So: it seems the Calverley Park Bandstand is to be torn own after all.
What a crying shame, and a crime against local history.
A friend of mine - possibly mistaken for a tramp resident at the bandstand as apparently he looked quite rough that morning - was recently interviewed by BBC South East as they canvassed local opinion in the Calverley Grounds. I was surprised to learn that only 22 official complaints have been lodged against the plans to destroy this local landmark, yet every one I've spoken to seems to feel it should be restored, and a Facebook page set up to campaign for its preservation has over 2,000 members.
From the Save The Bandstand Facebook page you can still access The Courier online petition, but the one to no.10 Downing Street has long since closed. It's interesting to read the Government's response to this official petition however, where they firmly remove themselves from the issue by declaring that it's a "matter for the local authority" who should "take into account the best interests of the local community."
Surely this is why people felt a need to create such a petition to the Government in the first place, because they didn't feel the local authority was listening to the needs of the local community?
It goes on to to say that a 2007 White Paper "Heritage Protection for the 21st Century" proposed extra protection for buildings that don't come under standard existing listed or planning permissions, but admits that this would rely on the local authority wanting to conserve the building in question in the first place.
Catch 22 and a neat side-step from involvement in helping the common man stand up against the destruction of local heritage.
It's our bandstand, we use it, we want it kept.
We'd help towards its restoration given the chance, but it seems funny how Tunbridge Wells Borough Council seem quite prepared to shell out the thousands of pounds to demolish it and possibly put a temporary carbuncle up in its place, yet won't part with the lesser amount of money it would apparently cost to restore it.
It's our money, isn't it?
As discussed in previous blog posts on the subject, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council have patently failed to recognise the significance this bandstand has for the people of Tunbridge Wells, or what we want to use it for.
Pull your fingers out TWBC - listen to the opinions that are being hollered right in your faces. It appears that as such objections weren't done in the format TWBC determine, they don't exist.
If the proposed plans for destruction do go ahead, I for one will be down there on demolition day, placard in hand and a very Disgusted From Tunbridge Wells look on my face.
Will it make a difference? Only the good ostriches of our Borough Council can decide that.
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Natelie Fitzroy is a freelance writer and photographer with The Little White Studio.