Rusthall Village Association

DATE: Wednesday 20th September 2017
VENUE: Rusthall Village Club
TIME: 1930 hours

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

Apologies received from Chris Perry

1. Alex Britcher welcomed everyone to the meeting.


Quote from the judge of the competition “ Courier Picture desk co-ordinator Gary Francis, was impressed once again by the standard and variety of this year’s competition entries. It is good to see some experimental work as well as the nicely composed shots of various locations around the village. Keen photographers are capturing more and more images that reflect village life in Rusthall, as well as the well-known landmarks. Some of the natural photos, toads, insects, pets etc. were of a very good standard and once again it was difficult to single out those winning images which depicted Rusthall at its best.

Congratulations to the winners and everybody who took part. Rusthall should be proud of its keen and talented photographers.”

The winning entries were as follows:

Under 16's

Winner – Amber Powney with Echoes of the Unknown
Runner up – Hannah Cogan with Sand Park


Winner – Angelo Gifford – The Fire Manager, Fireworks 2016
1st runner up – Sue White – First Frost at Southwood Road
2nd runner up – Michaela Starkey – Camp Bluebell
3rd runner up – Sue Peters – Happy Valley Tree

All winners and runners up were presented with prizes. Thanks go to The Toad Rock, the Daily Bread and Rusthall Cinema for vouchers and to Rusthall Parish Council for a grant for the cash prizes.

All the photographs entered into the competition can still be seen on the RVA website

This year the committee have decided not to produce a calendar from the entries, as sales last year only just broke even with the cost of production. Eventually, printed versions of all the entries over the last few years will be put in the library.


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. 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.

If you have not yet signed up, 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


Following the interesting and informative talk from Nigel Stapple and David Thorpe at the last meeting, it is hoped that a sub committee will be formed to explore the archaeology of Rusthall village. Anyone who is interested in getting involved in any way – including digging a test pit in their gardens – should let the secretary of the RVA know at The plan is to begin the project in Spring 2018.


Tracy Moore, T Wells Borough Councillor for Civic Development, updated the meeting with information about the proposed new Civic Centre. The plans include a new 1200 seat theatre, new civic centre offices and an underground car park, and commercial property providing more office space for business – all on the site at Calverley Park. It is anticipated that this new development will bring in an additional £14 million into the local economy. The present Town Hall is too large for the council's requirements, which has reduced staffing in recent years. The Assembly Hall theatre is not fit for purpose in that it is not large enough to put on certain shows and would attract many more visitors in a more modern, larger theatre.

A decision on whether to proceed with the proposed development or not will take place on 6th December.

Tracy said there had much misinformation about the development. She left some cards with contact details as follows; email to or via twitter @twciviccentre

Questions from the public, and answers:

What will happen to the existing Town Hall and Assembly Hall? - The facades of these buildings are listed, so they cannot be changed. However there is scope for development behind the facades and various ideas have been put forward. There are no plans for any retail development on this site.

What about the implications for Calverley Grounds? - The Council have consulted Historic England about this. The development will only encroach on the park by a small amount. Tracy agreed that many people disagree with the proposals and she said that the Council are listening. However the town needs to be ready for change. Throughout the history of the town there are many examples of objections to buildings which are now considered iconic.

Would the new theatre be available for use by all? - Yes all local groups would have access to use it. It is for the benefit of the whole community.

Worried that the site will remain derelict, like the old cinema site. - The Council own the Town Hall, so have more control. Tracey assured the meeting that the Council would not leave the building until its future was decided. Currently there is no time frame as planning agreement has not been met. No plans can be made until this is in place.

* Break for Raffle ticket sales and socialising *


Rusthall Community Cinema

The children's family show of Inside Out last Saturday afternoon (as part of the Rusthall Community Arts Festival) was attended by about 55 people, mainly young children. They all seemed to enjoy themselves and cleared out the stock of popcorn. Paul Cheese's 'Sound of Kent' short film was shown including clips shot in Rusthall. The next film: I, Daniel Blake is being shown on Saturday 30th at 7.30pm (the time for all films from now on). It is a BAFTA winning, thought provoking drama from last year.

Funds for the new projector have been received and the purchase is underway. Thanks to all who voted for the £5,000 award to fund a replacement sound system. We came 2nd (out of 25 competing community projects) and subject to verification are expecting to receive good news later this week.

Thanks to Anne Goldstein for the video interview recently placed on our Facebook page. We were recently photographed by the Times of Tunbridge Wells and expect an article to be published very soon.

