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Planning and Transport Committee Report to

Annual Town Meeting of Southborough 25 April 2001

By Councillor Andrew Lohmann chair person of the planning and transportation committee.

I am please to tell you that our 284 Saturday bus service has been running since 28th October largely as a consequence of the work done Ray Tapp, and Fred Lebbon on behalf of local residents. On December 9th we ran a Christmas special with the bus decorated by children of St. Matthew’s School. The name of the school and that of Southborough was spread throughout the Arriva service area in the run up to Christmas and I understand that the school received a number of appreciative comments. Well done St. Matthews. Cllr Mike Rusbridge stepped in at short noticed as one of Father Christmas’s helpers. Although the decorated bus was photographed the Courier failed to carry the story.

I have seen the work of some pupils from St. Matthews. Miss Jackson’s class have completed their study of traffic issues in the vicinity of the school. We understand that Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s own plans and studies are delayed through staff shortages.

More than the usual number of planning applications have come before the committee this year. In the majority of cases TWBC’s Planning department agree with us. We meet every two weeks generally on a Monday and start at 8AM by looking at plans and reading associated paper work. We follow this up by making site visits, speaking to the applicants where possible and others who we think may have planning observations to make. The committee meeting in the evening and makes its recommendations, after discussion and listening to any public representations. Please contact the Town Council if wish an item to or speak at a meeting. As statutory consultees we have the same consultation period as the public. Ultimately the Western Area Planning Committee determine the application.

The planning application to turn the Hand and Scepta in to a Harvester restaurant was thoroughly discussed. The renovation of the building met with approval, but problems with lighting and parking have caused concern. A possible solution is to restrict parking surrounding the Cricket pitch. - what do you think? We understand that the owners have the option to purchase an additional site for use as an extended car park.

BRAKE community based road safety organisation a Road Safety Week from 2-8 April, with support of The Association of Chief  Police Officers amongst other organisations. A motion to ban the use of mobile phones in moving vehicles was defeated by members. Cllr Knights, the proposer, would have accepted an amendment limiting this to drivers. The committees decision does not reflect Council policy whereby a condition of the use of our mobile phones is that they are not used by the driver of  a moving vehicle.

In response to electors concerns, raised through the Courier and this committee, we have committed to hold a meeting concerning bus issues on the 15 May. Unfortunately bus operators’ response has not been encouraging to date. Never the less I hope the committee does not veto the meeting.

I would like to acknowledge both Cllr’s Knights and Scott in pursuing through Public Transport Liaison Group our various public transport concerns. As a consequence High Brooms Station is now staffed on Sunday mornings for a trial period at least. Other improvements, such as those for disabled, and better time table advice have been made consequently.

Finally the committee expressed support for any road closures made by Kent County Council in order to control Foot and Mouth. We do have farms, an abattoir, and wild deer on the common. I hope all members of the EU do their best to come through this situation quickly so that we can once again enjoy the countryside.

FILE: stc01pl1.doc, 24 April 2001, and 1 May, 2001.