Planning application - on the Common:

opposite 64 Mount Ephraim Road (between St Helena and Gibraltrar Cottage)

stone panorama on the Common? - drawing 03022009

5 February 2009 — The Civic Society propose the erection of a stone panorama to mark the 50th anniversary of the foundation of their association and the centenary of the granting of the Royal Charter (in 1909) to the town, to be called Royal Tunbridge Wells in future.

However there are questions concerning
— the poor air quality on Mount Ephraim,
— the views, partially obstructed by trees and other growth,
— the maintenance of the area in future,
— the repair, should it be subjected to vandalism,
— the requested financial contribution via the TWBC Heritage Grant Scheme.


To comment on the application 09/00252, go to TWBC Planning Portal


Views over the Common, from Mount Ephraim, Royal Tunbridge Wells 30082008

Dog fouling
Help keep the Commons enjoyable for everyone.

careless dog owners on the Tunbridge Wells Common . . . . especially with the sunny days to come everyone wishes to enjoy the Common - sit down and rest on the grass or even have a picnic.

22 January 2009 — At the Commons Conservators' meeting the financial statement, the budget report and the annual precept (paid by the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council for the people of Royal Tunbridge Wells) was discussed.

Litter/dog clearance budget 2008/09 was quoted as £19.950 of which £10.541 was used (actual to date); projection for next year is £20.000. Further was listed "other litter collection and clearance" with £3.361 (actual to date).

Please clean up after your dog and save taxpayers' money!


Meetings of the Tunbridge Wells Commons Conservators in 2009

22 January 2009 — the following dates of meetings (OPEN TO THE PUBLIC) of the Tunbridge Wells Commons Conservators [4 Tunbridge Wells Borough Councillors, 4 Representatives of the Freehold Tenants, 4 Representatives of the Manor of Rusthall (Targetfollow (Pantiles) Ltd)] were announced:

23 April 2009
9 July 2009
22 October 2009
21 January 2010

For more information go to: Tunbridge Wells Commons Conservators


Announcement: Annual Dinner Party 2009

January 2009 — The Friends' Annual Dinner Party will be held at the Royal Wells Hotel, Mount Ephraim, on Thursday 5 February 2009 (7pm for 7.30pm).
Speaker will be Chris Reynolds, Director of Bedgebury Pinetum.


Cherry Tree Planting

17 December 2008 — TUNBRIDGE WELLS BOROUGH COUNCIL – MAYOR’S DIARY:

DATE: Wednesday 17 December 2008
START/ END TIME: 12.25pm – 12.45pm
PLACE: Junction of Mount Edgcumbe Road and Castle Road
ENGAGEMENT: Tunbridge Wells Commons Conservators – Tree Planting Ceremony
HOST: Ian Marshall (Commons Chairman)
REMARKS AND INFORMATION: Mayor/Mayoress - Chains/Day Wear (Short Speech)


The Commons Tenancies

December 2008The Comons Tenancies are in the public domain and might be of interest to a wider public; included are 26 London Road, 12/16 London Road, Rusthall Cricket Ground, Linden Park Cricket Ground, Fir Tree Car Park, Fairground Car Park (Major Yorks Road).


Air Quality on Mount Ephraim in Royal Tunbridge Wells

November 2008 During the second round of review and assessment, 2003 – 2005, measured exceedences of the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) objective along the A26 London Road at Mount Ephraim showed a risk of exceedences of the annual mean NO2 objective and an AQMA (Air Quality Management Area) was declared by the Council in November 2005. The further assessment was completed in February 2008 and a draft Action Plan has been drawn up for consultation in April 2008.

Nitrogen dioxide tables/diagrams of the Annual Progress Report April 2008
Air Quality: Mount Ephraim - London Road - St. John's Road


Wish list of Projects for Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons

23 October 2008 — At the Commons Conservators' meeting Steve Budden, the Commons Warden, distributed a list comprising a range of projects of different scope for the next few years.
Projects for the Commons

The RTW Town Forum's list of improvements was given to Jeremy Aldous, Portfolio Manager, Targetfollow (Pantiles) Ltd, at the Commons Conservators Meeting on 24 April 2008.
Following issues were raised: the racecourse, benches, litter bins, graffiti, cold bath & chalybeate spring close to The Forum, new steps/railing on the Common for the crossing from Vale Road/Railway Station.


Rejuvenation Strategy for the Pantiles / Commons

1 October 2008 — A Rejuvenation Strategy for the Pantiles has been prepared by the new owners of the Commons and the Pantiles, Targetfollow. The strategy provides their vision for future improvements and developments of the area. It is envisaged that consultation on the strategy will comprise two main elements: a public exhibition and stakeholder meetings (e.g. Commons Conservators, RTW Town Forum, local amenity societies).

