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Wednesday February 13 | 2019

OF TONBRIDGE

Strictly star adds touch of glitter to business awards ONE of the most popular faces on television and a star of Strictly Come Dancing, Anton du Beke, will be handing out the honours at this year’s Times Business Awards, a gala night that has become one of the leading social and networking events of the year. In the three years since they began, nearly 600 companies and individuals have put themselves forward in ten categories from start-ups to Outstanding Business of the Year.

Treasure Anton du Beke [pictured below] has become a national treasure, having appeared on BBC1’s Strictly since the first series in 2004. He recently released an album, From The Top, in which he sings swing and jazz hits. And the 52-year-old became a father for the first time – to twins – two years ago. In presenting the awards he follows in the footsteps of former politicians Michael Portillo and Edwina Curry and Radio 2 DJ Ken Bruce. The awards ceremony will be held at Salomons in Tunbridge Wells on May 30. Details of the big night and how to enter the awards will be printed in next week’s Times.

2019

GROUND-BREAKING: Trees of Love volunteers plant whips at Longmead with founder Basil John, Mayor Pam Bates and the Tonbridge Police Cadets. See page 4

Big boost to economy as tourists make three million trips in year By Andy Tong andy@timesoftonbridge.co.uk TOURISM is proving to be big business in and around town, bringing in £174million of income according to the latest figures from Visit Kent. The report by the official tourism body shows the value of Tonbridge & Malling’s visitor economy grew by 8.6 per cent in 2017. There were three million trips made to the borough in total in that year, a rise of 7.6 per cent, of which 2.8 million were day trips – up 8.2 per cent – and 200,000 were overnight stays. The success was reflected in employment levels, with an 8.5 per cent increase in the number of jobs supported by tourism (3,427). The industry now accounts for 6 per cent of all employment in the borough, or 3,427 jobs.

Nicolas Heslop, Leader of Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council and Cabinet member for Economic Regeneration, said: “This report is very welcome news and shows that, despite challenging conditions in the industry, tourism in Tonbridge and Malling is making a significant contribution to the local economy.

‘Businesses and residents can continue to benefit from increasing investment’ “We have some fantastic attractions in our borough, such as Tonbridge Castle, Great Comp Gardens and Ightham Mote, as well as an expanding array of great places to dine on Kent produce, and it’s all surrounded by picturesque countryside. He added: “We will be using the data from this

report to help shape future tourism activity to ensure that our borough continues to attract visitors from across the UK and beyond so that local businesses and residents can continue to benefit from the increasing level of investment.” The research is based on the Cambridge Economic Impact Model, a measure widely respected in the industry, which showed that 65million visitors came to Kent two years ago. This boosted the tourism economy by 7 per cent to £3.8billion and sustaining 76,828 jobs – the highest figures ever recorded in the county. Since 2006 the value of Kent’s tourism industry has risen by 33 per cent, and it is the third most popular destination for foreign visitors in the UK outside London. Neighbouring Tunbridge Wells also reaped the

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TOURISM BOOM: Continued from page 1

REFLECTED GLORY: Ightham Mote is a popular spot rewards, with more than a quarter of a billion pounds accruing for the local economy. The borough saw 4.7million trips made – an increase of a quarter of a million – providing work for 5,235 people. Deirdre Wells OBE, chief executive of Visit Kent, said: “Tourism is the UK’s fastest growing service sector and these figures demonstrate the contribution which our vital industry makes to the economy of Kent. “With our stunning countryside, world-class heritage, and delicious locally sourced food and drink, it is no surprise that visitor numbers are increasing in districts like Tonbridge & Malling.

Challenging “The collective efforts of tourism businesses across the county have paid dividends and this partnership will be critical in ensuring this growth continues during a challenging year ahead.” She added: “These figures demonstrate that, wherever you are based in Kent, tourism can bring growth, prosperity and jobs to your community. “Our challenge going forward will be to turn more of our day visits into overnight stays and short breaks, bringing even further growth.” Visit Kent is a public-private partnership involving Kent County Council, all 12 district councils and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership. The Leader of Kent County Council, Paul Carter, said: “The results from the 2017 survey commissioned by Visit Kent clearly show that the visitor economy is increasingly important to the county’s future prosperity.”

CONTACTS EDITORIAL DIRECTOR RICHARD MOORE richard@timesoftunbridgewells.co.uk | 01892 779615 DEPUTY EDITOR EILEEN LEAHY eileen@timesoftunbridgewells.co.uk | 01892 576037 REPORTER ANDY TONG andy@timesoftonbridge.co.uk DESIGN/PRODUCTION LEE SMITH lsmith8@markerstudy.com SALES ENQUIRIES GHak@onemediauk.co.uk | 01892 779650 FIND US ONLINE facebook.com/timeslocalnews timesoftunbridgewells.co.uk twitter.com/timeslocalnews

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CLARIFICATIONS AND CORRECTIONS HERE at the Times of Tonbridge we strive to deliver fair, accurate and balanced reports. When we don’t meet our own high standards we will accept the responsibility and publish clarifications and corrections. If you would like to make a comment on any aspect of the newspaper, please write to the editor at David Salomons Estate, Broomhill Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN3 0TF, or email newsdesk@timesoftonbridge.co.uk Markerstudy Leisure is a trading name of One Media and Creative UK Limited registered in England and Wales under company number 5398960 with registered office at 45 Westerham Road, Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 2QB.

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Wednesday February 13 | 2019

£105k and 100 laptops to cope with no-deal THE borough council has applied for a grant of £105,000 from the Brexit Contingency Programme Fund to plan for the fallout from a Brexit no-deal. The sum will allow the local authority to buy 100 laptops so staff can work from home without interrupting the delivery of services. The details were included in a report on ‘Brexit preparedness’ by the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Chief executive Julie Beilby said: “Government has indicated six months of disruption might occur following Brexit and that all relevant agencies should be planning for that eventuality.” She added: “The key concern for Tonbridge and Malling will be the likely major traffic congestion affecting the M20/A20/M26 corridor and surrounding roads, should there be severe delays at Kent ports. “Plans are in place (Operation Fennel) to deal with this scenario but the success of such plans have yet to be fully tested. “We therefore need to plan for such problems, which could have a major impact on staff travel to and from work and other key road-related council services such as waste collection.”

With Kent expected to bear the brunt of frontier complications, Operation Fennel is a strategy formulated by the Kent Resilience Forum [KRF]. This group consists of ‘blue light services’ – police, fire and ambulance – as well as other bodies such as the NHS, Environment Agency and Kent County Council [KCC].

‘Food officers could be asked to condemn consignments that need to be destroyed’ The KRF produced a checklist after examining the impact on traffic management, community resilience, environment and waste, health and social care, business continuity, business resilience, command and control, media and communication, and finance and data. Traffic congestion has been predicted as lorries stack up awaiting clearance to cross the frontier at Dover or the Channel Tunnel. This is also likely to have an impact on refuse services, not only in terms of collections but also

gaining access to KCC’s waste transfer stations, where rubbish is loaded on to larger vehicles. Another area of concern surrounds imported food if a trade deal is not secured, with environmental health officers potentially being called up to work at the port of Dover . Ms Beilby warns: “The Food Standards Agency are launching more imported food training for officers early this year. “They could be asked to condemn consignments of food that need to be destroyed, if goods have been held up and are out of temperature control when they arrive in the borough.” Other services that might be affected include street cleaning, which could be confined to ‘hot spots’, grounds maintenance and Tonbridge cemetery – though the latter is not deemed critical due to the ‘low number of burials’. With local elections due to be held on May 2, the council will prepare election paperwork in-house rather than externally, while also promoting the postal vote as an option. There will also be an enhanced call-handling team to deal with a hike in inquiries from the public and businesses about the fallout.

Trees of Love plan a green future with community planting events By Andy Tong andy@timesoftonbridge.co.uk AN ENVIRONMENTAL group from Tonbridge have planted hundreds of trees around the town in the last three months – and are keen to recruit local schools and businesses to help out. Trees of Love have recruited volunteers, councillors, the Mayor of Tonbridge & Malling Pam Bates and local Police Cadets. There have been three plantings since November, two at Tonbridge Farm sportsground at Longmead and one at Haysden Country Park. The project was set up by Tonbridge resident Basil John and his friend Labu Bahuleyan. The idea sprung from a charity food stall they set up at last summer’s Mela, the Indian-based festival in Calverley Grounds, Tunbridge Wells. Mr John, a 39-year-old father of two who runs a logistics company, said: “The support from the community prompted us to plan more projects, both environmental and for charitable needs.” The group contacted the council, who identify areas where planting would be most effective. Whips from a wide variety of species have been donated by The Woodland Trust. “The support from the Mayor of Tonbridge was really amazing,” Mr John said. “She has personally participated and planted many trees to support young Police Cadets. “We have planted around 300 whips at Longmead and 85 at Haysden.” Cllr Bates planted 12 trees and said: “It was

GRASS ROOTS: Mayor Pam Bates (left) gets stuck in with Cllr Georgina Thomas at Tonbridge Farm such a great morning organised by Trees of Love and I thoroughly enjoyed joining the Tonbridge Police Cadets in planting trees together. “They can look back in 15 to 20 years when they are fully grown and know they were part of it.” Now the group wants to encourage more young people to be involved. “Some of the schools are interested to hold tree planting or vegetable planting this year,” said Mr John. “We have contacted some nurseries to support us so we can give back to schools.”

Georgina Thomas, a councillor representing Trench ward, became involved along with Vivian Branson, the councillor for Castle ward. “Without any excuses they accepted our invitation, though it was really worked out within short notice,” said Mr John. “Georgina supported us by coordinating with Tonbridge police cadets. They and the rest of the team planted 150 in an hour at Longmead.” Cllr Thomas told the Times: “Trees of Love aim to provide opportunities for residents and households to come together in unity. “These trees will provide social, economic and environmental benefits and will help reduce pollution in our waterways and flooding, provide a future habitat for wildlife and most importantly provide oxygen whilst removing CO2 and pollutants from the air. “We will continue to support these incredibly fulfilling community projects.” Trees of Love has also been branching out into other projects. Last year they organised a free Christmas lunch for 18 people associated with a mental health organisation in Tunbridge Wells using their own money, including gifts. They are seeking funding from businesses to keep these projects going, and help to set up new ventures such as ­‘wellbeing walks’. They also want to start a ‘green gym’, which gives people a way to enhance their fitness and health while taking action to improve the outdoor environment. If you would like to join a tree planting event, visit Trees of Love on Facebook

Lib Dem candidate calls for ‘essential’ People’s Vote THE Liberal Democrats have chosen Richard Morris as their new prospective Parliamentary candidate for the Tonbridge & Malling constituency. Mr Morris, who has two daughters, has lived in Edenbridge for 33 years. He has been chief executive of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in London and chairman of the Yehudi Menuhin School. He has also been involved with former local station Invicta Radio and Kent Music, which provides music services to state-schools. Mr Morris is on the national executive of the European Movement and said: “I believe the UK’s future relationship with Europe is the paramount political issue of current times and has major implications in every area of policy. “The Lib Dems’ policy on Europe is a rare

example of clear yellow sunshine streaming between us and both major parties. “Most polls indicate that the current will of the people favours our policy. A further referendum or People’s Vote is essential.” He added: “It will differ fundamentally from the 2016 referendum in that it will offer the electorate a choice between real options – the existing terms of EU membership and the best exit deal (or no-deal) the government will have been able to secure – rather than a range of idealised and ­misrepresented possible Leave outcomes.” The previous incumbent was Keith Miller, who moved down from Stafford to contest the 2017 election, having run in the Potteries town in 2015. He gained 6.7 per cent of the vote, which was a fall of 0.2 per cent on two years earlier.

STRIKE THE RIGHT NOTE Richard Morris has a musical background


NEWS IN BRIEF

New Council tax rises to fund more police KENT’S Police and Crime Commissioner [PCC] has had plans approved to introduce 180 new police officers in the county, in exchange for a rise in council tax. From April 1, residents in a Band D property in Kent will have to pay an extra £24 a year in exchange for additional police officers in the county. Kent PCC Matthew Scott said: “Residents want to see more police out on the street and to pay for that I’m increasing the council tax by £2 a month for an average B and D property. This has been supported by 60% of people across more than 5,000 pieces of consultation feedback.” Police funding in Kent is set to rise by £23.6million next year; nearly £17million of which will be from additional council tax funding, but an additional £7million is coming from central government grant funding, taking the total police budget for the county to more than £340million.

Inquest into fatal crash THE inquest into the death of the 23-yearold who died following a head on collision on Tudeley Road, Tonbridge, has been opened and adjourned. Senior coroner Roger Hatch heard that Lydia Smith, of Stephen’s Road, Tunbridge Wells, who was described by her family as a ‘beautiful, cherished and much loved’ daughter, died after her white Ford Fiesta hit a Volkswagen Passat just after midnight on January 26. A post mortem gave the cause of death as ‘massive head trauma’. The coroner adjourned the hearing until 1 May.

African tea dance A TEA dance will be held at St Philip’s Church in Salisbury Road, Tonbridge on Wednesday, February 20 to raise money for a youth trip to Africa. There will be live music and refreshments, and non-dancers are welcome to come along. Proceeds will go towards Mission: Kondoa, a project which will send 11 young people and four adults to the district in Tanzania where Tonbridge Parish Church has a missional link. The event runs from 2.30 to 4.30pm, and entry costs £5 per ticket. For more information call Susan Knight on 01732 355643, email susanbknight@blueyonder. co.uk

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Lanterns on Camden Road were just out of this world ILLUMINATING This year’s theme was outer space

PHOTO: David Hodgkinson

Wednesday February 13 | 2019

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THE skies of Tunbridge Wells lit up last weekend as hundreds of people took part in the annual Winter Lantern Parade, which this year celebrates its tenth anniversary. With the theme being ‘outer space’ many of the designs focused on space rockets, astronauts, glowing aliens and even the Clangers, but the usual array of dragons and oriental shapes were also present to celebrate Chinese New Year. For the first time in its decade long history, the parade finished at Grosvenor and Hilbert Park, after revellers snaked their way down Camden Road from Royal Victoria Place. The previous start and finish point at Civic Way and St Barnabas School was no longer suitable due to the sheer number of people that now take part in the winter event. Local people of all ages joined in the fun, and support this year came from Tunbridge Wells Round Table who used their road and crowd management experience from their annual Dunorlan Park Fireworks display, which sees similar numbers.

Former police chief criticised for claiming town is not safe enough “These officers are supported by Police Community Support Officers and Special Constables who actively seek information and intelligence around criminal activity, disorderly or antisocial behaviour. “I am confident that both Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge are benefitting as a result of having greater resources overall.”

By Richard Williams POLICE have responded to claims by the force’s former Tunbridge Wells Borough Commander who suggested that there are not enough officers in the town to keep people safe. Former Chief Inspector, Dave Pate, who retired from the force last year, made his remarks when announcing his intention to stand as a borough councillor in this year’s local elections in May. He said: “It’s incomprehensible that a busy town, day and night, doesn’t have its own police in sufficient numbers to protect the vulnerable and apprehend the criminals. “I have been privileged to lead the police in our borough for five years. I want them back locally accountable and a named officer for each part of the borough.” However, former colleagues of the new Conservative candidate for Rusthall, who plans to replace current councillor Thelma Huggett, argue that residents are benefiting from the biggest recruitment drive in the force’s history. Area Commander for west Kent, Chief Superintendent Simon Wilson said: “Residents and visitors to Tunbridge Wells have a dedicated town centre team of officers that works effectively with partners to promote community safety.

‘How is he going to do anything about police numbers by being a borough councillor?’

DAVE PATE Former Tunbridge Wells Chief Inspector

Political opponents were also not impressed with Mr Pate’s words. Mark Ellis, Liberal Democrat Councillor for St John’s, argued: “How is he going to do anything about police numbers by being a borough councillor? If he were standing as Police and Crime Commissioner, yes, but the Borough Council has no influence on policing.” Cllr Ellis said Mr Pate was ‘riding on the coattails’ of his former career and being ‘disingenuous’ to voters. “He should be concentrating on what he can do as a borough councillor not issues that he cannot do anything about,” claimed Ellis.


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Calverley Square Inquiry

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Outcome of public inquiry might not be known for two months Inspector has to decide if Council has made a ‘compelling’ case

Wednesday February 13 | 2019

Inquiry likely to cost more than £500,000 The cost of the Planning Inspectorate’s inquiry into use of CPOs could see Tunbridge Wells Borough Council paying out in excess of £500,000 of taxpayer’s money. Ultimately, the council has to pay for not just the Planning Inspectorate’s time but also the hire of the Mercure Hotel, the costs of expert witnesses, along with legal representation. TWBC has hired QC Craig Howell Williams, from Francis Taylor Building, a firm that specialises in planning, environment and related areas of public law to represent them at the hearing. It has also hired a team of specialists ranging from Hilary Keenlyside, experts in theatre operations, James Eades from architects Nicholas Hare, theatre designer John Riddell and a commercial real estate team from GVA. The council has earmarked £4million for obtaining the CPOs, but the inquiry could exceed the initial price expectation if it drags on too long or there is an appeal, which could see the £90million cost for Calverley Square increase.

