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Times OF TUNBRIDGE WELLS

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All the news that matters

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Wednesday March 25 | 2020

Zorba Meze Grill

4 Upper Grosvenor Road, Tunbridge Wells TN1 2EN 01892 530051 | www.zorbamezegrill.com

HOW OUR LIVES ARE CHANGING…

GHOST TOWN Tunbridge Wells town centre is shutting down

By Richard Moore, Editorial Director CHANGING times means we all have to adapt to new ways of living and working and it’s no different here at the newspaper. We’ve changed, for example, the size and content of this edition. In other words, like thousands of you, we are doing what is necessary to get through the coronavirus crisis. And we want you, our readers and advertisers, to know that we are committed to continuing to provide, in some shape or form, a meaningful media platform for the people of Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge for as long as is practical – hopefully until we come out the other side and rebuild our communities. Which will happen! There’s probably never been more of

a social need for local news outlets to keep people informed, to reflect the challenges we face and to highlight some of the more uplifting stories; like those with a community conscience offering to shop for people forced to stay indoors, provide free meals for

... and how we respond now will likely define this decade those who can’t cook or simply keep in touch with those who are lonely. Adversity does indeed bring out the best in people ... not everyone is intent on plundering supermarket shelves. Happily, most people want to do the right thing and help others in more need.

And as the Bishop of Tonbridge, the Rt Rev Simon Burton-Jones, says in this newspaper [page 2]: “How we respond now will likely define this decade.” Finally, you need to know that after five years and four million copies this is the last edition of the Times in this format – at least for the next few months. And that also applies to our award winning SO magazine. Working from home means that it is not technically possible for staff to publish a printed edition. However, we intend to keep the news flowing online – we might not be in the office but we are still listening and we still want to hear from you about what’s happening in our community. To the right are details of how to stay in touch and keep informed.

THE TIMES ONLINE:

You can keep up with all the local breaking news for the Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge area at timeslocalnews.co.uk You can also follow us on facebook: facebook.com/ timeslocalnews and on Twitter: @timeslocalnews And to get in touch, email: newsdesk@timesof tunbridgewells.co.uk


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Wednesday March 25 | 2020

this week… Infecting one another with love WITH church services now on hold, we invited the Bishop of Tonbridge, the Rt Rev Simon BurtonJones, to use the pages of this newspaper to reach out to the community and address some of the challenges it’s facing: There is nothing to fear except fear itself, said Franklin D Roosevelt. Some people have added humorously to this – there is nothing to fear except fear itself – and spiders / flying / dental treatment / marmite sandwiches. We feed off the fears of others, so it’s no wonder coronavirus can be added seriously to this list. But fear divides us, and we cannot afford this today.

Contagious

TOM TUGENDHAT MP: On how we can all do our bit to ensure we beat the coronavirus p14

NEW CHARITY APPOINTMENT: ellenor’s trustees announce charity’s new CEO is VIkki Harding p8 HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?: Horticulture influencer Ellen Mary on getting back to nature p36

CONTACTS EDITORIAL DIRECTOR RICHARD MOORE richard@timesoftunbridgewells.co.uk | 01892 779615 DEPUTY EDITOR EILEEN LEAHY eileen@timesoftunbridgewells.co.uk | 01892 576037 CHIEF REPORTER RICHARD WILLIAMS richardwilliams@timesoftunbridgewells.co.uk | 01892 240626 DESIGN/PRODUCTION LEE SMITH lsmith8@markerstudy.com SALES ENQUIRIES RSinger@markerstudy.com | 01892 739763 FIND US ONLINE facebook.com/timeslocalnews timesoftunbridgewells.co.uk twitter.com/timeslocalnews

Salomons Estate, Broomhill Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN3 0TF

CLARIFICATIONS AND CORRECTIONS HERE at the Times Local News 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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Lots of research is helping us to see how socially contagious we are. That’s the thing about a virus. By necessarily distancing ourselves from one another, we help to stop the spread of disease but if we’re not careful, find we’re not ‘infecting’ people with all the good things that make up our relationships. Social distancing is important; social isolation is painful. For a period, the way we live and relate are being shaken up. All we take for granted has gone, and we have to piece our relationships together another way. Thank God for new technologies which allow virtual contact. Those who are wired will figure it out – it’s only an extension of what they’re doing anyway. But it’s

RT REV SIMON BURTON-JONES easy to forget those who aren’t in the chat room because they were never there in the first place. The measure of a community is how well it embraces its most marginalised. Those who are

Town centre businesses told the annual BID levy still stands By Richard Williams BUSINESSES will still have to pay this year’s annual levy for the Business Improvement District [BID] even though they may have no actual Business Rates to pay. For bigger firms this could mean paying up to £5,000. The head of BID Ross Feeney, who took over from Karen Pengelly earlier this year, told business owners on Friday [March 22] that invoices were currently being sent to the 700 companies within the BID area. BID receives around £400,000 a year from local businesses in the town. But Mr Feeney said the Levy would not be cancelled and the town centre was still ‘open for business’. “Our core aim is to invest in the town centre to provide inward investment to promote business support and to make Tunbridge Wells a destination of choice rather than just a destination of habit. We aim to increase footfall dwell time and visitor’s spend. “Now clearly at the moment that is a considerable challenge and we are doing everything we can to support our levy payers and every business in the town centre to encourage the message where possible, that we are open for business, but when it is not possible, we are

older and poorer are most at risk of losing out socially. And the health implications of loneliness and poverty are well documented. So, as we temporarily build a new social architecture, we need to create living space for the most vulnerable. If we’re anxious about spreading germs, just picking up a phone to ask how someone living alone is coping is one way of ‘infecting’ them with love. Crises can bring the best out in people, and we could perversely strengthen our community more at the very moment we are socially distancing. But it could easily go the other way, unless we’re intentional about this. Fear is driven by many factors, but no virus has ever trended like this one. The ubiquity and volume of information – not all of it true in any case – has bewildered people and made them more anxious. Education liberates. But too much attention to bad news scares people. A case for a bit of media isolating, perhaps? As the US civil rights activist Rosa Parks said: “Knowing what must be done does away with fear.” As we attend to the right things – caring for our households, but not panicking in a way that disadvantages others, cleanly reaching out to the most isolated, avoiding contagious fear – we build the community we all want and believe in. No one expected to start the twenties this way. How we respond now will likely define this decade. rather than be distributed nationally.” The annual ‘levy’ equates to around 1.25 per cent of the rateable value of a business. For some firms this can be as high as the maximum £5,000 but smaller businesses with a rateable value below £15,000 are exempt. Among the proposals suggested by the BID so far has been to promote the idea of asking customers to purchase gift vouchers for local businesses that they can but now and use when the emergency is over. But BID stopped short of guaranteeing such vouchers for customers if a business collapsed due to the Covid-19 measures but would ‘promote’ them instead.

Defer ROSS FEENEY Chief Executive Tunbride Wells BID working tirelessly with others to support business as best we can.” He continued: “Clearly it a very challenging time for all business but the levy itself is not being cancelled because it is a surcharge of the rateable value of a business not the Business Rates.” He admitted the timing was ‘unfortunate’ as levy invoices were currently being sent out, but said that a certain amount of ‘leniency’ would be given to those firms struggling. But he added: “The levy we collect is 100 per cent spent locally. The proposals we are putting in place are directly to support local business

Mr Feeney, later told the Times that there was ‘no legal provision’ for cancelling the levy. He said: “Under the business rates holiday there was no legal provision for waiving BID levy – not just in TW but across the country. We are actively looking at what we can do to defer payment collections to ensure levy payers are not chased for payments during this challenging period. “Like all BIDs we follow best practice guidance from British BIDs and as such have a contingency built into our annual budget. We do, also, have a modest underspend in the current financial year budget as we have deferred some projects as a result of the shutdown. “The BID board, which is comprised of levy payers, are reviewing how these funds are managed.”

Former Mayor dies A FORMER Mayor and longstanding borough councillor has died. Len Horwood was Mayor at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council in 2019/2020 and served as councillor for Pantiles & St Mark’s from 2008 until his death. Cllr Horwood had been unwell for some time and his death is not

thought to be related to the current coronavirus pandemic. Among those paying their respects, Greg Clark MP, said: “Len was a wise and effective figure in Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and a good friend. He did wonderful work for mental health support in our area.” He added that he expressed his condolences to the councillor’s widow, Judy Horwood.

CARTOON: Peppy

WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER: Local business experts offer free coronavirus strategy advice p5


Wednesday March 25 | 2020

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Romantic nurse melts hearts after his proposal in Iceland goes viral By Andy Tong andy@timesoftonbridge.co.uk A NURSE proposed to his girlfriend in the Tonbridge branch of Iceland supermarket after their trip to Iceland the country was cancelled because of the coronavirus. The romantic gesture has captured the heart of a nation that has been starved of good news and remains anxious about an uncertain future. Robert Ormsby was due to pop the question during their holiday on the island but the journey was called off as the outbreak escalated. Patsy Murdoch said yes but told the BBC she was ‘laughing hysterically’ as he got down on one knee. Mr Ormsby had previously been employed by Iceland in the 1980s, but now works at Tunbridge Wells Hospital. He said: “It’s nice to know you can cheer somebody up by doing something that was just a humorous thing to make up for what we were going to miss.” He hoped that the public interest in his gesture

would help to highlight the dedication of those in the medical profession who are treating the victims of the coronavirus outbreak. He said anaesthetists are the ‘frontline people for this’, adding that it was ‘frightening and reassuring at the same time’ to see the work they are doing to get ready for the crisis.

The couple from Sevenoaks, both 58, made the unscheduled call at the store on their way out to dinner, when Mr Ormsby said he wanted to pick something up. “I was actually looking for an empty aisle,” he said, adding that Ms Murdoch “looked embarrassed at first”.

Hysterically

HOT DATE Robert Ormsby and Patsy Murdoch

They had bought the ring together and Ms Murdoch said she was a ‘bit suspicious when his suit went on’ that evening and was expecting him to propose at the restaurant. She said: “I was thinking, ‘what do you want in Iceland?’ I didn’t twig for a minute and then suddenly he went down on one knee. I was just laughing hysterically. It was very exciting.” Iceland put the story up on twitter and Ms Murdoch, who works for Hospice in the Weald, said social media ‘had gone beserk’ after their story went viral but added: “We all need a bit of distraction at the moment.”

DOWN THE AISLE The couple recreate the moment at checkout

Councils repsond as virus closes towns By Richard Williams ACROSS Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge, shops, offices, restaurants and bars remain closed as the towns respond to social distancing measures introduced to stem the spread of Covid-19. Fenwick has shut all its nine outlets, including its Tunbridge Wells department store. The retailer, which first opened in the town in 1982, in the then newly built Royal Victoria Place, announced the decision last week and closed ‘for the time being’ on Thursday [March 19]. It is the first time the department store chain, which was founded by John James Fenwick in Newcastle in 1882, has had to endure a prolonged closure in its 140-year history. Fenwick’s Bond Street branch even remained open after a bomb went off outside the store during the blitz in World War II. But in a statement last week, the family-run business, said closing its stores was now ‘the right thing to do for our customers, our colleagues and our communities’. Meanwhile the local authorities of Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge have been outlining

measures to protect local firms during the Covid-19 crisis. Around 100 business owners joined a conference call hosted by the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s Chief Executive, William Benson, who warned that staffing levels at the Council were ‘likely to go down’.

Distributed And he told business owners: “What is most important for us is that we get the support announced in the budget – business rate relief and other measures – to you as soon as possible and make sure we get the money you need.” The Council’s Head of Revenues and Benefits, Sheila Coburn, outlined how local firms will get the support outlined by the chancellor. She said the retail, leisure and hospitality business in the town would not have to pay any Business Rates next year. “There is no need to apply. Bills will be issued next week, but if you have not received one by the end of March contact us,” she explained. She added that grant funding announced by the

government would also be distributed by the Council in April. In Tonbridge, the Council has launched a raft of emergency measures to support communities and businesses. Chief executive Julie Beilby says the Counci is implementing ‘crisis response plans’ to ensure the delivery of key services. Council offices remain open but the public are being urged not to visit in person and to use telephone and online services instead or visit the website at tmbc.gov.uk It’s understood that a councillor has displayed symptoms of the virus, which has meant that all councillors have had to self-isolate. The council also has approximately 20 workers in selfisolation but most services are being maintained. Nicolas Heslop, the Leader of Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, said: “While some changes to how we deliver services may change in the coming weeks, we will be doing everything possible to continue to support the people of Tonbridge & Malling and playing our part in ensuring that the help the Government has promised reaches those who need it.”

Tunbridge Wells Lawn Tennis Club is looking for a Club Manager TWLTC is one of the oldest and largest tennis clubs in Kent. With close to 1000 members and 21 courts this is a thriving and busy club.

If you are interested in applying for the Club Manager role, the Job Description and details of how to apply are available on the Tunbridge Wells Lawn Tennis Club Website.

w. www.twltc.org


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Local News

CORONAVIRUS IN BRIEF

Hospital confirms first death from coronavirus AN 83-year-old woman has become the first person to die of the Covid-19 virus at Tunbridge Wells Hospital in Pembury. Shirley Brown, 83, from St Mary’s Platt, is the second person in Kent to have died after contracting the deadly virus strain. The grandmother of six is understood to have had underlying health conditions, including asthma and lung disease.