Friends of the Commons are a member of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum which was formed by the Local Authority in view of the lack of a Town/Parish Council to bring Ward Councillors and Residents' Representatives together to address local issues of the town Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Rejuvenation Strategy for the Pantiles / Commons - Consultation Draft Version - September 2008

Tunbridge Wells Heritage Open Days

11 - 14 September 2008

September 2008 - www.tunbridgewellsheritageopendays.org.uk / www.twhod.org.uk - website & banner design by Daniel Bech


Helicoper visit to the Lower Cricket Ground

Sunday 17 August 2008 — Sussex/Surrey Air Ambulance takes a patient to the Kent and Sussex Hospital.

Tunbridge Wells Common Lower Cricket Ground / GL170808


Fairground Car Park

August 2008 — Targetfollow, the new owners of the Pantiles and the Commons and member of the Commons Conservators, told the owners of the family fair that in future they could not use the Major York's Road Car Park for their fairs which were held for two weeks at Easter and in the autumn.


A different dragonfly

22 July 2008 (13:10) — taking off on the Upper Cricket Ground

22.07.08 Tunbridge Wells Common - Upper Cricket Ground / KM2008 - www.royaltunbridgewells.org . . . turned out to be the Kent Air Ambulance.


Love where we live - THE BIG CLEAN UP! campaign

2 June 2008 — The "Love Where We Live" campaign is a campaign to celebrate community pride, embrace it and to grow it so that those who live here now and future generations can benefit. The campaign will launch with a "Big Clean Up" across the borough on Friday 6 June 2008, for which TWBC is encouraging borough residents to clean up areas where they live or where they feel need for it.

www.lovewherewelive.co.uk contact: streetscene@tunbridgewells.gov.uk

Announcement: Tea Party 2008

30 May 2008 — The Friends' Tea Party will be held on the 16 July 2008 from 3pm to 5pm, at the Mount Edgecumbe, The Common, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN4 8BX. Tickets £6.00 per person can be obtained from Mrs Sylvia Luckhurst, 76A Grove Hill Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1SP cheques to be made out to the Friends of the Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commmons.


Countryside Access Improvement Plan

28 April 2008 — Making the countryside more accessible is the aim of Kent County Council's (KCC) new 10-year Countryside Access Improvement Plan. As well as giving more people the opportunity to enjoy walking, cycling and horse riding in Kent, the plan will play a key role in reducing traffic on Kent’s roads and will safeguard and enhance public rights of way (PROW) in the face of new development.

Kent has over 4,200 miles (6,700 km) of public footpaths, bridleways and byways providing free public access to the Garden of England. Footpath Footpath Footpath Footpath


AGM 2008

16 April 2008"Targetfollow (the new owners of the Commons and forming part of the Commons Conservators) have invited the Friends of the Commons to submit a list of improvements that we would like to see but with no promises to fund them all. So if you have particular items, please let me know." (Jennifer Blackburn continues as chair for one more year).

Chairman's Annual Report 16.04.2008

Stray Dogs Law

15 April 2008 — The sole responsibilty of local authorities

In future council staff (Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge & Malling, Sevenoaks) have to deal with stray, lost or stolen dogs. In the past responsibility for strays was shared between councils and police.

TWBC's Head of Environment and Street scene announced that an on-call dog warden has always been available 24 hours a day for the collection of dangerous or stray dogs, and this will not change.

The number to call in Tunbridge Wells is: 01892 526121
(Tonbridge & Malling 0845 241 7253, Sevenoaks 01732 227000).


AGM 2008

20 March 2008 — Announcement Annual General Meeting

The Friends of the Commons Annual General Meeting will take place at the Town Hall, Committee Rooms A and B on Wednesday 16 April 2008, at 7pm for 7.30pm.

Jenny Blackburn will resign as chairman after 6 years; George Lawson will resign as editor of the 'Common Ground', the Friends of the Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons Newsletter.

Note: At the AGM (16.04.2008) Jenny Blackburn agreed to continue as chairman.


Trees in Towns

20 February 2008A new survey of urban trees in England and their condition and management

The Trees in Towns II report assesses the effectiveness of tree management in urban areas in England. It identifies changes since earlier surveys, including Trees in Towns published in 1993.

The executive summary of the report includes information on the quality and quantity of trees; local authority resources and practices in managing urban trees; and the recruitment and skills of local authority tree managers.

Communities and Local GovernmentTrees in Towns II - Executive Summary


"How to deal with ProblemNeighbours . . ."

19 February 2008 — Launch of a very comprehensive public interest website - www.problemneighbours.co.uk - focusing on coping with noisy, aggressive or inconsiderate neighbours.

To register for the Newsletter: ProblemNeighbours


Annual Dinner Party 2008

8 February 2008 — The Friends of the Commons Annual Dinner was held on Friday February 8th at The Royal Wells Hotel. It was held there this year as the Spa Hotel was undergoing refurbishment. About 50 Friends of the Commons came and were greeted by the Chairman Mrs Jennifer Blackburn on their arrival. The dinner was enjoyed by everybody and the hotel staff looked after us well. Mrs Blackburn said that it was early days for the friends to know what plans the new owners of the commons had in mind for it. The friends felt sad that the Tunbridge Wells Council had not made a more robust bid for the commons when they could have bought it for the Town.

