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The Objects of the Civic Society

Welcome to the Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society

  • we have more than 400 members from the historic borough of Royal Tunbridge Wells in the High Weald of Kent;

  • we are committed to the development and improvement of our town, as well as its protection and preservation;

  • we hold monthly members’ meetings with a speaker, which are also open to the public;

  • we scrutinise planning applications in our area, discuss with developers and make representations to the Council where necessary;

  • we give awards for development and conservation work in any style that enhances its environment;

  • we publish scholarly monographs on aspects of the history of Royal Tunbridge Wells, and run Heritage Open Days;

  • we respond to policy documents published by the Council and the Government on planning, housing, heritage and sustainability;

  • we campaign on issues affecting the character of the town and the rights of citizens to participate in decisions about its future.

Listed below are just some of the current issues and events involving the Society:

  • Future of Town Hall Complex

    The Council is publishing its draft Allocations Plan for public consultation as part of the new Development Plan for Tunbridge Wells. Among the proposals is the area between Calverley Road, Monson Road, Upper Mt Pleasant and Church Road.
    A key part of the area is the Civic Centre, the complex of Town Hall, Library, Museum, Assembly Hall, Police Station and Adult Education Centre. These listed buildings were the subject of controversy in 2010 when a previous administration planned to demolish them. There has also been debate about the future of the War Memorial and the forecourt of Calverley Terrace, the surviving Decimus Burton element of the Civic Centre.
    Some years ago a study by well-known architects showed how the Town Hall could be adapted to modern needs. There are no major structural problems with this, which would sharply reduce the running costs of the building, and enable it to conform with forthcoming legislation on sustainability.
    The Civic Society has suggested that the Town Hall interior could be modernised, with much better use of space, public access and new uses, as a centre for public bodies as well as the Council. Together with a refurbished Assembly Hall it could be a base for revenue-earning conferences and events. The Leader of the Council has suggested similarly extending and transforming the Library, Museum and Adult Education centre as a cultural and educational centre.
    Philip Whitbourn OBE, who has studied these buildings for some years, has taken these ideas, and suggested how the Civic Centre as a whole could be reshaped to create a dynamic new heart for the town in active use by a wide range of the community, and yield an economic benefit. The necessary structural changes would enhance the listed status of the buildings, and give them new viability at the heart of Tunbridge Wells.
    The Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society publishes Dr Whitbourn’s thoughts as a contribution to current debate. You can download the document by clicking on the link below:

    Towards an Exciting Vision for Tunbridge Wells Civic Centre


    This blight on the landscape of Tunbridge Wells continues to stand to remind us all of the folly of allowing the building of a new cinema at Knights Park all those years ago. Despite a change in ownership there is little or no news regarding the development of this site apart from an appeal over business rates.
  • Panorama

    The Society’s Panorama of Royal Tunbridge Wells in the form of a boulder with an explanatory plaque has been erected on Mount Ephraim to mark the centenary of the `Royal` designation. The official unveiling by the Marquess of Abergavenny took place on Friday 25th September 2009. The Panoroma can be found just opposite The Royal Wells Inn.

  • Bandstand

    The Council has demolished the bandstand in Calverley Grounds despite a campaign by the Society and the Courier newspaper to save it. In the meantime options for a privately funded replacement suitable for a range of entertainment continue to be investigated.

The Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society 2014 - Registered Charity No. 276545