Citizen’s Advice closes THE local Citizens Advice Bureau [CAB] has been forced to shut its doors due to social distancing rules. The service says they can no longer provide face-to-face meetings and that it has been necessary to close to protect clients, staff and volunteers. They will offer phone and webcast advice instead. Chief Executive, Liz de Villiers, said: “These are worrying times for everyone but Citizens Advice has been around in Tunbridge Wells since 1939 and, as ever, our team is committed to offering as much support as we possibly can to as many people as we can reach.” She added that local residents needing help to check eligibility for benefits, help claim universal credit or sick pay, can email advice@catwd.org.uk leave a message on the website catwd.org.uk/contact-us

Jobcentre arrangements TONBRIDGE Jobcentre, which provides employment services to all of West Kent, have also issued guidance for people affected by the Covid-19 crisis. They say special arrangements will be in place for people in receipt of benefits who cannot attend reassessments or Jobcentre appointments because they are required to stay at home or are infected by the virus. In addition, those affected by coronavirus will be able to apply for Universal Credit and can receive up to a month’s advance up front without physically attending a jobcentre. And people who cannot work due to coronavirus and are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay will get it from day one, rather than from the fourth day of their illness. Sick pay will be payable to people who are staying at home on Government advice, not just those who are infected with coronavirus.

FOR EVEN MORE NEWS VISIT: timeslocalnews.co.uk

Wednesday March 25 | 2020

Windfall for homeless charity as it receives a ‘staggering’ £700,000 By Andy Tong andy@timesoftonbridge.co.uk THE Bridge Trust, that looks after homeless people, has been handed £700,00 to buy a new house for the charity. The news comes after funding by Kent County Council was reduced to zero. The Tonbridge based charity, which also covers Tunbridge Wells, has received a grant of £700,000 from the Kent Community Foundation [KCF], part of the the proceeds of the sale of the High Hilden care home. John Handley, chief executive of The Bridge Trust, told the Times: “The amount is staggering, this kind of thing doesn’t happen - it’s what dreams are made of.”

The London-based company provides specialist support and care services to people with a variety of needs. After inviting tenders from homelessness organisations across West Kent, Look Ahead elected to deliver the adult provision themselves – while entrusting the care of minors to the YMCA. Mr Handley said: “In the event Look Ahead have decided to provide a different, smaller service themselves to homeless adults - for those with high and complex needs. “But the people with lower needs have not disappeared, they’re still there. We are still full - we had two people come in last week, and one an hour ago.” Look Ahead aim to house 16 people, but they

are trying to find accommodation, since they only own two premises in Tonbridge that can house six. Mr Handley said: “It’s been quite a year to balance the books. We’ve made some staff reductions, our fundraiser and receptionist have left, and we’ve also ended leases on two shops in Tunbridge Wells – as well as not paying rent on the flats there. “I’ve also been speaking to the councils about increasing the housing benefit for supported housing because historically we’ve kept that at very low levels. “We’ve done that so when guys do get into employment, they are not caught in a benefits trap with sky high rents when they leave. We need to claim for the full cost now.”

“In the event Look Ahead have decided to provide a different, smaller service themselves to homeless adults - for those with high and complex needs” High Hilden care home shut in August 2018 after it ran out of money, and a planning application is awaiting approval to convert the site into nine flats and five houses. The trustees of the care home have given £2.65million from the sale of the home to Tonbridge & Malling ‘to ensure that the money was used in a positive way for the good of the local community’, according to KCF. Mr Handley said: “I was asked to pitch to them for some funding but I had no idea how much they were going to give away. I put forward a proposal to buy a house – and they said yes.” The charity has purchased a four-bedroom house in the town which it will convert to accommodate five homeless people. The new premises will provide it with much needed income from housing benefit, which then comes to the trust as rent. This revenue stream represents more than a quarter of its funding - 27 per cent. The intervention is timely since the trust’s direct funding from Kent County Council [KCC] was terminated last April. The sum of £121,000 a year met about a quarter of its overall need. Contracts for all homeless services in West Kent went to Look Ahead for them to subcontract out.

ASK

Darren Austin at Synergee

Darren Austin is a director of Synergee Limited, a firm of Chartered Accountants & business advisers based in Tunbridge Wells. If you have any questions you'd like to ask Darren he can be contacted on 01892 772960 | www.synergee.org.uk

DREAM HOME: John Handley says the donation is ‘staggering’

In place of the usual Q&A, the following are some of the support packages that have been made available to help businesses deal with the Coronavirus: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: HMRC will reimburse 80% of wages paid to workers who have be laid off due to the coronavirus crisis. This is capped at £2.5k per employee per month.

VAT Deferral: The deferral will apply from 20 March to 30 June 2020. There is a lack of clarity on the Gov. uk website and we are interpreting this as payments due by 30 June rather than quarters ended 30 June. This means that May quarter VAT Returns, where payment is due by 7 July, will still be payable as normal. Any payments deferred will become payable by the end of the tax year (31/3/21 Company or 5/4/21 Unincorporated) Income Tax Deferral: The self-assessment second payment on account, due by 31 July 2020, will be deferred to 31 January 2021. No penalties or interest will be charged.

Cash Grants: A grant of £10k will automatically be provided to all businesses currently entitled to Small Business Rates Relief. A grant of £25k can be claimed for businesses in the retail, hospitality or leisure industry if their rateable value is between £15k and £51K. Business Rates Holiday: There is a 12-month business rates holiday (April 20 to March 21) for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England. Time to Pay Arrangements: In addition to the deferral schemes noted above, if you have outstanding tax liabilities (Corporation Tax, VAT or Income Tax) due to coronavirus, you may be able to agree a time to pay arrangement. Arrangements will be agreed on a case by case basis. To discuss your options, contact HMRC on 0800 0159 559. Further info and updates can be found here: https:// www.synergee.org.uk/press-releases/coronavirus-update


Wednesday March 25 | 2020

Gearing up to support ventilator shortage By Richard Williams A TUNBRIDGE WELLS engineering firm is in talks with the government to switch production from making gears to producing much-needed ventilators for the NHS. Muffett Gears, based in Lamberts Road on the North Farm Industrial Estate, has made precision gears, gearboxes and components for industry for 100 years. Now the company has approached the Department of Health to see if they can help produce ventilators for the NHS to help with a shortage of the vital medical equipment.

Responsibility Ventilators are important in the treatment of patients whose lungs have been attacked by the COVID-19 infection. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the country currently has around 5,000 ventilators but needed ‘many times more than that’ and has appealed for engineering firms who are able to retool and produce the vital health equipment to get in touch. Muffett Gears’ Business Development Manager Mark Jagelman told the Times that the company, which employs around 50 people, has written to local MP Greg Clark to pass on their desire to assist the health service in making the breathing apparatus. “We have not heard back yet, but it is something we are hoping to do as part of our corporate responsibility,” said Mr Jagelman, adding: “We currently do manufacture some medical components, so we could retool, but we obviously need more details first. “We have the equipment, and most importantly we have the skills, and this is something that we could do to help.”

Local News

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BUSINESS

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Free coronavirus advice for business TUNBRIDGE Wells and Tonbridge businesses are being offered free strategy advice to help them survive the far-reaching health measures introduced by the government to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease COVID-19. Sharp Minds Communications has joined forces with business coach Julian Weekes and leading local accountants Synergee to offer free half-hour phone or video consultations to help businesses devise strategies. The assistance includes ideas to help with customer engagement, improve business operations and stimulate and manage cash flow while people are being encouraged to stay at home to restrict transmission of the disease.

Costs “These are going to be challenging times for businesses of all shapes and sizes, and in all sectors, which is why we’re offering our expertise to help local companies create effective plans to get through the current crisis and position

Darren Austin

‘We’re offering our expertise to help local companies create effective plans to get through the current crisis’ themselves for success when the economy picks up again,” said Sharp Minds director Siobhan Stirling. “Research shows that businesses that emerge as leaders from economic downturns are those that employ a judicious mix of efficiency savings and investment in marketing, research and

Julian Weekes development and assets – also known as ‘progressive strategies’ – rather than simply slashing costs or investing heavily to tough it out.” Business coach Julian Weekes added: “The problem with simply slashing costs is that you don’t maintain the market presence to push ahead when things pick up, and companies that cut staff dramatically often find it harder and more expensive to recruit on the other side of downturns, while those that simply throw money at the solution don’t create the efficiencies needed to help them compete effectively when consumer confidence returns. “I can help businesses drill into their numbers to find the savings and alternative income streams that will underpin future success.” Darren Austin of Synergee,

said: “The Chancellor’s lifeline is essential, but it’s important for business owners to remember it’s a bridge, not a bailout – the support is in the form of loans and grants that will have to be paid back, which will add to costs as companies try to rebuild.” He continued: “We can help companies work out whether a government loan is the right solution, or whether there are alternative strategies for managing their cash flow through this challenging time.” Free business advice is available at sharpminds.agency Or call 01892 570863 to arrange free half-hour strategy consultations with Sharp Minds, Julian Weekes of ActionCOACH and Darren Austin of Synergee.


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Local News

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Landlords and tenants could face conflict over eviction holiday rules By Richard Williams LAST week’s announcement of a moratorium on evictions, could be storing up trouble, a Tunbridge Wells property lawyer has argued. The measures were introduced following the government’s announcement of a three-month mortgage holiday for homeowners facing financial difficulty during the coronavirus outbreak to ensure renters had similar levels of protection. But Mark Steggles, property dispute resolution lawyer and partner at Tunbridge Wells’ law firm Thomson Snell & Passmore said the rules for renters and landlords, which will halt proceedings to evict tenants for at least a three-month period, will just shift conflict further down the road.

Pressure He said: “Responding to concerns about the impact this may have on landlords, the government confirmed that the three-month mortgage payment holiday plans announced earlier in the week will now be extended to landlords whose tenants fall into the above category, such as landlords with buy-to-let mortgages. “This avoids the financial pressure being passed from the tenant straight to the landlord and is a shift in government policy.” But he added: “The purpose behind the legislation is to take the pressure off tenants who cannot afford to pay rent as a result of not receiving any income in the current climate. He continued that while the measures ‘will

MARK STEGGLES

come as a relief to tenants’, but added: “This risks storing up trouble when this crisis is over because the interests of the tenant, the landlord and the lender will conflict at that time. “The obvious concern is that this doesn’t solve the issue – it simply pushes the issue down the road for three months.” “To combat this, the government suggests that the legislation will provide that after the three-month period has expired, landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan taking into account the tenants’ individual circumstances.” He also said that current possession proceedings that have already been issued are not covered by the rule changes but the new moves may cause issues for landlords struggling to remove problem tenants. “Even if possession orders are obtained, enforcing such orders may prove difficult,” he argued.

THOMSON SNELL & PASSMORE FREE LEGAL ADVICE FOR BUSINESS TUNBRIDGE WELLS law firm, Thomson Snell & Passmore are offering businesses across Kent, free legal advice. The legal practice is giving a free 30-minute session with one of their expert lawyers for all businesses in Kent. James Partridge, senior partner at the law firm said: “We know these are worrying times for businesses who are facing unprecedented problems, so access to trusted, practical advice is more important than ever. “As a long-standing member of the Kent

community, we want to do all we can to offer peace of mind to those who may find themselves in uncharted territory as the situation with COVID-19 develops. “We are therefore offering all Kent businesses half an hour of free legal advice. “Our expert lawyers from across our corporate and commercial, banking and finance, property, employment and dispute resolution teams are here for you, to help you navigate this unprecedented event.” Call: 01892 701 144 to book a free session.

Investment firm is the latest addition to the town’s knowledge economy By Robert Forrester

SIMON LEE

THE Tunbridge Wells financial services sector has received a new addition as Sanlam Wealth has opened an office in the town. The company is part of the larger South Africabased international financial services group Sanlam, which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and has over £12billion of assets under management or influence.

Delighted The investment firm has had a presence in Kent since 1987, but has now moved from Sevenoaks to new premises in Wallside House, Mount Ephraim Road, Tunbridge Wells. The team is comprised of Senior Portfolio Manager and joint Head of Office Kenneth Fry together with and Senior Portfolio Managers Paul Stevens, Kathie Langfield, Tom Planterose and Hugh Weston. They will be supported by Portfolio Managers’ Assistant Rachael Adams and Team Administrator Liz Stow. The Head of the Tunbridge Wells office, Simon Lee, said: “We are delighted to have opened our

office in Tunbridge Wells. “It enables our team of top portfolio managers to better take care of the financial needs of both our existing and future clients, and to be able to work closely with third-party financial practitioners in the area to provide the all-round service our high-net worth clients expect.”

Wednesday March 25 | 2020


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Community News

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Ollie’s family donate bell to celebrate end of treatment By Andy Tong A SEVEN-YEAR-OLD boy who completed his treatment for cancer returned to the hospital ward which cared for him while he underwent chemotherapy to unveil a symbol of hope for other young patients. Ollie Ridley from Biggin Hill, his parents Sian and Steve and four-year-old brother Joseph have sponsored a bell at Tunbridge Wells Hospital’s Woodlands Unit for children to ring at the end of their treatment. Ollie suggested the hospital should have one like the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton, where he also received treatment. He said: “I’m so happy the bell is now on Woodlands Unit. I really hope it helps other children look forward to their treatment finishing.” Ollie was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2016. Sian said: “His treatment lasted for three years and three months, and we spent many nights

Wednesday March 25 | 2020

under the care of the wonderful staff on Woodlands and Hedgehog wards. “When Ollie’s last dose of IV chemotherapy was given on Woodlands in April 2019, the nurses kindly celebrated by ringing hand bells on the ward for him. “But he still had daily chemotherapy at home, which meant he had to wait to ring the end-oftreatment bell at the Royal Marsden. “He finally got to ring the bell on July 11, 2019, but he told my husband and I that it would have been nice if he could have rung the bell at the Tunbridge Wells Hospital.

