The Town cannot afford to lose the Green Space.
The Centre will take up 9% of the site. The three new developments will also have a total of just over 75 acres of new green spaces within them for informal recreation such as dog walking and children’s games.
Can the project be moved to another location?
The Centre is being built on land owned by the Town Council as the cost of the project would rise considerably if the Parish also had to purchase the land before construction could begin. The Council has considered over a dozen sites before selecting this one and each site was discounted due to various legal, cost and or location issues. The site has also secured section 106 capital contributions from developers towards the project and whilst some could offer land, developers are not obliged to do so. Where this has happened in the past it is not necessarily the right location or the most appropriate piece of land. Funding of close to one million pounds secured to date from the Section106 agreements has also confirmed the location. Whilst it is sometimes possible to vary the agreements, this would be subject to the agreement of the developers. Moving the facility now would also lose the £100,000 committed spend to date. At the Town Council meeting on the 17th of September the Chief Executive of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council made clear that this approach would most likely lead to the Borough Council withdrawing financial support for development of the project.
Why is the Community Centre not being built on the Hop Pocket site to the North of the railway beside the station car park?
This site has planning permission for a block of flats and the site has recently been purchased by Town and Country Housing Association who are planning to build on it soon. It was never owned by the Town or Borough Councils.
Does PWTC only want the Community Centre so that it can have new offices?
PWTC have recently refurbished the offices on St Andrew’s field, redecorating the outside, installing new windows and enhanced security shutters and updating the IT system. Discussions are ongoing as to who will occupy the office section of the Community Centre and this decision is yet to be taken.
Do we really need a Community Centre?
The Council are aware of many services and family activities which are currently being provided out of the town due to the lack of suitable facilities. Given the increase in housing anticipate for Paddock Wood, the Council are seeking to ensure that the right amount of community space is available to local people as the town grows.
Will the facility be available for family parties?
One of the main reasons for having a community centre is to provide a venue so that families can have events in the town where they live rather than using the halls in nearby villages such as Matfield and Horsmonden.
Will other venues in the town lose out if the Community Centre is built?
The hall facilities survey showed that the existing venues are heavily oversubscribed. The proposals seek to complement rather than compete against other facilities. For this reason, the hall will be able to accommodate 300 people and will be the only facility in Paddock Wood able to do so.
Will the Centre pay for itself?
The venue is seeking to attract users to its flexible community spaces which it intends to rent out in order to break even. There are three flexible halls, offices, café, kitchen and a preschool which can be rented out to generate funds and it will operate in line with other community centres. The aim will be to ensure that enough income can be achieved to cover its costs.