Tudeley set to be saved – an update!

Dec 4, 2023

A busy time in the media

Following the meeting on the 13th November of the TWBC Cabinet Advisory Board where they unanimously agreed to remove the proposals for Tudeley from the local plan, we have been busy in the various types of media. We wanted to share some of the content and response with you.

We sent out a press release following the meeting you can read it here.

We also used social media via our Facebook page, you can see the post and the responses here.

Our story made the front page of the Times of Tunbridge Wells which is well worth reading. The online version is here.

KentLive also covered the story with a focus on Paddock Wood & East Capel  having previously published an article about Tudeley Village ahead of the council meeting.

Our Chairman, Stewart Gledhill, was interviewed by West Kent Radio following the above stories coming out. They also approached the Hadlow Estate but received no response.


Don’t forget that before these recommendations can be confirmed to the Planning Inspector, they will be considered by Cabinet on 7th December, Save Capel will be there and you can watch the webcast here. The final decision will be taken by full Council on 13th December 2023.

What have the politicians said…

Prospective Liberal Democrat MP for Tunbridge Wells, Mike Martin, said:

I’m glad that these badly thought-out Conservative housing plans are set to be scrapped. We need to build houses, but they must have the accompanying infrastructure like roads, GP surgeries and schools. That they planned to build on a flood zone says everything about how irresponsible the previous Conservative administration was. Despite claiming that houses should always be built with infrastructure, the local Conservative MP allowed this to happen on his watch.”

Parliamentary candidate for Tunbridge Wells Green Party, John Hurst, replied:

“LibDem Mike Martin is at best forgetful when he blames the Local Plan’s contents only on the Conservatives…it only got approved because 11 LibDems and all Labour Councillors backed it”

Leader of the Conservative Group at Tunbridge Wells, Tom Dawlings, also told the Times of TW:

“It is always simpler if projects are moderate in size. Political risk should be minimised to avoid major projects being abandoned, wasting significant time, effort and money.”

Cllr Nicholas Pope (TWA), the town’s deputy mayor, said:

No doubt people in Capel will be delighted at the news, but it does now put more pressure on the council to find somewhere else in the borough for housing.”

Save Capel asked Greg Clark MP for his comments but have not received a reply.

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The fight goes on

Whilst the number of houses proposed for East Capel has been significantly reduced, the revised plan would still see around 1,250 houses built on this part of the Parish. As Save Capel has often pointed out, East Capel is in the Green Belt, on a flood plain, and there is a serious risk of merger between an extended Paddock Wood and Five Oak Green.

Save Capel has argued at every stage of this long and drawn-out process that the garden settlement would be unsustainable and Tudeley is simply the wrong place for it. Many others agree, including neighbouring Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, and the Inspector provided a clear way forward to remove Tudeley Village. Tunbridge Wells Planning Services have finally agreed this is the correct pathway.

We will continue our campaign to challenge the development of East Capel in the next phase of the public examination and are determined to seek the best outcome in the local plan for our wonderful Parish.

‘The Big Story’

Our story also featured prominently in an article on Kent Online, whom also got a rather sour-faced response from Hadlow Estate, you can read that here.

Our news coverage isn’t just being seen locally. We frequently get feedback from our supporters outside of TWBC and TMBC. Just recently, Nigel Tansley, a former member of our Executive who did much work in preparation for the Reg 19 consultation back in 2020, was in touch with us. He moved away from the area back in 2021. He also sent a letter to The Times of Tunbridge Wells in response to Hadlow Estate’s self-serving letter, in which he said:

“I would like to write in response to the letter from the Hadlow Estate (Times of Tunbridge Wells November 22) regarding the potential removal of the proposed Tudeley Village from the TWBC Local Plan, in which Hadlow Estate claim the development on their Green Belt fields and woodland is the long-term solution for the borough’s housing crisis.

The housing crisis, fuelled by an increasing population, is indeed still with us, but that does not mean that developments should be built in unsuitable locations. The benefits the Hadlow Estate list in their promotional material can be claimed by any developer, but recent history shows that in many cases the reality falls well short of the dream. Tudeley is relatively remote from any large town, certainly far enough that few people would consider walking or cycling – especially in the winter. For most journeys the car would be the solution. Tonbridge would bear the brunt of the demands of thousands of extra people, yet is not even in the same Borough.

For any large housing development to be sustainable it needs to be close to, or alongside, existing towns with the infrastructure to cope. The local campaign, Save Capel, provided a list of alternative locations where housing could potentially be built – such as along the A21 corridor near Tunbridge Wells, where the transport infrastructure required is largely already in place – without concreting over Tudeley’s good-quality farmland which will be desperately needed to feed our expanding population in the long term.”

Thanks for all your previous help Nigel and your continuing support from a distance.

As ever, the Save Capel Executive would like to thank you all for your continuing support. We’d love to hear your feedback on this via email to savecapel@gmail.com

Stewart, Ian, Dave, Maggie, Charlie, Jan, Mark, and Chris

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