Grateful

RINGING THE CHANGES AT TUNBRIDGE WELLS HOSPITAL: (L-R) Paediatric Ward Manager Michelle Wickens and paediatric oncology specialist Helen Stevens with Ollie, Steve, Sian and Joseph Ridley

“That was where he had his last hospital chemotherapy given, and all his nurses who looked after him every time he was poorly were there, and now his dream has come true.” Paediatric Ward Manager Michelle Wickens said: “We are extremely grateful to the Ridley family for the donation of the end-of-treatment bell. “It is really important to mark the end of treatment as an important part of their lives. “For children who receive cancer chemotherapy or other long-term treatments, and their families who have conquered many obstacles through diagnosis and treatment, ringing the bell is a symbol of their journey and the start of the next part of their lives.”

New Chief Executive Natural flood defence offers to lead ellenor’s positive vision for the future ambitious projects NATURE’S WAY Log jams will catch sticks and leaves

By Andy Tong

HOSPICE charity ellenor has appointed Vikki Harding as its permanent Chief Executive. Vikki, who has held the post in an interim capacity since last May, was previously Director of Care. She joined ellenor in 2018 from North East London NHS Foundation Trust, where she was Assistant Director. With over 35 years’ experience in healthcare, Vikki worked as a nurse consultant specialising in respiratory care of patients with lung diseases.

Excellent ellenor’s Chair of Trustees, Roger Wedderburn-Day, said: “We are delighted that Vikki has agreed to lead ellenor. She has had an excellent year as interim CEO and has exciting plans to develop the organisation.” Vikki said: “I feel privileged to be given the opportunity to lead ellenor in what will be the next exciting stage of our development. “Working with all our partners as interim CEO has given me a powerful insight into what we must focus on to support our community.” This includes development of the Gravesend Wellbeing Centre. “Demand for our services is ever increasing,” she added. “As a result, we have reached a point where our facilities

are restricting us from providing outstanding care. “We need to extend and redevelop our hospice building.” The hospice has received a donation of £2million from the Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust, which had already given ellenor the land the hospice is built on. Colyer-Fergusson Chief Executive Jacqueline Rae said: “A crucial part of ellenor’s work is to provide holistic care, enabling patients to be able to live as well as they can for as long as they can by offering physical, emotional and spiritual support. “Colyer-Fergusson celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019, and as part of our celebrations we wanted to give grants to good causes, and ellenor is very special to us. “This funding will help ellenor create a bright and spacious Wellbeing Centre, offering a broader range of therapeutic activities tailored to patient needs.” It will also increase accessibility for people using wheelchairs or other mobility equipment, and allow younger and older patients to come together in a safe space. In addition, ellenor aims to provide single en-suite rooms, an improved café and landscaped gardens, and is looking to raise an additional £4.9million to complete the improvements. NEXT STAGE Vikki Harding says demand is growing

andy@timesoftonbridge.co.uk A NATURAL flood management scheme installed in Tudeley Woods could form an effective way of coping with extreme weather conditions in the future. Fifty ‘leaky dams’ were built on the Alder Stream catchment in the 900-acre site in an innovative project that will also help to protect the environment against climate change. The steep-sided streams – known as ghylls – now have logs jammed across them. These will catch sticks and leaves to become what conservationists call ‘leaky wooden structures’.

Torrential The scheme is part of the Medway Flood Action Plan and was set up by the Hadlow Estate, which owns the woodland, in partnership with the environmental charity South East Rivers Trust [SERT]. Last month, the storms Ciara and Dennis brought torrential rain which at one stage peaked at 28mm in just one hour, as recorded in nearby Paddock Wood. The Alder Stream is a tributary of the River Medway and has a history of flooding, and the scheme aims to help protect

more than 50 residential properties at risk. Dean Morrison, Natural Flood Management Project Officer for SERT, said: “Properties in Five Oak Green were flooded as well as a row of properties including the Dovecote pub in Alders Road, Capel. “While these cottages missed flooding from the Alder Stream, they were hit by water flowing off the hillsides and into the ditch network behind the village. “Whilst it’s too early to claim that the number of leaky woody structures we’ve put in have had a significant impact yet, we checked on them during the storms and they’re functioning as they’re designed to.” Harry Teacher’s family has owned Tudeley Woods – now an RSPB nature reserve – for 170 years as part of the 4,000-acre estate. He said: “We are using natural methods to increase resilience to climate change.

Leaky dams are an effective way of preventing flooding further downstream, but we are also working to prevent the woods from drying out, preserving the biodiversity of the flora and fauna here. It’s a win-win situation.” Tudeley Woods is home to over almost 1,200 varieties of fungi as well as the rare marsh valerian flower, while the birdlife includes tree pipits, nightjars, woodlarks and lesser spotted woodpeckers. The scheme means there is no need for expensive engineering work or pumping equipment. Much of the timber used had fallen naturally, with other logs were felled as part of routine tree husbandry. “It’s a scheme that, if successful, could have implications for woodland management both nationally and further afield,” said Harry.

Hoppers seeks help after ‘devastation’ of oily water HOPPERS in Five Oak Green, which provides charitable respite for low-income families and groups, is trying to raise money for flood defences after being forced to close after last month’s storms. The 16th-century premises was once a pub before being turned into a hospital for hop pickers by London priest Richard Wilson at the end of the 19th century due to their appalling living conditions. The damage to the historic site was compounded by the fact that the floodwater was contaminated with oil, and the restoration is likely to take six months. Hoppers has had to cancel all bookings until September, and is aiming to raise

£2,000 in order to fund flood defences and avoid a repeat of the occurrence. Trustee Kizzie Proctor said: “We accommodate lunch clubs for isolated older people, local group gatherings, and a provide a sanctuary and lifeline for disadvantaged families and groups. “We offer respite and a taste of country life, allowing people to reconnect with each other and enjoy the benefits of our beautiful countryside.” She added: “We are still unsure how the village flooded, it came very quickly with no warning. It was like a tsunami coming down the road and was getting deeper by the minute.

“The community were all in shock and the silence around us was eerie as we just stood there not quite knowing what to do for a few minutes. No one had prepared for this devastation. On walking into the Hoppers courtyard, the smell hit me first, and the amount of oil swirling around my knees was overwhelming. “It was such a sad moment to see the building in this condition. It will take many months of work to be able to use it and we want to do all we can to prevent this from happening again to an important historical asset of Five Oak Green.” To donate, visit justgiving.com/ crowdfunding/hopperskent


Why separation and divorce can be a civilised affair If you are experiencing the anxiety and loss of a relationship ending and suffering sleepless nights worrying about the future, you are not alone. ALMOST 50% of all marriages end in divorce and for many, it can be the most traumatic time in their lives. Months and sometimes years are spent deciding whether to separate and then, when the decision has been made, it can take an age to pluck up the courage to take action. Emotions run high and delays are usually down to fear of the unknown and what life will be like after the separation, not to mention how you’ll cope financially and what you’ll tell the kids. The truth is there is no easy way out. However, the actions you take now and the choices you make will have a big impact on your new life. Your future is in your hands. You can choose to be reactive to your situation or you can be proactive and take the lead and put a stop to the fighting, anger and hurt. Divorce and separation is a life changing event and mistakes can be costly both emotionally and financially and you must be prepared to invest to secure your future. To take control you need information and advice from an experienced and trusted advisor, which will allow you to make informed decisions about your future. Our dedicated team at Keene Marsland is hand picked for their experience working with people who are going through a relationship breakdown. They are all members of Resolution, which means that they have the legal experience required to give you the best advice, and are committed to solving your problem in a conciliatory way if possible – saving you the emotional drain of the legal court battle and the legal fees that go with it. They understand the emotional pressure

and stress you are going through and they can help ease the pain. We work closely with leading family barristers and other specialists and together we will work with you to achieve the best outcome possible for you to move on with your life. Our service is confidential, discreet and bespoke to you. For a limited period, I am offering a

selected number of potential clients an opportunity to meet with one of my family solicitors for a free initial consultation to discuss the options available. Due to high demand my team are only able to offer 20 appointments this month and I know that the appointments will book up very quickly. Choosing the right legal team is key to

your emotional and financial future so apply today to see how we can help you achieve the outcome you want. For further information, and to apply for a FREE CONSULTATION, call us at Keene Marsland on 01892 526442 or email us at enquiries@keenemarsland.co.uk today quoting reference KM2020


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Local News

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Wednesday March 25 | 2020

Restaurants diversify to takeaways as virus rules bite... AT THE time of going to press, local restaurants were attempting to weather the coronavirus outbreak by changing from eat in premises to takeaway services. A number of restaurants in both Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge have begun delivering meals or providing a pick-up service to ensure they can still trade and allow customers to adhere to the social distancing rules. Popular Camden Road brasserie Rendez-Vous is staying open as a takeaway, following the government’s insistence that all restaurants, bars and theatres close down. And other local businesses are not only looking to diversify into the eat-out business, but also looking to see how they can help the community throughout the health emergency. Sankeys’ fishmongers has started selling bread, milk and eggs, while Zorba Meze Grill in Tunbridge Wells cooked and delivered 100 free meals for NHS staff on night shift at Tunbridge Wells Hospital.

Relaxed To assist businesses to make the transition to diversify, the local councils have relaxed usual planning procedures. A spokesperson for Tunbridge Wells Borough Council said: “The Council’s Planning Services Team is operating on a business as usual approach. We are continuing to assess planning applications, respond to correspondence, move forward with the Local Plan and undertake the usual day-to-day tasks. “The Government has made announcements around relaxation of usual restrictions on delivery times and to allow pubs and restaurants to temporarily operate as takeaways. “We are conscious of the need for flexibility to ensure that businesses can adapt to operate in this period.

“Planning Services will therefore look at any requests from businesses to temporarily alter their operating procedures (which may impact on planning restrictions) in a positive and pragmatic way, considering each on a case-by-case basis.” But she added that it was important that businesses contact Planning Services to

discuss any alterations by emailing planning@ tunbridgewells.gov.uk Meanwhile, fast food giant McDonald’s has announced full store closures due to the coronavirus pandemic amid growing concerns about safe social distancing. The burger chain closed every single one of its restaurants

‘The Government has made announcements around relaxation of usual restrictions on delivery times and to allow pubs and restaurants to temporarily operate as takeaways’

Due to the Coronavirus our Restaurant is now closed, however we will still be offering our delicious food as a Takeaway or Pick –Up.

Due to the Coronavirus our Restaurant is now closed, however we will still be offering our delicious food as a Takeaway or Pick –Up.


Local News

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Wednesday March 25 | 2020

would only continue to operate whilst it was safe for our people and together with our franchisees, we feel now is the time to make this decision to temporarily close.”

Restrictions Mr Pomroy added it had ‘become clear that maintaining safe social distancing whilst operating busy takeaway and Drive Thru restaurants [was] increasingly difficult’. Nando’s has also said it would be closing more

NEWS

than 400 restaurants in the UK, and Subway closed all their UK branches on Monday [March 23] night. Other fast food restaurants such as Burger King and KFC remain open but have changed to ‘takeaway’ only. The Government has said it was ready to impose tougher restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus if people do not follow the guidance on social distancing, which could mean that even takeaways could be forced to close this week.

HEALTHY EATING Sedat Zorba delivering takeaways to NHS staff last week in the UK and Ireland from 7pm on Monday [March 23], following concerns about maintaining safe social distancing. There are approximately 1,300 McDonald’s restaurants in the UK and Ireland and the decision will affect 135,000 staff members. Paul Pomroy, chief executive of McDonald’s UK & Ireland, said: “We have not taken this decision lightly and know that our restaurants have been playing an important role in the community providing hundreds of thousands of free drinks to frontline health and social workers and emergency services personnel,” he said. “But I have been clear throughout this that we

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Letters

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Wednesday March 25 | 2020

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, Times Local News, Salomons Estate, Tunbridge Wells TN3 0TG FOOD FOR THOUGHT Supermarket workers are among the new heroes

Friday, so it beggars belief that a service supplier purporting to be a market leader finds the need to carry out ‘staff training’ during normal advertised opening hours. Needless to say, Lloyds, HSBC, Barclays, Santander, Metro and Nationwide were all open for business. If they don’t stop and consider the needs of customers they will soon find that their current loyal customers will soon start voting with their feet. John Eaton, via email

Location and finances are ill-judged

Looking on the bright side – but there’s one big black mark IT might be worth pointing out, as we live in fear and ignorance, that there are some positives to be drawn from this benighted time we are all experiencing. The coronavirus outbreak seems to be on the verge of teaching us how to live responsibly as a society rather than looking after number one. Strangely, as we are forced to distance ourselves socially, our communities are actually coming together again. The outpouring of concern for the elderly and vulnerable who are self-isolating and need extra help has been heart-warming. The NHS is frequently criticised, despite its customary daily dedication, but now the sheer bravery and commitment of doctors, nurses

– and indeed all medical staff – is something that we should never forget. Now we have new heroes, too. Cleaners everywhere, shelf-stackers at supermarkets, delivery drivers – these people find themselves in the front line and they are responding admirably, nay incredibly. But for all that, there is one thing that is unforgivable. The lack of personal protective equipment for NHS workers and social care staff is an absolute disgrace and a source of deep national shame. There has been plenty of time to sort it out. It should have been the No 1 priority. I think that is something that won’t be forgotten, either. Ian Bland, Pembury

Counter acting the spread of the virus

Webcasts have to be done properly

Here’s how to increase the current global pandemic in one easy lesson: One Post Office counter worker sneezes violently, twice, followed by a loud cough, then laughs and says: “It’s okay, I haven’t got anything!” Second Post Office counter worker also laughs and says: “Oh, I’m not worried!” Member of the public, waiting close by the counter, joins in the laughter, and smugly says: “What will be, will be”, while looking around to see who agrees. ‘Sneezy’ Post Office counter worker then proceeds to partially fill out a form which is, in turn, passed with the unsanitised pen to a customer to use. With selfish attitudes like this (and you know who you are), is there any wonder that we’ve almost caught up with Italy in terms of crisis level? Brian Roberts Tunbridge Wells