Ms Caroline Fitzgerald, Warden of Broadwater Warren RSPB Reserve, gave an illustrated talk. The RSPB have only just acquired the Warren and we learnt that they have 8 pairs of Nightjars nesting which is very exciting.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds - England - News

RSPB (The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) England - News



The Chairman thanked Mrs Anne Hughes for all her hard work in organising the dinner and we all plan to go in the summer and see if we can hear the nightjars.

Jonathan Balcon / March 2008


Freehold Tenants' Projects in 2008

24 January 2008 — the following projects were proposed and agreed:

Mount Edgcumbe Road / KM2004 - www.royaltunbridgewells.org 1.) Cherry Tree Avenue (also called Mount Edgcumbe Road - leading from London Road to Castle Road)
Remove remaining cherry trees and grind out their stumps. Fell and remove adjacent scrub and two semi-mature oaks. Remove spoil from ground stumps. Excavate 40 planting pits of 1m square, fill stump holes with spoil from pits, supply topsoil and tree planting compost for pits and carry out planting.
Supply 40 new Prunus Tai Haku (cherry trees - white blossoms) at 3 1/2 - 4 metres bare rooted


P.S. The colour, white or pink cherry blossoms, has not been agreed yet.


2.) Slope between St Helena Cottage and Gibraltar Cottage
To cut and remove all scrub, bramble and grass from slope and small area of bramble on other side of path. Poison stumps and leave with neat finish. 5 days exploratory excavation; 2 men with mini digger and dumper.


Brighton Lake (Louis Levy 1906) - www.royaltunbridgewells.org 3.) Restore Path to rear of Brighton Lake
Excavet 100 mm of spoil over the 100 metre path; lay geotextile membrane and instal pipe to re-direct spring under path; supply and lay 150mm of crushed stone over full length of path and compact in.


4.) Scan Minute Books of the Conservators
Scan the minute books of the Conservators from 1890 to 2007 to provide a secure back-up copy and enable research when extracts are loaded onto the Tunbridge Wells Commons Conservators' website.


Targetfollow, the new owner of Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons

January 2008 — Property developer Targetfollow is the new freeholder of The Pantiles in Royal Tunbridge Wells, and the 250 acres of Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons (including the title ‘Lord of the Manor of Rusthall’). Norwich-based Targetfollow already leases the Corn Exchange at the Pantiles and is planning to bring the two shopping destinations closer together.

CB Richard Ellis and Ibbett Mosely acted for the vendors with DTZ acting on behalf of Targetfollow, which has 250 staff, and a development and investment portfolio of £3bn. The company recently secured funding worth £454m from Bank of Scotland Corporate to help further expansion across the UK and Europe


Proposed extension of Alcohol Control Zones
in Royal Tunbridge Wells (inc. on the Common)

11 January 2008 — A review to expand the current zones (2006/2007) was conducted at the request of Tunbridge Wells Community Safety Partnership, following reports of alcohol-related anti-social behaviour outside the existing areas (The Tunbridge Wells Common's Lower Cricket Ground and the Common along London Road were included).

The proposals drawn up encompass an extra 79 roads in and around the town centre as well as 16 car parks, 3 recreation grounds, Royal Victoria Place Shopping Centre, The Corn Exchange, Woodbury Park Cemetery and additional areas on the Tunbridge Wells Common (Wellington Rocks - north of Major York’s Road and east of Bishops Down and Mount Ephraim).

A Public Consultation (28 days) will start in mid January 2008.

Tunbridge Wells Alcohol Control AreasTunbridge Wells Alcohol Control Areas - proposed extensions in 2008

Upper Cricket Ground - Clubhouse Re-building Project

7 January 2008 — At the Kent-Tunbridge Wells Local Board Meeting the Local Board agreed its recommendations for Kent County Council Small Community Capital Grants for 2007/08.
Linden Park Cricket Club put forward a bid to the Community Liaison Manager for Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks, Tom Phillips, and requested a grant of £20,000. Kent County Councillors (within the Tunbridge Wells Borough Area) recommended £17,500 for the project which will go forward (with four other projects in the borough) to KCC's Cabinet, who will formally decide the allocations.

Kent County CouncilTunbridge Wells Local Board (one of 12 Local Boards in Kent)


Sale of The Commons (The Manor of Rusthall)

29 November 2007 — A 'disappointed' Kent council - Tunbridge Wells Borough Council - has been told its bid to buy 250 acres of historical common land has been turned down. The agents handling the sale of Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons told the town council that the land would be sold as a package along with The Pantiles arcade.

Cllr Roy Bullock, leader of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, said: "Naturally, we are disappointed as our duty to ensure value for money in using public funds meant we simply could not match other, private sector, bidders. However, we understand the preference to sell the Pantiles and Commons as a single package, especially if the new owner’s management of both areas results in increased visitors and shoppers."

A spokesman for the agent, CB Richard Ellis, said more than 10 bids had been received and that legal proceedings for the sale were under way. The asking price for The Pantiles, a Georgian shopping arcade built around the Chalybeate Spring that’s discovery led to the development of Tunbridge Wells as a town, was £10 million. Offers over £850,000 were being sought for the Commons and the title the Manor of Rusthall, which includes two cricket grounds, two car parks and other properties. - The agents hoped they would be able to announce the new owner before Christmas.

