Rusthall Village Association

DATE: Wednesday 15th November 2017
VENUE: Rusthall Village Club
TIME: 1930 hours

Committee members present: Vice Chair: Beryl Woodall, Secretary: Sue White, Treasurer: Hazel Duncombe, Nigel Suckling, Chris Perry

Apologies received from RVA Chair, Alex Britcher

1. Beryl Woodall welcomed everyone to the meeting.


Hazel Duncombe brought the defibrillator to the meeting to show the members how it works. This equipment is housed at the side of the URC in Manor Road, and Hazel explained that as a member of the parish council, it is her duty, along with others, to test the equipment on a regular basis. The main purpose of bringing the defibrillator to today's meeting was to show that it is fool-proof – once it is taken off the wall and opened, the verbal instructions are very clear and easy to follow. If it is used on someone who does not need it, then nothing happens. Using Jenny Blackburn as a model, the equipment was opened and the instructions followed up to a certain point, demonstrating the ease of use. The first instruction is to call for help.

It was pointed out that the equipment should ideally be used within 3 minutes of a casualty requiring it. Since this is the only public defibrillator in the village, the question was raised about purchasing another one for the Toad Rock area. This would cost in the region of £900 – should the parish council put this amount in the budget for next year? Barry Edwards (parish council chair) said this has already been raised as an issue and is on the agenda for further discussion. Jenny Blackburn is doing a survey of the other defibrillators in the village – there is one in the medical centre, but it is unclear whether the public could use this: Rusthall Lodge has one; Simmons Court may have one. The one which used to be housed at the school is in the Rackliff Centre, but is not fit for use as yet.

On a point of interest, HD said that if there was an urgent medical need when out and about, using a mobile phone which had a GPS tracker, the number 112 will find the patient without a need to speak.


SW reminded the meeting that we have previously heard from David Thorpe and Nigel Stapple about the proposed archaelogical exploration of parts of Rusthall and a number of people have expressed interest in being involved in this project. Initially we will allocate a weekend in the Spring to dig some small pits in people's gardens to see what turns up. This will be done at a time when David and Nigel are available to give their expert opinion on what is being found. However, this project will depend on a committee being formed to organise the events, as although David and Nigel will be happy to advise, they are too busy with other projects to run it.

David Thorpe followed this up by saying that the holes will be about 1m square – the depth depending on what finds there are. He reiterated that this should be a community driven event, although they will be happy to help the steering committee. He also said that the Commons Conservators have agreed to them digging trenches on the Common.

David will be writing an article for Rusthall Life, which hopefully will encourage other people to be involved.


CP updated the meeting on the October Litter Pick. This took place starting at the Southwood Road playing fields and about 20 people were involved, including members of the Parish Council and Borough Council. We spread out up the roads towards and including the High Street. 21 bags of rubbish were collected, which were taken away by Sodexo, who also provided the bags and litter pickers. Thanks go to them and to the Red Lion who provided a buffet lunch afterwards.

It was agreed that the next litter pick in the Spring should concentrate on the south side of the High Street.


Rusthall Community Cinema (update sent by Eugene Gardner)

Our last film, Babette's Feast, was enjoyed by 54 people on 11th November, most of whom came straight from the Daily Bread where Joe and Sarah had laid on a lavish feast that replicated the feast in the film in all but endangered species. A video of this occasion is available on our Facebook page ready to be shared and liked.

Exciting times are being enjoyed by the purchasing department of Rusthall Community Cinema. The OneFamily award of £5,000 for which we thank all who voted on their website, has now been received and we are hard at work spending it. Within the next week or two we expect to receive an 11 channel AV controller, a power amplifier, a 4K Blu-ray player, and a cabinet with a large padlock. We have also ordered three enhanced quality speakers for the front of the cinema and a sub woofer powerful enough to bring tears to little girls' eyes.

We hope to have these components in action for our screening of A United Kingdom (2016; Cert. 12A; Biography, Drama, Romance) on 2nd December. This powerful docu-drama revolves around the love affair of Prince Seretse Khama who was to become King of Botswana just before independence from the British in 1966, and Ruth Williams a white British girl.