Jeremy Webb misses my point completely [March 11]. When I said some council work is conducted outside the council chamber, I was referring to councillors’ casework, visiting residents, inspecting areas of concern and the like, not work in the next room. I am happy for meetings to be webcast. There will be a cost, there is a procedure, and if a member does not wish to be webcast they are fully entitled not to be shown. Webcasting needs doing properly. Cllr Mark Rhodes Conservative representative for Hildenborough

We must drive the message home I live locally and have seen traffic deliberately ignoring the ‘no access’ signs on Mount Pleasant Road since its very attractive restructuring into a pedestrian-friendly area. Bigger, newer restriction signs made little difference. Far from using cameras to ‘inform and re-educate’ these people, I suggest an immediate fine for all continued and deliberate flouting of the traffic laws. Tessa Worthington, Tunbridge Wells

Time to make a tactical withdrawal? Banking in general doesn’t enjoy the best of reputations for accessibility and service, but I think our local branch of NatWest Bank has hit rock bottom when it comes to customer services. At 4.10pm on March 11, my partner needed to do some urgent banking at their Tunbridge Wells branch, only to find the doors locked and a sign saying ‘This Branch will be closed from 2.30pm for staff training’. There must have been myriad customers, both commercial and private, who required access to the bank to settle accounts, pay in cash and cheques from their normal business or private affairs, or withdraw cash, only to be completely frustrated and possibly out of pocket. In any event, this branch of NatWest closes its doors to customers at 4.30pm Monday to

As a former nurse, I well understand the need for a better health centre, and would like to assure Dr Tim Palmer [March 11] that the Green Party is fully behind the need for a new medical centre. Our reservations are about the chosen site and the finance arrangements. River Lawn is in an area that flooded in 2013, and would probably have flooded again this year were it not for the installation of three pumps in the surrounding area. The site access is problematic as it is approached by a narrow road off an already congested roundabout which is already in an Air Quality Management Area. We are worried that increased traffic will worsen pollution and thereby poor health. A private company, Assura, are building the facility and will continue to own it. This scheme seems even worse than PFI because neither Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, the NHS nor the GP practice will ever own it. The missed opportunity my colleague Mark Hood referred to in his letter was for the council to build the facility and rent it to GPs and other health providers. The council owns a lot of land, which it is currently choosing to sell to developers to balance its books rather than getting a steady income through leasing. Much of central Tonbridge is occupied by single-level car parking which would be an ideal area for development, accessible for both cars and public transport links. Single-storey parking is an inefficient use of space. Fran Long Co-Chair, Tonbridge & Malling Green Party

Have your say about climate plan Everyone can make a contribution to the local engagement with climate change. In July 2019, Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council declared its recognition of global climate change and biodiversity emergencies and set out the ‘aspiration for Tonbridge & Malling to be carbon neutral by 2030’. Following on from this they have prepared a Draft Climate Change Strategy and Draft Year One Action Plan to support this ambition. These drafts are now available for public consultation until May 1 at tmbc.gov.uk/services/council-anddemocracy/consultations/climate-change Please read the documents and make your comments on them – no long or complicated forms to fill out, you can simply email your comments to: climate.change@tmbc.gov.uk Anthony Bales Tonbridge & Malling Friends of the Earth

Calverley

Observations on life and more important things

This virus thing has caused Calverley much head scratching of late, and he makes no excuse for it dominating this week’s column.

LIKE a few other people, Calverley turned his hand this week to ordering his shopping online. He is, of course, used to waiting in a theoretical queue and being told by a robot: “You are number five in the queue.” Trying to order groceries on the Ocado site, though, took the biscuit (sorry). The robot voice informed him when he eventually made contact: “Your are number 17,431 in the queue – the wait time will be at least two hours.” Pardon? Number 17,431? Wait time more like two days in the queue. Back to takeaways.

MANY things differentiate the good people of Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge – including loo roll preferences. Overheard last week in Waitrose, Tonbridge: “Well, that’s no good, there are no coloured rolls left, only those horrible white ones.” Overheard in Sainsbury’s, Tunbridge Wells: “Oh no, there are no white ones! We’re going to have to make do with peach.” Strange. No mention of them being quilted or not. Obviously those comments took place before most loo rolls were flushed away.

HUNTING down essential products right now brings out the worst in people. Calverley spotted the last kitchen roll on the supermarket shelf at the same time as another chap at the other end of the aisle. Anxious glances were exchanged before the rival shopper, complete with trolley, broke into a run and scooped up the prize. He looked so smug Calverley was was sorely tempted to squirt him in the face with his Fairy Liquid. (Calverley did not actually need the washing up liquid but it was the only one left on another shelf.) FINAL STRAW: The one thing Calverley cannot live without is Branston pickle. Imagine the joy when he secured two small jars of his favourite small chunk version. Then imagine his horror when, the next day, he received a recall of the product from Sainbury’s because some contained bits of plastic. Did he take them back? Did he heck. He just chewed very carefully. [Ed’s Disclaimer: Do not try this at home.] Chin, chin dear reader – and stay well!

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


Wednesday March 25 | 2020

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EDUCATION Times

Why home schooling can be child’s play With remote learning a reality for most parents now, local teacher Wil Liddle has created a helpful blog entitled Liddle Learning on Facebook. Here he tells Eileen Leahy all about it

Today I also WITH all schools closed for most pupils and realised how students for the foreseeable future, ensuring important children still benefit from a good education will socialising is for prove challenging. But thankfully some teachers my children, so are providing helpful suggestions online next week I will be courtesy of blogs and daily tutorials. Local asking them as part of primary teacher Wil Liddle is doing just that the day to FaceTime a friend or family member to with his new Liddle Learning sessions. keep up their communication skills.” Wil has been a primary school teacher for the past 17 years, after completing a Teaching FRIDAY MARCH 20 Degree at Oxford Brookes University. He has “Today we had a board game session, walked the taught all ages ranges in three local primary dog, and then looked at more poetry by Spike schools and also worked within an ASD (autism Milligan with the aim of doing a review of one. spectrum disorder) provision. We looked at who he was and did a Wil’s specialism is in the Early Years character study of him. I showed sector. Currently he is a Senior Leader the children how to make a colour at St Thomas’ Catholic Primary wheel and taught them about School, in Sevenoaks, but is currently primary and secondary colours. My on secondment at The Holy Family oldest wanted to catch up with the Catholic Primary School in Joanna Lumley programme on Maidstone. He has four children Cuba, so that doubled up as a little attending Tunbridge Wells schools, in geography and history lesson. We Years 2, 5, 7 and 9. then located these places on a map With the announcement last week and found out a little more about that all schools would close for the them. My older two are sticking to majority of students, apart from those their usual timetable and accessing of key workers helping in the fight ‘I am aiming to home learning from their against Covid-19, Wil has set up the deliver simple secondary school’s virtual learning Liddle Learning Facebook page. online posts as site.” “This was in light of having to begin home schooling after the coronavirus well as give ideas outbreak and having a child with and tips which will MONDAY MARCH 23 are making sure we get up asthma who needs to socially isolate at be easy to follow “We and are dressed, ready for a 9am this time,” explains Wil. and understand’ start for learning time. First we “I’m aware that there is a wealth of went for a long dog walk and then advice for parents and carers but I walked to our town cemetery feel there is almost too much to take where we were able to find our in. Therefore I am aiming to deliver great great great great simple online posts as well as give grandparents’ grave, with a little ideas and tips which will be easy to help from my grandmother who follow and understand, as we all we called this morning! When we embark on home schooling our got home we looked up the family children.” tree and worked out how they Here are a few examples from Liddle were related to us. We also read Learning posts on Facebook so far: articles we had found on the internet about our ancestors - who THURSDAY MARCH 19 were apparently notorious horse dealers in “So this morning we have looked at animal Tunbridge Wells in the 1800s! poems by Spike Milligan and looked for rhymes. “After a break, we drew some rainbows for the We then wrote our own ones and illustrated them. We found out Tanganyika in one of the poems is a window, so we can be part of our local rainbow trail. We wanted to add some Maya Angelou real place! My daughter did our online shopping quotes so we researched who she was online. order with my help and costed it all out. She then The younger two children wrote their own found a flapjack recipe online from her school version of a Mr Men book. After lunch and a website and baked it. The children are enjoying virtual workout with Joe Wicks AKA The Body yoga in between learning sessions… Coach, we FaceTimed our cousins in Ireland “My daughter added pepper to water (above) to and then completed online maths learning set demonstrate to my youngest child how germs stick by the school.” to your hands until you wash them with soap!

Why chasing rainbows is helping lift children’s spirits If you’ve been wondering why there are rainbows popping up in the windows of people’s houses, then it’s because of the impact the coronavirus crisis is having on society. With schools closed to most children and social distancing being enforced, children are connecting with each other by painting colourful rainbows and then putting them in their windows for others to see when they are out on a walk or run in order to brighten up their day!

Education

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14

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Weekly Comment

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Tom Tugendhat

Conservative MP for Tonbridge & Malling

Wednesday March 25 | 2020

Tom Tugendhat, MBE, left the British Army in July 2013 after a career in which he served on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and as the military assistant to the Chief of the Defence Staff. As a Territorial Army officer, he worked on everything from those ops to establishing the Armed Forces Muslim Association, and also worked for the Foreign Office. He was first elected as a Member of Parliament in 2015, and was elected Chair of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee in July 2017.

Our actions will decide what happens next WE’RE going to get through this. In the three months since Coronavirus has spread from one city in China to the whole world, we’ve changed how we live. The last month has seen major changes as we prepare for the coming storm. Many of us are worried, but seeing the spirit of cooperation here, I know we’re going to come through. Our brave NHS staff – from cleaners to consultants – working round the clock to care for us all reminds us that the frontline of this war is here, at home. In schools, supermarkets, and essential utilities, people are working to protect us in this national emergency. Many more are doing small things that bring neighbours together and remind us what matters – it’s the thousand threads of kindness that bind people together. The government has given the NHS unlimited resources to fight COVID-19 and support will get to every sector of the economy. And private businesses are also playing their part. A national effort to make ventilators is already delivering results, supermarkets are keeping food on the shelves, and private hospitals are part of the medical mobilisation. More than that, the government has put billions of pounds aside to help every business get through the storm. More must be done for

the self-employed but the direction is clear – this is a moment where we must share the burden of the fight and build a financial bridge over the economic chasm so that we can bounce back stronger. This isn’t about defending company profits but protecting jobs and the future growth that will get us all back on our feet. Now we must all do our part. This virus doesn’t travel by itself, we carry it. Our actions will decide what happens next. Will we become like Italy, under pressure on all sides and with medical teams almost overwhelmed? Or will we pull together?

Spreading We can stop mixing with others. We can talk online. We can we shop once a week – only for what we need. We can change how we live to protect those who do not have the choice. This isn’t just about us. Stopping spreading protects the vulnerable and saves the NHS. That’s why washing our hands, and isolating for seven days if we have any symptoms – or 14 if someone else in our home has it – are so important. And if we need to go out – stay away from others.

BRAVE NHS staff are working around the clock Sadly, COVID-19 has already claimed its first victims in Kent. The next few weeks and months will be incredibly hard on us all and, for some, they will seem unbearable. We will only come through this together. But there is help out there. Communities are coming together to help and support each other

and we will come through this. I won’t be meeting people – of course – but please call me or email if I can help. I will do what I can. Kent’s motto is Invicta – unconquered – I know that with our amazing NHS, teachers, police, and so much more, we will come through this. We’re will beat this, together.


