Culture and Community

Cllr. Kim Fletcher asks, ‘What do you need to evolve the culture of the parish?’

CRANBROOK HAS been the home of many cultural firsts. In the Victorian era there was the first Christmas card and the arrival of the Cranbrook Colony of artists. Sissinghurst too has shared Harold and Vita Sackville-West’s glorious garden with the world.

We now have the modern interpretation of the Apple Fair and the unique Cranbrook Goes Nuts in May, both of which engage with anyone who wants to be involved. These are the hall marks of a healthy society, trying new things in the community.

The Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) is concerned that culture supports people living and working in a town. We need space and events, pastimes and meeting places to be able to communicate, create and get to know one another to build robust communities.

The parish owns the Ball Field in Cranbrook and St. George’s Field in Sissinghurst, both large open spaces for outdoor events. Cranbrook Rugby Club – now called Cranbrook Sports Club – is extending the range of sports on offer to cater for new members and activities. The Crane Valley may be landscaped to enable more activities next to the new community centre in the town.

Indoor space at a premium

The Vestry Hall is the main meeting place and, while it is a beautiful building, it has very poor disabled access and awful acoustics, but it is used for music, dance, meetings and rowdy children’s’ parties!

The Queen’s Theatre offers visiting acts and Cranbrook Operatic and Dramatic Society productions and is also home to the popular Cranbrook Film Society.

St. Dunstan’s Church – the Cathedral of the Weald – and Trinity Church, Sissinghurst, offer other meeting spaces; the town’s library has some space as does the High Weald Academy. The planned community centre will have several rooms catering for small or large groups so you can get together for club meetings, receptions, events, even spilling over into the Crane Valley.

The NDP wants to know what you need to evolve the culture of our parish and engage with the new neighbours in the proposed new developments.

What do you Think? Have Your Say!

Consultation on the neighbourhood development plan runs from mid-October for eight weeks.

All your comments will be taken into account and will help to inform the final version. Your voice matters and can make a difference!

• View and respond at
• Email at
• Or see hard copies and leave your comments at the Parish Office, The Old Fire Station, Stone Street, Cranbrook TN17 3HF.