— www.kentnews.co.uk - KOS Media

It is believed the chosen bidder is Targetfollow, which leases the Corn Exchange on The Pantiles, and announced plans for a cinema in the Pantiles last week.


Sale of The Manor of Rusthall

25 October 2007 — The report by Robert Cottrill, TWBC Director of Planning and Development, updates Members on the sale of the Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons, The Pantiles and the Title of The Manor of Rusthall.
Report to TWBC Cabinet 25.10.07

The County of Kent Acts regulate the composition of the Commons Conservators.
There are 12 Conservators in all:
- four are appointed by the Manor of Rusthall,
- four are appointed from currently elected Tunbridge Wells Borough Councillors and
- four are appointed by the Freehold Tenants of the Manor of Rusthall.
Info about the Commons Conservators



23 October 2007 — The details about the sale of The Manor of Rusthall had been published.

"The Commons Tenancy Schedule:
The Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons (250 acres) are protected from development and managed by the Commons Conservators with funding from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council on behalf of the people of Tunbridge Wells. However the freehold of the Commons is now offered for sale by the current owners, The Trustees of the Manor of Rusthall, and prospective purchasers will be able to retain approximately two thirds of any income or capital receipts. The other one third share is payable to the Freehold Tenants.
The clients seek offers for the Commons, and the associated legal title of "Lord of the Manor of Rusthall", in excess of 850,000 (eight hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling) subject to contract."


A meeting was arranged for Tuesday 23.10.07 between the Leader of the Council Roy Bullock and the Commons' Coordinating Group (local amenity/community groups and RTW Town Forum).


Ask the Leader of the Council

18 September 2007 — Launch of Online Forum Link to: Leader of the Council - Online Forum - Discussion: Sale of the Commons

Post Cllr Roy Bullock your questions or comments on any aspect of the Council's work or more general concerns about the Borough and view the comments and responses to the concerns of others. — Ask the Leader


Sale of The Manor of Rusthall

5 September 2007 — A meeting between Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and the Commons Coordinating Group (an informal group of representatives for local organisations sharing some disquiet about the possibility of an outside body acquiring The Pantiles and The Commons with the object of exploiting them) was held at the Town Hall on Wednesday.
Note of Meeting 05.09.07

A further meeting was held between the Commons Coordinating Group and members (councillors) of Kent County Council on Wednesday 12 September 2007.
Note of Meeting 12.09.07


"Tunbridge Wells Heritage Open Days goes Common"

30 August 2007 — The Friends of the Commons and the Commons' Conservators support Heritage Open Days, England's biggest and most popular voluntary cultural event, taking place from Thursday 6 to Sunday 9 September.
Join Steve Budden, the Commons' Warden, on his Common walk on 9 September!

For further information: TWBC Press Release 6 September 2007

September 2007 - Tunbridge Wells Heritage Open Days / banner design by Daniel Bech

HGRTW Society, part of the Tunbridge Wells Heritage Open Days team, fixes a banner at the Common's busiest corner, London Road / Church Road.


Sale of The Pantiles and The Commons

14 August 2007 — The Friends of the Commons committee met to consider a response on Thursday 9 August. Next committee meeting and discussions with other organisations will be held on Thursday 23 August 2007.
Note of Meeting 23.08.07



6 August 2007"The historic colonnade would be sold separately from the Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons and the Lord of the Manor title. Sale agents for the Manor's trustees, Richard Ellis Ltd of London (John Symes-Thompson), said an informal guide price for the portfolio was £10 million." — Sarah Harrington, The Courier


Tunbridge Wells Heritage Open Days

On 21 June 2007 the Commons Conservators granted permission to fix a Tunbridge Wells Heritage Open Days banner at the corner of the Common's Lower Cricket Ground (London Road / Church Road)

September 2007 - Tunbridge Wells Heritage Open Days / banner design by Daniel Bech


No pavilion on the Upper Cricket Ground
for a 2nd cricket season

On 7 June 2007 TWBC Cabinet will discuss the Capital Grant regarding Linden Park Cricket Club ("Forward Plan of Key Decisions - Portfolio: Safer and Stronger Communities"). The Director to the Community, Richard Powell, will consult the Linden Park CC before the decision is made (12 July 2007). Nigel Bolton (Head of Leisure Services) and Elise Rendall are the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council's officers to whom representations can be made.

May 2007 - No cricket pavilion on the Tunbridge Wells Common Upper Cricket Ground

Last year, on 14 April 2006, fire destroyed the pavilion on the Common's Upper Cricket Ground.

May 2007, it would be difficult to disagree that this temporary solution does not blend in well !