APPEALS COULD MEAN THE BATTLE CONTINUES

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HE hearing into Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s use of compulsory purchase orders (CPO’s) relating to the development of Calverley Square has got underway. The two-week inquiry, to be conducted by the Planning Inspectorate’s Graham Dudley, is open to all members of the public, although only those with an official objection will be allowed to speak. While the council’s £90million Calverley Square development, which includes new civic offices and a theatre complex, remains divisive in the town, the inquiry has not been set up to hear objections to the project itself. Instead, only concerns about the council’s use of Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) are being heard. TWBC want to purchase Mount Pleasant

and Great Hall car parks, and part of Calverley Grounds including the dental surgery iSmile also known as The Lodge.

The decision will be made by Graham Dudley...it will not be sent to the Secretary of State Once the inquiry has heard evidence from both the council and objectors, Inspector Graham Dudley will compile a report as to whether the council has made a ‘compelling case’ into the justifcation of its use of CPOs. Usually, the final decision on whether a CPO is to be confirmed is made by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Govern-

ment, James Brokenshire, but the Calverley CPO inquiry is among the first where the decision is expected to be ‘fast-tracked’ so will be made by Mr Dudley himself. A spokesperson for Persona Associates, who are managing the event, said: “I can confirm the decision will be made by Mr Graham Dudley, but he will still have to write a report, but it will not be sent to the Secretary of State.” It could be about two months before any decision is made, which could mean the results of the inquiry might be released just before the local elections in May, when a third of councillors from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council are up for re-election.

Whether the council wins or loses in its battle to get the CPOs confirmed it may not be the end of the matter, as both the council and the objectors are able to appeal. Simon Bell, planning expert at Knights Solicitors, who is representing one of the objectors, Dr Simon Fard from iSmile dentists, explained: “Both parties can appeal the Secretary of State’s decision to either confirm or reject the CPO – albeit by different routes. “Ordinarily third parties and objectors (people directly affected by the CPO or those who appeared at the inquiry or objected to the CPO) can mount a statutory appeal against the decision to confirm the order within six weeks of the date of the publication of the notice of confirmation of the CPO,” he explained. He also added that the council too have a right to appeal but only on the process itself, and not the actual decision. “A decision not to confirm a CPO can be challenged by way of a judicial review, based on a breach of public law decision making principles,” confirmed Mr Bell.


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Calverley Square Inquiry

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Wednesday February 13 | 2019

Why we need Calverley Square, according to the council THE Borough Council’s £90million development called Calverley Square features a 1,200-seat theatre, new council chambers, commercial office space, a new public square, an underground car park as well as improvements to the entrance of the Calverley Grounds. The project’s roots go back to 2014, when a £1.5million bill to keep the Assembly Hall open resulted in the Cabinet seeking future alternatives. The location for a new theatre and civic complex was agreed in 2016. A planning application was submitted in December 2017 and granted in May last year. The development solves two main issues for the council.

Firstly, it addresses the problem with the current town hall, namely that it is more than three times too large for the council’s current needs. It also lacks modernity, making it inflexible to work in. Secondly, the Assembly Hall Theatre, while a much loved venue in the town, lacks the modern facilities expected by both audiences and producers. Of course, the Assembly Hall could be renovated, at an expected cost of £31million, but that would mean the theatre would have to close for the duration of the improvements and also it would not solve all the problems. The council has hired a well-respected expert from UK and US based Theatre Projects

Is there an alternative site for the town’s controversial development? The council insist that other than the proposed site on the edge of Calverley Grounds, there is no other location suitable for the Calverley Square. The council has also considered other locations, such as the Crescent Road car park next to the Assembly Hall, but removing 1083 spaces would leave the town with a parking deficit. They argue that the raft of CPOs for which they have applied provide the smallest compulsory purchase footprint possible. Critics often point to the former ABC cinema site at the Top of Mount Pleasant Road as a better location. However, the council does not own the site, and estimates the cost of buying the land now would be around £40million,

and current owners Altitude, which has announced it will soon start work on its own £90million Belvedere project on the location, is unlikely to sell. Even if the council attempted to compulsory purchase the land, they could only offer the market value, much less than what Altitude has invested in it, making the likelihood of a CPO being granted highly unlikely.

Consultant, John Riddell, to explain to the inquiry what the main problems are.

The project’s roots go back to 2014, when a £1.5million bill to keep the Assembly Hall open was proposed In his submission, he states: “Earlier work by the Council had identified that the refurbishment of the Assembly Hall Theatre would not deliver a suitable 1200 seat venue. “Theatre Projects’ work on sizing of the new theatre stage, auditorium and fly-tower for the range of touring shows available, demonstrated

that the Assembly Hall Theatre could not accommodate them.” He highlights vehicle access and backstage infrastructure as one of the major problems with the Assembly Hall, as modern touring productions require good access to get sets and equipment in and out quickly. “Vehicle access and loading arrangements for theatres are critical to the safe and effective operation,” he said, adding that the new theatre would be ‘a major improvement’ on the access and loading situation at the Assembly Hall Theatre. If the council gets its way and the CPOs are confirmed, building work on the theatre and civic complex should begin in October 2019.

COUNCIL JUSTIFIES FIFTY YEAR LOAN TO PAY FOR THE NEW AMENITIES To pay for the £90million development, the council is having to take out a 50-year loan of £77million, money secured from the Public Works Loan Board. Critics argue that this money will never be recouped, but the council claim the project will ‘break even’ after five years, an estimation based on selling 350,000 tickets a year. The council has repeatedly pointed to other similar developments, such as the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, which has annual attendance of more than 380,000. Chief Executive of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, William Benson, stated in evidence to the inquiry yesterday that there is a very strong economic case

for the project, which could bring £34million net additional benefit to the town each a year. They point to evidence from management consultants that specialise in theatres, Bonnar Keenlyside, an economic assessment from independent commercial property agency, GVA, and had an economic critique from Nathanial Lichfield and Partners. “Economically, the development delivers significant benefits with the Bonnar Keenlyside report, GVA economic assessment and Lichfield’s economic critique all agreeing it delivers an annual contribution of tens of millions of pounds as well as significantly improving the supply of office accommodation,” he said.

He says that the development will increase footfall in the town, give a boost in confidence to private-sector investors, and as towns and high streets need to change and adapt to ‘focus on what Amazon cannot do’, the project will broaden the appeal of the town centre, drawing people in. The council admit, however, they have had to find £2.3million in ‘budget changes’ to fund the net revenue cost of the scheme. These include a new recycling and waste collection contract for 2019 – which means householders now have to pay a £50 fee for garden waste collection – plus a ‘shakeup’ in support for community groups and Environmental Grants.


Wednesday February 13 | 2019

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Calverley Square Inquiry

Cllr Nick Pope: Why I oppose the Calverley Square project Tunbridge Wells Alliance [TWA] councillor, Nick Pope (pictured), is among the objectors to the council’s CPOs. Councillor Pope, who was elected to Park ward in May 2018 as the Alliance’s only representative at the Borough Council, has long opposed the Calverley Square project. His supporters often describe the development as a ‘vanity project’ for the council. “I am not opposed to the building of a new theatre, and in 2015 I was very optimistic about it but I was uncertain of the site they chose,” Cllr Pope told the Times. The councillor, who was formerly Chair of Friends of Calverley Grounds, admitted he probably would not ‘have got sucked into’ opposition for the theatre had it been sited elsewhere. “The council has failed to look at other options. When they were making the decision in 2015, the former cinema site was going nowhere. Altitude did not own the site then. “They also did not consider Crescent Road Car Park, which is a blot on the landscape,” added the councillor. He believes that another, more viable, option for the council was to have opened a temporary theatre while they renovated the Assembly Hall. “The council did not want to lose the theatre audience if they closed the Assembly Hall, but they never considered a temporary theatre,

which has been done elsewhere. This was not considered by the council.” He also argues that the current cost of the theatre, £90million, did not represent ‘value for money’ and that the costs have been ‘grossly underestimated’ and believes the

‘The council has failed to look at other options. When they were making the decision in 2015, the former cinema site was going nowhere’ price tag for the project will eventually exceed £100million. “The council has allocated £4million for these CPOs but I think it could be 4-6 times more than this. They have been grossly underestimated and the construction costs will go up too.” Pope is scheduled to present his case to the Inspectorate on February 26. In his submission to Mr Dudley, the councillor is to accuse Tunbridge Wells Borough Council of failing to consult with the people of the town.

He told the Times: “I think it is important to remember that compulsory purchase orders should be a last resort. The council has not only failed to look at other options but it has failed to consult. “They did not consult at the early stages of this project. I understand you will never make everyone happy but the least you can do is consult people and get them involved. “Simple questions have gone unanswered,” he argued. Councillor Pope is expected to tell Mr Dudley that the proposed development will also damage the Grade II listed Calverley Grounds by blocking the views to the west and south. “The construction of the Calverley Square development will block this view through tree cover, replacing it with a wall of glass and concrete,” he said. Whatever happens at the inquiry, Councillor Pope and the Tunbridge Wells Alliance may not be prepared to give up the fight. “It depends on how it goes, but it is not going to be over until the first spade or first digger goes into the ground,” said Pope. He added that the Alliance intends to put forward candidates for most of the seats up for grabs during the forthcoming May elections.

BBC ‘in negotiations’

THE GREAT HALL arcade, which sits in front of Calverley Grounds, has a number of CPOs attached to it, primarily concerning the car park, which the council will need to demolish to make way for their theatre and civic centre. Among the tenants of the Great Hall are BBC South East and BBC Radio Kent, who ‘reluctantly’ raised an objection to the development. The BBC had opposed to the council’s planning

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THE OBJECTION THAT COULD MEAN AN END TO THE WHOLE PROJECT ONE of the key objections to the council’s Calverley Square development, and one, that if successful, could see the entire project come to an end, is that of Hoopers’ department store. In order to service the theatre, TWBC needs access to the department stores’ customer car park. Large vehicles, such as articulated trucks will enter the back of the theatre via Mount Pleasant Road, but will need to exit via Hoopers’ car park to avoid congesting the main road and prevent the need for articulated trucks to turn around in the tight space behind the theatre. They are also objecting to the removal of the retail chain’s existing rights of access to service roads to the north of their car park, which they claim they need for goods deliveries. Debra Angus, Managing Director of Hoopers will tell Mr Graham Dudley next week that the CPO would result in the department store having to close the car park to their customers, which would have a ‘catastrophic effect on the viability of continuing to trade in this location’. “If this occurred, it would have a significant and serious effect on the viability of continuing to trade at this location, and a knock-on impact on the group,” she said in her evidence sent to Mr Dudley. The Council admit they have no contingency plan for Calverley Square if Hoopers’ objection is upheld and the CPO is not confirmed.

application on the grounds of noise and vibrations from construction, and dust emissions from the demolition works, as well as loss of the Great Hall car park, which is used by BBC staff. However, the broadcasters were absent on the first day of the hearing [Tuesday] with Inspector Graham Dudley told that ‘negotiations were ongoing’ with the council and that the BBC were ‘coming to an agreement’. The broadcaster submitted official objections to

the CPO inquiry because “operations conducted at the Property are acutely sensitive to noise and vibration interference.” The council hired Mace Ltd as lead contractor for the project, who are said to be working on a Construction Management Plan to propose solutions to mitigate noise, dust and vibration. The hearing also heard that Sainsbury’s, which has an express store in the Great Hall Arcade, had come to an agreement following their concerns about delivery access.


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Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon is for young, old – and one man on mission By Andy Tong THE Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon will feature over 1,500 runners and raise up to £30,000 for charity when it is held on Sunday [February 17]. The 36th edition of the popular race, organised by Tunbridge Wells Harriers, will be contributing proceeds to three headline worthy causes: Tunbridge Wells Counselling Centre, The Bridge Trust homeless charity and Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, which provides mentors for disadvantaged young people. Other local charities will benefit, including Citizens Advice, Hospice in the Weald, Compaid and the Pickering Cancer Drop-in Centre. The event is well known on the racing calendar for its scenic and challenging route through the west Kent countryside, including the infamous 300ft climb up Spring Hill in Fordcombe.

came in second in last year’s race - and was the youngest competitor at 17 years of age. Now studying bio-chemistry at Sheffield University, Billy admitted: “I’m not really sure if I can beat last year’s time, “It will be interesting to see if I can get close to it. I’m not sure if I’m as fit as I was this time last year, but I’ll have a go.” Simon Vaisey only took up running seriously in 2016 but he has set himself the goal of 50 long-distance events in 50 weeks – 30 full marathons and 20 half-marathons. He had only previously run three half marathons and one of the full distance when he started the challenge last September, and Tunbridge Wells

‘I was inspired by a man who is doing a marathon in every country in the world’ The course starts and finishes in Southborough, passing through Bidborough, Penshurst, Fordcombe, Langton Green and Tunbridge Wells. Last year’s winner was 24-year-old Simon Goldsworthy, a former Bennett Memorial pupil – and he is already showing good form this year. He set a new personal best time in winning the Farnborough Half Marathon last month. Simon said: “I won’t be beating my best time at Tunbridge Wells though, as it’s a pretty hilly course and Farnborough was quite flat.” Ex-Skinners’ School student Billy Hobbs had only been with the Harriers for a year when he

WAY TO GO (L-R) Billy Hobbs, Simon Vaisey and Stella Richardson

will be the 21st event in his schedule. “My first marathon was in Bournemouth,” says Simon, “and after that I just wanted to do more. I was inspired by a man I read about who is doing a marathon in every country in the world.” His aim is to raise £5,000 for the emotional support charity Samaritans UK. “I was really impressed with the work they were doing when I was at university,” he said. “I had a couple of friends who needed their help and I went to visit their head offices after raising some initial funds. They were just doing such great work.” The 24-year-old, who is a PE teacher in Oxford, said of his monumental challenge: “Sometimes I’m travelling to places that

Wednesday February 13 | 2019

are two or three hours from home, and then back again straight after the event. That’s probably more tiring than the actual running!” He will be taking part in Tunbridge Wells for the first time, and added: “I have friends here and without the support of friends, running clubs and events, I probably wouldn’t have been able to afford to take on this challenge.” The oldest Harriers runner is 62-year-old Stella Richardson, who will act as a pacer with the group aiming for a time of two hours 20 minutes. She explained. “We’re there to make sure everybody is okay and if they fall behind, they’ll drop into the group being marshalled by pacers running a slightly slower time.” Another of her roles is to describe the route, and she said: “Tunbridge Wells is quite undulating, so there are some places where the pace will be a little slower. “But we go faster at the beginning so we have plenty of time in hand when we are on the hills, then pick up the pace again towards the finish.” Stella started competitive running at the age of 48 with the intention of running the London Marathon at the age of 50 – she has now completed it six times. She has been a Harrier for a decade and said: “It has the most tremendous coaches and support, the club is absolutely second to none. “It’s there to help you with anything you need to know – programmes, pacing charts. We have track sessions, speed sessions, hill-training. “We run cross-country races to help with endurance training for marathon running, and you do need help if you hope to be able to run regularly without injury.” Entry for the race, which begins at 9am, costs £28. Race numbers can be picked up from Thursday [February 14] in the foyer of the Fusion Sports Centre on St John’s Road [TN4 9TX], and from 7am on race day in the centre’s sports hall. Secure baggage facilities are available, and competitors will receive a long-sleeved running T-shirt, bespoke medal and accurate chip timing. There is no parking on site. For more information, visit twharriers.org.uk


Wednesday February 13 | 2019

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Black Deer line-up announced COUNTRY and Hollywood legend, Kris Kristofferson, is among the acts confirmed for this year’s Black Deer festival at Eridge Park. The singer and leading man from the 1977 version of A Star is Born, a film that has recently been remade with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, brings with him a slew of chart-topping hits from a career that boasts nearly 30 albums. He is performing with the late Merle Haggard’s band The Strangers. Also at this year’s three-day event is The British blues rock band Groundhogs and from Los Angeles, Jerron ‘Blind Boy’ Paxton, who comes with a reputation for transporting audiences back to the 1920s with an eerie ability to blend traditional jazz, blues, folk, and country. SOUTHERN COMFORT Revellers enjoying the sun at last year’s Black Deer

LEGEND: Country singer Kris Kristofferson to headline this year’s Black Deer

Band of Horses, The John Butler Trio, Jade Bird, The Dead South, Larkin Poe, Ryan Bingham, Fantastic Negrito and Hayseed Dixie have also been confirmed among the acts playing on the festival’s six stages.

