Calverley Square project rejected…what next?
No change is without controversy and plenty of that surrounded the ambitious £108 million plans for the Calverley Square project in Tunbridge Wells from the outset.
The project – which involved a new theatre, town hall and civic offices, underground car park for 260 cars, as well as a public square at the entrance to Calverley Grounds – had planning permission and contractors appointed.
To date £10m taxpayers money has been spent – last night (8th October) councilors voted 12-26 against the project, which has been described as Brexit for Tunbridge Wells in the way it has divided the community as Brexit has the nation.
INDEX magazine has always backed the idea of a new independent theatre – for locals to enjoy to encourage visitors to the town along with big name shows and stars. Hopefully this will now be high on the agenda.
Speaking on BBC Radio Kent the morning following the vote, councillors Nick Pope (Tunbridge Wells Alliance) who opposed the plan, and David Scott, the Conservative Portfolio Holder for Property and Major Projects, both actually agreed that now is the time for the cross-party committee to come together to work to unite the community, listen to their opinions and forge ahead with plans for a new theatre.