For further CRICKET Information: Linden Park Cricket Club: http://lindenpark.play-cricket.com/home/home.asp

1 year later on 22 April 2007 - Tunbridge Wells Common Upper Cricket Ground


Repair works

22.04.07 - Former Toilets on the Tunbridge Wells Common - Fir Tree Car Park At the Annual General Meeting on 18 April 2007 it was announced by the chairman, Jenny Blackburn, that the Friends will contribute £1000,- to the repair works of the old toilets close to the Fir Tree Car Park. Steve Budden, the warden, confirmed that the works (including removal of all rubble inside) will be done in three months time.

Beginning of June 2007: the old toilets are closed.

05.06.07 - Former Toilets on the Tunbridge Wells Common - Fir Tree Car Park - after works/repairs


Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum - Transport Report —
"Getting around in Tunbridge Wells - Residents' views"

16 April 2007 — "Getting around Tunbridge Wells - residents’ views" is the title of a discussion paper presented by the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum to Kent and Borough Councillors at a meeting of the Joint Transportation Board. The paper is an "ideas agenda" offering potential solutions from residents of Royal Tunbridge Wells to many of the town’s traffic and transport problems.

Top traffic danger spots are identified as a wakeup call for town planners and traffic managers including Vale Road, Upper Grosvenor Road, Carrs Corner, the Pembury Road, and the wall of heavy traffic that cuts the Common off from surrounding residential areas.

DANGEROUS PLACES - The Common.
"The second most frequently mentioned pedestrian hazard was the ring of heavily trafficked roads that divides the Common from the rest of the town. Residents mentioned Mount Ephraim, Major Yorke’s Road and most frequently of all the London Road, from the junction with Mount Ephraim, down the hill opposite Smart and Simple Hotel with its blind spot with hedge/trees; lower down still, residents mentioned the dangers getting across from Vale Road, crossing at the Pantiles end, the foot of Major Yorke’s Road from the Fairground car park and the roads at Sainsbury’s round-about (Nevill Terrace/Eridge Road)."

Example: Dangerous Crossing from Vale Road (Railway Station / Commuters) onto the Tunbridge Wells Common: damaged railings, bad steps

Transport Report - Press Release 16.04.2007"Transport Report - Press Release 16.04.2007"
Transport Report - April 2007"Getting around in Tunbridge Wells - Residents' Views - April 2007" - Transport Report

Announcement: Tea Party 2007

The date of the Friends' Tea Party is 20th June from 3pm to 5pm, to be held at the Beacon Hotel. Tickets £7.00 can be obtained from Mrs Sylvia Luckhurst, 76A Grove Hill Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1SP.

P.S. The date shown in the Spring Edition of the "Common Ground" is incorrect.


Commons Conservators — Open Space Policy - Draft

Following the problems encountered last summer 2006 over the planned Spafest events - especially the licence application for the events on the Common's Lower Cricket Ground (London Road/Church Road) - the Borough Council gave an undertaking to produce an Open Space Policy.

22 March 2007 — Although the Commons Conservators are not bound by the Open Spaces Policy of other bodies, notably Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, they submitted a draft policy for discussion purposes to the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum. Members of the Town Forum (e.g. the Friends of the Commons, The Telephone House Neighbours Association, Inner London Road Residents’ Association) were in favour of the draft.
The Town Forum asked that the policy makes reference to the Tunbridge Wells Improvement Act, 1890 (so far as it relates to the Tunbridge Wells Commons) and the Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons Bylaws.

At their quarterly meeting on Thursday 22.03.07 the Commons Conservators also decided that they will not apply for a "general premises license" and as before the Conservators will pass on the duty to the event holder to apply for a licence; TWBC will be in charge for the consultation with the wider community regarding any forthcoming licence application.

Commons Conservators Open Space Policy - Draft March 2007Commons Conservators Open Space Policy - Draft March 2007

Tunbridge Wells & Rusthall Commons — BYLAWS

No motorised vehicles are allowed on the Commons.

No camping.

No fires.

No horse riding November to March inclusive.

No cycling.

No rubbish of any kind to be left on the Commons.

No notice, sign or graffiti shall be placed on any structure on the Commons.

No plant or tree is to be damaged, no bird or animal is to be trapped or hunted.

No weapon of any kind is to brought onto the Commons.

Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons are set aside for the quiet enjoyment and use of residents and visitors alike.
Both Commons are subject to Bylaws, the most important of which are shown above.
The Commons, which have a combined area of 250 acres are owned by the Manor of Rusthall and managed by the Board of the Commons Conservators.
Please be aware that everyone has a duty of care to themselves whilst on Common land.

Tunbridge Wells Commons Conservators, Town Hall, Tunbridge Wells. Kent.
www.twcommons.org or the Warden on 01892 554250.


The second warmest winter 2006/2007 on the UK national record dating back to 1914

6 March 2007

Provisional figures released today show that winter 2006/7, with a mean temperature of 5.47 °C, is the second warmest on the UK national record dating back to 1914. All three winter months have recorded above average temperatures, with January 2007 also the second warmest on record at 6.0 °C.

In England, the warmest winter on the Central England Temperature (CET) series remains 1869, with a mean temperature of 6.77 °C. The provisional figure for this winter is 6.4 °C, which would place it 4th in the series.

