Saturday 28th January at Sunnyside Hall at 7.30pm to discuss the financial and equipment situation; the days the films should be shown; the intervals between films; the subscriptions and the volunteer participation

• The films for the next 6 months are being chosen, and will be finalised at the meeting. The next 2 films are the Shawshank Redemption on 3rd February and Men and Chicken on 25th February.

• If anyone is interested in volunteering, there are plenty of roles to fill. Please contact Hazel Duncombe or email Eugene Gardner

Rusthall Community Arts

The next main event for the RCA is the Quirky Tree on 25th February. Alex explained that this event will take place around an oak tree on the common. The latin for Oak is Quercus, hence the title Quirky. The event programme is being finalised, but timings will be approx 11am – 4pm, and will be a celebration of the first term's workshops. We have permission from the Commons Conservators to run this one day event. Using the award from the Heart of the Community, we have purchased 2 marquees, and these will be put up on the day (volunteers will be welcome to assemble them). The Mayor will open the event, then we will have Rock Choir singing, poetry reading, children's events, a talk from Nigel Stapple on the Celts in West Kent, and other musical performances. Further details will be publicised on the Community Arts website at

Village Fete

The village fete this year will be on Saturday 24th June. If anyone would like to volunteer, please contact Lisa Lindfield on


Peter Watson has agreed to be the auditor of the Rusthall Village Association accounts. He was formally proposed by Hazel Duncombe and seconded by Jenny Blackburn.


Borough Councillor reports

Thelma Huggett

• The consultation period for the new parking regulations for parking permits has been extended until the end of the month. The hours when parking is allowed will be changed so no parking will be allowed between 11am and 2pm. Jenny Blackburn pointed out that this does not affect Rusthall as we do not have any parking permits

• No decision has yet been taken on the next stages of the new hub in Tunbridge Wells

• Councillor Huggett introduced James McInroy, who may be replacing John Davies as the reprentative of T Wells West (Rusthall, Langton and Culverden)

Rusthall Parish Council Reports

Jenny Blackburn

• Rusthall has a new KCC Community Warden, who we will share with Sherwood. She will be attending a parish council meeting soon and we hope to invite her to come to an RVA meeting

• The parish council have agreed to fund the painting of double yellow lines on the corner from Common View to the bus stop, the cost of which is £3,500.

• The Borough Council have carried out a consultation on the Mary Caley playground and are asking the Parish Council to take over the ownership. The BC legal department are in the process of drawing up a proposal to renovate the playground using Section 106 money,

7. A.O.B

• The meeting was reminded that the Fair Trade cafe takes place on the last Saturday in the month at the United Reformed Church

• Hazel said that there are still some RVA calendars for sale

The raffle raised £22
Meeting closed at 21.00
The next meeting will be on 15th March 2017

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

Minutes: Sue White