Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Is Tonbridge bursting at the seams?

The new Courier reporter, Frank Foster, is understandably trying to make his mark on the paper. He is the replacement for Shams Al-Shakarchi who, as a young reporter for around three years, served Tonbridge well. Let's hope that Frank does the job as conscientiously as Shams appeared to and good luck to him. Frank has been phoning around town centre businesses to get a feel for what they think about the new developments in the town centre. Most of these are along the riverside which, after last winter's flooding, brings its own problems, but what about the sheer number of homes being crammed into what is after all quite a small town centre. There's the Medway Wharf area, Botany, next to Waitrose, Cannon Lane and more; blocks of flats seem to be springing up at an increasing rate. Is it better to build here or might it be better to expand a little into the countryside? Will the town centre schools be able to cope? Slade school is expanding with a new classroom and soon a new block but will the other local schools feel the pressure? Will there be enough parking for the inevitable increase in traffic or can people be educated to do without cars and instead walk, cycle or use public transport. For my money I should have thought that it's better to make use of these so-called brown field sites along the river than to leave them, as they were when I moved to the town, as derelict warehouses and factories. Take a look in the Courier on Friday for more on this and sorry to steal your thunder Frank but you are right to say that these are very important questions....


Anonymous said...

The new town developments will just show that the town planners got it so wrong when they went along with the grand Sainsbury's scheme to build a mega store. Maybe the bribe of a free leisure centre clouded their judgement. TMBC have given into Sainsbury's before when the houses and pub in Vale road were knocked down under a CPO to allow the petrol station to be built. But just in time like many mega supermrkets being planned elsewhere the plug was pulled.
So what the new town dwellers want from the town is to able to escape from their towers and to eat out/drink out rather than shop and cook. Yes they will be internet shopping too and the new online pickup will be a godsend rather than have parcels left in the lift area of their apartments.

Good time for someone to open a cafe/book shop in the empty shop next to the Chequers!

On the schools front a new free junior school is being planned for south Tonbridge and a new special needs school is being proposed in the north (on green belt) that will free up some space at their existing location.

Paul Bailey said...

Presumably there is a demand for new housing in Tonbridge; otherwise the current developments would not be going ahead. It is far better to be building on brown-field sites, rather than despoil more of the local countryside.

As for building along the river, most of the new properties I have seen are either built on stilts, or are constructed at sufficient height above the top of the river-bank to render them immune from flooding.

Anonymous said...

The accommodation in these flood plain developments my be raised but as we saw in the last flooding people were trapped for days, some for longer when the lifts got flooded and took ages to get repaired. What if you run out of food etc or need medical attention? And where do all those cars go from the ground level parking? Parking will become a major problem when the latest town block is completed with one space per dwelling and in places like East Street where offices and the church are being developed without parking.

Paul Bailey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim James said...

Speaking of parking in Tonbridge: did anyone read that article about a woman parking behind Poundland?
This was back in April, last year about a woman who parked in the Poundland carpark in the evening, to go and get a quick takaway from KFC up the road. .
Correct me if I'm wrong, the company who run that particular car park are known as "Smart" car parking. I had a look at the BPA site to see if they were registered. I couldn't spot them.
The writer of the article was wrong when he chose the word "fine". Owners of car parks on private land have no authority to impose fines, only "charges".
What I'm saying is: if you want to park for free, park up in the old somerfields car park.