The south of England has recorded its warmest ever winter with a mean temperature of 6.53 °C, beating the previous high of 6.49 °C set in 1989-90.

Rainfall figures show most areas of the UK to have been very wet.

Full figures for the season reveal that it has been mild for all parts of the UK, sunnier than average for most parts and wetter than average (based on 1971 to 2000 averages).

Across Europe, temperatures have been even warmer with anomalies of 3 to 5 °C over large areas of eastern Europe.

Extended Warmth during 2006

While figures for winter have yielded few records, it has been notably warm and follows a trend of very warm temperatures over the last year. Many records have been broken and the last 12 months (Mar 2006 to Feb 2007) has been the warmest period in the last 348 years on the CET, with a mean temperature of 11.23 °C. This trend is reflected in the national series with all regions, except Northern Ireland recording their warmest rolling 12-month period.

Previously in 2006, new records had been set on the CET for the warmest July (also the warmest of any month), September, autumn and year.

Met Office - News 06.03.2007


Warden's Report to the Commons Conservators:
Autumn 2006 - January 2007

Because of the early onset of the wet weather last autumn, it was not possible to finish the last of the areas that we intended to clear with the collector flail. The area around the new pond adjacent to the Tarry Path on Rusthall Common will now have this clearance carried out early in the spring when we shall also carry out an early clearance of the new grassland between Cabbage Stalk Lane and the Fairground path.

As a result of the discussion at the last Conservators' meeting, we have demolished and levelled the extensive network of ramps and jumps created by the mountain bikers on both Commons. These areas, at Bulls Hollow and at Castle Road, are, of course, being re-excavated but we will periodically level them as required.

The levels of graffiti on our signs, bins and other street furniture continues as a constant annoyance but we have taken greater measures to clear them this year. This does, of course, impose a further burden on our budget but I feel that this is something we must keep on top of.

The gale force winds of January 2007 have meant that we have had considerable damage to our trees. Although we have not lost any trees of major importance, many birches have come down across paths and have had to be cleared, the problems being exacerbated by the damage caused by the late snow in April 2006. I am pleased to report, however, that as a result of the works we have carried out over the previous years, no significant problems were experienced with our roadside trees.

The volunteers have again been active, with much useful work being done. Further clearance has been carried out at Brighton Lake where scrub, bramble and saplings have been removed from the rear of the pond, considerably enhancing the area.
Between Wellington Rocks and the Victoria Grove, invading oak scrub has been removed to stop more of our ant-hills and acid grassland being lost and over-mature gorse has been coppiced from the species rich grassland at the Fir Tree /Major Yorks junction.
The most dramatic of the works undertaken by the volunteers this season has been the clearance of scrub and saplings to extend the new woodland glade next to Fir Tree car park. This is a continuation of the work carried out in 2006 which has been much appreciated by users of the Common.
Thanks again must go to the Friends of the Commons from whom most of our volunteers are drawn and who have again offered to pay for the replacement of some of our worn out tools.

As we move into the second period of the winter, work will continue to be dominated by trees. We will be carrying out remedial works on various trees identified in last year’s Highways survey. These are on Major Yorks Road and Langton Road and will complete all work currently requested by Highways.

Steve Budden 25.01.2007


18 and 19 January 2007

Hurricane-force winds from 'Kyrill', Europe's most severe winter storm since 1999, ripped off part of the roof at Lord's Cricket Ground in London, toppled trucks on European highways, and ripped down a two-ton steel beam at Berlin's new central train station. Germany's rail system shut down long-distance service practically nationwide - an unprecedented move - and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had to cut short a visit to Berlin and fly to London before conditions worsened. She landed at London's Heathrow Airport in 130 kph (77mph) winds. - Insured losses estimated at US$3.9 to US$6.5 Billion.


Meetings of the Tunbridge Wells Commons Conservators in 2007

The following dates were announced on 25 January 2007:

22 March 2007
21 June 2007
20 September 2007
24 January 2008

For more information go to: Tunbridge Wells Commons Conservators


Hands-on! - around "Pope's Puddle"

Cleaning around Brighton Lake On Saturday, 4th November 2006 the autumn/winter work party had about 10 members and 2 dogs.
A substantial amount of secondary growth around the back of the Common's Brighton Lake was cleared.


Maintenance of railings round the Chalybeate Spring,
Tunbridge Wells Common (London Road)

Chalybeate Spring October 2006


Launch of Tunbridge Wells Heritage Open Days
Thursday 7 September - Sunday 10 September 2006

Tunbridge Wells Heritage Open Days 2006 / artwork by Daniel Bech 11th July 2006 - Among the 30 participants in 2006 are: St Paul's Church (Rusthall Common), The Spa Hotel (Bishops Down / Langton Road), The Beacon (Tea Garden Lane) / Happy Valley


Withdrawal of Application for Premises Licence
Lower Cricket Ground, Tunbridge Wells Common

On 13th July 2006 Anthony Garnett, TWBC Licensing Manager informs:
"Tunbridge Wells Borough Council have received notification from Spafest Ltd that the event planned for Friday 21 July - Sunday 23 July will not take place at the Lower Cricket Ground, and has been transferred to the Hop Farm at a later date.
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has been processing a premises licence for this event, and a Licensing Hearing was due to be held on the 19 of July 2006.
TWBC has received a number of representations from local residents and town bodies expressing their concern over this planned event.
The premises application for the Lower Cricket Ground has now been formally withdrawn from the agenda and will not be considered by the Licensing Sub-Committee on 19 July, and therefore the planned event will now not take place at the Lower Cricket Ground."