Rusthall Community Arts

Beryl Woodall reported that the recent RCA Festival weekend had gone very well, following some anxious moments that not enough people had shown interest in attending. The weekend started with The Rusties performing at The Rusthall Club on Friday night to a good audience. Saturday (and Sunday) saw Local History, Oral History and Photographic displays in the Rackliff Centre (over 80 people attended over 2 days), a Health and Wellbeing workshop, Film at the cinema, Street music in the High Street and The Claque Theatre in the evening. On Sunday there was Archaelogy, Land Art and a Nature Walk from the Toad Rock area, stand-up comedy with Joe Mendell in the Daily Bread and Hannah Hunter singing in the A*cafe. The Festival finale was a lively Barn Dance which was enjoyed by many.


This year's bonfire will take place on Saturday 28th October. It is the 40th year of bonfire celebrations in the village and the procession will start as usual at 7pm from the High Street. Anyone with wood to burn should bring it to the site (at Common View) on the morning of 28th October and not before. No mattresses, sofas or other toxic materials will be accepted. Information about what will and will not be acceptable will be put on the RVA website.


Borough Councillor James McIlroy reported that he had met with Chris Perry after the last meeting to look at the issues raised in relation to Edward Street. However, these issues were of overhanging trees and cracked kerbs, which is a Highways issue. James has sent Chris a link to contact the Highways dept.

Kevin Mullery reported on his campaign to make Woodside Road a one way system. Through Rusthall Life magazine, the Parish Council and the RVA, plus flyers through doors, he has received 70 positive responses. He has also put a petition in the shop in Woodside Road. Only 1 person has said they are not in agreement with the idea. Kevin also had a petition at the meeting for people to sign. Once he has enough signatures, he can start a dialogue with KCC Highways.

Jenny Blackburn reported that the double yellow lines have now been painted between Common View and the bus stop in the High Street. The problem is a lack of policing. If anyone sees badly parked vehicles they could take photos and send them via the parish council.


The Parish Council has proposed a meeting of all the village organisations to discuss what Rusthall will be doing to celebrate 100 years since the end of WWI in November 2018. The meeting will be organised for a November 2017 date. Dennis Penfold said that the History Society already have a display from 2014 that can be used.

TWBC has begun a campaign to collect hand made knitted and crocheted poppies for a display on 11th November. This is in association with the Royal British Legion. It is hoped that Tunbridge Wells can contribute about 6,000 poppies. There is a drop off box in the Rackliff Centre for completed poppies, which need to be in by mid-October. Knitted and crocheted poppy patterns are available on the TWBC website


Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has carried out a survey of where football pitches are in the Borough which has indicated a lack of pitches in the west of Tunbridge Wells. Money has now been released to further investigate pitches in Rusthall, Pembury and Hawkenbury. A planning permission application will shortly be submitted for change of use of the land to provide additional pitches.

Councillor Thelma Hugget said there had been a meeting at the Town Hall to discuss this. Since the idea is that the pitches are for anyone in the borough to have access, this could have a knock on effect on traffic and parking in the village. The main problem with the pitches in Southwood Road, Rusthall, is that they get waterlogged, and as such are unfit for heavy use.


Kent County Councillor James McIlroy – There will be a temporary road closure on Lower Green Road from 23rd October for 6 days for new gas work installation.

Borough Councillor Thelma Huggett – following the talk by Tracy Moore on the Civic Centre development, Councillor Huggett said that there would be no increase in council tax to pay for this. The Government loan of £72m at 2.7% is guaranteed for 50 years, and repayment of the loan will come from income from the development. She urged people not to take notice of negative publicity, but to read the information for themselves.

Rusthall Parish Council Reports

Jenny Blackburn

• Flu jab clinics will take place in the Rusthall Medical Centre on Thursday 21st September from 8 – 4pm and on Friday 29th September from 8 – 12noon

• A Macmillan coffee morning will take place at the library on Friday 22nd September at 2.30pm

• The village has a new PCSO – Simon Fuller

• The NHS, social care, voluntary and community sector organisations are working together to improve care provided. This is the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership for Kent and Medway. 4 priority areas have been identified – preventing ill health, local care, hospital care and mental health. Work is already happening to make improvements in these areas. To keep up to date with developments, see the website at where you can sign up for a newsletter.

7. A.O.B

There was no AOB

The raffle raised £22
Meeting closed at 21.25
The next meeting will be on 15th November 2017

Chair – Alex Britcher
Website editor Nigel Suckling
Secretary: Sue White