Parish Cake Autumn 2020


Neighbourhood Development Plan Special








Plan Special


Do you need help at home?

Help at


Private Care Service

Help at


Help at






Our Private Care Services provides tailored packages of

care that can help people stay in their own home for as

long as possible, rather than going into care home before

it’s really needed. We assist those who need due to frailty,

disability or illness to live a independently as possible,

with comfort and dignity, in their own homes.

For a free assessment of your care needs or to

receive your brochure call us on 01580 762244

Parish Cake



Trisha Fermor


Zachary Phillpot-Brian


Parish Clerk - 01580 713112


Graham Holmes


Tally Wade

Coffee Shop Media Ltd

01580 848555


Cranbrook and Sissinghurst

Parish Council: 01580 713112


IT IS September already and welcome to the autumn edition of Parish

Cake containing even more slices of town and country life for your


To say the past few months have been difficult would be an

understatement. For many, whether shop keepers, teachers or publicans,

it has been an unprecedented time which, for many, is not yet over.

Cranbrook, as the sign says, is open for business and slowly life is getting back to some semblance

of normality, but there is still a long way to go.

In this special edition we take a look at our parish in the light of current and future development

plans, many of which have angered people.

The Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) team has been working extremely hard to make sure

any new housing (or any other development) is what we want and more importantly need: more so

with the latest announcement of sweeping changes in government planning policies.

Please make your views known. Unfortunately, due to lockdown general meetings are impossible

but you can leave a comment on Facebook, a message on the council’s telephone, drop us an email or

write a letter.

On a lighter note, it is great to report that the Apple Fair will be held on 3 October together with

the mayor making ceremony – both great signs that Cranbrook and Sissinghurst are fighting back!

Cllr. Trisha Fermor, editor



Welcome to a café setting that puts

children first, while also serving

locally roasted award-winning coffee!

Created by Seth and Katie Gulliver,

a catering manager and clinical

psychologist specialising in young

children respectively, Gulliver’s

combines imaginative play with

a child friendly menu and design

features. From comfy chairs for

breastfeeding mums to a ‘building

bar’, it offers a bright and friendly

environment for all. Find Gulliver’s at

23 Stone Street, Cranbrook.

Whilst every effort is made to

ensure accuracy, the Cranbrook

and Sissinghurst Parish Council,

editor and authors cannot be

held responsible for published

errors. The views or opinions expressed do

not necessarily reflect views of the Cranbrook

and Sissinghurst Parish Council. Inclusion of

any advertising material does not constitute a

guarantee or endorsement of any products or

services or claims made.



4 Directory

5 Chairman’s View

20 Letters

22 Parish News

26 Club News

29 Events

31 Youth Comment – just please

wear a mask…

36 Kids’ Corner – welcome to a

new section for children!

40 Kitchen and Garden – plum

chutney and the glory lily

41 Badger’s Plot – autumn jobs

on the allotment

47 Ivor’s Comment – an estate full

of history



6 Tell us Your Views – an

appeal to engage with the

neighbourhood plan

9 Design & Heritage – how

our heritage can shape

future development

10 Landscape & Natural

Environment – hanging on

to our green spaces

12 Access & Movement – safe

travel, air pollution and


14 Business & Employment –

what opportunities should

be provided?

16 Housing – are the right

houses in the right places?

17 Community & Culture –

comment on the community

centre and more

18 Infrastructure – is there

enough planned in light of

new houses?

19 Don’t Miss Out –the

neighbourhood plan

consultation in October


30 In Pictures – Sissinghurst

families captured on camera in


33 MP Comment – Helen Grant

opposes developments in the


34 Councillor’s Comments –Sean

Holden says ‘No’ to TWBC’s

Local Plan; Nancy Warne on

radical changes for planning

38 Storytime – the concluding

part of feline spy Larry’s


43 Affordable Housing – Sarah

Lewis on options in the


45 Art – the story behind

Cranbrook’s Grierson Gallery

46 Farm Shops – Sarah Calcutt

thanks these local heroes

49 Museum Matters – a new

Cranbrook Colony painting

joins the collection

50 Local Legend – Cranbrook’s

only Bevin Boy, Peter Ryan

Parish CakeAutumn 2020 3



Parish Cake list of useful contacts

in Cranbrook and Sissinghurst


Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Parish Council

The Old Fire Station,

Stone Street,

Cranbrook, KENT TN17 3HF

Clerk – Mrs. L. Ham

Deputy Clerk – Mrs. L. Thirkell

01580 713112 / clerk@


Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

01892 526121

Kent County Council

03000 41 41 41 /



Electricity: 0800 727282 (24 hrs)