Deep South Last year’s inaugural Black Deer saw 10,000 people flock to see a range of folk, country, blues and rock n’ roll bands ranging from Ward Thomas, Ashley Campbell and Passenger to Lost Boys and 24 actor, Keifer Sutherland. Billed as ‘a celebration of Americana and Country’, Black Deer organisers say they are trying to encompass the energy that can be found in mostly the southern

states of the United States where music is heavily embedded in the culture. They are also boasting one of the best food line-ups in the UK festival scene, with red-hot Live Fire BBQ demonstrations and cook-out competitions led by expert grill masters. Black Deer won ‘Best New Festival on the Block’ at the UK Independent Festival Awards in November and this year’s line-up features artists not just from the Deep South but also includes a healthy dose of UK talent. Tickets are still on sale for the crowd-puller, which takes place on June 21 to 23, at www.blackdeerfestival.com.


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BUSINESS

Local News

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Wednesday February 13 | 2019

MP’s ministerial bus stop

WELCOME ARRIVAL MP Nus Ghani at the Arriva bus depot

WEALDEN MP Nus Ghani visited the Arriva Tunbridge Wells depot last week to discuss future plans for the bus industry. The Conservative MP, who is also Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, spent the afternoon taking a tour, meeting engineers and employees, and discussing ways local and national government can support the bus network. While at the depot, Ms Ghani also discussed future training and apprenticeship investment in the bus industry. Oliver Monahan, Area Managing Director for Arriva Southern Counties, said: “We pride ourselves in providing the best possible experience, not only for our employees but

also our passengers, and we were absolutely delighted to have Ms Ghani visit the depot so we could showcase the investments we have been making into our fleet with the latest Euro 6 engines. We hope to welcome her again in the near future.” Ms Ghani also took the opportunity to congratulate Arriva for the surpassing of 100,000 rides across Kent on its ArrivaClick service, which allows passengers to request journeys via an app and takes multiple passengers all heading in the same direction. Tunbridge Wells is an area which Arriva has recently made major investments in with regards to local services, green depots and contactless payment technology.

Local Your Move stays put as a ‘superbranch’ as jobs lost elsewhere By Richard Williams STAFF at estate agency Your Move in Tunbridge Wells breathed a sigh of relief this week on learning their High Street location is safe after owners of the chain announced plans to slash 124 branches across the country as part of a national shake-up. More than 120 Your Move and Reeds Rains branches are to close as owners LSL Property Services ‘refocus’ the company due to competition from online agents such as Purple Bricks taking its toll. LSL is reducing its high street presence, cutting the total number of branches from 404 to 280, while the company focuses on 144 larger ‘superbranches’ in crucial locations. Operations of 81 branches will be merged while 43 will close outright, but Your Move in Tunbridge Wells High Street is to be turned into one of the superbranches, a staff member told the Times, safeguarding the jobs of the current four estate agents at the office. LSL said job losses are expected elsewhere as a result of the move, but it would minimise this wherever possible. The company said its new strategy will allow it to achieve different goals, including plans to bring in at least £80,000 profit per branch and expanding the Marsh & Parsons brand outside central London. Despite a healthy housing market, estate agents have faced myriad challenges in recent years, in-

cluding the rise of online alternative agents. Research conducted by the Local Data Company released in November indicated that estate agents were the second fastest declining retail high street category after pubs during the first half of 2018. However, in a statement LSL said bricks and mortar branches still had a place in the industry.

‘The changes we are announcing today will better position Your Move and Reeds Rains as two leading estate agency brands in the UK’ “We continue to believe that traditional estate agents will represent the substantial majority of the residential sales and lettings markets for the foreseeable future, and that our estate agency branches will continue to remain core to providing the service our customers expect,” said Executive Director Helen Buck. “The changes we are announcing today will better position Your Move and Reeds Rains as two leading estate agency brands in the UK.” She added: “We will continue to support these branches and our people to maintain their brand presence and well established local market positions in the future.”

SAFE AS HOUSES: Your Move will stay open in Tunbridge Wells High Street, which protects agency staff


Wednesday February 13 | 2019

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Construction growth slowing – but not in Tunbridge Wells THE construction industry is showing signs of a slowdown in areas of the UK due to Brexit uncertainty and fears of a No Deal causing delays to new build projects, a survey has shown. IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply [CIPS] said growth had eased to its weakest rate in almost a year in January, with activity in the building trade showing definite signs of a slowdown. Their survey of purchasing managers in the industry suggests Brexit is to blame, with projects being put on hold as negotiations with the EU continue and the threat of No Deal lingers. The slowdown will come as unwelcome news for the Treasury as the construction industry is often seen as an early warning indicator of the overall health of the British economy.

The Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index, which is closely monitored by the Bank of England and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, fell to 50.6 last month from 52.8 in December – worryingly close to the 50.0 mark, which separates growth from contraction. The report has worried some in the city, with some infrastructure projects showing clear signs of a slowdown, but south of the M25 it would appear it’s business of usual. Not only is Tunbridge Wells experiencing some of the largest building projects in its history, with a number of major developments currently in progress, or soon to begin, there has been no signs of a slowdown in other areas of the construction industry. Tim Doherty, founder of Dobanti Chartered Sur-

veyors in Benhall Mill Road, said in Tunbridge Wells there’s no sign of slowdown. “At the moment there’s a fair amount of activity in our part of the world. We are getting plenty of enquiries from people who want to build houses. “There’s no shortage of work to tender for and we are doing plenty of surveys. There’s lots of action and activity. People are just getting on with it.” He added that for most people, predictions about Brexit are meaningless as nobody can explain for sure what is going to happen. “I think everybody is intrigued by what is going on and watching the debates and lots of people are making predictions, but for the average consumer they are completely unaware of what the consequences will be, so at this stage why worry about it?” he said.

Gastropub Top 50 win

RUNNING HIGH IN NATIONAL PUB POLL The Kentish Hare

A POPULAR Bidborough pub has been named as one of the top 50 Gastropubs in the country. The Kentish Hare was voted 43rd favourite in the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs Awards. To determine the list, hundreds of votes were cast by industry experts, including food critics, writers and gastropub chefs, in a poll organised by leading pub magazine the Publican’s Morning Advertiser. The Editor of the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs, Nicholas Robinson, said: “Gastropubs are an

example of everything that is great about the UK food and drink scene. “It is something no one else in the world can do as well as we do in Britain. As a result, the pubs on the list are envied by so many because of the innovation and skill within them. “Real gastropubs offer unique experiences while remaining focal points within communities. They are very special places to be. “Gastropubs are unique… they blur the lines between pubs and restaurants, yet maintain the charm and atmosphere of a traditional pub.”

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Warners solicitor takes over as President of the local law society By Andy Tong andy@timesoftonbridge.co.uk MATTHEW SABINE, a partner and residential property solicitor at Warners Solicitors, has been elected as the next President of the Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge & District Law Society. The society encourages closer contact between its members in order to strengthen the local legal community, and addresses issues that are important to the profession. It also responds to government consultations and lobbies the Law Society of England and Wales, the Solicitors Regulation Authority and other organisations. Mr Sabine’s appointment as President will run for one year, during which he will chair a range of executive and general committee meetings as well as hosting dinners and networking events. He said: “I am honoured to take up the position of President of the Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge & District Law Society. “We are a very active society and I’m really looking forward to working alongside our members and promoting the work that we undertake.” Mr Sabine has been with Warners in Bank Street, Tonbridge, for over ten years STRENGTHENING and specialises LEGAL COMMUNITY in residential Matthew Sabine property law.


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NEWS

Community News

Cards for Good Causes enjoys festive success ahead of 60th birthday CHRISTMAS charity Cards For Good Causes [CFGC] is celebrating ahead of its 60th anniversary after a successful year under what it called ‘difficult trading conditions on the high street’. Karen Bryant, manager at the shop in the United Reformed Church Hall in Grosvenor Road, said: “We would like to thank the volunteers for their hard work and dedication last season. “Without them donating their valuable time, our nationwide shops would not be possible.” The shop enlisted the help of 39 volunteers representing 27 charities, who worked a total of 443 hours over the festive period. Sales exceeded totals for the previous two years – the top four charities were the Alzheimer’s Society (£1,107), RNLI (£883), Cancer Research UK (£882) and Macmillan Cancer Support (£863).

Invited Ms Bryant added: “Thanks also to Pantiles Baptist Church, the local branch of Parkinson’s UK and Halliwell Care Home, who all kindly invited CFGC to sell cards through them. “They all helped to contribute to our successful season and generating much-needed sales for local and national charities. “Further thanks to all our customers. CFGC have acknowledged that not all the new product lines trialled last year were well received, and also noted how disappointed many customers were that several popular lines had been dropped. “The matter is being reviewed for the 2019 season – not least because it will be the 1959 Group’s 60th anniversary, so they are keen to make it an even more successful year.” Customers who sent their cards through Post & Packing in Mount Pleasant Road managed to raise a further £280 thanks to a donation from manager Rob Cade and his team.

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Wednesday February 13 | 2019

RED alert starts the year in style at Dame Kelly’s Holmes Straight DAME KELLY HOLMES’ relaunched 1809 Hub hosted a celebration of the end of RED January in association with West Kent Mind. The mental health charity supports the community initiative that encourages you to support your wellbeing by doing something active every day for a month. RED January offers a focus for what can be a tough month psychologically, empowering people to start the year in positive fashion. The colour red was chosen because of its empowering character – the movement looks to ‘turn blue days to red’. Last year the campaign raised more than ­£1million nationwide in order to help Mind provide its vital services. Founded in 2015 by Hannah Beecham, there is now a 65,000-strong RED community nationwide who have benefitted from the charity’s information and resources. Dame Kelly’s free event, called The Holmes Straight, was held at her Hildenborough venue, formerly Cafe 1809, on January 26 to celebrate the efforts of those who took part. The double Olympic champion was on hand to welcome guests, leading the group in a ten-minute core workout. As a reward for their efforts, there was also cake. Dame Kelly, who has documented her struggles with depression and self-harm in the past, is a vocal supporter of Mind and has decided to focus her energies on raising awareness of mental health issues. Last month she published her latest book, Running Life, which describes the benefits of combining mindset, fitness and nutrition – the ‘big three’, as the former athlete calls them. “Amazing to meet REDers today,” said Dame

BEAT THE BLUES: Dame Kelly Holmes (centre) and Hannah Beecham with RED friends at The 1809 Hub Kelly. “A lovely group of people all being the best version of themselves. My dad Mick even made an appearance. “Thank you to all that came and supported the event. RED January was set up by the lovely lady Hannah Beecham and it was so nice to host this event for her so she can see and hear from people about its success.”

Motivation She has been sharing her daily workouts on social media, and managed to start Mick off with gentle walking on the treadmill. Dame Kelly added: “I’ve loved taking part in RED January again this year, and seeing all the

REDers getting active on social media has given me the motivation I needed to get up and get moving each day. “This final week can be tough, so I wanted to bring the community together to share their stories so they know they’re not alone in this. “It’s also a great opportunity to support RED January’s charity partner, Mind, with any donations from the event going towards their work with people experiencing mental health problems and those who need support in caring for loved ones.” Hannah Beecham said: “We are so proud to have Dame Kelly on board again this year. She has offered endless encouragement to the online RED community. She’s an inspiration.”


Wednesday February 13 | 2019

FOR EVEN MORE NEWS VISIT: timeslocalnews.co.uk REACHING OUT (L-R) Crossways Community’s Chris Munday with volunteers Michelle Talbott and Rosie Willis at the café Kitchen Table

The caseload has put huge pressure on local mental health services and the café will offer an alternative means of support. Chris Munday, Chief Executive of Crossways Community, said: “West Kent is one of the most affluent areas in the county of Kent. It can be easy to overlook areas of relative deprivation and communities that are marginalised. “There are high levels of health inequalities, depression and anxiety due to stigma, discrimination and poor access to services.” The Kitchen Table offers a relaxed and informal environment, reaching out to people who are ‘too embarrassed or unsure to ask for formal help on mental health issues’.

‘Stigma and hostility towards people with mental illness is still prevalent. Our café will be a place where it’s OK not to be OK’

Kitchen Table café aims to be ‘listening ear’ and help with mental health issues By Andy Tong A NEW café has opened in Tunbridge Wells to provide a ‘listening ear’ and combat the stigma of talking about mental health. The Kitchen Table at No 19 Camden Road is open to the public but is also looking to reach out to vulnerable members of society. Local charity Crossways Community launched the initiative on February 7 to coincide with Time To Talk About Mental Health Day.

It hopes to provide early and accessible help, information, and support for families and the wider community. According to the Kent Mental Health Needs Assessment in 2014, West Kent has the highest prevalence of neurotic disorder, depression and anxiety in the county. The report found that more than 44,000 people in the region have ‘common’ mental health problems such as phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, depression and stress.

It will also signpost local churches, mental health professionals, GP surgeries, counselling services and NHS online counselling. Mr Munday added: “Every year, in an average group of 100 people 25 will suffer with at least one diagnosable mental illness. “Stigma and hostility towards people with mental illness is still prevalent, preventing many people seeking help and making those suffering more vulnerable. “Our café will be a place where it’s OK not to be OK, and a place where, if you want to chat, there will always be a listening ear.” The Kitchen Table will be open from 9am to 4pm from Thursday to Saturday. Established in 1967, Crossways provides residential and supported living accommodation for adults with mental health issues in West Kent. The Christian charity receives referrals from partner agencies such as West Kent Mind, Kent Police and West Kent Action Board. For information, visit crosswayscommunity.co.uk

Community News

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Beginner’s special at Tonbridge Triathlon for first time in Kent THIS year’s Tonbridge Triathlon will feature a special version of the endurance for beginners. The 28th race, organised by the Tonbridge Lions Club, will be held on Bank Holiday Monday [May 6] at Tonbridge School Sports Centre. The Lions were given permission by the British Triathlon Federation to offer the new initiative, called Go Tri, for the first time in Kent. The shortened race is for those who want a relatively easy introduction to the sport. Each distance is a quarter of the standard length – a 200m swim, 14km cycle course and 2.5km run. No specialist equipment is required, the event is for over-18s only, and the entry fee is £15. All proceeds go to a variety of charitable causes, including Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex, Hospice in the Weald and Libra [Lions International Blood Research Appeal]. The Lions have donated over £275,000 to charity since the first event in 1991, and hopes to raise a further £15,000 this year. The club is also planning to offer initial basic training at the school’s Sports Centre. There are also Standard, Sprint [half-Standard] and relay team triathlons on offer. To enter, visit tonbridgetriathlon.co.uk

GET ON TRACK: Go Tri will be at Tonbridge School


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NEWS

National News

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Taxi drivers may face stricter checks to stop ‘preying on vulnerable’ ALL taxi and minicab drivers could have to pass enhanced criminal record checks under plans by the Government to protect vulnerable passengers. The Department for Transport [DfT] has launched a consultation on new licensing guidelines for local authorities. Taxis minister Nus Ghani, the MP for Wealden, said: “While the vast majority of drivers are safe and act responsibly, we have seen too many cases where taxi and minicab drivers have used their job to prey on vulnerable people, women and children. “These rules would make sure that drivers are fit to carry passengers, keeping people safe while stopping those with bad intentions from getting behind the wheel of a taxi or minicab.” The Government has also pledged to introduce national minimum standards for drivers, establish a national licensing database and look at restricting drivers operating hundreds of miles away from where they are licensed. DfT officials are also considering whether vehicles should be fitted with CCTV, with an encrypted system meaning footage could only be accessed if a crime is reported. TOO MANY CASES Taxis minister Nus Ghani

Wednesday February 13 | 2019

NEWS IN BRIEF

Ford devises new way to stop bed-hogging FORD has invented a prototype bed that automatically rolls selfish sleepers back to their side of the mattress whenever they stray on to the other half. The car maker has adapted lane-centring assist technology used to ensure drivers remain in the middle of their lane into a concept dubbed the Lane-Keeping Bed. Pressure sensors detect when a person moves from one side of the bed to the other, and gently rolls them back to their side with the help of an integrated conveyor belt.

ORDERLY EXIT Theresa May says MPs will already have debated

May says 21-day rule for ratifying treaties can be changed for Brexit THERESA MAY has set out plans to short-circuit Parliamentary rules in order to get a Brexit deal ratified in time for the UK to leave the EU by the March 29 deadline. The Prime Minister told MPs that she would enable the House of Commons to lift a requirement for a 21-day delay before any vote to approve an international treaty. The announcement came as Mrs May urged MPs to ‘hold their nerve’ and support her efforts to secure a withdrawal deal to deliver Brexit on time. Updating the Commons on progress in the talks, she acknowledged she would need ‘some time’ to seek legally binding changes from the EU to the controversial backstop for the Irish border. She pledged to return on February 26 with a further statement triggering another debate and votes the next day if she has not secured a deal. If a deal is agreed, MPs will have a second ‘meaningful vote’, like the one in January which saw Mrs May’s original plan rejected by 230 votes.