We are still encouraging people to buy £40 annual subscriptions, raffle tickets, sponsorship, advertising, and TW lotto tickets for our benefit as we would like to buy four additional speakers to enable a surround sound experience, and also a wireless public address system that enhances Eugene's voice to eliminate the monotony.

Free transport for the locally infirm is still available and we particularly welcome new visitors who would otherwise be home alone or socially isolated.


Lisa Lindfield was unable to be present at the meeting, but sent the following information:

We haven't had our wrap up meeting yet so not sure on figures. However we did raise approx. £2k in the buckets which is our best ever figure in donations. Approx. 3500 – 4000 people attended. We would like to thank TS Brilliant and the Old School Samba Band for performing in the parade. Thanks also go to the few local businesses that sponsored an event held at Salomons to thank all the committee members past and present, along with friends of the committee for the 40 years of Bonfires.

The Bonfire and Fete Committee will be putting up a village Christmas tree on 9th December with a sing along carol service to follow this. Times and details will be released shortly. There will also be a Burn's Night quiz on 20th January in the St Paul's church hall. The AGM will be held in March and this will be a chance for anyone to join the committee, see a full disclosure of accounts and plan future events.

Rusthall Community Arts

BW said that there had been a good article in Rusthall Life magazine about our recent RCA Festival. A newsletter has also been sent out to all on our mailing list. We had some positive comments about the Festival including one from Joy Podbury, our Borough Councillor, who said “Thank you for organising a truly enjoyable community event. There was something for every age group to participate in and enjoy. Well done to all concerned. Looking forward to 2018”


Barry Edwards said that the planning application for the Southwood Road playing fields had been received by the Parish Council's planning committee. Initially the council had mixed feelings as to whether there was still a requirement for more football pitches. It subsequently came to light that the proposal came from a local plan from 2006, which outlined the need for more pitches in the whole of west Tunbridge Wells – in Hawkenbury and Pembury as well as Rusthall. At an open meeting for members of the public, the owner of the land put forward his objections. These included the fact that he uses this land as agricultural land for his cattle. If compulsorily purchased this would affect his lively-hood as he would have no access to his other fields. He also owns Rusthall Football Club grounds and knows that there is currently little need for extra playing fields, even though there might have been in 2006. There is currently only 1 club registered for regular use on the Southwood Road playing fields – this is the Rusthall Football Club itself.

Barry said, that at the moment the application is for change of use from agricultural land to sports use. The owner of the land has never been contacted about this. Other negative factors are that the land becomes waterlogged in wet weather, the changing room facilities would need serious upgrading, and the parking and extra traffic would cause problems in the village.

The final date for submitting objections to the plan was Friday 17th November. It will then go to the full council planning committee.

* Break for Raffle ticket sales and socialising *


Apologies had been received from both Borough Councillors and from the Kent County Councillor.

Parish Council:

Jenny Blackburn

• The date for the next annual Parish Council meeting is April 18th 2018

Hazel Duncombe

• HD will attend a meeting of the Gatwick Airport Noise Board. She will endeavour to get a representative to come and speak at an RVA meeting

• The annual Mayor's Christmas Toy Appeal for 2017 is now open. Further details will be on the parish council notice board. The parish council has donated £100 to this appeal.


The village will be lighting a Beacon on 11th November 2018 to commemorate the end of WW1. HD said there is to be a meeting of all the organisations in the village on 28th November at 7.30pm in the Rusthall Club to discuss what else Rusthall could /would like to do. It was queried whether the school would be involved. Maggie Fraser said she would follow this up. Dennis Penfold said he already has information boards that can be used in a display.

9. AOB

• Following a query by CP about what has happened to the old Pepenbury allotment site at Southwood Road, the following information was given - the huts have been taken over by the parish council – the larger one for the use of the allotment holders, and the other to be used for storage of bulk buys for onward selling to allotment holders. The rest of the ground will be split into individual allotments.

• BW said that the current treasurer for the RCA will be stepping down at the AGM in March. If anyone is both interested and able to take up this role or knows of someone who might be approached BW would be most pleased to hear from them.

The raffle raised £25
Meeting closed at 21.10
The next meeting will be on 17th January 2018

Chair – Alex Britcher
Vice Chair: Tel: 01892 540018
Website editor Nigel Suckling
Secretary: Sue White