Rusthall Village Association

DATE: Wednesday 20th March 2019
VENUE: Rusthall club
TIME: 1930 hours

Committee members present: Chair: Alex Britcher, Vice Chair: Beryl Woodall, Secretary: Sue White, Treasurer: Chris Perry, Website: Nigel Suckling, Bjorn Simpole

1. WELCOME FROM THE CHAIR - Alex Britcher welcomed everyone to the meeting, and reminded them that the annual subscriptions are due today. These remain at £3 for the year, and £1 for visitors. The RVA relies on this money, plus any donations and raffle money to put on events throughout the year

2. GUEST SPEAKER – Matthew Hill Police Community Support Officer for Rusthall, Culverden, Bidborough and Speldhurst

Matthew outlined his role and explained that as a PSCO he had no powers of arrest. He deals with community issues, but since he is responsible for more than one area he does not have a very visible presence in Rusthall. He is aware that Rusthall has its share of antisocial behaviour and drug issues, and is involved in various projects to help overcome these. For example, he helps to run a youth club at Southwood Road recreation ground, and put on community events such as a litter pick at the MUGA (Multi Use Games Area) on Saturday March 23rd. This is being backed by the TWBC.

Matt's working hours are from 8am – 6pm, or 12noon – 10pm, and he works every other weekend. As he has a list of jobs to do as they arise, there is no specific time when he is in Rusthall. There used to be one PCSO for Rusthall, but more recently they have to cover several areas.

Questions from the floor brought up the following:

•   A PCSO has no powers of arrest, but can call for police backup. In the meantime he will try to talk to the perpetrators, which is a major part of his training.

•   It is possible to make a citizen's arrest, but the policy is not to do so as it may not be immediately effective.

•   Parking on street corners, especially on double yellow lines is a problem in Rusthall, but this is a T Wells Council issue, not a police issue. However, Matt is going to go round the village with Barry Edwards, the chair of the parish council to record badly parked cars and report the findings.

•   As a PCSO, he has a supply of penalty notices which he can use, although these have no legal enforcement. Alex Britcher asked if the parish council could use these – Matt will check and get back to her. Badly parked cars can cause a problem for emergency vehicles – every now and then the fire service send out a truck to ensure that they could access certain areas in an emergency.

•   With regard to drug hotspots within the village, surveys are sent out to some households and if there is an adverse response then they will work on it. A wide area is targeted, not just the areas of drug hotspots, in order to get a proper cross section of the population.


The next litter pick will take place on Saturday 13th April, starting at 11am at the Southwood Road playing fields entrance. As usual, litter picking sticks, hi viz vests and bin bags will be provided. Bring your own gloves although there might be some available. We will pick litter in the streets up to and including the High Street. Afterwards there will be a social with a buffet in the Red Lion at 12.30. Please let Sue White know if you are coming on


Archaeology - Nigel Stapple would like to restart interest in the archaeological dig which was started last year. He is interested in doing another 'garden dig' in May. This event will be supported by the RVA. Please contact Beryl Woodall if you are interested on

Rusthall Community Cinema - Eugene Gardner sent the following report: This Saturday 23rd March we end our season with a fun filled film: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018). Although a singalong, participation is voluntary (except for ladies in Helen Stringer’s dance troupe).The coming season starts two weeks later on 6thApril with Manon des Sources (1986). This is hugely satisfying as it was chosen by popular vote being the sequel of the Trustees Choice film we screened this season: Jean de Florette.

There was a little difficulty at our last film when we had to turn people away due to a full house. Therefore we will be strictly adhering to the rule of not admitting people before 7pm and emphasising that £40 annual ticket holders have a financial advantage but no seating priority. Anyone wanting to reserve a seat for a friend will be asked to get a reservation card on the door in exchange for the occupier’s name and entrance fee. Active volunteers will have a reserved card to allow guaranteed seating for them.

The full list of films for the coming season is

06-Apr-19 Manon des Sources (1986)
20-Apr-19 BlacKkKlansman (2018)
04-May-19 Brief Encounter (1945)
18-May-19 A Star Is Born (2018)
01-Jun-19 The Wife (2017)
15-Jun-19 Stan & Ollie (2018)
29-Jun-19 The Conversation (1974)
13-Jul-19 Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
27-Jul-19 First Man (2018)
10-Aug-19 Green Book (2018)
24-Aug-19 Mary Poppins Returns (2018)+Untouchable (2011)
07-Sep-19 Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
21-Sep-19 The Favourite (2018)

Both the afternoon children's film as well as the evening one on 24th August will be free of entrance charge to all. We are currently working on arranging pre-show entertainments. Details and trailers on the website New volunteers are very welcome.