With 45 days to go, former attorney general Dominic Grieve warned that time was running out for ratification of any deal under the terms of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act. The Act, passed by the coalition government in 2010, requires 21 sitting days before the ratification of any international treaty. But Mrs May responded: “In most circumstances, that period may be important in order for this House to have an opportunity to study that agreement. “But of course, in this instance MPs will already have debated and approved the agreement as part of the meaningful vote. “So while we will follow normal procedure if we can, where there is insufficient time remaining following a successful meaningful vote, we will make provision in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill – with Parliament’s consent – to ensure that we are able to ratify on time to guarantee our exit in an orderly way.”

Strictly’s danceathon CLAUDIA WINKLEMAN and Tess Daly will live up to their promise to ‘keep dancing’ when they take on a special challenge for Comic Relief. The Strictly Come Dancing stars pledged to dance for 24 hours in the longest danceathon in Red Nose Day history. The pair appeared on Zoe Ball’s BBC Radio 2 breakfast show to say they will dance at the radio studios in Wogan House for the challenge on March 11-12.

Clooney’s Meghan fear GEORGE CLOONEY has said the Duchess of Sussex is being ‘pursued and vilified’ and compared her treatment with that of Diana, Princess of Wales. The Hollywood star, a friend of Harry and Meghan, said history was repeating itself and warned ‘we’ve seen how that ends’. His intervention comes after newspaper reports of a rift between Meghan, who is pregnant, and her father Thomas Markle.


Wednesday February 13 | 2019

Upskirting vote leads to two-year sentence UPSKIRTING has been made a specific criminal offence after a Bill to ban the cruel craze received Royal Assent in the House of Lords. People who are convicted of taking an indecent image or video under someone’s clothing face being jailed for two years and being put on the sex offenders’ register. Gina Martin, who campaigned for a change in the law after falling victim to upskirting at a festival in 2017, welcomed the move and said it was a ‘long time coming’. Prime Minister Theresa May, who was in the House of Commons as cheers rang out when the Bill received Royal Assent in the Lords, said she was ‘very pleased to see the degrading practice of upskirting become a criminal offence after the tireless work of victims and campaigners’. Victims called for the creation of a specific law after becoming frustrated with a lack of options to prosecute perpetrators.

Review seeks regulator to check news quality SOCIAL media giants like Google and Facebook should have a ‘news quality obligation’ – overseen by a regulator – to improve trust in the content they host, a Government-commissioned review has found. In a wide-ranging report, the Cairncross Review into the future of the UK news industry called for ministers to look at new tax breaks for ‘public interest’ journalism, with direct funding for local public interest news. It also recommended the creation of a new institute of public interest news, along the lines of the Arts Council. This would channel a combination of public and private finance into those parts of the industry deemed most worthy of support.

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Pele pays tribute to ‘great friend’ as World Cup legend Banks dies ENGLAND’S World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks has died at the age of 81. Banks revealed in 2016 that he was battling kidney cancer for the second time. His 1966 team mate Sir Bobby Charlton said on Manchester United’s Twitter account: “Gordon was a fantastic goalkeeper and I was proud to call him a team-mate. “He will be deeply missed and our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time.” Aside from his role in England’s Wembley triumph, Banks is best remembered for his stunning save to keep out Pele’s header at the 1970 World Cup. The Brazil superstar paid his own tribute to his old rival and great friend. He said: “I scored so many goals in my life, but many people, when they meet me, always ask me about that save. “While it was indeed phenomenal, my memory of Gordon is not defined by that – it is defined by

GLOVE AFFAIR Gordon Banks foils Hungary in 1965

his friendship. He was a kind and warm man who gave so much to people. “So I am glad he saved my header – because that act was the start of a friendship between us that I will always treasure. Whenever we met, it was always like we had never been apart. “I have great sadness in my heart today and I send condolences to the family he was so proud of. “Rest in peace, my friend. Yes, you were a goalkeeper with magic. But you were also so much more. You were a fine human being.” Banks [pictured above] made 510 league appearances for Chesterfield, Leicester and Stoke. He retired from the professional game at the age of 34 following a road accident which cost him the sight in his right eye, although he later returned briefly to the sport in America.

ANGRY DOZEN The 12 accused appear in court

Catalan separatists’ trial has high stakes THE trial of a dozen Catalan separatist politicians and activists began yesterday [Tuesday] at Spain’s Supreme Court in Madrid amid protests by pro-independence supporters. The defendants are being tried for rebellion and other charges stemming from their roles in a declaration of unilateral independence in 2017. The case coincides with prime minister Pedro Sanchez’s minority government holding last-ditch negotiations with Catalan pro-independence parties to back his 2019 budget. Failure to strike a deal could lead to a general election. The separatists want him to agree to talks on self-determination for their region. But the government argues that the country’s constitution does not allow it. Budget minister Maria Jesus Montero opened the debate by saying the government would ‘not give in to any blackmail by anybody’.


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National News

EDF is second company to announce price rise MORE than a million energy customers on EDF’s standard variable tariff face a 10 per cent price increase from April 1. Gas and electricity bills will rise by an average £118 to £1,254 – up to the level of Ofgem’s new price cap – for 1.3million existing customers on EDF’s standard variable tariff. Prepayment meter customers will also face an average £106 or 9 per cent price rise. “Ofgem’s announcement confirmed that costs increased significantly last year and this was further evidenced by the collapse of several small suppliers,” an EDF spokesperson said. “As a responsible and long-term business, it is important that we reflect the costs we’re facing.” E.ON had already pushed up prices following the announcement by Ofgem last week that there would be an increase to the energy price cap.

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Carney warns of fallout from no-deal and China slowdown TRADE TENSIONS Mark Carney warns of global uncertainty

£40million loan gives Debenhams time to talk DEBENHAMS has secured a lifeline from its lenders as the department store chain seeks a broader refinancing deal amid long-term pressures on the high street. The retailer has confirmed an agreement with current lenders and noteholders to extend its borrowing facilities by a year with a cash injection of £40million. It will act as a bridge while the company continues talks for a longer-term refinancing. Chief executive Sergio Bucher said: “Today’s announcement represents the first step in our refinancing process. “The support of our lenders for our turnaround plan is important to underpin a comprehensive solution that will take account of the interests of all stakeholders, and deliver a sustainable and profitable future for Debenhams.”

MARK CARNEY has urged politicians to find a Brexit solution as he warned over economic risks posed by a slowing Chinese economy, protectionism and ‘deglobalisation’. The Bank of England governor said: “It is in the interests of everyone, arguably everywhere ... that a Brexit solution that works for all is found.” Mr Carney told the City that business investment in the UK ‘has fallen 3.7 per cent over the past year despite the ongoing expansion, high business profitability and accommodative financial conditions’. He added: “With fundamental uncertainty about future market access, UK investment hasn’t grown since the referendum was called and has dramatically underperformed both history and peers.”

He described Brexit as an ‘acid test’ of whether a way can be found to broaden the benefits of economic ‘openness while enhancing democratic accountability’. Mr Carney said trade tensions and Brexit are ‘manifestations of fundamental pressures to reorder globalisation’ and Britain’s divorce from the EU was a test in trade uncertainty, which if prolonged, could undermine global expansion. “It is possible that new rules of the road will be developed for a more inclusive and resilient global economy. “At the same time, there is a risk that countries turn inwards, undercutting growth and prosperity for all. “Concerns over this possibility are already impairing investment, jobs and growth, creating a dynamic that could become self-fulfilling.” His comments come after the Bank slashed its growth forecast for the UK economy and warned about the mounting risk of a recession in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Mr Carney also said that slowing global growth has been hampered by ‘rising trade tensions and growing policy uncertainty’, pointing to the trade dispute between the US and China. “Global economic policy uncertainty is at record highs,” he said. “Protectionist rhetoric is becoming reality, with the United States raising tariffs on a range of imports from its main trading partners, and some retaliating in kind. “If all measures contemplated are implemented, average US tariffs will reach rates not seen in half a century.” A downturn in the Chinese economy, he said, ‘would test the resilience’ of other countries. The Bank estimates that a 3 per cent drop in Chinese GDP would take 1 per cent off global activity, including 0.5 per cent each for UK, US and eurozone GDP.

Wednesday February 13 | 2019

NEWS IN BRIEF

Energy price cap sees inflation fall to target INFLATION is expected to have hit the Bank of England’s target in January, thanks to the new cap on energy prices. Consensus estimates predict Office for National Statistics figures will reveal today [Wednesday] that the Consumer Prices Index rate of inflation fell to 2 per cent last month, reaching the central bank’s goal. Inflation in December came in at 2.1 per cent, a near two-year low, due to the collapse in oil prices which pulled down petrol prices and air fares.

Huawei defence of 5G JEALOUSY could be behind some of the criticism of Huawei in the West, the Chinese technology giant has suggested. The firm said it had a ‘sound record’ of cybersecurity and warned continuing ‘groundless suspicion’ would damage the whole technology industry as it begins to roll out 5G, the next generation communication technology. Several countries – including UK officials – have expressed concerns that the firm could be compelled to assist in Chinese state intelligence work, something Huawei has repeatedly denied.

Here’s to ‘ginaissance’ EXPORTS of British gin reached a record high of £612million last year. British exports have more than doubled in value since 2010’s £288million figure and are up 15 per cent on the year before, according to HM Revenue and Customs. The ‘ginaissance’ has seen combined sales at home and abroad break £2.5billion.


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NEWS

Letters

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And another thing… This is the page where you, the reader, have your chance to express your views or comments on what’s going on in our part of the world. We like to hear from you. You can email us at newsdesk@timesoftunbridgewells.co.uk or newsdesk@timesoftonbridge.co.uk or write to the Editor at Runcie Court, Salomons Estate, Tunbridge Wells TN3 0TG I’ve gone from feeling like a stranger to having strong sense of belonging

WHAT’S IN STORE? There are stories behind the facades I moved to Tunbridge Wells in December 1998, and for the first 18 years I hardly knew nor learned anything about the town, apart from the regular routes from home to schools, to shops, to the library, to parks and clinics. Then two years ago I picked up a copy of the Times by chance. That changed my relationship with Tunbridge Wells completely. I not only learned a lot of facts, history and news, I have entered the lives and conversations among the communities in the town and the areas around it. Then I found some copies of SO magazine near The Pantiles, which have extended my knowledge and strengthened my connection with Tunbridge Wells even further. Now when I pass the shops, restaurants and

Culture plays a part in prosperity I wrote a letter recently about how the Marlowe Theatre may have boosted property values in Canterbury by eight per cent, wondering whether Tunbridge Wells can expect a similar boost. The eight per cent figure was the outperformance of property prices in Canterbury versus nearby Ashford over the last ten years. But is this all down to the Marlowe Theatre? It’s hard to say. So I consulted the experts – estate agents in Canterbury – to see if they view the Marlowe Theatre as a major selling point. The answer is yes. The national chain Your Move mentions the Marlowe twice in its guide to Canterbury, alongside the cathedral, universities and cricket club. Winkworth also mentions it in the section ‘great things to love about living in Canterbury’. Bairstow Eves goes one better, listing the Marlowe as a selling point for the county. It seems estate agents, who do this for a living, believe the Marlowe is a good thing for residents and nearby properties. Who am I to argue? Tom Payne Tunbridge Wells

Theatre of dreams – or a nightmare? It’s a great shame to see the Times getting things wrong. The title of Graham Munn’s letter incorrectly suggests we might be paying £85 a ticket to go to the new theatre [February 6]. That

buildings, in fact nearly every place around the town, I don’t only see them for what they are, I comprehend the people and their lives and stories behind the buildings, and other people’s opinions about these places. I have gone from a stranger who has been living here for so long knowing nothing to someone who has grown a strong sense of belonging to where I live, the community where I so contentedly call home, in just two years. This is very impressive. The latest news about the inclusion of SO magazine in the Times from March onwards is the most welcoming news in 2019. So… many thanks from the very bottom of my heart. Michelle Scott Via email is not what Mr Munn said or even inferred. We might well have to pay £85 a ticket, or even more, but according to the council’s own figures none of that forms part of the much-vaunted £34million annual economic benefit from the new Civic Complex. This figure is split: £30million from the new commercial offices and only £4million from the theatre, and the sale of theatre tickets is not part of that £4million because almost none of the economic benefit from the ticket sales will remain in the borough. But let me spoil a good story with some facts. The £34million is overstated by somewhere between at least £20million, if the criticisms of the planning committee’s expert review of the £34million claim are taken into account, and maybe by more than £40million from a combination of other flaws in the way the calculation was done, and the possibility that the BBC might abandon Tunbridge Wells when its lease expires in 2021, or that Hoopers’ concerns that having to share their car park with the theatre might force them to close the store. Yes, the economic benefit might be significantly negative. The details will emerge at the public inquiry, but they can already be found on the inquiry website. The council has some explaining to do. Robert Chris Tunbridge Wells

Piles of public money don’t stack up So a well-established Calverley Grounds dental surgery has become the latest potential casualty of the Civic Centre development [February 6]. However, according to a local government funder, Calverley Square represents poor value for public money. Tunbridge Wells Borough Council [TWBC] recently applied for £5million in government funding towards the total cost of over £90million for the proposed development. However, a critical technical assessment of the project bid conducted by Steer consultancy, on behalf of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, concludes that the scheme represents poor value for public money. The Steer report rejects the current Calverley plan as they don’t think the evaluation process submitted by TWBC is good enough, and also because of potential delivery risks in the completion timeline. It particularly highlights the lack of evidence to support claims that the development would derive additional income from expenditure on food and drink, and also create a significant increase in local jobs. If their business case doesn’t stack up, the Tories’ justification for wrecking Calverley Grounds disappears altogether. It’s bad for business, bad for residents, and bad for the environment, so why are they ploughing on regardless? Instead, we need sensible councillors, who understand business, have independent judgement, and who will stand up for the people of Tunbridge Wells. Dr Alan Bullion Tunbridge Wells Lib Dems

Verse about things getting worse

How doth the busy Mrs May improve each shining hour, She wants her twice rejected plan to keep her into power; “Abandon hope my countrymen,” she cries in lordly tone “I’ll ruin every one of you and do it all alone. You’ll get my kind of Brexit. It’s very clear to see, It never will please anyone, except of course, just me.” ‘Theresa May, the wondrous queen’ the history books will show. Though poor old England sadly died, she gave it such a blow. You are wrong dear, Prime Minister, the whole country said And your hair has become very grey And yet you can talk through the back of your neck Do you ever believe what you say? I remember the days when I didn’t make sense And I feared it might injure my brain, But now that I’m sure that I do not have one Why, I do it again and again. Alexander Magnus (with apologies to Lewis Carroll), Tunbridge Wells

We do our best to publish letters in full. However, the Editor reserves the right to edit any letter. Please ensure that letters do not exceed 250 words

Calverley

Observations on life and more important things

WHY do they do it? Andy People can Murray get a wee bit carried away with having pictures taken when they’re in hospital. The latest in a line of big name ‘look at me, I’m sick’ snaps was Andy Murray, who had a hip op. Other poorly pics have come from Piers Morgan (stomach bug), Kate Beckinsale (cyst) and Nicky Campbell (kidney stones). It’s all making Calverley quite queasy. Mind, you Calverley’s off to the dentist next week; there’s a thought, maybe a selfie opportunity? No, not a pretty sight. BINMEN often get rubbished. We all take them for granted until the day they fail to collect our waste. Then it’s straight on the phone to the council to complain; mostly quite loudly and sometimes rather rudely. Himself is no exception. Now, though, having met said ‘binman’, Calverley is much more tolerant. Seems they have to complete two rounds a day with 600 bins in a round. That’s 1,200 to empty. And the chaps keep going until they finish even when they return to the depot to empty the truck halfway through. No wonder you see them running down the road. A COUPLE of months ago Calverley flagged the fact a restaurant was charging £32 for fish and chips. But that’s nothing compared to some pubs belonging to Youngs charging £28 for two pieces of roast cauliflower as a ‘special’. You can say that again. Even if they label them cauliflower steaks it’s a wee bit rich. A sirloin steak from the same chain of pubs will cost you £25. It makes hardened veggies such as Himself want to give up.