Wednesday March 25 | 2020

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NEW HOMES IN A ‘POETIC’ VILLAGE


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Wednesday March 25 | 2020

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 some of the aspects that make these properties well worth a look… Holmewood Ridge Langton Green GUIDE PRICE

£1,675,000 CONTACT • Knight Frank, Tunbridge Wells • 01892 515035 • knightfrank.co.uk A spacious family home in a sought-after private road overlooking parkland, and close to Holmewood House preparatory school. MAIN POINTS OF INTEREST

n Triple-aspect sitting room with open fireplace, bay window and window seat overlooking rear garden n Open-plan kitchen/breakfast/family room that is the hub of the house, including units by Mark Wilkinson and doors to terrace n Formal dining room n Further reception room n Utility room and downstairs WC

The DINING ROOM…

n Master suite with dressing area, stylish en-suite bathroom and far-reaching views to Holmewood House and beyond n 4 further bedrooms, two with en suites n Self-contained level on second floor, currently comprising a double bedroom with views, a dressing area and a beautiful en-suite shower room n Mature south-facing garden with good sized sun terrace n Full-sized tennis court n Gravel carriage driveway leading to parking area and garage


Wednesday March 25 | 2020

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The PRICE…

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Mount Pleasant Avenue Tunbridge Wells GUIDE PRICE

£189,500 Buckland Hill Farm House Buckland Hill, Cousley Wood, Nr Wadhurst GUIDE PRICE

£1,295,000 CONTACT • Savills, Tunbridge Wells • 01892 507000 • savills.co.uk A delightful Grade II-listed rural property close to Bewl Water with an unconverted oast house. MAIN POINTS OF INTEREST

Main House

CONTACT • Bracketts, Tunbridge Wells • 01892 533733 • bracketts.co.uk A top floor apartment in a handsome terraced building near Calverley Grounds and station. Great for investors or first-time buyers. MAIN POINTS OF INTEREST n Entrance hall and entryphone n Living room with twin windows offering

views of Mount Pleasant and rooftop views across town. Open access to: n Kitchen n Bedroom and en-suite bathroom with

newly installed sanitary ware

n Origins dating back to 16th century n Pretty canopied entrance porch n Sitting room with brick inglenook fireplace, huge oak bressumer beam and flagstone hearth, plus doors to garden n Characterful dining room with part-vaulted ceiling and flagstone flooring, linking through to kitchen via open-stud wall n Bespoke Edmondson oak-fitted kitchen/ breakfast room with two-oven Aga n Family room with door to rear porch n Study/music room n Utility room and ground floor shower room n Oak balustrade staircase n Master bedroom with brick fireplace recess and oak bressumer beam n 4 further bedrooms, plus attic room n Family bathroom with Fired Earth fitments Charming Oast House n Games room with store above n Roundel, currently used for pool changing Outside

PROPERTY NEWS

Thinking outside the box GIVEN the situation regarding COVID-19, and subject to changes in government policy, estate agents KMJ Property plan to develop an idea to offer virtual viewings via a video call or a telephone walk-through so prospective buyers can carry on seeing properties while staying safe. “With all the news about coronavirus, we are following the government’s advice,” said David and Suzanne Johnson, who run the local family business in Rusthall, on the outskirts of Tunbridge Wells. “At the point of writing this our business is carrying on, and should anybody want to view a property but are unable to do so in person, due to self-isolation, we are offering to do a virtual viewing for them. These can be done at different levels, whether that be a walk-through on a video call, or just talking people through the details [on the phone]. “We continue to monitor the government’s advice. The safety and welfare of our staff, vendors and applicants is our priority, and we thank you all for your continued support.”

n Established gardens with terrace and views n Walled swimming pool n Small field n Driveway with parking and oak-framed English Heritage double-bay car port n In total about 0.95 acres

For further information and updates, please call David and Suzanne Johnson at KMJ Property, Rusthall, on 01892 515188 or visit kmjproperty.co.uk


HOMES FOR SALE IN KENT AND EAST SUSSEX

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WADHURST, EAST SUSSEX

THE PRIORY, TUNBRIDGE WELLS

An impressive and substantial character house on the edge of Wadhurst village, recently refurbished to a high standard.

An iconic town house by the architect Decimus Burton in an exclusive gated development in the centre of Tunbridge Wells.

6 BEDROOMS | 4 BATHROOMS | 4 RECEPTION ROOMS | GARAGE | ABOUT 0.75 ACRE | EPC D

5 BEDROOMS | 3 BATHROOMS | 3 RECEPTION ROOMS | PARKING | SOUTH-FACING GARDEN

Guide price £1,600,000

Guide price £1,750,000

simon.biddulph@knightfrank.com

ross.davies@knightfrank.com

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SPELDHURST, KENT

LAMBERHURST, KENT

A gated collection of just three exceptional new homes, set in a tranquil spot in the village of Speldhurst.

Attractive family house with equestrian facilities, annexe, double garage and swimming pool, set in a wonderful rural position.

4 BEDROOMS | 4 BATHROOMS | 2 RECEPTION ROOMS | PARKING | GARDEN | EPC C

5-6 BEDROOMS | 3-4 BATHROOMS | 4-5 RECEPTION ROOMS | IN ALL ABOUT 11.4 ACRES | EPC E

Guide price £650,000 - £695,000

Guide price 2,250,000

holly.sibley@knightfrank.com

simon.biddulph@knightfrank.com

This is a range of properties that we currently have available for sale. If you would like a free market appraisal or to discuss your plans, please call our sales team on 01892 310997.

knightfrank.co.uk


SALES RECENTLY AGREED IN KENT AND EAST SUSSEX

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UNDER OFFER IN TENTERDEN, KENT

UNDER OFFER IN TUNBRIDGE WELLS, KENT

Attractive country residence with a swimming pool and detached double garage, in a tucked away location.

An elegant town house located approximately 0.2 of a mile from the station on this no-through road backing onto Calverley Park.

6 BEDROOMS | 6 BATHROOMS | 5 RECEPTION ROOMS | ABOUT 3 ACRES | EPC D

5-6 BEDROOMS | 2 BATHROOMS | 2-3 RECEPTION ROOMS | GARDEN | EPC C

Guide price £1,595,000

Guide price £950,000

simon.biddulph@knightfrank.com

ross.davies@knightfrank.com

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UNDER OFFER IN TUNBRIDGE WELLS, KENT

UNDER OFFER IN STAPLEHURST, KENT

An elegant semi-detached Victorian house, just 0.9 miles from the station in the St James area of the town.

A stunning detached family house offering over 3,000 sq ft of accommodation and wonderful gardens and grounds.

5 BEDROOMS | 2 BATHROOMS | 4 RECEPTION ROOMS | PARKING AND GARAGE | EPC D

5 BEDROOMS | 3 BATHROOMS | 3 RECEPTION ROOMS | EPC D

Guide price £1,250,000

Guide price £1,100,000

ross.davies@knightfrank.com

holly.sibley@knightfrank.com

This is a range of sales we have agreed recently in Kent and East Sussex. If you would like a free market appraisal or to discuss your plans, please call our sales team on 01892 310997.

knightfrank.co.uk


www.hamptons.co.uk

SOLD Penshurst £1,295,000 Situated on the edge of the village in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a striking detached house full of superb period character features with fabulous established south-westerly facing landscaped gardens.

Tunbridge Wells £1,250,000 Occupying a privileged position at the end of a small private road close to the village green, shops and schools, a beautifully appointed light and spacious detached family house with secluded established gardens. EPC: D

Penshurst £1,150,000 Part of the exclusive Swaylands estate, this exceptional apartment with its own private entrance and balcony enjoying sensational far reaching views with allocated parking and garage. No onward chain. EPC: B

Langton Green £995,000 A spacious detached house situated in Rosecroft Park , an exclusive development of just four properties in a semi-rural position with spacious and well-arranged accommodation, established gardens and a residents tennis court. EPC: D

Frant £825,000 Set within a private estate close to the centre of the village, this fabulous Edwardian home is presented beautifully throughout with a lovely garden and combines the benefits of village life with easy access to Tunbridge Wells. EPC: E

Tunbridge Wells £625,000 Set in a convenient location in a cul-de-sac in a popular part of town is this beautifully presented chalet style house. Light and spacious with a flexible layout that can be arranged to suit individual requirements. EPC: C

Tunbridge Wells Office Sales. 01892 640374 | tunbridgewells@hamptons-int.com


Tunbridge Wells ÂŁ2,000,000 Within the Conservation Area, on one of the most highly regarded roads in the southern part of Tunbridge Wells, a handsome, Victorian Villa of grandeur and impressive proportions, boasting many period features and set within gardens of approximately half an acre. EPC: E

Wadhurst ÂŁ1,250,000 Situated on elevated ground an imposing and substantial detached five bedroom Edwardian house with both spacious and versatile accommodation enjoying superb far reaching panoramic views. EPC: E


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FOR EVEN MORE NEWS VISIT: timeslocalnews.co.uk Poppingbury

Wednesday March 25 | 2020

AT A GLANCE POPPINGBURY HASTINGS ROAD, PEMBURY n Grade II listed and reputed to be the oldest home in Pembury village, dating back to 1555 with 19th century additions n Period features include exposed timbers and latched doors n Recently renovated, with a superb contemporary extension added n Impressive reception hall with inglenook fireplace (currently sealed) and bread oven to side n Large, double-aspect, L-shaped sitting room with inglenook and doors to garden from area with vaulted ceiling n Further reception room n Cloakroom, boot room and large utility room with side access n Glazed walkway with tiled flooring leading to modern extension

Charming past meets stylish present in the oldest property in Pembury…

n Fabulous open-plan kitchen/dining/ family room with island, underfloor heating, full height windows and doors to garden n Stunning master bedroom with floorto-ceiling windows and doors with Juliet balconies, plus dressing room with fitted wardrobes and en-suite featuring walk-in monsoon shower and double-ended bath n Further modern double bedroom, with en-suite shower room n 2 period double bedrooms with sash windows, one with fitted wardrobes, timber panelling and cast iron fireplace n Attic space n Heritage-style family bathroom with beautiful roll-top bath n Lawned garden with large patio n Driveway with parking n Detached, open-fronted double garage with large secure workshop, power and light

£775,000 CONTACT • Barnes Kingsnorth, Pembury • 01892 822880 • bkestateagents.com


KNIGHTS WOOD | TUNBRIDGE WELLS

STUNNING NEW HOMES

3 BED HOMES

2 BED HOMES

PRICES FROM £440,000

PRICES FROM £369,950

Stylish new 2 & 3 bedroom homes designed for modern living, which come complete with quality kitchens, a full range of integrated appliances, beautiful bathrooms and floor coverings all included in the price.

SHOW HOMES OPEN Help to Buy available | Furniture packages available* Contact our sales team for full details.

Visit dandara.com or call 01892 800 580 for full details Find our Sales Suite at Knights Park - just off Knights Way, Tunbridge Wells TN2 3UW. Open Thursday to Monday 10am - 5pm. Book by appointment only.

discover

*Terms & Conditions apply. Specification may vary subject to house type and build stage. Full details available on request. Price and details correct at time of going to print. Hero interior image shown is The Elsanta show home. Computer Generated Images and interior images shown are for indicative purposes only.


Colebrook House 55 -57 Colebrook Road, Tunbridge Wells Kent TN4 9DP

Tunbridge Wells Guide Price £175,000 A fantastic one double bedroom lower ground floor apartment with private outside space to front and rear.

Southborough Guide Price £285,000 A beautifully presented two bedroom mid terrace family home situated in the heart of Southborough

High Brooms Guide Price £295,000 Situated within a short walk to High Brooms train station and on the doorstep of a local supermarket this well presented family home is highly recommended to view.

Tunbridge Wells £300,000 An exceptional 2 bedroom end of terrace family home situated within easy reach of the local Train Station and also a short walk from the Shopping Centre. The property is offered with No Onward Chain

Tunbridge Wells Guide Price £315,000 A stunning 2 double bedroom new build coach house, situated in the popular Knights Wood. This amazing property offers spacious accommodation and built to a high standard

Crowborough £800,000 Ever wanted your own Cinema Room then this exceptional five double bedroom Family Executive home could be for you.

High Brooms SOLD Perfect three bedroom family home in great location situated in the heart of High Brooms and just a short walk away from High Brooms Train Station and perfect for the commuter or for a family with a young child as St Matthews is just around the corner.

Speldhurst LET A stunning five bedroom detached executive family home built to a high spec throughout.

Paddock Wood SOLD A beautifully presented three Bedroom detached family home situated in the delightful village of Paddock Wood.


Rencraft celebrate the 1st birthday of their Modular Kitchen range The Kent-based kitchen designers and manufacturers launched The Modular Kitchen last year as an alternative to their bespoke designs.

T

welve months on and Managing Director, John Stephens, who pioneered the new range, says he couldn’t be happier with how things have gone...

John says “As with anything new, launching The Modular Kitchen was a bit of a risk, but I also had a gut feel that it could work. I felt that we needed to be able to offer clients another option in addition to our bespoke kitchens, and part of me hankered after the simplicity of some of our earlier designs. The Modular Kitchen offers exactly that; a clean, classic and unfussy design without any compromise on quality or craftsmanship. I couldn’t be happier with how successful the first year has been.”

He continues “One of our first Modular kitchens was installed in the home of a client who came to us with a really short lead time. A bespoke design would have been challenging within that time frame, but the simplicity of the Modular design meant we were able to hit the ground running. Other clients have chosen Modular because of the keener price point, while some simply prefer the look of the design with the unlipped birch ply interiors proving particularly popular.”

To book a FREE no obligation design consultation with one of Rencraft’s award-winning team, call the Sevenoaks showroom on 01732 762682 or Tunbridge Wells on 01892 520730.

One recent client agrees, commenting “We are thrilled with our Rencraft kitchen. The craftsmanship and attention to detail is stunning and we love the exposed birch ply detail in the modular range. The team really understood our vision and went above and beyond to achieve perfection.”

Rencraft Ltd are based at Unit 9, Chart Farm, Seal Chart, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 0ES Tel: 01732 762682

81 Calverley Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 2UY Tel: 01892 520730

Visit www.rencraft.co.uk or email info@rencraft.co.uk to request a brochure.


