Rusthall Village Association

DATE: Wednesday 19th July 2017
VENUE: Rusthall Village Club
TIME: 1930 hours

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

1. Alex Britcher welcomed everyone to the meeting.


Sarah Lewthwaite, Community Warden

Sarah explained that she was the Community Warden for Sherwood and for Rusthall when needed. She spends most of her time in Sherwood as this area has more problems. She will come to Rusthall when required by the police or trading standards, who ask her to follow up on victims of crime or scams. Sarah pointed out that she was unable to do such things as issue parking tickets, or become involved with families with troublesome children.

Sarah left her contact details (office 03000 413455, mobile 07813 713740). If anyone knows of a vulnerable or lonely person, let her know and she can make a reference to adult social services (for handrails, fire alarms etc.).

The community wardens are employed by KCC, but are looking to recruit volunteer wardens. Full training will be given. If anyone is interested, please contact Sarah. In response to a question from the public, Sarah said she will speak to her boss about spending a regular amount of time in the village per week.

Nigel Stapple – archaeologist

Nigel explained that he is originally from Rusthall, and has a background in amateur archaeology. Currently he is working on a project in Southborough near the viaduct which has produced some exciting finds. He works with David Thorpe who is an archaeologist by profession and previously a member of Time Team.

Although it has been considered that West Kent has little archaeological history, Nigel pointed out Castle Hill on the A21 as an important Iron Age fort, so it would follow that there must have been other related structures in the area. At the Rusthall Community Arts Quirky Tree event on Rusthall Common in February, Nigel and David identified ancient activity. He has been liaising with the Commons Conservators about further investigation. John Barber said that they will need definitive evidence before they express some interest and give permission for sunstantive work e.g. exploratory 1 x 1 sq m digs on the Commons, which is why the garden digs are so important.

Nigel and David explained that the layout of the streets on the south side of the high street indicates medieval origins (although the current houses are much later). He suggested that the best way to find evidence would be for the residents of Rusthall to dig in their gardens. It was agreed to try to arrange a weekend 'Big Dig' next Spring to involve as many gardens as possible in all areas of Rusthall. This must be community led – Nigel and David are happy to put together an information pack and do a test pit to show how it should be done. Jenny Blackburn thought an article in Rusthall Life will alert people to this event.


The 2017 photographic competition is now open for entries, many of which have already been received. The closing date for entries is 11th September and the results and prize-giving will take place at the next RVA meeting on 20th September. Further details and entries can be found on the RVA website. Alex will clarify whether Gary from the Courier will judge the competition as in previous years.

Alex explained to the meeting that there will be no calendar this year, but the photos will continue to be available on the website as in previous years.


Following the success of the last litter cleaning up campaign in April, the next one will take place from 11am on Saturday 14th October from the Southwood Road playing fields. The Red Lion will host the social and buffet from 12.30pm following the litter pick. It is hoped that Tunbridge Wells Borough Council will supply the relevant equipment – bin bags, litter picking sticks etc. and remove the rubbish at the end of the event.

Please let the RVA committee know if you intend to come, so we can arrange enough free food for the pickers, but you will have to purchase your own drinks. Contact Alex Britcher or Sue White (emails at end of minutes), or sign up at the next RVA meeting.

* Break for Raffle ticket sales and socialising *


Kent County Councillor

James McInroy – James had nothing specifically relating to Rusthall to report. He responded to the following queries:

Chris Perry expressed concern about the dustcarts on Edward Street – these are causing problems on the road and damaging the surface. He also asked if it may be possible to make Edward Street and Gladstone Street into a one way system. Cars parking on the road make it too narrow in case an emergency service vehicle needs access. Councillor McInroy said he would arrange to visit Chris to look at the problems.

Beryl Woodall expressed concern about the traffic on Apsley Street – a one way system could also allieviate the problems here.

Ann Hughes suggested a notice in Upper Street saying 'no through road' and 'no turning'. Property has been damaged on many occasions with large vehicles turning at the bottom of the street.

Borough Councillor reports

Both borough councillors had sent apologies to the meeting

Rusthall Parish Council Reports

Jenny Blackburn – the deadline for entries to the next Rusthall Life magazine is 5th August

Hazel Duncombe – the upgraded Mary Caley playground will be officially opened on Tuesday 25th July


Rusthall Community Cinema – Eugene Gardner kindly donated 2 tickets for the cinema to the raffle. The next film is La La Land to be shown on Saturday 22nd July. As always free transport is available for those unable to get there by themselves. An induction loop has now been installed to help those with hearing difficulties. The cinema has also taken delivery of 50 comfy padded chairs so there’s no longer any need to bring cushions. Finally, Eugene asked for people to vote for which films we should show in the next 6 month season. The list of candidate films (suggested by visitors to the cinema's stall at the fete) and the voting form itself are linked from the home page of the website. Anyone who is not able to vote electronically is welcome to phone Eugene on 01892 521474 and he can record details for them.

Rusthall Community Arts

Beryl Woodall, the chair of the Rusthall Community Arts, told the meeting that the Festival will run from 15th to 17th September and will consist of both indoor and outdoor events, including music, workshops, art, a film, a barn dance etc.

Hazel Duncombe updated the meeting on the Oral History project, which is part of the RCA. People's memories will be played on a loop at the Festival weekend, and eventually will be housed in the new cultural hub in Tunbridge Wells as well as in Rusthall Library.

History Society

Dennis Penfold told the meeting that there will be a history display in the Rackliff Centre for the RCA festival weekend. This will be on the Arts and links with the Commons. The previous weekend, 7- 10th September will be the Heritage Open Days. This display will take place at St Paul's Church and will feature the history of Rusthall Lodge from 1850.

7. A.O.B

Kevin Mullery spoke to the meeting about Woodside Road and traffic management. He is in the process of collecting names of people who are concerned about the congestion on this road and Apsley Street. Ideally he would like there to be no access to Woodside Road from Apsley Street by making Woodside Road one way and Apsley Street no through road. Jenny Blackburn suggested that a petition with signatures would be better than a list of names. There is also careless parking down Harmony Street, which would cause a serious problem if emergency vehicles needed access.

The raffle raised £20
Meeting closed at 21.30
The next meeting will be on 20th September 2017

Chair – Alex Britcher
Website editor Nigel Suckling