HVA Response to the Local Plan and TWFC Stadium
The text below is taken from the Hawkenbury Village Association’s response to the local plan concerning the proposed football stadium in the recreation ground. The full response to the plan can be found in the PDF link below.
We strongly object to the new sports hub at Hawkenbury Recreation Ground, to include standing/seating for supporters and other ancillary structures, other sports and recreation grounds and built facilities (Policy OSSR 2: The provision of publicly accessible open space and recreation), specifically offering two senior pitches (one of which to be 3G/stadium quality), three youth pitches, and one mini pitch.
Hawkenbury Recreation (Rec) ground already has the astro turf , which is a Borough wide facility that attracts a lot of traffic and creates a lot of noise and light pollution (including in the evenings) and to put another Borough wide facility in close proximity would stretch local facilities too far.
We strongly object to the relocation of Tunbridge Wells football club (TWFC) to Hawkenbury Rec and the standing/seating stadium provision proposed. TWFC currently have seating for 250 supporters and a total capacity of 3,750 people. Attendance at games is typically 300 supporters.
We strongly object to the scale of this development in Hawkenbury, which does not have the utilities, parking or transport provision for the footfall of supporters, as well as all the other users of the new sports hub and those enjoying the park and children’s playground. There is also no provision for if TWFC are promoted to a higher league and then the number of supporters increases. The current proposed space and infrastructure would not be able to withstand the increased supporters.
The proposed sports hub and stadium will negatively impact the lives of Hawkenbury residents, particularly those living adjacent the pitches/stadium – in Hollyfields, Hawkenbury Rd, Sherborne Close, High Wood Lane, Chester Ave and Cleeve Ave. There will be increased traffic, parking on driveways and pavements, earthworks, noise and air pollution, floodlights and anti-social behaviour.
We do not have transport links serving Hawkenbury, with 1 bus service serving the area. Hawkenbury Rec is adjacent to AONB, and there is a stream running alongside the proposed site, which is part of the river and not a culvert as believed by the council. The anti-social behaviour (i.e. shouting and swearing from the sidelines) that comes with such facilities is not in keeping with the Hawkenbury Recreation Ground, it’s very close proximity to residential property and the children’s play area. We draw your attention to an article written in KentLive, 15th Oct 2019, https://www.kentlive.news/sport/football/children-left-traumatised-afterhuge-3431513 about children left traumatised after a huge brawl at TWFC ‘sparked by a racist comment’ on October 5th when they were playing Beckenham Town FC.
It is also reported in Kent Live that Chairman Scott Barlett stated ‘If we moved we would want to control our own destiny and we would want to manage the stadium, we’d want the revenue from the gate and the clubhouse and we would rent out the 3 or 4G pitch and get the revenue’. This will not be possible or feasible for a site owned and managed by TWBC, and within a local Recreation ground.
We strongly object to relocating TWFC and a proposed “stadium” to Hawkenbury Recreation ground. It clearly has not been thought through. We suggest that a sustainable, state-of-the art stadium with provision for increased supporters, traffic is built elsewhere and closer to main transport links and not adjacent to residential properties, a recreation ground and children’s play area.
PDF Link to plan response HVA Local Plan Response