WHEN your licence fee for watching and listening to BBC output goes up £4 to £154.50 a year from April, you might pause to think how your cash is being spent. Many believe the corporation has dropped a brick over the £86million it is paying to create a new set for the soap opera EastEnders. (No, Calverley doesn’t either.) The real storyline, though, is the £44,000 is has apparently spent on brick samples. Brick samples! When Calverley had a garden wall built He got a selection of bricks to choose from free of charge. Maybe not quite the same, but it makes the point. Chin Chin, dear reader


Education

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EDUCATION Times

Local reading skills buck national trend St Gregory’s Catholic School has been recognised as a ‘Champion School’ for students’ achievements in reading AFTER trialling an innovative new reading scheme since September 2018, St Gregory’s Catholic School in Tunbridge Wells has proved it has been ‘highly effective’ in improving its students’ reading levels courtesy of the Accelerated Reader Programme.

Motivates Due to the successful implementation of this educational programme, St Gregory’s is now working with the programme’s developer, Renaissance Learning, to assist other schools and help share best practice with reading initiatives. The school’s librarian, Kim Stanley, explains how the programme works: “A student reads a book, completes a quiz online and gets immediate

feedback via the Accelerated Reader Programme, which motivates them to read more and progress. “This personalised testing programme allows us to accurately assess and measure students’ individual progress without timeconsuming data analysis. “The programme gives students a sense of accomplishment, and the pride and success they feel when scoring 100 per cent is invaluable, making reading a pleasure rather than a chore. “Early indicators suggest that this particular reading programme is having a very positive impact and has far exceeded expectations. “For the first time in many years, boys are now reading more than girls, therefore bucking the national trend.”

BOYS ARE BEATING GIRLS In the number of books they read

Hitting the high notes TONBRIDGE GRAMMAR SCHOOL’s TGS Motet Choir are celebrating a double triumph, having qualified for the semi-finals of the BBC Songs of Praise ‘Young Choir of the Year 2019’, and also for the final of the Barnardo’s Youth Choir Competition. The BBC competition takes place at the Victoria Hall in Bolton on Sunday March 10, and will be televised later in April in a series of three programmes on BBC One. The Barnado’s final takes place on March 4 at London’s Royal Festival Hall, and this is the tenth time in the latter competition’s 11-year history that TGS Motet have been in the final. The choir’s Musical Director, Adrian Pitts, told the Times: “The TGS Motet choir have been working

SINGING THEIR PRAISES The choir’s Musical Director is very proud of them

very hard in the last few months, preparing under my direction. The students are delighted that their hard work has been recognised on a national level and look forward to the next few months ahead. “This achievement is reflective of the support and musical opportunities that are available at Tonbridge Grammar through our vibrant co-curriculum. “Over the last year, the choir have been involved in Britten’s War Requiem and other concert opportunities in the community. Music is very much at the heart of the school.” The winning choir will be presented with a trophy, have a song written for them, and also have the opportunity of singing in one of Barnardo’s young supporter’s concerts.

Beacon Academy makes top progress for a second year THE national league tables published by the Department for Education [DOE] at the end of last month have ranked Beacon Academy, Crowborough as the top-performing school in a list of others with comparable Key Stage 2 starting points. This is the second year running the academy has held the number one spot in the county under the DOE’s headline Progress 8 measure. This reflects the value that schools add to the progress of their students in respect of their final GCSE grades, compared to that of their peers of similar ability across the country. This year, the school’s published Progress 8 score is 0.7. A school spokesperson

said: “As a non-selective, non-denominational, nonfee-paying school, we are immensely proud and delighted to have received this confirmation of our high-ranking position. “We are in an esteemed group of seven per cent of schools nationally who are now categorised as ‘well above average’ – for two years in a row. “This is a reflection of our vision and our determination to consistently provide the best possible education for all of our students, and to become an exceptional school for our community, both locally and nationally.”

‘ESTEEMED GROUP’ The students are on the up

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Nus Ghani

Conservative MP for Wealden

Weekly Comment

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Nus Ghani was elected MP for Wealden in May 2015 and represents Crowborough, Eridge and Uckfield, among other towns and villages. She also currently serves as Parliamentary UnderSecretary of State at the Department for Transport and is Assistant Government Whip. In 2018, Ms Ghani became the first Muslim woman to speak from the House of Commons Despatch Box. The Times also publishes comment from the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green parties

Campaigning for better broadband HAVE you noticed how we rarely visit a post-box these days, and instead do everything online, from paying bills to booking holidays and ordering groceries to sending birthday cars? In 2019, a reliable internet connection is a necessity, no longer a luxury. Unfortunately, living in rural areas of East Sussex has all too often meant unreliable, slow and expensive broadband and mobile data connections.

BANDING TOGETHER Nus Ghani with Jeremy Wright

Superfast Our businesses, farmers, schools and families depend on a reliable internet connection. At a recent surgery in Wadhurst I heard from a number of people campaigning to improve rural broadband, and my mailbag is all too often full of constituents raising their concerns. Over the last few years, things have got better. 95 per cent of the UK now has access to superfast broadband, and the Government recently invested £1.7 billion in the rollout of broadband in rural parts of the country. Access, reliability and speed is slowly improving – but there is still so much more to do.

Mark Ellis

Liberal Democrat Councillor

Towards the end of last year, I ran a broadband survey across Wealden to get the latest picture on how my constituents’ feel about their internet connection. The results were not overwhelmingly positive, with far too many residents not getting the speed they pay for, and many not having access to superfast broadband at all. I took these results to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Rt Hon Jeremy Wright MP, to urge him to take further action on the provision of rural broadband. He reiterated his and the Government’s commitment to speeding up the rollout of superfast rural broadband, as well as more reliable mobile data signal including 4G. If you are struggling with your internet connection, do get in touch with me at nusrat.ghani. mp@parliament.uk – I can take individual cases to BT Openreach and other relevant providers, so let me know if you need assistance. While we have come far in the provision of broadband compared to even a few years ago there is still much more to do. In the coming weeks I’m hoping to meet with BT Openreach to discuss what more can be done to truly deliver 21st century quality provision of internet in Wealden.

Mark Ellis was elected as Liberal Democrat Councillor for St Johns in May 2018. He is father to two boys, a governor at a local school, and has many years’ experience working with local businesses in Kent and Sussex.

Developing a better town for our retail community and its residents THE national news is full of doom and gloom about how the internet is causing the death of the high street. Yet although some shops in Tunbridge Wells are suffering, and we see far too many empty stores, others are seeing some of their best trading on record. Having talked to many retailers, our best performing shops tend to be our smaller independent stores who offer the combination of excellent customer service along with outstanding product knowledge, and an experience that that can never be offered via a click of a mouse. The question is; How do we as a town create an environment that encourages more of these shopping gems to fill in the spaces left by failed chain stores - who have lost their shine to the likes of Amazon? The starting point is getting our Conservative council to understand that successful town development is not about expensive new buildings, and more to do with enhancing the community feel of the town. Community driven projects don’t not

have to cost large sums, a great example of this is the recent closure of the Council Farmers’ market and its resurrection in an independent form. This provides an opportunity to grow a people-based retail experience that offers residents a unique experience together with being a magnet for other market traders from other areas. The result of this is increased footfall for the surrounding shops, cafes and restaurants, which leads to greater opportunities for new businesses to be opened. If a Farmers’ market can be saved and brought into the centre of our town, why not expand this and have other themed markets on different days; a regular crafts market or a food and beer festival. The possibilities are endless and just require some organisation and an advertising budget. There are many examples of places where this has been successful such as in Bromley, Tonbridge, Lewes, Canterbury and Tenterden; all of which have far fewer empty retail spaces than Tunbridge Wells.

Tunbridge Wells Business Improvement District After a successful Ballot last year Tunbridge Wells launches its new Business Improvement District (BID) on the 1st April, something the Liberal Democrats are supporting as an initiative to help our town to become the destination it once was. Businesses within the BID area pay an additional annual levy (based on the rateable value of their premises) to fund defined projects. The funds are ringfenced for the area and controlled by the BID and their Independent Board.

Initiatives Once established, new money can go into initiatives that promote and enhance our town and its retail community. Being independent of the council, money can be focused in areas the business community considers as important for growing commercial activity. As last week’s edition of the Times pointed out, Tunbridge Wells is a great place to live and work. Let’s share this with a wider audience and bring a vibrant shopping culture to our town. PROPOSED BID AREA Companies in the Business Improvement District fund projects via an annual levy


S H O W

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Windsor Meadow, Plain Road, Marden, Kent, TN12 9EH 01622 832576 • windsormeadow@mdh.uk.com www.millwooddesignerhomes.co.uk


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AVAILABLE EVER Y WEDNESDAY – A MUST-READ

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO PROPERTY, IN TERIORS & TOP TRENDS

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Charming cottage With business potential

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AN OAST IN THE ROUND

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PRIME POSITION FOR THE PARK

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Flower power

in a flat fit for a Queen Page 25

IMPRESSIVE VILLAGE NEW BUILD

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DAN GOES INTO BATTLE FOR LOVE


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Best property buys for... We all love to see homes with the ‘wow’ factor – which could apply to the kitchen, reception room, garden, or something else. Sarah Bond homes in on specific aspects that make these properties well worth a look… The ROUNDEL HALL…

Greyladies Oast

Long Mill Lane, Crouch Nr Sevenoaks

Guide price

£850,000 CONTACT • Savills, Sevenoaks • 01732 789700 • savills.co.uk This stunning property is part of an impressive Grade II-listed conversion of a six-granary, sixroundel oast dating from the mid-19th century. The stylish home comes with a stable for equestrians and enjoys far-reaching views over the countryside. MAIN POINTS OF INTEREST

n Reception hall boasting feature stone walls with brick edged display recesses n Drawing room with stone and brick fireplace, stove-style electric fire and double doors to dining room n Round kitchen/breakfast room with a range-style cooker n First floor balcony n Roundel master suite with stairs to mezzanine shower room and dressing area n 3 further bedrooms and a family bathroom n Delightful gardens with terrace n Garage n Communal stable yard n Own stable and tack room n Shared use of 1.5-acre paddock


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The PRICE… The KITCHENBREAKFAST ROOM…

Henwoods Crescent Pembury

Guide price

£400,000-£420,000 CONTACT • Barnes Kingsnorth, Pembury • 01892 822880 • bkestateagents.com A detached family home which could benefit from cosmetic updating and has scope to extend, subject to the necessary permissions. MAIN POINTS OF INTEREST

n Sitting/dining room with doors to garden n Kitchen with door to garden n 3 bedrooms and family bathroom n Driveway offering parking for several cars n Garage n Charming 100ft garden with patio

Yew Tree Cottage Bells Farm Road Hadlow

£1,700,000 CONTACT • Barnes Kingsnorth, Tonbridge • 01732 771616 • bkestateagents.com

Park View

Pembury Road Tunbridge Wells

A modernised, Grade II-listed cottage/farmhouse beaming with 17th-century character. It lies down a country lane and comes with 12 acres of land, a heated swimming pool and business potential.

Guide price

MAIN POINTS OF INTEREST

CONTACT • Bracketts, Tunbridge Wells • 01892 533733 • bracketts.co.uk

n 2 halls with staircases n Sitting room with inglenook fireplace n Dining room with inglenook fireplace n Spacious kitchen/breakfast room with Aga, vaulted ceiling and doors to terrace n 2 studies and a snug

£500,000

A double-fronted Victorian villa backing on to Dunorlan Park which has been priced to allow for modernisation. It has character features and a good-sized garden.

n 32ft master bedroom with vaulted ceiling and en-suite

MAIN POINTS OF INTEREST

n 4 further bedrooms, two en-suite, and family bathroom

n Reception hall with chimney breast

n Cottage garden, including terrace, kitchen garden, greenhouse and chicken coop n Heated swimming pool and pool house n Sweeping gated driveway with parking

n Porch with original arched front door n Reception room with tiled fireplace and French doors overlooking terrace n Kitchen/breakfast room with door to garden n 3 bedrooms, two with chimney breasts and two with arched windows

n Timber barn with B1 general industrial business listing

n Shower room

n In total 12 acres, including orchards

n Parking for 2 cars

n Garden with patio


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Queen’s Road

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AT A GLANCE

QUEEN’S ROAD TUNBRIDGE WELLS n Victorian apartment occupying the entire ground floor, with the benefit of its own private entrance n Under a mile to High Brooms mainline railway station n Sitting room open-plan to dining room. Character features include a striking open fireplace and original sash bay windows n Kitchen with walk-in pantry area n Utility room with back door n 2 impressive double bedrooms n Stylish bathroom with good quality sanitary ware

Superb Victorian apartment with its own entrance and garden in popular location

n Beautifully landscaped private garden with lawns, trees, paths, seating areas and a good-sized garden store n Private driveway offering parking for up to 4 vehicles

GUIDE PRICE

£550,000 CONTACT • Knight Frank, Tunbridge Wells • 01892 515035 • knightfrank.co.uk


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Property Focus

NEW HOMES

Saxons

St Mary’s Lane Speldhurst

GUIDE PRICE

£1,800,000 CONTACT

• Savills, Tunbridge Wells • 01892 507000 • savills.co.uk A fabulous rural new build at the end of a no-through lane with views of the church. It boasts good-sized grounds, plenty of parking and an interesting open space on the top floor ripe for finishing off to your personal taste, subject to the necessary consents. MAIN POINTS OF INTEREST • Built to a high standard • Entrance porch • Spacious central reception hall • Dual-aspect drawing room with oak lintel fireplace, wood-burning stove and French doors to garden

• Open-plan sitting/kitchen/dining room with an impressive ten-paned window connecting the ground floor to the galleried landing above. Plus bifold doors to terrace • Dual-aspect family room • Utility room and cloakroom • 3 bedroom suites, two with dressing rooms, one of which also has a balcony • Further bedroom plus a family bathroom • 665 sq ft attic room with windows, Velux roof lights and services in place for bathroom, if required • Double garage with room above • Established and secluded 0.6-acre plot

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Property Focus

ARCHITECTURE

Love the sights where you live

Take the heritage quiz to find your perfect architectural match this Valentine’s Day

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The survey is part of Heritage England’s 2019 Viaduct and the 13th-century wall paintings at St Loss and Destruction season, which looks at why Thomas à Becket Church, Capel. our heritage buildings are so important and why As part of Heritage England’s survey, TV they need to be looked after. historian Dan Snow, who has appeared at the “They are the backdrop to our lives, the Assembly Hall, reveals the architectural love setting of treasured memories and the of his life is Battle Abbey. familiar sights that say you’re almost home,” “This is my Valentine. Always will says the organisation, which also asks: “Is be,” he says. there a building you couldn’t live without? “My dad and mum took my sister and I So which buildings do you cherish, and there on countless occasions. We charged why? Where is it that makes your heart down the hill like Harold’s brothers. It is sing, or stops you in your tracks, where I feel in love with the past. Its every time? colour, import, tragedy and drama.  To take part in the survey, just “It’s where I have returned year after year – programmes, share your favourite architecture podcasts, live shows, reon social media this week using enactments. I have ridden the hashtag: #buildingsyoulove a horse across that field, and copy in @timeslocalnews  To take part in the matchmaking hauled a spear, hacked at the carcass of a pig, clambered quiz, go to historicengland.org.uk/ through the ruined abbey buildingsyoulove  And to find out about exploring and baked 11th-century BBC/ bread… Now my kids, too, PIC: on Heritage Open Days, go to Andrew have explored the field.” Hayes-Watkins heritageopendays.org.uk Dan Snow

HERITAGE ENGLAND is asking people in the South East to share their love of stunning buildings this Valentine’s Day, and have provided a handy quiz to find out each person’s best architectural fit. We are awash with stunning examples in Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge from a variety of ages, including the Burtons’ Georgian-era Mabledon in Southborough, Regency-style villas in Calverley Park and Victorian Salomons mansion. Other gems in the area include medieval Penshurst Place and Hever Castle, the Norman Tonbridge Castle, the Southborough Hever Castle

ARROWING IN ON KING HAROLD Dan Snow spent many happy days in his childhood in Battle Abbey field Southborough or ‘Powder Mill’ Viaduct

VIADUCT PHOTO © David Glasspool/kentrail.org.uk

Thomas à Becket Church


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ARTS & CULTURE LIFE & STYLE FOOD & DRINK MOTORING SPORT and MORE...

