Rusthall Village Association

DATE: Wednesday 16th May 2018
VENUE: Rusthall Village Club
TIME: 1930 hours

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


Alex Britcher welcomed everyone to the meeting and gave the following highlights of the year.

• She thanked members of the committee for all their hard work

• She reiterated that the RVA is a non-political and non-religious organisation, forming a liaison between the TWBC, the Parish Council and KCC and the local community. We are grateful for the support from the Borough councillors, Kent County Councillor and the Parish Councillors

• Speakers this year have included Michael Coggles, chair of Tunbridge Wells Access Group; Sandra Leonard from Slimming World; Sarah Lewthwaite – Community Warden; John Weller from Imago; Nigel Stapple and David Thorpe, archaelogists. We also had a demonstration of the workings of the defibrillator by Hazel Duncombe

• The RVA has organised 2 successful litter pick sessions throughout the year.

• The RVA, along with Nigel Stapple and David Thorpe have organised the Big Garden Dig to involve the whole community in finding out about the archaeology of the village.

• The photographic competition attracted 60 entries this year.

• The RVA is involved with the annual village fete, and the parish assembly

• There is some concern about the low turnout at meetings, although the litter pick and the Big Garden Dig have been well supported, showing that the community want to be involved.

• Alex concluded by saying that any volunteers would be welcome for the committee


The RVA had organised a Big Garden Dig in association with David Thorpe and Nigel Stapple on Saturday 5th May. David said that the turnout surpassed all expectations with 33 people coming to listen to the talk in the URC hall, then followed by a total of 44 people for the garden dig.

He reported that the finds covered 3 distinct periods of archaeology from a 20cm deep pit. This confirms what David and Nigel had thought that there is evidence of early medieval, Roman and earlier archaeology in the area.

The focus should now be on keeping the momentum going with people digging in their own gardens. Beryl Woodall will be contacting the people who came to the dig and those that expressed an interest in forming a group. It is hoped that a database of the finds will be established – perhaps on a library computer – if anyone is able to help with this the group will be very grateful. Please contact Beryl via the RVA on if you are interested.


Hazel Duncombe (Treasurer) handed out copies of the audited accounts for the year ending 31st March 2018. It was noted that the total funds at the end of the year was considerably less than last year. HD said that was in part due to the fact that a considerable number of members did not pay their subscriptions on time, and partly as a result of the amount spent on refreshment after the 2 community litter picks. At the present time there will not be enough money in the account to pay for another litter pick social.

It was generally agreed that the RVA needs more members to increase subscriptions. The committee have already agreed not to increase the subs, but to keep this at £3 per year. The original idea of the RVA was for villagers to come together for discussion, and the subs are just to keep the organisation running. The following suggestions were made: we should have a membership drive; we run an event on a Saturday to encourage families; speakers with an interest for the village (suggestions welcome).


Hazel Duncombe is stepping down from the committee as treasurer. Alex thanked her for all her hard work. Chris Perry will take over the role of treasurer.

The rest of the committee was re-elected as follows:

  Proposer Seconder
Alex Britcher - Chair Jenny Blackburn Michael Lawrence
Beryl Woodall - Vice-Chair Alex Britcher Sue White
Sue White - Secretary Michael Lawrence Chris Perry
Chris Perry – Treasurer Alex Britcher Sonia Lawrence
Nigel Suckling – Website Alex Britcher Jenny Blackburn

Bjorn Simpole will join the committee as a general member


A system was created in 2011 whereby a community would have the right to bid for an listed asset if it came up for sale on the open market. This applies to buildings only. [In Rusthall, the Commons are protected by the Commons Act. Other parcels of land around the village belong to the Parish Council – Fremlin Pond, a strip of land opposite the allotments on Southwood Road, and a strip of land by Salomons].

A large proportion of Rusthall falls into a conservation area, which was set up in 2007. This mainly consists of buildings around the Common. The Denny Bottom area is called a Special Identity Area, which may now have been incorporated into the Conservation area. However, the Rusthall Conservation Area has not been reviewed since 2007.

Jenny gave some ideas of which buildings could be considered for listing, as follows:

Rusthall Club; Toad Rock public house; Red Lion public house; The Oak public house; Molyneux Alms Houses; Library; St Paul's School; Medical Centre.

If an asset which is listed comes up for sale there would be 6 weeks to express an interest, then the village would have to come up with a business plan and finance. There is guidance and regulations need to be followed.

It was suggested that this is really symbolic as it would be unrealistic for the village to generate funds to purchase. A listing would just show that a building is valued by the village.

JB suggested that we come up with 3 or 4 buildings to suggest to the Borough Council to consider for listing. Contact the RVA on with ideas.


This year the RVA have organised 2 successful litter picks. We have now purchased hi-viz jackets thanks to a grant from the Parish Council. Thanks must also go to Sodexo who provide rubbish bags and litter picking sticks, and also take the rubbish away.

The latest event took place on 21st April, and 25 people attended including children. We targeted the area to the south of the High Street, as far as the Langton Road. 20 bags of rubbish were collected, and some large items were noted. AB subsequently contacted TWBC and most of these have been removed. The MUGA (Multi Use Games Area) has not yet been cleared of broken glass. This is owned by KCC, who will clear it, but will put up signs to say it should not be used. Some large items are in an area owned by First Port so the council will not collect this. AB said she will contact the organisation to inform them.

A social was held in the Rusthall Club after the litter pick with a good buffet lunch.

The next litter pick will be organised for October.


Apologies were received from the KCC and TWBC members.

Parish Council – Jenny Blackburn

Jenny mentioned that in 2019, the whole parish council will be up for re-election, and several existing members will be retiring from office.


• Rusthall Fete will take place on Saturday 30th June. The RVA will share a stall with the Parish Council

• The film Victoria and Abdul will be shown at the Community Cinema this Saturday. Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start

• The History Society will have a display at the fete. The next History Society meeting will take place on Monday 21st May in the URC at 7pm. The talk will be about 45 years in Aviation. The June talk will be about Max Miller – Brighton's Cheeky Chappie.

9. AOB

• The Daily Bread have got to the final of the Muddy Stiletto's awards.

• For those who have not yet opted in to receiving emails about the RVA to comply with the Data Protection Act, please email to be included.

• If anyone has any suggestions for future speakers please contact the RVA

• Coach Road and Lower Green Road as far as Cranwell Road will be closed on 19th June for resurfacing

• Anyone can report potholes and blocked gulleys – there is a link on the parish council website

• BT are replacing cables on the Rusthall Road. The bus stops have been temporarily resited.

The raffle raised £17
Meeting closed at 21.15
The next meeting will be on Wednesday 18th July 2018

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