EAST PECKHAM £315,000 Call us now to view this super three bedroom family home. Presented in excellent order throughout and convenient for village centre and primary school offering superbly fitted kitchen/ breakfast room and a luxurious bathroom, two separate reception rooms plus downstairs cloakroom. Outside there are secluded and mature gardens. EPC: D Apply Tonbridge

HILDENBOROUGH £850,000 CHARMING GRADE II LISTED FARMHOUSE offering a wealth of character along with spacious and versatile accommodation. Desirable lane location and stunning, generously proportioned accommodation with two reception rooms, four/five bedrooms, farmhouse kitchen and two bathrooms. Enjoying countryside views and a large garden plus detached garden studio/office. Apply Tonbridge

NORTH TONBRIDGE £385,000 Offering an opportunity for updating and redecoration this family home, situated in a convenient and sought after location, offers three bedrooms, bathroom and separate WC, spacious living/dining room and good size kitchen. Externally there is a garage plus ample off road parking plus sunny aspect rear garden. NO ONWARD CHAIN. EPC: C Apply Tonbridge

Residential Pembury: 01892 822880 Tonbridge: 01732 771616 Sales & Lettings e: pembury@bkea.co.uk e: tonbridge@bkea.co.uk

Lettings: 01732 771616 e: lettings@bkea.co.uk

www.bkestateagents.com


PEMBURY £585,000 SOUGHT-AFTER LOCATION! This 4 bed detached home is situated in popular Woodhill Park within walking distance of most of the village amenities. The accommodation is immaculately presented, light and bright and comprises: entrance porch, cloakroom wc, kitchen with utility area, dining room, sitting room, large conservatory, family bathroom 3 bedrooms plus master bedroom with en-suite shower room. Detached double garage and driveway parking. Good-sized rear garden mostly laid to lawn. NO CHAIN. EPC: D Apply Pembury

PEMBURY £319,000 NO CHAIN! 3 Bedroom character cottage with an en-suite wet room to the main bedroom and a further, large bathroom on the ground floor. Sitting room with big bay window making it light and bright. The kitchen/dining room has cream shaker-style units and space for a table and chairs and leads on to the rear lobby where there is space for washing machine. The rear garden is a particular feature with a large decked terrace, perfect for summer barbecues, and a long, lawned garden. EPC: D Apply Pembury

PEMBURY OIRO £285,000 POTENTIAL TO ENLARGE! This semi-detached property is set down a country lane in the village close to the school, bus stops and woodland walks. The accommodation would benefit from being updated but has great-sized rooms and plenty of potential to enlarge stpp. Comprising: entrance hall, cloakroom wc, utility room, kitchen, sitting room, conservatory, 2 double bedrooms, shower room and separate wc. Lawned garden to the front and large lawned rear garden. NO ONWARD CHAIN. EPC: D Apply Pembury

Residential Pembury: 01892 822880 Tonbridge: 01732 771616 Sales & Lettings e: pembury@bkea.co.uk e: tonbridge@bkea.co.uk

Lettings: 01732 771616 e: lettings@bkea.co.uk

www.bkestateagents.com


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FOR EVEN MORE NEWS VISIT: timeslocalnews.co.uk New Homes

Wednesday March 25 | 2020

Property Focus NEW H OMES

New homes ready to launch in pretty and poetic Matfield RYDON HOMES are ready to open showhomes their new village development in Matfield, named Marchants Lea, and here we are happy to bring you a preview after this weekend’s planned launch had to be postponed due to the current situation regarding COVID-19. Surrounded by pretty Kentish orchards, Marchants Lea is a collection of luxury two, three and four-bedroom homes in one of our most desirable local villages. Matfield not only boasts the biggest village green in Kent, and the renowned Michelin-guide dining pub The Poet – named after WWI poet Siegfried Sassoon, who lived in Matfield – but it is also handy for the A21 and Tunbridge Wells. Each generously proportioned home has been crafted using traditional materials in the local Kentish style, and they include high-quality Stoneham Kitchens with wine fridges and built-in wardrobes in the master bedrooms, as well as electric charging points for vehicles, which will become increasingly important in the future. Stephanie Briggs, Sales & Marketing Manager for Rydon Homes, comments: “This small development certainly has the wow factor. “These homes are warm, easy to maintain and are full of luxurious modern touches, such as integrated NEFF appliances, wine cooler and

electric vehicle charging point.” Each home provides ample parking for at least two vehicles, a garage, and a spacious, easy to maintain rear garden with a patio. Tom Bryant, Savills Head of Residential Development Sales in the South East, adds: “With a wealth of amenities nearby, including excellent schools, transport connections and local facilities, we anticipate interest from a range of buyers, including families, commuters and downsizers, who are looking for a character home in a rural, yet very well-connected setting.” Matfield is just six miles from Tunbridge Wells, and 2.3 miles from Paddock Wood, with Tonbridge also within easy reach, and all three towns have mainline stations. Prices range from £400,000-£950,000, and help to buy will be available on selected properties. CONTACT For further information and updates on a new launch date, please contact Savills or Rydon Homes or keep an eye on their websites. • Savills South East Residential Development • 01732 789700 • savills.co.uk or • Rydon Homes Sales & Marketing • 01892 240444 • rydonhomes.co.uk


Do you need shade from the sun or shelter from the rain? AWNINGS, VERANDAS & CARPORTS FROM SBI Ltd

25% OFF INSTALLS INC. FREE HOME SURVEY – QUOTE SBI Ltd SUPPLY AND INSTALL A RANGE OF CANOPIES THAT HAVE BEEN DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY TO ADD STYLE AND PRACTICALITY TO YOUR HOME. Durable and attractive aluminium structures are available with a range of glazing or fabric covers, allowing you to choose the perfect structure for your setting and budget. SBI’s bespoke awnings are remote, have LED lighting built into the arms, have a motion wind sensor and manual override, fully loaded as standard. Any size up to 7m wide by 3.5m projection. Garage door and carport packages available. SBI Ltd Established 1998 – Over 1000 satisfied customers – Members of the BBSA

CALL NOW 0800 0742721 www.sbiproductsltd.co.uk


Want a fresh approach to selling your home this Spring?

RUSTHALL

£310,000

Right on the edge of the Common this lovely 2 bedroom cottage is in the popular village of Rusthall. Open plan, lounge, kitchen & dining room, upstairs bathroom and 2 double bedrooms. Double glazing, gas fired heating, rear garden with garden office. EPC tbc.

TUNBRIDGE WELL S

£275,000

This lovely flat is situated within easy reach of the town centre and just over 1/2 mile walk from the MLS, has off road parking and it’s own garage. Lounge/Dining Room with feature fireplace, bedroom, study/ bedroom 2, kitchen, bathroom and separate W.C. Small courtyard with outbuildings, communal garden. EPC D.

RUSTHALL

£575,000

Detached family home with garage and driveway; Lounge, dining room, newly fitted kitchen with crushed glass worktop, conservatory, downstairs shower room, 4 bedrooms and upstairs family bathroom. Well maintained garden with raised paved patio area and lawn with mature shrubs and plants. Double glazing and gas fired heating. EPC

Your local independent Estate Agent SOUTHBOROUGH

RUSTHALL ...contactable 7 days a£275,000 weekCROWBOROUGH

£585,000

Detached family home with ample parking, on a corner plot in a popular, no-through road. Lounge with log-burner, modern and bright kitchen/ dining room with integrated appliances, downstairs cloakroom, 3 double bedrooms and a modern upstairs bathroom, gas fired heating and new double glazing. Rear garden and garden room. EPC D

Well presented good value, renovated, end of terrace family home with parking; lounge/diner, modern fitted kitchen, 3 bedrooms and a modern fitted bathroom. The property also benefits from double glazing, gas fired heating, front and rear gardens. EPC D

1 High Street, Rusthall, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 8RL 01892 515188 | www.kmjproperty.co.uk | sales@kmjproperty.co.uk

www.kmjproperty.co.uk

01892 515188

£370,000

2 bedroom detached bungalow in Crowborough, with driveway, garage and outbuildings, requiring some updating. The accommodation comprises; open plan living/dining room, kitchen/ breakfast room and bathroom. The property benefits from gas fired heating and some double glazing. EPC D.

sales@kmjproperty.co.uk


Discover your Happy

Place


ONLY T WO APARTMENTS REMAINING AT ROYAL WELL S PARK IN THE HE ART OF TUNBRID GE WELL S With apartments ready to move into, don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of Berkeley’s Royal Wells Park development. Featuring a stylish specification, integrated appliances, private parking and lift access to all floors. Just minutes from excellent road and rail links, only 42 minutes† from London Bridge and with shops, culture and entertainment all nearby.

2 bedroom apartments from £525,000* To book your appointment call 01892 888640 or visit royalwellspark.co.uk

www.royalwellspark.co.uk Proud to be a member of the Berkeley Group of companies

Photography is of previous Berkeley development and is indicative only. *Prices correct at time of printing. † Travel times are approximate only. Source: nationalrail.co.uk. Help to Buy available on selected properties only, subject to qualifying and terms and conditions.

11436_004_RWP_Times of Tunbridge Wells_340x264_March_AW_V2.indd 1

19/03/2020 10:42


Wednesday March 25 | 2020

Life&Times

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

IN PRINT AND ONLINE SEVEN DAYS A WEEK timeslocalnews.co.uk

That’s the spirit xx xxx

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Cocktails you can enjoy at home xxx Page xx

Page xx Page xx

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LOCAL AUTHOR’S LABOUR OF LOVE

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HEALTHY BITES FOR KIDS

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THE FUTURE OF DRIVING

46

WINNING WAYS FOR DYLAN


Life&Times

gardening

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Gardening

FOR EVEN MORE NEWS VISIT: timeslocalnews.co.uk

Wednesday March 25 | 2020

Fun ways you and the kids can now reconnect with nature in the garden

Top gardening influencer Ellen Mary talks to Hannah Stephenson about how families can reconnect with nature in their own garden this spring...

I

F you’re lucky enough to have your own garden, there’s lots of ways you and your family could enjoy it - and connect with nature and benefit from a wellbeing boost in the process. With social distancing at the height of the agenda at present, you might need to make sure you keep a safe distance from neighbours, so be sensible and follow the all-important

Up until the coronavirus hit we were all leading busy lives guidelines. But gardens can bolster wellbeing for both children and adults, says gardening writer, presenter and horticultural influencer Ellen Mary. Mary, who specialises in gardening for wellbeing, has just launched a 30 Moments In Nature challenge on her website (ellenmarygardening.co.uk), featuring activities to help people reconnect with nature. Up until coronavirus hit we were all leading busy lives. May says, “with the

everyday stresses of work, school and digital life, ‘nature deficit disorder’ and even ‘plant blindness’ had become too real.” “There is nature everywhere, and spotting it, even in the most unlikely places, can give a much better understanding of how we are all connected - to nature, not our phones.” Here, Mary offers top tips on how you and your children can reconnect with nature in your own garden...

1. GARDEN TRACING This is an activity many of us took part in at school as a child and it’s still really good fun, no matter what age we are. Children can learn about plants and trees in their garden, identify them and be outside away from computers and mobile phones. Studies have shown that walking among trees reduces levels of cortisol and can even boost the immune system.


Wednesday March 25 | 2020

FOR EVEN MORE NEWS VISIT: timeslocalnews.co.uk

Gardening

3. SPOT A STAR CONSTELLATION When we are busy looking down at phones and laptops, it’s easy to forget to look up. By looking up at the night sky not only is it a hub of fascination and awe but it’s also a relaxing activity before bedtime. Finding shapes in the moon and trying to spot star constellations can be a lovely way to switch off before a good night’s sleep. Activity: Did you ever stare at the stars as a child and wonder what they are? Glistening in the sky, light years away. It’s really good fun identifying star constellations but if you can’t work out where Orion is, make your own shapes in the sky like a dot-to-dot drawing. 4. SOW SOME SEEDS Sowing seeds is now only a great way to grow your own food, but also for children to understand where their food comes from. Great seeds to try with children are sunflowers,

Activity: Take a walk in your garden with some paper and a crayon. Trace the bark of a tree, if you have one, and a fallen leaf to stick on the paper by your tracing. Look closely at the tree, identify it, touch the bark and the leaves. Back inside, put it on your fridge. Each time you look at your tracing, remember how you felt in the garden, the smells and the air on your face. 2. WALK BAREFOOT Walking barefoot brings us into direct contact with the planet and allows us to absorb the natural energy the earth provides. This is known as ‘earthing’ and it’s said to have a host of benefits. Great on a warm morning in the garden. Activity: Get your socks off! Put your shoes aside. Feel liberated by walking outside on the lawn or a soft outdoor surface with bare feet. Feel the natural negative charge from the earth being absorbed through the soles of your feet. Allow it to happen, accept it. Breathe deeply and relax.

Life&Times

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nasturtiums and microgreens, which grow really quickly. Activity: Be mindful and sow some seeds. Before you do, feel the seeds in your hand. What is the texture, shape, size? Look close at the detail - does each seed differ? Smell them and if they are edible, taste them. Be marvelled at the way those tiny seeds become big fruits, vegetables or flowers. 5. SEE LIFE BENEATH Picking up a large stone from your garden, your children will be able to marvel at the life beneath. They’ll be fascinated by the woodlice, ants, worms and beetles. We forget that inner child as we grow up and life takes over. Activity: Revisit those memorable moments with your children, lifting a stone in your garden and encouraging the children to stay inquisitive and keep looking.


Life&Times

arts

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Arts & CultureFOR EVEN MORE NEWS VISIT: timeslocalnews.co.uk

Wednesday March 25 | 2020

‘The thrill of discovery is the most enjoyable part of the writing process’ Former Financial Times journalist Ray Dafter, who is based in Matfield, has just published his eighth book – An Uncommon Slave. Here he reveals how a chance stroll around the National Portrait Gallery led to him writing an ‘imagined’ autobiography of former slave Ayuba Suleiman Diallo…

I

HAVE always loved writing. I started doing sport features for my local newspaper – the Swindon Evening Advertiser – when I was 15, while I was still at Marlborough Grammar School. I was planning to go to university, but the paper offered me a job as a junior reporter and I never looked back. I was a journalist for about 25 years, including 13 years with the Financial Times, where I held various specialist writing positions, including Energy Editor. I then moved into the energy industry as director of corporate affairs, but I continued to write academic papers, articles and books. The key thing I love most about writing is that I am naturally inquisitive and have always enjoyed researching. In a way, the thrill of discovery is the most enjoyable part of the writing process – that and seeing the finished product in print!

My recently published tome An Uncommon Slave is the story of Ayuba Suleiman Diallo. And it has been a labour of love researching and writing about the life of an 18th-century Muslim cleric in Senegambia who traded in slaves and other goods.