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HALF-TERM ACTIVITIES SPECIAL

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A TRIBUTE TO FRANKIE VALLI

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Swing’s the thing

ROB PICAZO PERFORMS

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Jazz singer Clare Teal takes to the stage at EM Forster Page 42

RECIPES FOR LOVE


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Wednesday February 13 | 2019

Teal’s the real deal Jazz star and BBC Radio 2 presenter Clare Teal will be performing at Tonbridge’s EM Forster Theatre on February 28 with her trio of musicians. Ahead of their Swing’s The Thing concert, Eileen Leahy sounds out the singer about her career and why she still loves all that jazz…

LARE TEAL is one of modern-day jazz music’s biggest stars. She netted the largest recording contract ever awarded to a British jazz vocalist when she signed a five album deal with Sony in 2004, and since then has enjoyed a string of successful records. As a result she continues to tour the country singing in myriad venues, including Cadogan Hall and Sage Gateshead, and has appeared at various festivals, including Glastonbury, and has curated BBC Proms performances. “The thing I love about music is it’s so uplifting and joyful,” smiles Clare, who hails from Yorkshire and studied music at the University of Wolverhampton. “It is designed to make you feel, and it’s our job as performers to channel emotions and leave our audience feeling nourished.” The singer, who also hosts a popular Sunday night show on BBC Radio 2, says she really enjoys mixing things up when out on the road. Sometimes she’ll tour with her 17-piece orchestra in tow, and other times its with a seven-piece swing band, or with a pared-back trio. She will be performing with the latter at the EM Forster Theatre in Tonbridge on Thursday February 28. “The way I tend to tour – like a lot of niche artists, actually – is not in big swathes of

consecutive nights with the same people on stage. I like variety and flexibility, so as I work with a number of ensembles that gives me the chance to tour small like I currently am with a trio or large with a big orchestra. “Every group I work with is different, but it’s a great melting pot and we’re really like a family.”

‘The thing I love about music is it’s so uplifting and joyful’ Clare, who is also an accomplished clarinettist, first came to public attention via former radio DJ Sir Michael Parkinson’s backing in 2001. Shortly afterwards she released her first album via the Candid independent label, but it was her Sony Jazz offering Don’t Talk, released in 2004, which sent her into the popular musical stratosphere, gaining her a Top 20 hit and numerous industry awards and TV appearances. Fast forward to 2019, and Clare now has an impressive 15 albums under her belt, with the most recent Twelve O’Clock Tales being released on her own MUD label. It was recorded with Manchester’s Hallé Orchestra, conducted by Stephen Bell and arranged by world-class


Wednesday February 13 | 2019

trumpet player and composer Guy Barker. So what can the EM Forster Theatre audience expect from her latest concert, Swing’s The Thing? “Well, we’ll have the opportunity to showcase a bit of everything,” says Clare. “There’ll be an eclectic mix of numbers. We’ll take things in different directions and we’ve got a rich seam of inspiration, that’s for sure. “The trio boys can sing songs from 1890 and make them sound like something that was written last year. Our set list changes every gig we do as we’re always trying new things.” Clare says that having her own label has helped her to do this. “That gives me complete creative free reign and I feel so lucky to have that. I started MUD in 2009 and have never looked back. No one tells me what to do, and I’ve worked with so many different musicians as a result. I used to be in telesales before I was discovered and I never want to go back to doing that, so that’s what drives me!” She also gets the chance to channel her love of music courtesy of her popular Sunday night show for BBC Radio 2: “Doing it live is what makes it for me, playing records you’ve taken time to find and then getting the audience’s feedback from it all is just great. “I do a lot of research for the show and tend to spend one day a week consuming music to feature. Jazz moves all the time, it’s always progressing and especially the way you can listen to it now. “I mean music streaming is the devil’s work as you make no money from it, but the positive side of it is that younger listeners who are not hung up on labels don’t mind at all. “Streaming allows them to consume stuff so differently to us. When I was growing up there was nowhere near as much choice.” What does Clare personally like listening to? “There’s so much, but there’s a great contemporary jazz Clare Teal band I like at the moment called

FOR EVEN MORE NEWS VISIT: timeslocalnews.co.uk Kansas Smitty’s House Ban. They play and write music which sounds like it’s from the birthplace of jazz then add a rockabilly and country twist. “It’s so good and not clichéd at all, and anyone who can make a room totally frenzied courtesy of a clarinet is good enough for me!” Clare has worked with many musicians over the years, including piano supremo Jason Rebello and world renowned soul singer Gregory Porter, but she says the ‘stars aligned’ when she had the pleasure of working with Van Morrison. “I had this email out of the blue a few years back asking if I would record a duet with him. “He was lovely, but it is strange when one of your biggest heroes walks in and says ‘all right’ and you’re thinking: ‘Here I am with Van!’ “We did our song Carrying A Torch (for his Duets album) in one take, and artistically speaking that was a moment.” Clare is hoping to create many more ‘moments’ in her career, and says she’s really looking forward to her forthcoming gig at the EM Forster Theatre, where she’ll be reunited with her beloved trio. “I have a huge affinity with them, it’s like working with your mates, we’re in a bubble and that’s so nice. “Being with a smaller group of musicians means there’s nowhere to hide and you feel real affinity with the audience, too. “It’s like we’re all in this together and enjoying a shared experience. “And you really can’t beat live music for that.” Clare Teal and her trio perform Swing’s The Thing on Thursday February 28 at the EM Forster Theatre, Tonbridge. The show starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost £22. See emftheatre.com

Arts & Culture

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A far from Grimm local tale Penshurst Amateur Dramatic Society puts on a production of Rumpelstiltskin next week. Society member Robert Rees reveals more about their history and plans for the future AFTER World War II, when petrol was rationed and trips to London to see the latest show were all but impossible, many towns and villages set up their own dramatic societies to provide plays for the neighbourhood. Penshurst Amateur Dramatic Society [PADS] is one such group, started in 1947 by Dick Hoblyn, a well-known local resident. Its aims were simple: To entertain the people of Penshurst and their friends, and raise money for local causes. These aims still hold good today. The first production was A Quiet Weekend, a 1941 play by British writer Esther McCracken. It was a success and the society grew in popularity and was soon putting on three productions a year, covering a wide range of plays from Priestley to Shakespeare. Two being performed in the Church rectory garden. At the turn of the century, PADS and the Blackham Country Players pooled their resources. We now present two joint productions a year in the village halls. This sharing has been extremely successful both in terms of quality and finance. PADS can now not only make regular contributions to local charities (the Hospice in the Weald and Kent Air

Ambulance have received several thousand pounds from us over the last few years) but also spend on the infrastructure of the Village Hall. Our most popular offering, every two years, is the Penshurst Panto. Writing the script and the songs is a job I took over around 11 years ago and have thoroughly enjoyed doing ever since. I have the great benefit of an excellent pool of actors and singers and a brilliant amateur band of musicians. It is amazing how much talent lurks in our quiet Kent villages. For instance, everyone knows how important postmasters in villages are. But we had a postPANTO FUN The village players performing Dick Whittington

master who in addition didn’t mind dressing up as a dame! By the time the production gets underway, there are probably around 50 villagers involved. This year’s production is Rumpelstiltskin, an old Brothers Grimm fairy tale, and I have taken the liberty of adding a few new characters, a touch of extra plotting, a few songs, and the odd custard pie. Audiences are, of course, required to advise the actors of what is behind them at regular intervals! • Rumpelstiltskin runs from February 20-23. Call 01892 740211 for tickets £8 (adult), £6 (child). But hurry as they are going fast – oh yes they are!


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FOR EVEN MORE NEWS VISIT: timeslocalnews.co.uk Half-term feature

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Wednesday February 13 | 2019

A round up of half-term activities to occupy the smaller ones HALF-TERM FUN AT THE FARM The Hop Farm Family Park 16-24 February www.hopfarm.co.uk / tel: 01622 872068 This half-term we have our amazing children’s attractions open for them to enjoy. We have rides to have fun on, along with our ever popular attractions that include the in-door soft play centre, indoor Bumper Carz, Driving School, Magic Castle, Animal Farm and Giant Jumping Pillows. On Tuesday 19th February, Paw Patrol’s Chase & Marshall will be visiting the Hop Farm for meet and greets at intervals throughout the day.

Cameras at the ready! This will be indoors. At The Hop Farm Family Park there are lots of warm places to eat and drink inside too, including Hoppers Diner, Ricardos and The Barn Cafe. Additonally, our indoor live entertainment shows take place each day including magic shows, party dances, costume characters, discos and more in our Big Red Barn Theatre.  An extra special bonus, is circus Zyair, which takes place at The Hop Farm everyday during the half-term, so whilst visiting the Family Park, grab your tickets to this awesome annual Circus event at www.zyair.co.uk  Get ready for a super fun time for the kids at The Hop Farm Family Park!

LIVING WITH NATURE Hever Castle hevercastle.co.uk Tel: 01732 865224 Visit Hever Castle & Gardens this half-term to enjoy an entertaining programme of events and activities set amidst award-winning gardens. Discover 700 years of history in the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. Visitors can learn more about conservation and local wildlife as part of Hever Castle’s February half-term event, Living with Nature. Families and individuals are invited to visit the historic castle in Kent between 16 – 24 February to enjoy ‘Living with Nature’ aimed at school aged children.

Follow the ‘Wildlife Detective’ walk led by the gardening team to investigate animal footprints and tracks, take part in a wildlife workshop or a follow the fun facts in a trail around the Castle. Visitors aged 7-14 can also explore the Tudor Towers adventure playground with its own moat, drawbridge and three turrets and those under 7 can enjoy Acorn Dell, natural play area with its two metre high living willow structure, a giant sandpit, a mound with tunnels to clamber in and a climbing frame. There is also the 100 year old Yew maze to explore and the miniature model houses exhibition (accessible via the Hever Shop). For further information please visit the website: hevercastle.co.uk or call Hever Castle on 01732 865224


Wednesday February 13 | 2019

KIDS’ FUN ZONE

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Manic Monsters, Edenbridge TN86LH www.manicmonsters.co.uk Tel: 01732 866115 Email:office@manicmonsters.co.uk

Come for an ‘unbooked’ session or use their extensive party facilities. Party options include ‘Build your bear’ parties’, and ‘Laser Tag’. Parties include food with an enthusiastic host. www.manicmonsters.co.uk

Manic Monsters, an exiting children’s soft play centre based in Edenbridge, is 20 minutes from Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Sevenoaks. It’s huge, with loads of fun for children and a comfortable area with a good restaurant for accompanying adults. Activities in the play frame include slides, go karts and a football pitch.

Also on the site is Monty’s Day Care, an all day ‘state of the arts’ nursery, all set out in a beautiful rural location with a ‘good’ OFSTED rating. See the web site for further details, www.montysdaycare.co.uk

FEBRUARY HALF-TERM AT BEWL WATER Bewlbridge Lane, Lamberhurst, Kent TN3 8JH February half-term at Bewl Water Tel: 01892 890000 www.bewlwater.co.uk Home to 800 acres of woodland and scenic landscape and the largest stretch of open water in the south east of England, there is plenty to do for the whole family at Bewl Water over the February half-term break! Activities include laser tag, cycling, adventure playgrounds, mini golf, soft play in The

Waterfront Café and walks around the reservoir, where you can spot an abundance of wildlife. In addition to these fun-filled activities, we have our new exciting treasure trail available for your little ones to enjoy! Simply collect a ‘treasure map’ from The Waterfront Café and help the captain find the missing eight items to get his ship sailing again! The items have been blown around the woods near the shipwreck! Suitable for children aged 3-7, free to take part (£3.00 parking per car as standard). For more information on upcoming events or to book activities contact the team at Bewl Water on 01892 890000 or visit www.bewlwater.co.uk

Half-term feature

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THE FEBRUARY EXPLORERS’ TRAIL Penshurst Place & Gardens The February Explorers’ Trail at Penshurst Place & Gardens 16th - 24th February, 10.30am until dusk www.penshurstplace.com/whats-on Tel: 01892 870307 2019 marks 500 years since the accomplished Portuguese sailor Ferdinand Magellan began his voyage to the East Indies. This journey would go on to become the first of its kind, circumnavigating the globe. This February

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half-term, enjoy a trail around the historic gardens at Penshurst Place to discover the hidden sailing equipment, unravelling the riddles as you go! Penshurst Place & Gardens will be open daily for the February half-term, 16th – 24th February, Weekends only from 2nd – 24th March, and daily from 30th March – 27th October. The ‘Travel Around the World garden trail’ is included free in the cost of a standard admission price.  For further information about what’s on and to buy tickets, visit www.penshurstplace. com/whats-on

CHILDREN’S WORKSHOPS FOR THE FEBRUARY HALF-TERM SCHOOL HOLIDAYS The Observatory Science Centre, Herstmonceux Open daily 10am - 5pm. Last admission 3pm www.the-observatory.org Tel: 01323 832731 During the half term school holidays (Monday 18th February - Sunday 24th February), in addition to the interactive hands-on exhibits, daily telescope tours and science shows, the following children’ s workshops will also be taking place: Tuesday 19th February: ‘Fun with Chemistry’ (6-8 years) MORNING SESSION FULLY BOOKED!

ARRIVAL – THE HITS OF ABBA www.abba-arrival.co.uk Trailer: https://youtu.be/zIexp0Kw3rA Facebook: www.facebook.com/arrivaluk/ Twitter: @ArrivalUK On the 45th anniversary of their legendary Eurovision win, come and join us to celebrate the music of one of the biggest selling and most iconic bands of all time. ARRIVAL’s multi award-winning show is returning for 2019 following sell out shows in over 20 different countries worldwide, bringing the magic

We may run an afternoon session if there is sufficient demand. Please contact us if you would like to book a place for your child. Wednesday 20th February: ‘Discover Chemistry’ (9-11 years) PLACES AVAILABLE Thursday 21st February: ‘Explore the Moon Twilight’ (9-11 years) PLACES AVAILABLE For more information including workshop content, costs, and times plus details of the reduced admission offer to the Centre, please visit the NEW website www.the-observatory.org or call 01323 832731 BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL FOR ALL WORKSHOPS of ABBA to stages across the UK. The high-energy production features ABBA’s best loved hits including ‘Mamma Mia’, ‘Dancing Queen’, ‘Super Trouper’, ‘Voulez Vous’, and of course ‘Waterloo’, plus many more! With a winning formula of fantastic harmonies, authentic costumes and first-class vocals and musicians, ARRIVAL brings to life the extraordinary song-writing talents of Benny and Bjorn, recreating the true feel and thrill of a live ABBA show. “Simply the best ABBA show” – The Stage


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Going Out

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goingout 7 days of activities

By Jerome Bowman

WEDNESDAY Trinity Theatre will be showing Spanish language drama The Heiresses (Las Herederas) at 8pm. The award-winning film tells the story of Chela, who is left to start a new life by herself when her husband is imprisoned for fraud. Directed by Marcelo Martinessi, this is a story of rediscovery and intimate revolution. Tickets cost from £11 and can be booked at trinitytheatre.net

THURSDAY The Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society are hosting another fascinating slice of local history

at the Royal Wells Hotel at 7.30pm. A Schoolgirl’s War will be presented by Mary Smith, who looks at life in a girls’ grammar school in Kent during the Second World War. The talk is based on the artwork of a particular teacher at the school, as well as reminiscences of the pupils themselves. For more information, go to thecivicsociety.org To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Beyond the Barricade is showing at the Assembly Hall at 7.30pm as part of a national tour. The concert will feature David Fawcett, amongst other former Les Mis performers, as well as a live band playing orchestrations of the best of Broadway and the

PROBLEMS IN PARAGUAY For The Heiresses

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West End. Tickets start at £25.75 a head and can be booked online at assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk Charlie Bell hosts the first in a series of four creative writing workshops at Burrswood in Groombridge from 10am till 4pm. In the opening session, Creative Writing: Through the Window, Charlie will be encouraging writers to draw inspiration from the wonderful world we inhabit. Tickets cost £55 and include the full day of tuition plus refreshments, lunch and afternoon tea. To book a place, visit burrswood.org.uk

JOY TO THE WORLD The Frankie Valli tribute show

FRIDAY The world’s longest running tribute to Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Let’s Hang On, will be at The Assembly Hall Theatre tonight. Starting at 7.30pm, the show described as ‘Dynamite’ by Frankie himself covers over five decades of hits from one of the biggest pop acts in history. Tickets start at £24 per head and can be booked at assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk

SATURDAY

You’ll be chuffed to hear that The Spa Valley Railway is open all half-term, and a morning coffee service will be available at 10.20am. You can board a heritage train at Tunbridge Wells West, not far from The Pantiles, to visit Groombridge, which has two pubs as well as Groombridge Place Gardens and Burrswood. Halfway through your journey you can also stop at the High Rocks station and Inn, where you can buy tickets to walk around the rocks themselves or have a drink and watch the trains go by. A ticket gives you unlimited rides for the day and can be bought in advance at spavalleyrailway.co.uk It’s that time of the month when local produce, artisanal crafts and designer clothes can be found at The Pantiles Market. There’s always something different to browse through, with guest traders, seasonal themes and a changing range of goods. The market starts at 10am and finishes at 4pm. If you are interested in pitching your own stall at the market, or if you have any other enquiries, you can email: markets@thepantilesevents.com

