The Tonbridge and Malling Councillors we have spoken with are deeply concerned by the infrastructure issues that will impinge on Tonbridge, including:
- The congestion that will inevitably arise in the town from Tudeley traffic, which one of our planning experts said will inevitably become a ‘car dormitory for Tonbridge’.
- Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council (TMBC) has successfully decreased pollution in Tonbridge; this is in danger of being negated during both the years of construction and the eventual completion of the new town on their doorstep.
- There is a significant increase in flood risk for Tonbridge residents and along the Medway valley in places like Yalding.
- These matters are extremely worrying to their residents, but, like the local communities in Capel and Paddock Wood, their plight has been ignored by Tunbridge Wells Planning Services and the various Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (TWBC) Committees to date. Whether the Tunbridge Wells full council meeting on 3rd February will continue to ignore their plight remains to be seen.
TMBC Councillors Dennis King, James Lark and Howard Rogers have openly expressed their support for the Save Capel campaign’s aims. On behalf of the Medway Ward team, James said: “The sheer scale of the development in Tudeley and across Capel Parish will have a hugely negative impact on Tonbridge, Golden Green, East Peckham and all those communities just across the borough boundary.”
And on the TMBC Medway Ward Facebook page, in response to our thanks for their support, the following was posted: “We wholeheartedly support the aims of Save Capel and would not like to see this plan progress. We’ll be working with our colleagues on TMBC to put across as robust a case as possible against this development during the Regulation 19 consultation if this is approved – just as we did on the Regulation 18 consultation.”
We have also been having regular email exchanges with the KCC Councillor for Tonbridge and the area’s MP, Tom Tugendhat.In fact, we have a meeting with Tom on the afternoon of 29th January to update him and to seek his continuing engagement with our campaign.
Therefore, Save Capel is asking TWBC’s full council members to look beyond their own wards and put aside the local plan in its current format to take account of the changes to society that the pandemic has brought about at pace. A plan that does not dismay but can be supported by the public.
We urge TWBC to ask Planning Services to think again in these exceptional times on 3rd February. And to be good neighbours.