Tuesday, January 6, 2009
There’s no point in having a Civic Society….
Or is there? What the heck do they do? Surely they’re just a talking shop? They winge a lot, but do they actually do anything, achieve anything? It’s just for old fogies isn’t it? These are just some of the criticisms I hear levelled at the Tonbridge Civic Society, and I’ll wager that the same criticisms are being levelled at many other civic societies across the nation. Indeed many of them are dying out. Dying out mainly due to inertia as the social structure of our towns change. It’s very easy not to be bovvered and let others get on with running the town, then if you don’t like the results, to then just have a good old winge about “The Council” or “They” or “The government” or even just “Labour”! Well I’ll tell you something, Tonbridge Civic Society may not achieve instant results but at least they are bovvered. Bothered about the look of the town, bothered about the architecture of our town, bothered about old trees being hacked down to make way for modern buildings. As far as I can see they have no hidden agenda, they have no political or religious bias, they are a charity, with no paid staff only volunteers, there are no secret hand shakes and they don’t wear animal skin cloaks and chant strange phrases; the chairman and the senior officers on the committee, in spite of their advancing years, work tirelessly to assess building designs, attend planning meetings, produce newsletters and force meetings with employees in the many relevant departments at TMBC and Kent County Council, as well as countless other commercial organisations. They desperately need new blood in the society, because the old faithfuls cannot go on forever, indeed nor should they. There must be thousands of capable people who have benefitted, and will benefit in the future, themselves from the work of these people so maybe it’s time to make a move to put something back. It’s true that they can only ever make small gains here and there; block offending planning consent here, shame a landlord into replacing an old plaque there. But surely that’s better than everyone sitting on their hands and turning a blind eye to an eyesore of a building here and leaving a new road route unchallenged there….