SUNDAY If you know your hi-fi, it would be a crime not to visit the AudioJumble at the Angel Centre in Tonbridge. This is the largest second-hand and vintage hi-fi sale in the UK. Chat to fellow audiophiles and peruse the stalls, where you can find everything from vintage radios to valve amplifiers. There’s a huge variety of items on offer and you never know what you’ll unearth. Get there early for the best finds. Tickets for 8.30am entry cost £20; 9.30am £12; and 10.30am £6. For more information, visit audiojumble.co.uk

MONDAY It is 500 years since Ferdinand Magellan began his voyage to the East Indies. Magellan was not a tidy man, his sailing equipment was left all over Penshurst Place. So take your children on the Travel Around the World Garden Trail, finding Magellan’s boating gear and solving riddles as you go. Penshurst Place is open from 10.30am until dusk. The trail is included in the standard ticket cost. For more information and to buy tickets, visit penshurstplace.com You can also take your young ones along to a


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Wednesday February 13 | 2019

PICK OF THE WEEK:

Going Out

Elgar and Rachmaninov: An Evening of Romance and Reflection Saturday, February 16, 7.30pm St Peter & St Paul’s Parish Church, Church Lane, Tonbridge

MARKET FORCES will be at work to lure you to The Pantiles three-day course, starting at 10am today, in Stop Motion Animation. Back by popular demand, it looks at animation through using everyday objects, creating figurines and even camera positioning. Your child will be sent their work after the course to keep. Tickets cost £120 for the three days and can be booked online at trinitytheatre.net

TUESDAY SOUND IT OUT… AudioJumble is a treasure trove

If your child needs a half-term revision booster, why not book them into Shaken up Shakespeare at Grosvenor and Hilbert Park? A free workshop for GCSE students, the session will be led by digital theatre company In Souliquy, who will help students to reinterpret The Bard’s works in digital formats. The workshop runs from 1pm3pm. Booking is essential, by emailing Emma Peters at: emma.peters@tunbridgewells.gov.uk

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The first concert of the New Year for the Tonbridge Philharmonic Society will see the orchestra led by guest conductor Michael Waldron. It also features award-winning cellist Pavlos Carvalho. Tickets are priced £16 for adults and there are concessions for children and seniors. For more information, and to book, visit tonphil.org.uk


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Going Out

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Wednesday February 13 | 2019

THE GREY LADY MUSIC LOUNGE The Pantiles Doors 7.15pm, entry £6/£7, websites pdag.co.uk & thegreylady.co.uk Wednesday Harry Whitty Band, Kate Virgoe, Gronk Friday Soul Kitchen Saturday Private Party Sunday Jon grayson, ELO, Katie Kittermaster, Shep THE ASSEMBLY HALL THEATRE Crescent Road All event detail and tickets are available at assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk Thursday Beyond The Barricade Friday Let’s Hang On

live music With Paul Dunton

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HIS Wednesday [tonight], local acts Harry Whitty, Kate Virgoe and Gronk are all performing at The Grey Lady. On Friday evening there are plenty of great live gigs to be enjoyed, including The Energy Vampyres at The Bedford pub, while Allusinlove headline The Forum with support from Mantra. Saturday night sees the popular Local & Live Sessions return to Trinity Theatre with Rob Picazo, Steve Hewitt and Isabella Coulstock all performing. Plenty of other great local acts are in action with Grosvenor Road at The Beau

The must-read guide to what’s on musically for the week ahead… paulduntonandguests.com

Nash Tavern and The Remnants at The Royal Oak pub. The Naming of Things headline The Sussex Arms Basement, while The Danny Lee Band will be at The Bedford. Jon Grayson, ELO, Katie Kittermaster and Shep will all be at The Grey Lady on Sunday night, and looking ahead to next week, folk fans can enjoy Mitchell & Vincent at The Tonbridge Folk Club on Monday evening, while The George pub hosts the TWUNT Ukulele Jam Session. And the excellent Ukelear Fallout return to The Punch & Judy in Tonbridge on Tuesday night.

THE TUNBRIDGE WELLS FORUM The Common Event information at twforum.co.uk Friday allusinlove, Mantra Saturday Boogie Nights TRINITY THEATRE Church Road All event detail and tickets are available at trinitytheatre.net Friday The Elvis Years Saturday Local & Live Sessions: Rob Picazo, Steve Hewitt, Isabella Coulstock THE BEDFORD PUB 2 High Street Open all day, free entry, music from 8.30pm more information at thebedfordtw.co.uk Friday The Energy Vampyres Saturday The Danny Lee Band THE BEAU NASH TAVERN Mount Ephraim Open all day, free entry, music from 8.30pm till late Saturday Grosvenor Road Sunday Open Mic Night

Ukelear Fallout Rob Picazo

THE ROYAL OAK Prospect Road Open all day, free entry, music from 8.30pm till late Saturday The Remnants THE SUSSEX ARMS BASEMENT Sussex Mews Music from 8.30pm. Event details and tickets available at twforum.co.uk Saturday The Naming of Things TONBRIDGE FOLK CLUB The Flying Dutchman, Hildenborough Hat collection with a suggested contribution of £7 (£5 concessions) Music from 8pm, all welcome. More information at tonbridgefolkclub.org Monday Mitchell & Vincent THE PUNCH & JUDY St Stephens Road, Tonbridge Open all day, free entry, music from 8pm Tuesday Ukelear Fallout


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Recipes made with love

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a delicious dessert… Rosemary Shrager, our local TV celebrity chef, proposes two sweet treats which are sure to win you legions of admirers LEMON AND SOFT FRUIT TART This tart looks so pretty and makes a delightful summer dessert. If you prefer, you could make six small tarts in individual tartlet cases or rings. SERVES 6 n 23cm pastry case, baked blind n 300g raspberries n 150g blueberries n Icing sugar, for dusting n Mint leaves, to decorate (optional) For the lemon pâtissière n 2 eggs n 2 tbsp lemon juice n 60g golden caster sugar n 25g unsalted butter

MASTER CHEFS Rosemary Shrager gave the cast of the Assembly Hall’s Caroline’s Kitchen a cookery lesson last week

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1) First make the lemon pâtissière. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Put the lemon juice in a pan with the sugar, place it over a low heat to just dissolve the sugar, then bring it to the boil. Take the pan off the heat and beat in the butter, then whisk this mixture into the bowl with the eggs. 2) Pour everything back into the pan, place the pan over a low heat and very slowly bring everything to a simmer, whisking all the time. Pour the mixture into a bowl and cover with clingfilm, making sure the film touches the mixture so condensation cannot form. Set aside to cool. 3) Fill the pastry case with the lemon pâtissière and arrange the soft fruit on top. Scatter with mint leaves, if using, and dust with icing sugar.

Extracts taken from Rosemary Shrager’s Cookery Course by Rosemary Shrager (BBC Books, £20) Photography by Andrew Hayes-Watkins

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Wednesday February 13 | 2019

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CHOCOLATE FONDANTS I know people are a bit scared about making these, fearing they won’t achieve the melting chocolatey middles, but once you get the timing right, fondants are really easy to do. They’re well worth practising as they are a great store cupboard standby and everyone enjoys them. Dariole moulds are the ideal containers but you can also use ramekins. SERVES 4 n Spray oil or 25g butter, melted n 50g cocoa powder n 120g dark chocolate (minimum 64% cocoa solids), broken up n 70g butter, diced n 75g golden caster sugar

A vine romance

Let Times Drinks Editor James Viner help you pick the best pink fizz this Valentine’s Day, from budget French to blow-out Blighty bubbles. Cheers! 1) SPLASH-OUT BLIGHTLY BUBBLES

Wiston Estate, Goring Rosé Brut NV, Sussex, England (£29.21-£35.50, Strictly Wine/ Great Wines Direct/Novel Wines/ WineMan) This is a supremely elegant English rosé with layer upon layer of complexity: Think brioche, redcurrant, strawberry, wild rose, summer berries and citrus. Chardonnay-forward, lifted, pretty and toothsome, this is a very classy

aperitif and perfect with seafood, canapés, smoked salmon or a sweet, juicy lobster. Made by ace Irish winemaker Dermot Sugrue, Goring’s a new benchmark for pink English bubbles. An enthralling treat. Alc 12%

2) BUDGET ROMANTIC BUBBLY

The Society’s Saumur Rosé Brut NV, Loire, France (£11.50, The Wine Society) Made using the méthode traditionelle by the celebrated

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Food & Drink

n 2 eggs n 15g plain flour

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reach 55°C. Remove the pan and bowl from the heat and allow the melted chocolate and butter to cool slightly.

1) Spray the insides of 4 dariole moulds or ramekins with oil or brush them with melted butter, then dust them lightly with some of the cocoa powder. This will prevent the fondant from sticking after baking. Preheat the oven to 200°C/ Fan 180°C/Gas 6. 2) You need a pan and a heatproof bowl that fits neatly over it. Bring some water to simmering point in the pan, then put the bowl on top, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Add the chocolate and diced butter and allow them to melt gently. Don’t let the water boil, as this could burn the chocolate. Ideally, test the chocolate with a sugar thermometer – it should

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3) Using an electric hand mixer, mix the sugar and eggs in a bowl until they have doubled in size and are pale in colour. Add the flour and whisk again until there are no lumps. Add the melted chocolate and butter and mix until well combined. Fill the moulds or ramekins about three-quarters full. 4) Place the moulds or ramekins on a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 9 minutes. Remove them and leave to rest for 2 minutes, then turn them out on to plates. Dust with the rest of the cocoa powder and serve at once – with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, if you fancy.

German-owned Gratien & Meyer fizz company, and based predominantly on cabernet franc, blended with a soupçon of grolleau then aged a year on its lees, this quality bottle-fermented Loire sparkler is sophisticated, pure, delicious, fruity and fun. While not hugely complex, it has plenty going on with moreish raspberry, red apple, herbs, cassis and red cherry flavours. One for cold meats or gravlax blinis. Romance ahoy! Alc 12%

3) FLIRTATIOUS HIGH-STREET ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE CHOICE Les Pionniers Rosé Brut NV Champagne, France (£21.99, Co-op) The Co-op has always hit the

bull’s eye with its exclusive own-label Champagne, and this release is no exception. Made by the resurgent Piper Heidsieck, which has been recently transformed by genius Daniel Thibault, this is a delectable 60/40 blend of pinot noir and chardonnay with juicy red berry, brioche, rose petal and blood orange engaged in a courtly cavort on a long and intricately detailed palate. It’s light-footed, delicate, well composed and finely crafted. Salmon dishes, posh Chinese, charcuterie or sushi to accompany this, please. Alc 12% Follow James on Twitter @QuixoticWine


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Travel

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Wednesday February 13 | 2019

Come sail away… on a tall ship voyage you’ll never forget With echoes of days of old, these magnificent vessels can transport you to exotic destinations around the world in more comfort and luxury than you might think

‘The atmosphere is one of laid-back tranquillity, with colourfully decorated traditional outriggers called perahu dotted along the shoreline’

H

AVE you ever dreamed of an ocean voyage that will offer you a chance to experience the thrills and romance of traditional tall ship sailing while visiting many beautiful and far-flung ports? If you appreciate the adventurous feel of a bygone era of exploration and travel, with both modern propulsion methods and traditional wind sailing, then an idyllic voyage is ready and waiting for you. Choose from a fleet made up of three striking tall ships. These four and five-masted vessels really do make a lasting impression on anyone who sails in them, and will leave you feeling nostalgic for the days when their kind ruled the ocean waves. Royal Clipper, the largest of the three, and the largest ship of her kind since the mighty Preussen, is joined by Star Clipper and Star Flyer in offering tall ship cruises to sailing and adventure enthusiasts all over the world. Star Clippers is the only cruise company to offer an authentic, natural sailing experience with both modern propulsion methods and traditional sailing. In contrast to the historical feel of the ships, the facilities on board are modern and stylish. There are different categories of staterooms, depending on your needs, all of which are equipped with en suites, televisions, phones, DVD players, hairdryers and a safe – and some cabins also have their own private veranda or open straight on to the deck. As well as these personal facilities, there are plenty more in terms of the communal areas on board. Each ship has multiple swimming pools, a library, and bars in which to relax and enjoy the delicious cuisine that is served daily. Royal Clipper even has an observation lounge where you can enjoy the passing scenery from the comfort of your chair. Set sail to some of the most picturesque and luxurious locations in the world, from the Caribbean to the Panama Canal and the Mediterranean to South-East Asia, including – new for 2020 – the Cambodian ports of Koh Rong and Sihanoukville. BEST BAR NONE Cocktails served with a friendly Indonesian smile

HIDDEN PARADISES OF INDONESIA As an example, Indonesia cruises are certainly becoming increasingly popular, as more and more people become aware of this beautiful and diverse destination. Spread across 17,000 different islands, it is the world’s largest archipelago nation. A land of mystery with sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the truly exotic. Sail past towering volcanos, call into primitive villages, pristine harbours and peaceful beaches (one of which has pink sand!), and see amazing wildlife. Or swim in waterfalls – cold, clear and refreshing after the heat of the day. Simply drop anchor and take the tender ashore…


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Travel

centre of the resort, and it’s one of the busier places on the island of Lombok. The main street comes alive at night, and there are many restaurants to dine in, as well as plenty of bars for live music and nightclubs to dance in. However, one of the most amazing sights on the island can be viewed from Sengiggi Beach – the spectacular sunset. The bright orange sun sinks into the ocean with Bali’s Mount Agung volcano silhouetted on the horizon. The final destination is Gili Sudak, a perfect island getaway. It’s a small resort with fine white WITH THE WIND IN HER SAILS… Star Clipper is a majestic sight upon the seas

PLENTY OF ROPE: Don’t worry, you won’t have to sweat it on board ship – this is just a jovial tug of war! WESTBOUND WONDERS To give you a flavour of this magical part of the world, here’s a run-down of what you can expect on a Star Clipper itinerary in Indonesia: You begin in Benoa – the main cruise port on the island of Bali. There are numerous places that can be accessed from here, including the party-centric Kuta, Nusa Dua – the popular beach resort with its luxury hotels and restaurants, as well as coffee plantations and rice terraces. Temples, palaces, markets and a bat cave are also among the many trips on offer. A day at sea is followed by visiting the small island of Giligenteng – a community of four peaceful fishing villages where everybody knows each other. Bringsang consists of one small street, a mosque and a few local shops. There are no tourist attractions, but you will gain a wonderful insight into the everyday life of this little community.

There is a welcome aura of quiet content, and the people are remarkably hospitable and friendly, saying hello and waving greetings as they go about their business. The beach here is really beautiful, too, with clear water and pristine white sand. The next day’s port of call is Probolinggo, where the main activity is again fishing. It is also the nearest town of any size to the BromoTengger-Semeru National Park on the east coast of the island of Java, and a stopping point on the way to the Gunung Bromo volcano. The area in and around the park is inhabited by the Tenggerese, an ethnic minority, and one of the few remaining Hindu communities on Java. Midweek, you’ll spend a day at Lovina beach, where the sea is calm and safe for swimming. The atmosphere is one of laid-back tranquillity, with colourfully decorated traditional outriggers called perahu dotted along the shoreline. Sailing on to Senggigi, a large bay forms the

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sand, coral reefs and limpid turquoise waters teeming with marine life, including colourful tropical fish and starfish. From here the ship’s Zodiac boat can take you to Gili Kadiz, a great snorkelling site. And on the last day, the trip ends where it began, in Benoa. These exceptional sailings operate throughout 2019, with a mixture of seven-night, ten-night, and 11-night itineraries. “Permission to come aboard?” “Granted!”


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Motoring

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Motoring News

Luxury roving  F1 name game  MPV changes 

Sauber F1 Team rebranded as Alfa Romeo Racing for 2019 season

New 542bhp Range Rover Velar announced A FLAGSHIP new Range Rover Velar has been revealed – the luxury SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition – packing a powerful supercharged engine. Priced from £86,120, it features a 5.0-litre V8 engine with 542bhp and 680Nm of torque, pushing the Velar from 0-60mph in 4.3 seconds before hitting a top speed of 170mph. Plus upgraded brakes and suspension ensure it rides and comes to a stop just as effectively as it accelerates. Rawdon Glover, Managing Director of Jaguar Land Rover UK, said the car ‘strikes a perfect balance between go-anywhere practicality, dynamic performance and relaxing comfort’. Enhanced by the firm’s Special Vehicle Operations department, the car has been over-

This week…

hauled to offer a more dynamic drive than its more conventionally-powered stablemates. Even the all-wheel-drive system has been recalibrated to better deploy the engine’s power. Exterior changes include a new front bumper housing larger air intakes, a revised rear bumper, new quad exhaust finishers and new, lightweight 21-inch alloy wheels. Inside, you’ll find perforated and quilted seats with 20-way adjustability, fitted alongside a sports steering wheel and aluminium gear shift paddles. Chief Design Officer Gerry McGovern said: “Our continued evolution is driven by a relentless focus on creating highly desirable vehicles our customers will love for life.”

