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
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.
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.
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.