‘I hope the reader will be fascinated by the life and customs of a man who lived an extraordinary life’ I am not an historian and, to be perfectly honest, I knew very little about the slave trade or the triangular trade that existed between Europe, West Africa and the Americas. African slaves were shipped across the Atlantic knowing they would never return. And

yet Ayuba did return – probably the first of a tiny number who did. And he did so in extraordinary circumstances. It was fascinating to explore the archives and unearth details of this remarkable life. I decided to write an ‘imagined’ autobiography on Ayuba, as I felt this would be the most effective way of bringing his story to life. I was originally inspired by his portrait in the National Portrait Gallery. The way he gazed out of the canvas seemed to demand that I should try and bring him to life on the printed page. By presenting his story as if he himself was the author overcame a problem that is always present when recounting controversial past lives of people like slave traders. I tried very hard to avoid the possibility of imposing 21st-century morality on this 18th-century story.

LABOUR OF LOVE Ray Dafter with his latest book


Wednesday March 25 | 2020

That said, let me emphasise the obvious: The dehumanising slave trade was – and still is – abhorrent. (Incredibly, it is estimated that worldwide more than 40 million men, women and children are currently trapped in some form of modern slavery.) Seen through modern eyes, Ayuba’s life is full of paradoxes. For instance, despite the ignominy and hardship he experienced while labouring on the tobacco plantation, one of the first things he did on his return to Africa was to buy a female slave! I did lots of enjoyable research for the book, including visiting various archives and discovering new information set down in original handwriting – some of it in Ayuba’s own hand. Ayuba wrote the Koran from memory three times when he was in London. It was so satisfying to track down one of these copies and connect it to people who befriended and helped him while in England.

Imam Given that Ayuba was a Muslim, I felt it imperative to learn more about his beliefs and way of life. Here I greatly appreciated the friendship and assistance of Imam Yasser Balesaria, the Imam at Tunbridge Wells Islamic and Cultural Centre, and a scholar in his own right. I hope the reader will be fascinated by the life and customs of a man who lived an extraordinary life. The tale spans war-torn West Africa, a slave plantation in Maryland, and London’s high society in the 18th century. It is a unique story, related in what is imagined to be his own words. As for my next book, I am sure I will continue writing until my fingers stop working. I have notes and partly written manuscripts for at least three books, but whether any of these materialise is in the lap of the Gods. I need to be inspired. I never guessed that I would be bringing out my eighth – and most ambitious book – in my mid-70s.

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WHO WAS AYUBA SULEIMAN DIALLO? After he was captured and enslaved himself, Ayuba was shipped to North America to work on a tobacco plantation, where inevitably he found conditions extremely harsh. He escaped and fled for his freedom, only to be captured again. While in prison awaiting to be returned to his owner, he was befriended by influential men who recognised him as an intelligent man of religion and high standing, a man with ‘soft hands’ most unsuited to enslavement. With the help of the Royal African Company, the British trading company, he was shipped to England, where he was soon mixing with the great and the good, including royalty, nobles and intellectuals like Sir Hans Sloane. After a little more than a year in England he was given an assisted passage back to his West African home, only to be caught up in more adventures. He was captured and imprisoned again, this time by the French, who were engaged in a trade war with the British. He became the centre of a diplomatic row and was freed again to continue his trading and religious activities into late life.

IT’S PRETTY UNUSUAL TO WRITE AN ‘IMAGINED’ AUTOBIOGRAPHY – SO WHAT ARE RAY’S SECRETS OF SUCCESS? “I think the featured life must be interesting and unusual, informative and controversial, but above all else believable. Having said that, I am no expert. This is only my second published ‘autobiography’ – the other was my own reminiscences, entitled Energy for Life, written mainly for the benefit of my grandchildren! “I was originally inspired by Ayuba Suleiman Diallo’s portrait in the National Portrait Gallery. The way he gazed out of the canvas seemed to demand that I should try and bring him to life on the printed page.” An Uncommon Slave by Ray Dafter is priced £9.99 and available via bookguild.co.uk

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food

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Wednesday March 25 | 2020

‘Cooking with children is more important than ever before’ Local father of two Adam Shaw, who runs the hugely successful food blog At Dad’s Table, which has over 27K followers, has some top tips and delicious recipes to share using store cupboard ingredients to ensure your children eat well during these testing times at home little people around us. Follow your favourite food bloggers for advice and tips. You can find me on Instagram at At_Dads_Table. For any advice please send me a message.

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Try this for lunch:

1) Halloumi fries with a lemon, mint and yoghurt dip Ingredients: n 1-2 packets of halloumi n Roughly one cup of flour n Roughly one cup of breadcrumbs (I use panko) n A few spoonfuls of yoghurt, grated lemon zest and a few sprigs of mint, diced n Olive oil

CHILD’S PLAY Adam Shaw AKA At Dad’s Table blogger

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HE schools are closed for potentially a long, long time, shopping in supermarkets is a test of endurance, and all of a sudden most of us have at least five extra meals to cook for hungry mouths. I therefore wanted to share some tips and recipes on various meals you can make from store cupboard ingredients. Cooking with children is also more important than ever before. Try to think of meals or snacks that you can make with your kids. Whether it’s making halloumi fries, arancini or banana ice cream, if you involve them with cooking it gives them something to do and makes it more likely that they’ll eat it! Understand what they normally eat at nursery/school and try to replicate it. My son eats a lot of pasta at nursery, so once a week I’ll make a big batch, be it spag bol, lasagne, tuna bake, mac and cheese, etc. I’ll divide it up into kid-sized portions, then take them from the freezer when I need to. Get yourself some whisky ice cube holders, they make ideal portion dividers for little mouths. Shopping local is so important at the moment. Not only are we keeping the shops we love going at this tough time, but often they still have the products we need when the big supermarkets don’t. Check out local corner shops and zero waste shops for some essentials. Look for inspiration online. We are all in the same situation, trying to get through this with overexcitable

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FAST AND FULL OF FLAVOUR Adam’s lockdown meals are easy to achieve

Method 1. Cut the halloumi into finger-sized pieces and arrange the flour and breadcrumbs in two bowls. 2. Heat a pan with a little oil and wait until it’s hot. Dip the halloumi in flour first, then breadcrumbs, then cook for a few minutes each side. Remove and place on kitchen roll. 3. Meanwhile, whip together the yoghurt, lemon zest and mint and use as a dip for the fries.

Try these dishes as a main meal:

2) Pea and cannellini bean mash, roasted cod loin, bacon crumb and gremolata Ingredients n 1 can of cannellini beans n Around 200g frozen peas n 2 cod loins n 2 rashers of bacon (optional) n 2 slices of bread n Two shallots/half an onion n 2 cloves of garlic n Knob of butter n 1 lemon n Fresh parsley, olive oil, salt, splash of milk Method 1. Heat the oven to 180°. Arrange the cod loin on some slices of lemon, season and roast for 12 minutes. 2. Dice the shallots/onion and garlic and cook on a low heat in the butter. Add the frozen peas and beans and a splash of milk and cook for a few minutes.

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3. Remove from the pan and replace with the bacon rashers. Add a splash of milk and blitz the peas and beans into a mash/purée 4. To make the gremolata, put the bread in a toaster then blend together with a handful of chopped parsley, some grated lemon zest and a few teaspoons of olive oil. 5. Remove the cod from the oven, dice the bacon. 6. Arrange the pea purée on a plate, top with the bacon crumbs, the cod and then finish off with the gremolata

3) Thai chicken and coconut tray bake with vegetables Ingredients n 4 chicken breasts n 1 can of tomatoes n 1 can of coconut milk n 2 courgettes n 2 red peppers n 1 onion n Juice of 1 lime

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Wednesday March 25 | 2020 n Fresh coriander n Turmeric, cumin and coriander powder

(optional) n Rice

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Method 1. Set the oven for 180°. Rub a little salt and the spices into your chicken breasts and squeeze over the juice of one lime. If you don’t have the spices, don’t worry! 2. Chop the peppers, courgettes and onion and place in a large oven dish. Pour in the canned tomatoes and coconut milk. Mix well. Place the chicken breasts on top and cook for 40 minutes in the oven. 3. Ensure your rice is cooked by the time the chicken is done. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with fresh coriander. 4.

Try this as a healthy snack:

4) Kale crisps Ingredients n 1 bag of kale n Sprinkle of salt

Method 1. Super easy this one. Set the oven to 150°, separate the stalks from your kale and rinse well. 2. Arrange the kale over a few oven dishes, sprinkle with a little salt and roast for 10-15 mins, that’s it! I tell my toddler they are crisps

Try these as sweet treats:

5) Chocolate and pomegranate bites

Ingredients n 1 200g bar of chocolate (or more!) n Pomegranate arils (or blueberries, raspberries etc.) n You will need an empty ice cube tray

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Ingredients n A decent portion of leftover risotto, cold. (Preferably made the day before then left in the fridge). n 2 eggs, whisked n 1 cup of flour n 1 cup of panko breadcrumbs n Parmesan (optional) Method 1. Set the oven to 180°. Grate some parmesan into your leftover risotto for extra creaminess. Then form with your hand the risotto into small balls. 2. Dip each ball in first the whisked egg, then flour, then panko. Arrange on a baking tray. 3. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes until the breadcrumbs darken and the balls are hot throughout.

Method 1. Boil a pan of water. Break up the chocolate, place in a bowl and hold above the water, stir until the chocolate melts. 2. Fill the ice cube trays half full with the chocolate. Drop a few of your chosen fruit into the chocolate then top up with the remaining chocolate. 3. Freeze for a few hours, that’s it!

6) Banana ice cream Ingredients n 3-4 ripe bananas, that’s it! Method 1. Cut the ripe bananas into discs and freeze for at least 2 hours 2. Blend the frozen bananas together until the mix turns creamy. It’ll go lumpy at first but keep at it. When it looks like ice cream, place it back in Tupperware and keep in the freezer. Lasts for 4-5 days.

And if you’ve got leftover risotto, try making: 7) Arancini

RECIPES FOR SUCCESS

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Cheers to vermouth

No stranger to a tipple, Times Drinks Editor James Viner provides an essential guide to the world of vermouth – a fortified and ‘aromatised’ wine that’s flavoured with aromatic herbs and spices VERMOUTH translates straight from the German word ‘vermut’, meaning wormwood, and must be flavoured with at least one herb from the bitter-tasting artemisia absinthium (absinthe wormwood) family. You don’t need to be James Bond to enjoy this most adaptable drink, either as an aperitif or in a cocktail. A versatile hero of classic cocktails and trendy home mixology, with a long history stretching back as far as Hippocrates in 400BC, vermouth is having a moment, but has stayed true to its European – specifically Italian – roots. Its alcohol content can range from a minimum of 14.5% abv to a maximum of 22%. Beyond the magical Martini, the sky’s the limit as to how you take it, but imbibe as fresh as possible – once opened, like wine, vermouth oxidises incredibly quickly, so keep it in the fridge (the dregs will pep up any risotto, too). Try vermouth neat, over ice and with a slice (lemon for white, orange for red), with soda, tonic or in more sophisticated cocktails. Here are three brilliant bottles to get you up and running. Manhattans, Negronis and Americanos, ahoi! 1) MARTINI-TASTIC ALPINE, PALE & DRY FRENCH VERMOUTH Dolin Dry Vermouth de Chambéry, France (£10.49, Waitrose, 75cl, 17.5%) Savoie’s Chambéry may be little known outside its region in eastern France, but in the 19th century it was a focus for vermouth production,

where producers created and defined the French style of dry white vermouth (known as ‘extra dry’), which was quite different from the sweeter, red, Italian style. This dry vermouth was first made in the 1820s and 1830s by Joseph Chavasse, a medicinal herbalist who practised in the nearby town of Les Échelles. Created by the maceration of no less than 30 alpine plants, spices and flowers in white wine, this is a sophisticated, elegant and floral vermouth that’s noticeably lighter and less piquant than

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many of its competitors. Great served with equal parts London dry gin in a dry Martini, or served solo with a twist of citrus. Pairs brilliantly with shellfish. 2) HERBAL SPANISH VERMUT (NOT VERMOUTH!) FROM A 7TH-GENERATION FAMILY SHERRY BUSINESS Bodegas Barbadillo ‘Ataman’ NV Vermut, Spain (£19.99-£25, Amazon/Good Spirits Co/Noble Green Wines, 50cl, 17%) From one of the top sherry makers, sensational Manzanilla sherry-based small batch (less than 1,500l) production vermouth (aka vermutin in Jerez) is made using 20 classic Andalusian aromatics, including orange peel from Seville, rosemary, elderberry and quassia tree bark, blended with a small portion of old vermouth and quinine wines which have been ageing in Barbadillo’s cellars since the 1970s. Great in cocktails – a Sanlúcar Negroni anyone? Or as a refreshing aperitif on the rocks with orange peel. The brand was registered in 1943, but no one knows why this Cossack general’s name was chosen! Go for it. Yearly output is just 1,700 cases. ¡Salud! 3) EXCELLENCE FROM ITALY Martini Riserva Speciale Rubino Vermouth di Torino, Italy (£13.95-£19.50, Master of Malt/ Whisky Exchange/Harvey Nichols, 75cl, 18%) You’re a Negroni aficionado, right? Oh come on! Everybody enjoys a bracing Negroni. Masters of aperitivo, Martini & Rossi, have proudly been headquartered in the town of Pessione in Piedmont since 1863. A top-secret blend, rich, multifaceted Speciale Rubino is based on a 150-year-old recipe and combines attentively chosen Langhe DOC Nebbiolo wines blended with extracts of rare botanicals, such as red sandalwood, Italian Holy Thistle and three varieties of native artemisia. This is a full-bodied, artisanal and contemporary vermouth to enjoy either with tonic and a caperberry garnish or with gin and Martini Riserva Speciale Bitter in an ultimate Negroni. Outstanding.