THE Sauber F1 team will head into the 2019 season as Alfa Romeo Racing. Building on a partnership that began last year, the Swiss team is taking on the full branding of the Italian car firm, having raced under the new name during the 2018 championship. It means 2019 will be the first time the name Sauber won’t feature in F1 since joining it in 1993, although the firm will remain independent and work under its existing leadership structure. Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal of Alfa Romeo Racing, said: “It is a pleasure to announce that we will enter the 2019 Formula One World Championship with the team name Alfa Romeo Racing. “After initiating the collaboration with our title sponsor Alfa Romeo in 2018, our team made fantastic progress on the

technical, commercial and sporting side. “This has given a boost of motivation to each team member, be that trackside or at the headquarters in Switzerland, as the hard work invested has become reflected in our results. “We aim to continue developing every sector of our team while allowing our passion for racing, technology and design to drive us forward.” Returning to the team will be 2007 F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen, having debuted in the sport with the Swiss outfit in 2001, alongside Italian firsttimer Antonio Giovinazzi. The team’s cars will continue to be powered by engines from Ferrari. Last season, the team placed eighth overall in the World Constructors’ Championship standings.

Wednesday February 13 | 2019

Mercedes-Benz V-Class MPV wins more power and improved styling MERCEDES has upgraded its largest and most capacious passenger model – the V-Class MPV. The van-based V-Class is the upmarket, luxurious cousin of the Vito, and now features Mercedes’ latest 2.0-litre diesel engines alongside styling and technology passed down from the passenger car range. The 2.0-litre unit will be available with a choice of two power outputs. The lesserpowered V 250 d will offer 187bhp, while pricier V 300 d models make 236bhp. Both are mated to a nine-speed automatic gearbox and rear-wheel drive. Maximum fuel economy depends on engine and body style, but all variants should average well over 40mpg. CO2 emissions are between 154g/km and 164g/km. Mercedes has also said it will introduce a fully-electric MPV in future, possibly a development of the V-Class. An all-electric eVito is already available, based on the V-Class’s cargo-carrying cousin. The vehicle will still be offered in three different sizes – Standard, Long, and Extra Long, though all have the same number of seats. The extended length contributes to greater passenger and luggage space. The new model has had a slight nip and tuck around the front end, bringing it more in line with the current Mercedes range. It has also had an interior makeover, with a new dashboard featuring a standard-fit 10.25-inch touchscreen display. The improvements to the V-Class will also be offered on the Marco Polo campervan, though this is unlikely to become available until later in the year.


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Motoring

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Recruitment

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WITH THE

FIND YOUR PERFECT JOB TODAY – A MUST-READ FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR WORK LOCALLY

OF TUNBRIDGE WELLS AND TONBRIDGE


CODEWORD 4

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A B C D E F GH I J K L MNO P QR S T U VWX Y Z 17 13

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Numbers are substituted for letters in the crossword grid. Above the grid is the key with two letters solved. Try to complete the first few words to give you more letters, or look for a frequent number that might reveal a common letter. As you find letters, enter them in the key and into the grid. Cross off the letters in the A to Z list.

Codeword:

6 4 2

8 7 8 6 1

5 3 7 1 5 1 3 3

9

6 4

To complete Sudoku, fill the board by entering numbers 1 to 9 so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains every number uniquely.

2 5

22

11 6

6

4 1 6

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4 20

22

7

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13 22

8

1

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© 2016 Syndicated Puzzles, Inc.

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DIFFICULTY RATING:★★★✩

2

4 3 8

1

6

5 8 3 8 2 4 5 9 6

4

4 1

8

© 2016 Syndicated Puzzles

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LAST WEEK’S SOLUTIONS

SUDOKU & JIGSAW SUDOKU

DIFFICULTY RATING: ★★★★

CLASSIFIEDS

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Puzzles

In this Sudoku, the normal 3x3 boxes are now strangely odd shapes – but all the rules and logic of normal Sudoku apply. Fill the board by entering numbers 1 to 9 so that each row, column and box contains every number uniquely.

Puzzle solutions will be published in a forthcoming issue

L I M G A G M I N E G O S C F A L L E

C E N S E E T Q R T E A U O X A D D N T R E E R E S S O A R I R I S I T C A N T H E R O E U C O N B R O

H I D D E R O U C T

I B S O J O B Z D E S

W R P E C O K

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A V A I G U N E L L Y

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Sudoku:

8 1 2 7 3 5 9 4 6

7 3 5 4 6 9 8 2 1

9 6 4 8 1 2 5 7 3

2 7 9 6 5 3 4 1 8

1 8 6 2 7 4 3 5 9

5 4 3 9 8 1 7 6 2

6 5 1 3 9 7 2 8 4

1 2 7 3 8 4 9 6 5

3 5 4 8 2 1 7 9 6

4 9 6 7 1 2 8 5 3

3 2 8 5 4 6 1 9 7

4 9 7 1 2 8 6 3 5

Jigsaw Sudoku:

6 4 9 5 3 7 2 1 8

2 3 1 4 6 8 5 7 9

5 8 2 6 7 9 3 4 1

7 1 8 9 5 6 4 3 2

8 7 3 1 9 5 6 2 4

9 6 5 2 4 3 1 8 7

© 2016 Syndicated Puzzles

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Sport

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Wednesday February 13 | 2019

Tonbridge Angels 1 Margate 1 FOOTBALL: TONBRIDGE ANGELS’ growing ambitions of achieving a play-off place in the Bostik League Premier suffered a setback when they were held to a draw by Margate. The home side lacked the intensity they had shown in recent games as the visitors belied their lowly league position to give encouragement to their new joint manager Jay Saunders. After a quiet opening the game came to life in the 27th minute when a good move involving Jack Parter and Chinedu McKenzie forced Margate keeper Louis Wells to concede the corner. A second corner was then given away, and Ben Swift inexplicably handled the ball. Joe Turner converted the penalty to put Tonbridge 1-0 up. Joseph Hungbo forced a save out of Angels keeper Jonny Henly and Kadell Daniel got round

the back of the home defence with a dangerous low cross. The visitors had another good chance in the 56th minute when their captain Liam Friend headed just over the bar. Tonbridge responded a minute later when Adem Ramadan’s header had to be cleared off the line. Futher chances fell to Tom Beere and McKenzie, but the corners and long throws of Margate were starting to pose problems for the Angels defence. Finally in the 83rd minute the away side profited from their aerial bombardment when Swift was first to the ball and grabbed a deserved equaliser – making amends for conceding the penalty. Angels manager Steve McKimm said: “I’m not going to be too critical of the boys today. We’ve won 14 out of 18 points and with a small senior squad combined with a couple of injuries I’m not in a position to change things around too much.

PHOTO: David Couldridge

Swift makes up for handball as Angels have to settle for draw

ON THE SPOT Joe Turner celebrates his goal “Some of them are running on empty and a couple of months ago it could have been a game we would have lost. We’ve managed, however, to pick up a valuable point.” Just three points separate Tonbridge in ninth

place and Bognor Regis in third. The midweek match at Lewes was postponed after 39 minutes because of a waterlogged pitch. The Angels travel to Burgess Hill Town on Saturday [February 16, kick-off 3pm].

Late penalty save stops Rusthall taking revenge for humiliation

Conditions leave Beecroft and Co struggling to cope

Cray Valley 1 Rusthall 0

Tunbridge Wells 1 Bearsted 2

By Joe Croker

By Victor Bethell

FOOTBALL: RUSTHALL came close to avenging their 9-1 defeat to Cray Valley earlier in the season but a missed penalty and then conceding a late goal left them empty handed again. The narrow defeat was a credit to their spirited display but it leaves them rooted to the bottom of Southern Counties East League Division One. The visitors were determined there would be no repeat of that humiliating loss so they set up in a defensive formation and tried to frustrate Cray’s skilful and experienced team. Although Cray had all the possession, they were mainly restricted to passing the ball across the front of the Rusthall box.

FOOTBALL: TUNBRIDGE WELLS struggled to cope with adverse conditions as they slipped to a rare home defeat in Southern Counties East League Division One. The Wells were looking to reverse their 1-0 loss at the beginning of the season but they soon found themselves behind. James Berry-Sadanha beat Greg Skinner for pace in the fourth minute and planted the ball firmly out of the reach of Cameron Hall in the Wells goal. Twenty minutes later Matt Gomes scored with a long-range shot from outside the penalty area to put the visitors two up. Harrison Carnegie managed to reduce the deficit seven minutes before half-time. But the lively Jake Beecroft could not cope with the wet pitch and was substituted by manager Jason Bourne for the second half. With the pitch deteriorating further, neither side managed to launch any meaningful attacks after the interval and there was no addition to the scoreline. Over 320 supporters defied the conditions, to keep up the Wells’ record of being the best supported club at this level. Tunbridge Wells are away to Canterbury City at the Salters Lane Stadium in Faversham on Saturday [February 16, kick-off 3pm].

Hard-working In the first half Cray did create two chances but Aaron McGuigan, the Rusthall goalkeeper who had only signed for the club that morning, was equal to both one-on-one situations and had an excellent game. Rusthall were creating few chances but were hard-working and gave the Cray players no time on the ball in key areas. Cray used their height and weight superiority to good advantage but the score remained goalless at half-time. The second half saw Rusthall create more attacking play and force Andy Walker, the Cray goalkeeper, into action. Then in the 77th minute, on a rare Rusthall attack, Charlie Clover got behind the Cray

WALL STANDS FIRM Rusthall defend a Cray free kick defence and was brought down for a penalty. But Walker saved the spot kick, thwarting Rusthall’s hopes of an unlikely victory. With five minutes remaining, Cray’s Chris Edwards ran across the Rusthall back line and fired a shot at goal which McGuigan could only parry. The ball fell kindly to Gavin Tomlin, who slotted it into the net. In midweek the Rustics went down 5-1 at

Punjab United with Arun Suman scoring a hat-trick in the first half, Moses Sunday scoring for the visitors. They now face AFC Croydon on Saturday [February 16, kick-off 3pm].

Disappointing defeat leaves looking for consistency Barnaby hits target early but men Brom & Becks 4 Tunbridge Wells Men 2 Ladies have to battle for point Tunbridge Wells Ladies 1 Bishop’s Stortford 1 By Amy Hare HOCKEY: TUNBRIDGE WELLS knew they had to start well at Kent College and they soon scored from open play. A quick free hit saw forward Charlotte Hubble burst away from her defender before slipping the ball past the keeper to Sarah Barnaby, who slotted it into the net. Wells kept the tempo up for the rest of the first half, narrowly missing several chances.

In the second period, Bishop’s Stortford came out strongly and caught Wells out from a 16-yard hit-out which allowed the visitors to level the scores. From then on Bishop’s Stortford applied the pressure but Wells defended resolutely to hang on for a hard-earned draw. The Ladies face another stern test this weekend when they travel to East Region Division One South leaders East London at Lee Valley on Saturday [February 16, 1pm start].

HOCKEY: TUNBRIDGE WELLS found themselves in another tight battle with a side on the charge in South Premier League Division after their well-fought draw earlier in the season. Wells are struggling for consistency after achieving promotion last year and sit above the relegation places, but can soon climb the table if they can string a sequence of results together. Third-placed Brom & Becks took the lead early in the first half, but Wells responded quickly from an Ian Harvey penalty corner. The home side went back in front from a penalty stroke towards the end of the first half. This seemed to shake Wells as they started to make uncharacteristic errors.

The second half started at a furious pace but Wells found themselves a man down because of a yellow card and the home side capitalised on the extra player to score through a long ball deflected in the circle. Ben Allberry slotted home a penalty corner to reduce the deficit, but as Wells threw everything forward to find the equaliser, Brom & Becks were able to restore their two-goal lead just before the end. Tunbridge Wells, who have won just once at home this season, now look to get back to winning ways with a home fixture. They host Oxford University at Tonbridge School on Saturday [February 16, 1.30pm start].


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Wells take confidence from close-run defeat to leaders Tunbridge Wells 13 Sutton & Epsom 14 By Roger Clarke RUGBY: TUNBRIDGE WELLS came close to causing an upset against the top side in the London and South-East Premier Division. The fixture was switched to Bennett Memorial School’s 3G pitch to allow St Marks to recover from the wear and tear created by Kent Under20’s game against Eastern Counties. After a succession of pick-and-drives S&E were first to score on six minutes as their second row George London went over, Sam Hurley converting. On 20 minutes Wells’ inside centre channel was opened up and the ball was shipped to full-back Hurley, who scored from halfway and converted. Wells reached half-time with no further damage. Finally Frank Reynolds got them on the scoreboard with a penalty off the upright within a

SMASH AND GRAB: Rich Murray tries to steal the ball, supported by Jake Caddy (left) and Stuart Nicholls

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minute of the restart, followed by another well-struck effort in the 52nd minute. The home side were now dominant as Rich Murray made a great catch and counter to set Mike Doherty off on a run to within five metres. The back line worked wing Matt Spicer into position to score a well-taken try as he crashed over from 20 metres on the hour, Reynolds converting to reduce the deficit to one point. A combination of S&E slowing the game down and Wells not quite finding the finishing touch left the home side frustrated. A long-range penalty from within their half in the 78th minute gave Wells a shot at victory but it fell tantalisingly short. The close contest will give Wells confidence that their run of form is gaining momentum in the second half of the season to lift them clear of the relegation zone. Wells now visit Tring in Herfordshire on Saturday [February 16, kick-off 2.30pm].

Robinson runs show in outstanding win for TJs Tonbridge Juddians 25 Rams 19 By Adam Hookway

running rugby. Robinson was dictating the play and the hosts were soon deep in Rams’ territory. With 15 minutes to go TJs produced what prove to be the winning score as they went close to the goalline, employing short pick-and-drive play. They were keeping the ball close and making steady progress when the ball was slipped out to Tout, who had the strength and momentum to step inside and burst through the tacklers to score; Robinson added the extras. The dying minutes of the match saw Rams opening up and throwing everything at TJs in

PHOTO: Adam Hookway

RUGBY: TONBRIDGE JUDDIANS produced another exhilarating performance to defeat the runaway National Two South leaders Rams, ending their 17-game winning streak. TJs started well and were soon on the front foot. Rams looked to counter with a forwardorientated game but Will Robinson slotted an early penalty to give Tonbridge the lead. Good phase play gave TJs an attacking position and Robinson kicked high and right to find Murray Galbraith-Lowe, who caught and drove over for an unconverted try. The Reading side responded well, a series of penalties taking them into TJs’ 22. The home side were under great pressure and Charlie Edwards was yellow-carded. Rams took advantage to cross for their first try,

which was converted from the right touchline with the wind at the kicker’s back. The Rams pack was now in full cry and with TJs again on the back foot defending their goalline, the visitors crashed over for a second try, which was not converted. TJs were still linking well and with Edwards restored, centre Duncan Tout burst through tackles in midfield and almost reached the line. In the ensuing ruck Rams conceded a penalty which Robinson duly converted to reduce the deficit to one point at half-time, 12-11. At the start of the second half the game opened up a little and swung back and forth without any end product, but then TJ’s Finlay Coxon-Smith received the ball inside his own half and set off down the right flank. He offloaded in the tackle to Tout, who did the same to find Toby May in support and he strolled over for TJs’ second try, Robinson converting. TJs were back in front and playing attractive

WHERE THERE’S A WILL: Will Robinson attacks the Rams defensive line in an influential performance

Harriers’ Howey takes first place ATHLETICS: TUNBRIDGE WELLS Harriers brought home a haul of silverware from the final Kent Cross Country League event of the season in Norman Park, Bromley. The parkland course offered a tough challenge due to the strong winds but the Harriers women’s team performed well to confirm their third place overall for the season in the six runners to score category. Michelle Bradshaw rounded off an impressive series of runs be crowned second W60. In the men’s race Andy Howey was placed first M50 and was awarded the trophy for first M50 over the season, while Peter Richardson was third overall in the M60 category.

LEADING MAN Andy Howey (left) on his way to the M50 title

their attempt to retrieve a result. TJs defence was solid and sometimes desperate, but they stood firm until the last play of the game when Rams crossed for a converted try and a bonus point. This was a fine, spirited win against a very strong team who had only lost one game previously and will surely be promoted to National One next season. Tonbridge remain in third place as they travel to Guernsey, who are propping up the league, on Saturday [February 16, kick-off 2pm].


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Times of Tonbridge 13th February 2019  

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