Gas: 0800 111 999

Water: South East Water (drinking water)

0800 0283399, Southern Water (waste water)

0800 820999 (24 hrs), Emergency leak 0800

0283399, Floodline 0845 9881188 (24 hrs)


Non-Emergency Police: 101

Crime Stoppers: 0800 555111

KCC Community Warden: Adam Osborn -

07813 695741

PCSO: Simon Humphreys -

Neighbourhood Watch Area

Co-ordinator: 01622 604395

If life is in danger or a crime is in progress call

999. To report crime, to request non-urgent

police assistance or to make an enquiry call

101. Further information is available at



St George’s Institute, Sissinghurst: Ursula

O’Connor 01580 713938

The Parish Room, Sissinghurst: Sue Crowe

01580 712567

The Vestry Hall, Council Chamber and Addison

VC Room, Cranbrook:

01580 713112 (10am-12pm weekdays).

A full list of over 30 venues for hire in the

parish is available from the parish office



Congregational Church,

Cranbrook: 01580 388070

St. Dunstan’s, Cranbrook: 01580 715861

St. Theodore’s RC, Cranbrook: 01580 713364

Strict Baptist Church, Cranbrook:

01580 713212

Trinity Church, Sissinghurst: 01580 852275

Vine Church, Cranbrook: 01580 712620


Colliers Green CE Primary: 01580 211335

Cranbrook CE Primary: 01580 713249

Cranbrook Children’s Centre: 03000 41 10 35

Cranbrook School: 01580 711800

Dulwich Preparatory School: 01580 712179

High Weald Academy: 01580 712754

Rainbow Pre School, Cranbrook:

01580 715570

Sissinghurst CE Primary: 01580 713895

Woodpeckers Pre School, Cranbrook:

01580 720195


Jockey Lane Surgery, Cranbrook:

01580 713032

Old School Surgery, Cranbrook:

01580 712476

Orchard End Surgery, Cranbrook:

01580 713622


Cranbrook Fire Station

Cranbrook Medical Centre, Cranbrook

Cricket Club, Sissinghurst

Parish Council office

Sissinghurst Castle Garden

St. George’s Institute, Sissinghurst

Tennis Club, Sissinghurst

The George Hotel, Cranbrook

The Milkhouse, Sissinghurst

I discovered this

wonderful poem on a

Facebook gardening

site and immediately

thought I has to share

it with Parish Cake

readers. How many

times have we said to

visitors “You should

have seen the garden

last week…”

Thank you Antony

for these wonderful


Trisha – editor

You should have seen it last Tuesday,

It looked a picture back then

With penstemon flowering their socks off

And not a sign of fat hen.

The snails all went on vacation

To let risky hostas grow strong

Not the tiniest hole could be spotted,

Sum and Substance was really on song.

No goose grass, no bindweed, no stingers,

As I’d weeded every one out

And neat rows of seedlings emerging,

With 100% choosing to sprout.

This year I didn’t use netting

But not a single fruit has been nicked

The squirrels have packed up and scarpered

And the birds left it all to be picked.

Trust you to leave it ‘til Sunday

When everything’s well past its best

The weeds are back with a vengeance

And so’s every available pest!

My dahlias are shredded to ribbons

The aphids have discovered the beans

I think there’s a rat in the compost

And I’ve a dirty great hole in my jeans.

Now the roses have gone down with black spot

The cosmos are flattened by rain

And the show garden that once rivalled Chelsea

Has rapidly gone down the drain.

So you really should have come Tuesday

Before it all went to pot,

I might get things back to their finest

If you give me until the year dot.

Andrew Wyton, July 2020

4 Parish CakeAutumn 2020




THE PARISH Cake is a

community magazine

supported by the parish

council to ensure parishioners

are aware of developments

in our community. Covid-19

has stopped face-to-face mass

meetings so this issue and

the summer one are about

getting feedback from YOU

the parishioners, so the parish

council knows what you want.