Tunbridge Wells' Community Plan 2006 and the Commons

On 23rd June 2006 Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum [Friends of Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons are a member] submitted its comments to the Community Plan 2006.

An additional Action Point was proposed:
— Promote the use of the two Commons, Happy Valley and High Rocks as recreational facilities for all age groups.
Lead Organisation: TWBC - Partners: Commons Conservators, Friends of the Commons, Spa Valley Railway, Beacon Hotel

Further :

As there was no mention it was requested to add in 'Improvements to Parks':
— the two Commons, Happy Valley or High Rocks. All are excellent places for leisure activities for all age groups.
Lead Organisation: TWBC - Partners: Commons Conservators, Friends of the Commons, Spa Valley Railway, Beacon Hotel


Courier, Friday 23 June 2006 - Letter by Patrick Shovelton

The headlines to Vicki Haxton's (SpaFest Ltd) letter (Courier, 16 June 2006) says "Don't Judge Us Until After The Event", — but by that time those of us who live on or around the Common will have had a summer weekend ruined by 24 hours of live and recorded music and 23 hours of alcohol drinking, assuming the Spafest's licensing application is granted.
I am in favour of using the Common for special events. I organised the Diversions of 1997, when we had an afternoon and evening of games and entertainment in celebration of the bicentenary of the original event and Cllr Wakefield organised an afternoon of frolics.
This three-day Spafest event is of a totally different order. It may be that the organisers have put in a licensing application for the maximum number of hours expecting to be cut down, but the application repeatedly envisages the sale of up to 5,000 tickets. I have learnt that Spafest has sold 500 tickets.
Why should anyone pay for tickets, when, under the statute legislating the commons, they are perfectly entitled to walk in free?
People will certainly be able to hear the event. What will the decibel count be at a range of 100 yards - the distance of Inner London Road from the grandstand?
I think that the Commons Conservators have made a mistake.
The whole thing makes utter nonsense of the notice which the council has just put up in our street - Alcohol Free Zone.
Now we must all form up for the licensing committee hearing, which I understand is provisionally fixed for July 19, just two days before the event.
All Tunbridge Wells residents who are concerned should make their representations in writing to the licensing committee before July 6.

Patrick Shovelton
President Friends of the Commons - London Road Tunbridge Wells


Friends of the Commons Tea Party 2006

The Mayor / GL2006The annual Tea party of the Friends took place on the 21st June 2006.

Cllr. Ronald Weeden, Mayor of Tunbridge Wells, joined us under a perfectly blue sky.

But, why not having a quick look at the slideshow?


Designation of Public Areas for Alcohol Control in Royal Tunbridge Wells

February 2006 - The area of Common Land (Lower Cricket Ground) bounded by Castle Road, Church Road and London Road is a proposed designated alcohol control zone.

June 2006 - The Alcohol Control Zone is now in full legal operation.

Designated Alcohol Control Zones - MAP


Events on the Lower Cricket Ground
Friday 21 July - Sunday 23 July 2006

Common - Lower Cricket Ground 9th June 2006 - SpaFest Ltd applied for a license for entertainment and alcohol sale on three days — as per the notice shown.

Comments can be sent to
licensing@tunbridgewells.gov.uk


Fire destroyed the pavilion on the Upper Cricket Ground, 14 April 2006

14 April 2006 - destroyed pavilion on the CommonThe fire is being treated as suspicious

According to BBC Kent, Fire crews were called to the Linden Park ground in Fir Tree Road, Tunbridge Wells, in the early hours of Friday.

Most of the two-storey 130-year-old newly-refurbished building was gutted in the fire, which started in the adjoining groundsman's shed.

Gary Stevenson, treasurer, said the club was now facing a huge challenge to "keep cricket alive on our ground".

The Club is insured for the building and equipment but with the start of the season upon they face a challenge to get the necessary mowers/rollers etc to prepare and maintain the pitch and outfield and to obtain some form of temporary changing facilities etc.

They have to look into providing a new pavilion (in keeping with the existing) rather than just a straight repair. This will be a long haul to raise the additional finances.

If you feel you could help, please contact the chairman of the Linden Park Cricket Club, David Thomas aslo49@dsl.pipex.com

For further information on Linden Park Cricket Ground:
http://lindenpark.play-cricket.com/home/home.asp


Beginning of Easter week sees the Commons in snow

10 April 2006 - Snow on the CommonsRoyal Tunbridge Wells woke up to a surprise Winterday on 10th April 2006.

While BBC Southeast reported that heavy snow falls brought chaos to roads and railways in the South East, with at least 12cm (5in) falling in areas of west Kent and East Sussex, many children were out and built snowmen and igloos on the Cricket Grounds and around the Wellington Rocks.