Wednesday March 25 | 2020

Whip up a Martini Negroni cocktail

This cocktail is supposed to date back to 1919, when an aristocrat named Count Camillo Negroni wanted an Americano with ‘a bit more kick’. Seamlessly paired by Martini’s Master Blender, Beppe Musso, and Master Herbalist, Ivano Tonutti, the Riserva Speciale Bitter and Riserva Speciale Rubino combine with your favoured dry gin to make a divine Negroni cocktail made from equal parts of the following two premium Martini bottles: INGREDIENTS n Martini Riserva Speciale Rubino 30ml n Martini Riserva Speciale Bitter 30ml n Bombay Sapphire Gin 30ml n Ice cubes and an orange wedge METHOD: Step 1: Fill a tumbler with ice cubes. Step 2: Pour the ingredients. Stir. Step 3: Add the orange wedge to garnish. Cincin! Follow James on Twitter @QuixoticWine


Wednesday March 25 | 2020

FOR EVEN MORE NEWS VISIT: timeslocalnews.co.uk

Motoring News

Motors This week… n F1-style supercar n Screen dangers n New easy-load van

British-built, all-electric Apex supercar revealed A NEW all-electric supercar carries the promise of celebrating the feeling of being behind the wheel. The Apex AP-O will feature a 90kWh battery unit that weighs 550kg, about half of the car’s overall 1,200kg weight – impressively light for an EV. It promises 650bhp and will be rear-wheel drive, with a 0-60mph time of 2.1 seconds and a top speed of 190mph. The engine is said to be capable of a range of 320 miles, with fastcharging capability meaning the battery can be topped up to 80% in under 15 minutes. At its heart is a carbon-fibre tub that’s wide enough for two seats. The cabin has a glass canopy and TRULY ELECTRIC The amazing Apex AP-O

a ‘feet-up’ driving position inspired by Le Mans racing cars.

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Toyota’s new Proace City compact van TOYOTA has added a new Proace City model to its commercial vehicle line-up. At launch, the van will be available in five different configurations with the choice of short or long body styles. All can carry two standard Europallets, with an easily-accessible load area thanks to sliding side openings and twin side-hinged rear doors.

Powertrains

Aerodynamic This racing inspiration is used throughout the exterior design, too, with aerodynamic touches such as a Formula 1-style rear fin. However, it’s the underbody that is said to be key to its aerodynamic performance, with its flat floor utilising ‘ground effect’ principles that remove the need for a rear spoiler, which would increase drag. Prices for the Apex AP-O start at £150,000 before taxes, and deposits can now be made with production slated to begin at the end of the year.

Life&Times

Car infotainment systems distract drivers more than drink or drugs THE latest in-car infotainment systems are so distracting they can have a worse effect on drivers’ reaction times than cannabis or alcohol, a study suggests. A new study by road safety charity IAM Roadsmart looked at how drivers behaved while using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on a simulated test route compared with driving the same route without interacting with the systems. It found that reaction times were five times slower than a person driving at the legal limit of alcohol consumption, and were ‘significantly slower than someone who had used cannabis’. The result was an average stopping distance of between four and five car lengths. The shocking findings were compounded by the fact drivers had taken their eyes off the road for up to 16 seconds during the test. Neil Greig, the Policy and Research

Director at IAM RoadSmart, said: “Driver distraction is estimated to be a factor in around a third of all road collisions in Europe each year.

Concerns “While previous research indicates that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto perform better than more traditional buttons and controls, the results from this latest study raise some serious concerns about the development and use of the latest in-vehicle infotainment systems. “Anything that distracts a driver’s eyes or mind from the road is bad news for road safety. We’re now calling on industry and government to openly test and approve such systems and develop consistent standards that genuinely help minimise driver distraction.”

Each has a payload of a tonne, and offers a 1.5-tonne towing capacity. A smart cargo feature – which comes as standard on Icon-grade vans and as an option on Active specifications – uses a folding front passenger bench to add 1.3 metres of extra room. Two 1.5-litre diesel powertrains are available to choose from – either 74bhp or 99bhp – which incorporate stop-start technology to aid economy and reduce emissions. Maintenance schedules are up to 25,000 miles or every two years. Entry-level Active models boast one-touch power windows, automatic headlights, air conditioning and a DAB radio with USB connectivity and Bluetooth as standard. Prices start from £18,386 for a short length Active grade van, rising to £21,636 for a long length Icon-specification.


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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.

5 7 4 4 9 7

Codeword:

9 2 3 4 1 7

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

9 2 5 1

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3 9 1 5 2 6

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A B C D E F G H I J K L MNO P Q R S T U VWX Y Z 24

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© 2016 Syndicated Puzzles, Inc.

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DIFFICULTY RATING:★★★★

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© 2016 Syndicated Puzzles

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LAST WEEK’S SOLUTIONS

SUDOKU & JIGSAW SUDOKU

DIFFICULTY RATING: ★★✩✩

CLASSIFIEDS

Life&Times

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

COM B I N L A R I N S T A L M A Q B E I J I N E D S WA G R W U E V E N S S E T A S O P R U U I P A P U A

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A C H E S S A P L K N I L E R A D A G N I F T Y O C U E Z E A L D P X U N V E I L S N O N A T R I P P E D C U L S WE E T L Y

Sudoku:

1 9 4 8 6 2 7 3 5

7 8 3 5 9 1 6 4 2

5 6 2 4 7 3 9 1 8

3 4 5 6 2 7 1 8 9

9 7 6 1 3 8 2 5 4

2 1 8 9 5 4 3 7 6

4 3 7 2 8 9 5 6 1

2 7 9 4 3 8 1 6 5

4 1 3 7 5 6 8 2 9

5 6 7 9 2 1 3 8 4

6 2 1 7 4 5 8 9 3

8 5 9 3 1 6 4 2 7

Jigsaw Sudoku:

7 8 5 1 9 3 6 4 2

3 9 6 2 1 4 5 7 8

1 5 4 8 6 7 2 9 3

9 3 8 6 4 2 7 5 1

8 2 1 5 7 9 4 3 6

6 4 2 3 8 5 9 1 7

© 2016 Syndicated Puzzles

FOR EVEN MORE NEWS VISIT: timeslocalnews.co.uk

Wednesday March 25 | 2020


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Sport

FOR EVENstories MOREto: NEWS VISIT: timeslocalnews.co.ukor newsdesk@timesoftonbridge.co.uk Please send sports newsdesk@timesoftunbridgewells.co.uk

Dylan shows hot form to win winter league title

BAIZE OF GLORY Dylan with his trophy and Liam Martin, general manager of the Victoria Snooker Centre

By Andy Tong SNOOKER: DYLAN SMITH showed impressive stamina to go with his undoubted talent as he won his division in the Fosters Winter Singles League at the Tunbridge Wells Victoria Snooker Centre. It was the first time that the 12-year-old snooker tyro from Paddock Wood has taken part in the competition, which runs for 20 weeks. For the first time he was competing against adults without the benefit of a handicap, which would usually see him start each frame with a points advantage.

“We’re looking forward to charting his progress in the coming months and years.” But he had looked sharp and match-ready going into the winter season and his father Lee decided he was ready for the long haul. The format was best-of-three frames with three divisions of seven players contesting interdivisional matches as well as taking on those in their own sections. So Dylan, who was placed in Division Three, also found himself up against adults in the two higher tiers - and beat the top players in each. He took the third division title by a clear margin of 16 points, and was also victorious in five matches against first division opponents and five against those in the second. Overall he won 15 of his 20 matches and managed an average frame score of 49 points. Among his victims was the league’s top seed Paul Shircore.

Alexander is quickly back in the swing for Order of Merit GOLF: YOUNG prodigy Alexander Dunmall from Five Oak Green has enjoyed a strong start to the season and leads the Order of Merit in the seven to eight age group of the British Junior Golf Tour. In the first match of the tour at the Portal Golf Club in Cheshire the seven-year-old led after the first day with a two-over round of 39 for 2,200 yards. On the second day he slipped back to fourth with eight over but his exploits on the opening day meant he was runner-up overall. Then he travelled to Coxmoor in Nottinghamshire, battling through snow, wind and rain to get to the Robert Rock Tour event, where he gained 25 points off his unofficial handicap of 28. Returning to the British Junior Golf Tour, he won the next round at The Bedford Gol;d Club despite the fact that high winds made it very tough, going round in 39 shots for four-over to place him at the top of the Order of Merit The Capel Primary School pupil will be hoping that the events in his international calendar go ahead this summer after the coronavirus outbreak. The Champion of Champions tournament at Powerscourt in Ireland, a world junior event, was due to take place next month but has now been postponed until August 4-5. It is not known whether the US Kids European Championships will still be staged at Longniddry in East Lothien, Scotland as scheduled on May 26-28. Last year’s event saw 650 young golfers gather from over 50 countries, with Alexander coming third in his category. Also in August is the US Kids World Championships at Pinehurst in North Carolina,

Wednesday March 25 | 2020

USA, the pinnacle event for world juniors aged five to 12 with 1,600 golfers in total. He qualified for Pinehurst again by coming eighth at the tournament last year out of a field of 111 – the highest-placed European in his age group.

GREEN KING Alexander with his trophy at the Bedford Golf Club

Lee said: “I’m delighted with the way Dylan played throughout the tournament - in what turned out to be a long season. “He played with great concentration and determination, which was good to see, and playing against adult opposition should set him in good stead for the junior tournaments coming up.” Liam Martin, general manager of the Victoria Snooker Centre and chairman of the league, said: “I knew the long format would give Dylan some regular match experience and put him under a little pressure, so I was delighted to see him enter. “Little did I know he would win Division Three. For him to play so well against some tough adult opposition and to take some Division One scalps along the way just shows you how much maturity and professionalism Dylan has for a 12-year-old lad.

National “We’re looking forward to charting his progress in the coming months and years.” Dylan now turns his attention to the culmination of another long campaign, the Brighton Castle Club Order of Merit - another adult competition, but handicapped - in which he is currently in 10th place in a field of more than 60 players. He was also due to play in the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards Under-14s Finals, in which 16 players who have qualified from regional rounds compete for a place in the national finals. But the event at the Winchester club in Leicester, which was due to be held in May, has had to be postponed because of the coronavirus. You can follow Dylan’s progress on social media by searching for Dylan Smith Snooker.


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Wednesday March 25 | 2020

Sport

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Cook digs in to help bat-maker Gray-Nicolls plant more trees By Andy Tong

HIGH ACHIEVER Charles Jaques tops the podium

CRICKET: LEADING bat-makers Gray-Nicolls have launched a new initiative at their headquarters in Robertsbridge to make their business more environmentally sustainable. The Gray-Nicolls Tree Legacy Programme will see the renowned equipment company plant a new willow tree for every international century scored by a Gray-Nicolls ambassador. Another tree, of any variety, will also be planted locally to offset the loss of the willow when it is harvested for bats in around 20 years’ time. In addition, every player who scores an international century will be able to nominate a school to receive £250 worth of Gray-Nicolls cricket kit.

Fourth gold for Charles, chief of the chest hold JUDO: TONBRIDGE schoolboy Charles Jaques has

won a national judo championship gold medal for the fourth time in a row at the age of 13. Charles, who attends Yardley Court School, was crowned under-60kg champion in the Boys 10 to 13 section at the Independent Association of Prep Schools National Judo Tournament in High Wycombe. He began the tournament in confident fashion, winning his first fight in under a minute. He brought his opponent down swiftly and secured a hold from which the other boy rapidly conceded. However, his second bout did not progress according to plan and Charles was defeated by a strong opponent who employed a deft foot sweep to win the fight. Battling back into the competition, Charles won his third contest with a well-timed hip throw after a long and tense battle.

After this first round of fights there was a three-way tie for gold, which meant that the top-placed boys to fight each other again. Charles’ first fight in the tie-breaker saw him face the boy who had beaten him in the preceding round. The contest was hard-fought with Charles struggling against the long reach of a much taller competitor. But he eventually managed to throw his opponent to the floor and win the bout by maintaining a chest hold for the required 20 seconds. The final fight was a similarly tense competition, which Charles again won on the ground with a strong chest hold to take the title. Victor Court, Yardley Court’s judo coach and head coach of the Bushido Judo Club in Tunbridge Wells where Charles trains, said: “Four gold medals in four years is a huge achievement.”

and protect our environment.” The Off-Cuts scheme saw the company produce a range of batting gloves made from the leftover material of old products in order to reduce wastage in factories. So far this year there have been two scorers of 100 or more by Gray-Nicolls players - Dom Sibley for England and Aaron Finch for Australia – and those trees will be planted in February 2021.

Legacy The Tree Legacy Programme was launched by former England captain Sir Alastair Cook, who visited Robertsbridge to plant 33 willow trees one for each of his Test centuries. Sir Alastair said: “It’s amazing to be involved with the launch of this campaign. It’s growing willow for a game I’ve always played, for a brand I’ve always used, so I’m very excited about it. “As we become more aware of the need to look after the planet, sustainability initiatives like this one are going to be absolutely crucial.” Nick Wilton, Brand Manager of Gray-Nicolls, said: “We are really excited to launch this latest initiative as Gray-Nicolls moves towards a more sustainable future. “We had amazing success with our Off-Cuts project earlier this year, and we are sure the Tree Legacy Programme will be equally impactful as we look to improve sustainability, reduce waste

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23rd - 28th March Open Saturday 8am - 4pm

PUTTING DOWN ROOTS Sir Alastair Cook plants a willow

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*Discount is off shelf edge price ex. VAT. Not available on account terms, cash sales only. Products must be paid for at the time of purchase. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offers or promotion. Terms and exclusions apply. See in-store or online at duluxdecoratorcentre.co.uk for details.

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16/03/2020 10:59


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Times of Tunbridge Wells 25th March 2020  

Times of Tunbridge Wells 25th March 2020  

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