Planning permission (19/00184/FULL) for a covered entrance foyer to the hall and small meeting room with storage space has been sought. This should allow a further 20 padded seats. Anyone wanting to comment favourably on the TWBC website will be rewarded with a big smile.

Toad Rock Retreat – Blues Nights at the Toad Rock Retreat feature the following: Tuesday 26th March – David Hay Trio; Tuesday 23rd April – Brooks Williams. The pizza van will be outside the Toad Rock as no food is available on Tuesday evenings. You are welcome to take the pizzas inside the pub.

Rusthall Community Arts – There will be a 5 day outdoor event from 17th - 21st July at the Toad Rocks, entitled Legends of the Rocks. This will be a combination of drama improvisation (impro), dance, music etc. Workshops are taking place in preparation for this event – for further information and to find out how to take part, please see The next event is on 24th March at Age UK in Tunbridge Wells which will be a full day composition workshop, then on 6th April a mask making workshop based on the characters, creatures and faces carved in the rocks by weather and erosion.

Rusthall Local History Society – takes place on the last Monday evening in the month at the United Reformed Church on the High Street.On 25th March Steve Hookins will present in character as “Mr. Foreman” of Emergency Road Repair Services – to include a talk about some of Home Front unsung heroes of WW2.. The AGM will take place on 29th April, when there will also be a talk on the White Hart and surrounding buildings. A new display featuring the rocks and Denny Bottom will be shown at the fete on 29th June.

Fair Trade Cafe – takes place on the last Saturday in the month at the URC.

Rusthall Garden Club – will be relaunched on Thursday 28th March at 2.30pm in the library. It has been agreed the club will now run from March to October each year.


There were no representatives for either KCC or TWBC at the meeting

Parish Council

Councillor Barry Edwards raised the following points:


•   Entrance at the Red Lion for access to new dwellings. The planning meeting recommended approval for the three new houses, but not for the access point to the bottom of Lower Green Road. A speed survey had been carried out, but this had been done during half term when the traffic is not so bad. There is a suggestion from the developers that the pavement could be widened. The parish council are waiting for the decision from the borough council planning department.

•   The parish council have recommended approval of the development at Sunnyside Hall. They are awaiting council decision.


•   A development plan is being set up prioritising work to be done in the village. The first priority is the white lining of steps in commercial properties in the High Street – Councillor Hazel Duncombe had done major work on this project.

•   20's Plenty. A speedwatch group is being trained on usage of the speedwatch machine. 3 areas will be looked at w/c 25th March: Longmeads, Manor Road, and the bottom of Lower Green Road. People seem to be in support of a 20's Plenty scheme in Rusthall.

•   The crossing on the A264 by St Paul's church is still being looked into.

•   • Bus route – there has been a suggestion for a one way system for the bus round the village as driving through the High Street is hazardous. A meeting is being arranged with Arriva


•   Hanging Baskets. The lamp-posts have been weight tested and the result is that they are all suitable for baskets to be hung on them. The next priority is to get someone to water the baskets on a regular basis, and for some suitable equipment to do this to be found or purchased. Once this has been done, the baskets can be made and hung.

•   Allotments. Out of 60 plots across the 3 allotment sites, there are only 6 available plots. New security fencing is being put up at the Southwood Road allotments.

Councillor Jenny Blackburn

•   TWBC will be refurbishing a section of Southwood Road children's play area. Also in the same area a wildlife trail will be created in the long grassy section next to the play area

•   The Marl Pit Pond on Rusthall Common has been contaminated with fish and debris which people have put in. The fish have predated the crested newts which were there. The Commons committee are going to try to create a new pond in the same area in the hope that newts will establish there.

6. AOB

•   The next meeting of the RVA is the AGM. We will be looking for new members of the committee. Sue White is stepping down from her role as secretary. Job descriptions of all the roles will be put on the website. Please let any members of the committee know if you are interested (emails below). We can have up to 9 committee members

•   The Farmer's market in Tunbridge Wells is now in Market Square, and is proving very popular.

The raffle raised £38
Meeting closed at 21.15
The next meeting will be on Wednesday 15th May 2019 (AGM)

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