The last edition was all

about new medical and

community centres on Wilkes

Field, and what you would like

in them. This issue is about

what developers are planning

to do and what you would

prefer to happen for the next

10 years. Goodness knows

what the new government

planning rules will allow, but

we must know what you want.

Whenever I talk to

individuals about either

project I’m taken aback by

the constructive feedback

I receive. For example, I’ve

spoken to many young adults

in our community who’d like

to see a large outside screen

made available for them at

the community centre. The

large majority of people I’ve

spoken to applaud the idea of

having new medical facilities

alongside a community

centre. Many local people

have told me that they

would really like to see a

commercial kitchen there

to support everything from

cookery classes to preparing

lunches and coffee mornings

for elderly members of our

community, or young parents.

But when we ask for

this feedback in writing,

the response tends to be

sparse. For some reason,

the enthusiasm I see every

day isn’t reflected in written

feedback which, all too often,

is dominated by a minority

of nay-sayers who seem to

want nothing to change and

who take a lack of response as

evidence this is the majority


So this is my call to arms

to everyone: please tell us

what you want. We follow

Cranbrook and Sissinghurst

Chat on Facebook – you

can start a thread or add a

comment to build feedback

there. You can phone us at the

parish council offices (01580

713112) or write to us by email

or conventional post… whatever

works for you.

In particular, we’re keen to

hear what you think about

the community and medical

centres and (as covered in this

issue) the local neighbourhood

development plan for housing

and our community.

Get involved as this is YOUR

community and we will try to

achieve what you want.

Cllr. Kim Fletcher


Tompsett landscaping is a family run business

which takes pride in offering a quality,

professional, friendly and reliable service at

competitive rates for all aspects of garden

maintenance and landscaping.

Please contact us today for your free no obligation quotation

Parish CakeAutumn 2020 5


Tell us




Chairman Cllr. Kim Fletcher

introduces this special feature

on the future development of

Cranbrook and Sissinghurst


homes in the parish and we

are expected to have nearly

800 more within 10 years. Not

since the 1950s/60s, when the

Frythe and Wheatfield estates

were built, has such a large

change been planned for our


The parish council agreed

to support a Neighbourhood

Development Plan (NDP)

to come up with guidelines

on how people felt new

development could enhance

our community for existing

and new residents. Many

people have been involved

and a core group has gone

beyond the call of duty

to create our draft NDP


A consultation on this

draft will run from mid

October 2020 for six weeks

– an important opportunity

to have your say in helping

to shape the future of our


This is a chance to grasp the

positives that development


can bring - a revived High

Street, reinforcement of

Cranbrook as a centre for

education, reviving small

businesses, giving employment

to local people.

There are constraints of

which we are very aware:

traffic volumes and pollution

from the A229, the tendency

of developers to build estates

- not well-linked extensions to

communities - and the damage


to our views across this Area

of Outstanding Natural Beauty

(AONB). These are just some of

the concerns.

There are plenty of existing

planning policies that should

protect against shoddy

planning, but the NDP is our

chance to enhance and protect

our local community with

specific policies.

The final NDP document has

weight at planning once it has

been adopted by vote by local


This is your opportunity to

see the headlines and follow

the full document online. We

urge you to tell us your views

and how you would like the

parish to look in 10 years’


Some of the comments are

deliberately provocative to get

you talking about the future of

our wonderful corner of Kent.

What do you Think? Have Your Say!

Consultation on the neighbourhood development plan runs from

mid-October for six 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.

6 Parish CakeAutumn 2020


Design &


Let’s treasure what we have and shape what’s to come,

says Annie Hopper, June Bell and Marion Cranmer


TO QUOTE (with some additions),

Historic England, “Our heritage

is all that has been passed to us

by previous generations. It is

all around us. It is in the places

we shop, the roads we use, our

places of worship, our schools,

the places we go to for our sport

and social life, in the ground

beneath our feet, in the shape of

the landscape and in the placing

and arrangement of our fields,

hamlets, villages and town.”

How can the needs of the

present and future be met

without destroying the best of

the past? We believe that it is

vital to protect and enhance

the conservation areas of

Sissinghurst, Wilsley and

Cranbrook, and the heritage

buildings in our parish, from

the great, such as the iconic

windmill, to the small, including

some of the tiny cottages and

agricultural buildings. We need

to preserve the public spaces that

we share and enjoy, the views

that we treasure and the darkness

of our skies which are everthreatened

by artificial lighting.

