Southboroughs town centre

Created 11th February 2003, Revised; 23/03/2020, 22/01/2016

Old this page;


Press Release: Southborough Labour unveils sketches for Town Centre redevelopment by architect

Cllr Ronnie Ooi is Borough Councillor for Southborough and High Brooms, leader of the Labour Group on Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and secretary of Southborough Branch Labour PartyCllr Ooi says,

“Southborough Labour is very happy to unveil these sketches and ideas for the Town Centre redevelopment by Mr Alain Head of Shepherd Epstein Hunter.�


 Shepherd Epstein Hunter is a London master planning/architectural firm with over 20 years experience in urban regeneration. Mr Head is advising Cllr Ooi and the Southborough Branch Labour Party on development possibilities for the Town Centre.”Cllr Ooi continued:

“Southborough Labour believe that the whole site, i.e. supermarket, Hub, shops, residences, parking, access roads, cycle and pedestrian tracks,  must be designed as a whole and by a single design team only in this way will we have great buildings which fit with each other, and together make a vibrant and exciting town centre.�


“”As can be seen from the sketches, this whole site/single design team approach has resulted in:

1.  an integrated, cohesive, visually attractive town centre

2.  much more effective use of space, allowing a bigger town square and work/live units.”

“To overcome Labour’s concerns over the business case, Mr Head has proposed work/live units which has apparently worked very well in other town centre developments. Ownership of these can be retained by the partnership of Town, Borough, and County Councils to provide rental income or sold to provide interest income from capital funds.”

“Other attractive features include the caf’e/bistro opening on to the town square and key worker housing surrounding the supermarket and looking down on a roof garden laid out on the supermarket roof.”

Cllr Ooi emphasised

“These sketches are just preliminary proposals and ideas for discussion. Neither are these proposals official as they are not the proposals of the Steering Group of the partnership of Southborough Town, Tunbridge Wells Borough and Kent County Councils.

“In fact Southborough Labour has announced these proposals because of our concerns over the design approach of the Steering Group. The Steering Group is appointing an architect immediately to draw up detailed plans, including a scale model, for the Hub (theatre, library, and council offices). Lay out plans for the rest of the site are to be done by KCC architects. When land for the supermarket is sold, another set of architects will design the supermarket, shops and residential units.”

“We believe that this fragmented approach will lead to sub optimal design. It is equivalent to commissioning one artist to paint the eyes, another the nose, and a third the smile of the Mona Lisa. We believe that the whole site/single design team approach will produce better results. The sketches published today will serve as a baseline to compare alternative proposals for the Southborough Town Centre development.”

Shepherd Epstein Hunter describe their work philosophy and practice as follows:

“Drawing lines on maps is insufficient; we have to ensure viability in all that is proposed, and ensure that the objectives are both financially and socially viable. Regeneration must build on communities, not replace them. We have worked with residents for 20 years and can listen, enjoy and build on the inputs they bring to the Masterplanning process.”

The architectural sketches are in jpg files in the attached zip file.