We were delighted to see such a large number of presentations from stakeholders within the parish, which kicked off the three day Design Forum in May. Read the overview below or each presentation in entirety by clicking here.
Summary of presentations
Children from Cranbrook Primary School shared the views of their classmates including imaginative ideas for a zip line in the Ball Field, as well as a need for more youth provision outside school. They didn’t hold back in their criticisms of the town, with the Co-op coming under fire for its pricing strategy and the loutish behaviour of some residents to be dealt with by boot camp!
David Summers, from Age Concern, shared the concerns of our elderly residents (that they do not think much about the future!), the problems that our historic pavements and buildings can cause those with limited mobility, and their desires for more places to go in the evenings which are both safe to get to and welcoming.
Gordon Young, from HMY Architects, showed us the innovative plans for the new clubhouse at the Rugby Club, which include a flexible space for community use written into their business model.
Jeremy Boxall described his aspirations for a network of footpaths and cycleways through and between the settlements and beyond to link Sissinghurst to Bedgebury Forest. He believes this has the potential to improve our own personal well-being and also increase the economic prosperity of the parish.
Sally Marsh, from the High Weald AONB Unit, urged us to think more closely and deeply about the place around us: “…for the mark we leave to be at least as good as all that has come before us”. She encouraged us to let the beauty of our landscape be the inspiration in the creation of a legacy of which we can be proud. Future development should be small scale, sensitive and dispersed.
Presentations were also given by Bridget Veitch who updated us on the Community Centre project, and by Amanda Goodchild from Sissinghurst Primary School, who highlighted the importance of effective consultation and honesty by developers.
Mark Bewsey and Max Mossman from Countryside Properties talked about their position with regards to Corn Hall Farm. Mark Shearman from Invicta Self-Build described his ambitions for offering high-end self-build plots on a site in Sissinghurst. Barry Sancto from Pickhill Developments told us about his plans for a small housing cul-de-sac at Hartley.
Joy Temple shared the vision of the Cranbrook Windmill Association for greater community use and sense of ownership of one of our most iconic historic buildings. John Bancroft described the work of Speedwatch and offered short- and longer-term solutions for dealing with traffic volumes and speed. Peter Mellor from Sissinghurst Conservation Area Advisory Committee expressed his desire to manage development so that it is appropriate for the needs of the village and does not destroy its distinctive rural identity. He also highlighted some significant green spaces and rural lanes within the village which should be conserved.
Lee Hatcher, from the Cranbrook Operatic and Dramatic Society, an organisation approaching their centenary, expressed their need for more rehearsal and performance spaces, with good acoustics, such as the Providence Chapel. They would love to grow the society as a means of creating a better, and more diverse cultural offering for the town and surrounds.
Tim Kemp explained why the Crane Valley Land Trust has been set up: as a potential delivery vehicle for housing which is exemplary in design quality and which enhances, not destroys, our precious landscape and historic centres. Its primary purpose is to provide housing that our young people and key workers can afford to live in, through the reinvestment of profits directly back into the community.
Among the other submissions, which were not presented in person, included those from Cranbrook in Bloom, Cranbrook Conservation Area Committee, the Cranbrook Local History Society and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England.
Click here to see each presentation.