Whatever is added to our

parish must help it to thrive and

be a better place to live, work and

visit. We must demand the best

building, at appropriate densities,

in the most suitable places, using

materials that are in harmony

with the area. The new needs to

fit with the old, not by being the

same, but by being sensitive to

what already exists. Wouldn’t

it be wonderful to have some

fantastically well-designed new

buildings and open areas, worthy

of being valued in the future?

Our health and the health

of the world will benefit

from energy efficiency and


measures. We, and the

generations to come, deserve the

highest standards of eco-design,

construction and environmental


We have all been left as

custodians of a wealth of unique

historic assets which gives this

parish its distinct character and

makes it a very special place, so

when the draft Neighbourhood

Development Plan is published,

please read and comment on the

Design and Heritage chapter.




What do you Think? Have Your Say!

Consultation on the neighbourhood development plan runs from

mid-October for six 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.



Parish CakeAutumn 2020 9


LEFT: The “green feel” of Cranbrook from St.

Dunstan’s Church tower




and Natural





were welltended



LEFT: Ox-eye

daisies attract

bees and other


insects vital for


and apple

crops at

Hallwood Farm

Cllr. Nancy Warne on the landscape chapter of

the Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Neighbourhood

Development Plan


HOW LUCKY we are to be

surrounded by so much

beautiful countryside! Whether

we enjoy watching the birds

and butterflies in our gardens,

walking the dog along one of

our many footpaths or growing

our own food on an allotment,

getting out and about to

appreciate the natural world

is good for our well-being and

our mental health. This was

especially noticeable during

the coronavirus lockdown

earlier this year, when access

to a garden and open green

space become even more


During consultation

workshops, residents told

us how much they valued

the open green spaces in

the parish, the beauty of the

historic Area of Outstanding

Natural Beauty (AONB)

landscape, and the variety of

the wildlife and their habitats:

meadows, trees, hedges,

streams and ponds.

The distinctive “green feel”

to our parish is something we

want to protect, for the benefit

of people and nature.

Building future resilience to

climate change by protecting

and making the most of our

natural resources is essential

to guard against flooding

and maintain good quality

air, water and soil. Ensuring

that new developments make

a positive contribution to

the ecological networks and

biodiversity of the parish is


To prevent further

fragmentation of wildlife

habitats, and to increase the

amount and range of species,

policies will ask developers

to demonstrate a net gain for

nature. We want to protect

special places for nature

conservation, as well as

ensuring plenty of access to

green spaces for all.

10 Parish CakeAutumn 2020


Any new public realm spaces

can be enhanced for wildlife

through careful planting and

sensitive management, building

on the work of Cranbrook in

Bloom and the parish council.

Many farmers and gardeners

are already reaping the benefits

of planting with nature in


Paying particular attention

to the design details in

new developments can

allow wildlife to flourish:

for example, through the

introduction of bird and bat

boxes, and permeable fences

to allow hedgehogs, foxes

and badgers to pass through.

Including trees, native hedging,

wildflower meadows and ponds

in new developments will also

provide essential sources of

food and shelter.

RIGHT: Nighttime

visitors to

a garden on the

Hill, Cranbrook


Crane Valley

Nature Reserve

What do you Think? Have Your Say!

Consultation on the neighbourhood development plan runs from

mid-October for six 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.


Parish CakeAutumn 2020 11


Access &


Safe Travel

Is safe travel a pipe dream?

asks June Bell

‘SAFE TRAVEL to places that people want

to go’ is the very latest health initiative

launched by the government entitled Gear

Change 1 .

The challenge is how, when

the glaring consequence of

building more homes is

the increase in traffic

generated from new

sites onto an already

congested road network.

How many times do

you get in the car to just

achieve the essentials to

living: employment, shopping,

child-care, school, or visiting family

or friends?

People need to leave their homes and go

places. Planners estimate 10 daily trips for a

development of two three-bedroom dwellings

at Hartley. Now multiply that by:

• 400 dwellings proposed for the Crane

Valley (Brick Kiln Farm, Corn Hall, Turnden

Phase 1 and 2)

• 90 for Hartley

• 417 dwellings plus a care home and a

medical centre feeding onto the A229 from

the proposed relief route traversing the

Hawkhurst Golf Club.