The Annual Dinner Party at the Spa Hotel, 10 February 2006


Help keep the Commons Tidy.

litterThe Conservators employ someone to do regular litter patrols on the Commons but the size of the two Commons and the persistence of the litter bugs makes it very difficult to keep them litter free.

In an effort to supplement the litter patrol, a number of our members who regularly walk the two Commons take a plastic bag with them in which to collect litter they find during their perambulations. Mr and Mrs Goulden have gone even further than this by undertaking regular visits to Wellington Rocks to clear up the broken glass left behind by partying young people who apparently think it fun to smash their empty bottles on the rocks, thus creating dangerous hazard for the many children who regularly play on the rocks.
We are grateful for the efforts of all who already help to keep the Commons Tidy but think how much more could be achieved if we all followed their example.

So, what about it?

Will you help the next time you go for a walk on the Common?


More volunteers needed

The clear out at Brighton Lake On Saturday, 3rd September 2005 the first of the autumn/winter work parties made a start on clearing the overgrown path round the back edge of Brighton Lake. It still being the holiday season we were rather thin on the ground. 7 adults, two children and two dogs. Good progress was made and a large pile of foliage etc., was stacked by the lake for collection by the contractors on the Monday. However, there is much yet to be done and we will be returning to the Lake for the next work party at 10.00 am on the first Saturday in October. The ultimate aim is to clear the path and expose the stone wall that runs along the side of the path.

We could do with a few more volunteers - the work is not over strenuous - age is not a bar to participation - the age range of last Saturday's party was 7 to 74 years old. So what about it? Come and join us for two hours in the fresh air.

George Lawson / September 2005


Friends of the Commons Tea Party 2005

Jenny Blackburn and Mayoress / KM2005Some 30 members and friends gathered at The Beacon on Tea Garden Lane on Wednesday, 13th July 2005 for our annual Tea Party. The weather was splendid - too hot even so we had to retreat inside where Mr. and Mrs. Cullen provided us with a wonderful tea of sandwiches and a selection of cakes.

We were very pleased to welcome Cllr. Mrs. Jenny Paulson-Ellis, Mayor of Tunbridge Wells, who joined us to admire the wonderful views over Tunbridge Wells and to Ashdown Forest beyond. She talked to members to find out about our involvement with the Commons.

It was also an opportunity for me as Chair to appeal for new members and to answer questions about the management plan, to reassure people that we are not going to cover the commons in fencing in order to graze hordes of animals! I think the Commons Conservators have done an excellent job over the previous ten years through the efforts of the Warden, Steve Budden and we look forward to future work.

Jenny Blackburn / Summer 2005

Tea Party 2005 click to view more photos of the Tea Party

Warden's Report

It seems remarkable as I write this to think that we are only a week from midsummer's day, I guess its downhill all the way now! We are already more than half way through our scheduled cuts on the grass and it is almost time to start cutting our hay-meadows. Although we are desperately short of water in our reservoirs and rivers, there seems to be just enough coming down to keep everything growing at a pace that we are struggling to keep up with.

Our first major cut of paths and rides is now underway and we will then move on to bracken control. We will again be treating areas on both Commons with Asulox, which has proved itself to be a very effective treatment over the last two years. I am also hoping to run some experiments with new types of equipment that will both cut and clear vegetation in one operation. This could make a huge difference to areas such as the new clearance next to Cabbage Stalk Lane if it proves successful and affordable.

A new commemorative bench has been installed in the grass area below Edgcumbe Rocks. I suspect that this will prove to be a very popular site. We have also started work on refurbishing our litter bins with the two worst being replaced and sent off to have new doors fitted and be re-coated. These will then be reinstalled and the next two repaired etc. The problems with these bins have been of our own making; we thought it would look rather smart to have our name cut into the doors, but all it has done is trap dog wee that has then corroded the metal away. You live and learn!

Geese on the Brighton Lake / KM2005 I seem to have seen a remarkable number of woodpeckers on the Commons this year, both greens and great spots as well as more treecreepers than is usual. There are also more reports and evidence of deer on both Commons at night. Deer numbers are increasing rapidly in our region so I suppose that this is not surprising. We also have some rather unexpected guests on Brighton Lake this spring with a pair of greylag geese breeding successfully there. Many of you will have seen the three chicks which are growing at a prodigious rate and are proving a popular subject for local photographers. August is normally the time when young geese fly, so they should be around for another few weeks.

Finally, you may notice new signs going up across both Commons detailing the bylaws. The last bylaw sign disappeared about ten years ago but the police have recently indicated that they would find it much easier to prosecute any wrongdoers if the bylaws were displayed. It remains to be seen whether any exemplary prosecutions are ever brought, but I guess it can do no harm to have them displayed and it may assist me when I have to tick some youngsters off!

Steve Budden / Summer 2005

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