Then add on all the construction traffic for

developments of this scale.


In Cranbrook, proposals to improve

road safety between the junction with the

High Street and access to Turnden Phase 1

include reducing the speed limit to 30mph

and adding nine new traffic/pedestrian

control measures, including filter lanes,

uncontrolled pedestrian crossings and refuge

islands - all within less than 300m.

Hazard perception skills will indeed be

tested and there’s little reassurance

that drivers will observe speed

limits – 2018 transport surveys

recorded 115 vehicles travelling

in excess of 70mph along this

40mph zone and residents

along the A229 can testify

the 2020 lockdown may have

reduced numbers on the road but

not the excessive speed of those

using it.

What else can be done? Reducing the

impact of development on road safety

requires substantial investment into the

public transport network serving the parish.

Safe crossing from new sites to access the

High Weald Academy is yet to be resolved.

Inadequate cycling infrastructure direct

from home to destination will deter

adoption of this healthier alternative to the


Let Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

know your own expectations for safer travel.



Air Pollution

We are breaching an

acceptable level of air

pollution says Nancy

Warne and June Bell

SURELY NOT us, lucky enough to

be living in the Garden of England

surrounded by an outstanding

landscape of natural beauty! But

shockingly in 2018, Cranbrook

Road in Hawkhurst was identified

as one of England’s 1,360 Air

Pollution Hotspots 1 .

Air pollution is responsible for

an estimated 36,000 premature

deaths each year and is one of

the UK’s biggest killers1 and the

predominant cause is road traffic.

These are frightening facts,

as our parish faces an increase

in excess of 800 new homes in

the next 10 years, in addition to

the large numbers proposed in

Hawkhurst. Assuming one to two

cars per household, due to our

rural location, the consequence

will be significantly more vehicles,

adding to the pre-existing

polluting congestion.


Research 2 showed that air quality

in the UK improved during the

unprecedented lockdown and lives

12 Parish CakeAutumn 2020


Countering Traffic

There are opportunities for creative

thinking around traffic says Cllr. Garry

Pethurst, Liz Daley and Jeremy Boxall

were spared. Sadly, the clean

air recovery has been short

lived and the queue of traffic

at the Hawkhurst traffic lights

has returned, as it has at the

pinch point by the church in


Now is the time to lobby

our local councillors, both

the policy makers (TWBC),

and those responsible for our

roads and public rights of

way (KCC), as well as our MP,

Helen Grant.

We need to invest and

make non-vehicle travel

a real and safe option in

our parish before, rather

than after, Goudhurst and

Cranbrook are classified like

Hawkhurst as air pollution















IT IS very clear that the amount of traffic, the

speed of vehicles and parking are really

major issues for Cranbrook and

Sissinghurst. Much of what is

possible to alleviate these issues

is determined by Kent Highways

and the laws surrounding road

use and is therefore out of our

hands. However, we can request

and campaign for lower speed

limits, safer crossing places and

other measures to make roads safer.

However, there are also other things we

can try to control as new developments take

place around the parish. For example, it is

important to make walking and cycling to local

shops and services as safe, easy and pleasant

as possible and these policies are written into

the neighbourhood plan. You may have some

other ideas we could adopt, so please do look

and check that we have all bases covered in this


Global warming and climate change are

significant factors in our lives and will be for

future generations. We need to remember this

as we plan for the future of our parish. Many

of us have taken the time during the past few

months to walk and cycle. If we really can

improve connectivity around the parish, we hope

that residents will continue to enjoy walking or

cycling rather than driving to local facilities.

Public transport is expensive and irregular

services need to be improved and

its use encouraged. Sometimes

developers will provide an extra

bus service as one of their Section

106 agreements. But, this is likely to be

withdrawn after a period as being expensive

and under-used. So should we be asking

developers to subsidise the cost of public

transport for the user?

Electric vehicle charging points need to be

easily available and accessible to all and this is

addressed in the neighbourhood plan.

In addition, importantly, there are exciting

plans to connect Sissinghurst, Cranbrook and

Bedgebury with a traffic-free bridleway to

facilitate walking, cycling and horse riding

away from busy roads. Do look at this and

other potential projects in the neighbourhood


We need you to get involved with these

project ideas and help move them forward. Did

you know that if projects have been costed,

it is possible to get money from developers

building in the parish through Section 106


What do you Think? Have Your Say!

Consultation on the neighbourhood development plan runs from

mid-October for six 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.

Parish CakeAutumn 2020 13


Business and


Cllr. Kim Fletcher give an overview of the

business and employment opportunities

development in the parish can provide


centre for education since

1560 and this sector is our

largest employer. The newly

rebuilt High Weald Academy

has space to double its pupil

numbers, so the housing

developments to the east of

the borough, (1,700 houses

across six parishes) are

expected to make this a busy,

thriving school again.

Private schools are expected

to benefit from the high

net-worth families probably

coming from outside the area

to the new, expensive houses

planned by the developers.

There will be new posts for

teachers and support staff,

cleaners and maintenance

workers. Local traders

will also have new supply


Transport of children from

home to school will cause

traffic jams and gridlock, so

developers must build an

excellent network of footpaths

and cycle-ways to the centre

of town, away from the busy,

polluting roads.

The parish council hopes to

use the 160 car park spaces at

the Sports Club in Angley Road

and improve the footpaths

to the town centre. This will

enable employees and pupils

to park there, leaving the

central car parks

for shoppers and

visitors who

are crucial

to the High



is the enabler

for business

and running

a home. The

high number of new

houses makes it viable for

companies to invest in fibre to

the home. This will enable all

homes to upgrade and allow

more working from home and

tech businesses to start and


Businesses need room to

expand but the current TWBC

local plan only allows for new

employment land in the west

of the borough, potentially

causing greater delays through

Goudhurst and Hawkhurst.

The NDP believes this should



for people

who work

locally has always

been a key part of the

neighbourhood plan, but we

have little influence on the

developers and TWBC, who

are driven by profit and central

government respectively.

Shared ownership housing

is the nearest we can get

to direct support of local

workers. See page XX for more


Agriculture and land use

businesses have traditionally

been a mainstay of

employment. Locally, egg

farming is a major employer

and many smallholders

and gardeners keep local

businesses alive.

Cranbrook has been a centre

for purchasing gifts: years ago

it was antique shops, now it

is cards, and unique quirky

presents for all ages. This

makes the town a destination

for people to travel to,

generating substantial spin-off

trade. The High Street is an

asset to the parish and needs

support from us all.

The planned new hotel at

Southborough will, hopefully,

enable more local tourism

for a greater number of

people from out of the area,

without damaging our bed and

breakfast businesses.

What do you Think? Have Your Say!

Consultation on the neighbourhood development plan runs from

mid-October for six 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.

14 Parish CakeAutumn 2020

Does your garden

need work?

Mowing, hedge-cutting, weeding, pruning,

tidying and other general garden maintenance.

Call Steve on 07498 232117

Over 40 years of gardening experience, reasonable

rates and local to the Cranbrook area.

Reasonable price Electrician?

New Fuse Boards - L.E.D Lighting

Rewires – Extra Sockets – Fault Finding

Smoke Detectors - New Builds & Extensions



Painters & Decorators

All aspects of Internal & External Decorating undertaken to

the highest standards by our team of specialists. We offer a

professional service and competitive prices.

Telephone Office:

01580 713599


Free Written Quotes

Telephone Mobile:

07856 947840


Fully Insured









Please email or call for a free quotation

PHONE: 07740 825748


■ House Extension Groundworks

■ Basement Construction

■ Sewage Treatment Tank Installation

■ Tennis Court Construction

Parish CakeAutumn 2020 15



The right houses in the right places?

Garry Pethurst discusses

WE PROBABLY all know that

the government has pledged

to build 300,000 new homes a

year to make up for the failure

of previous governments

to meet the housing

requirements of a rising

population and the changing

needs within that population

(e.g. more of us living on our


At the last census, in 2011,

there were 2,741 household

spaces in the parish.

Tunbridge Wells Borough

Council published its draft

Local Plan last autumn, which

many of us commented on.

That document suggested that

between 818 and 918 additional

houses could be built in the

parish by 2036, the majority of

them within the next 10 years.

This represents an increase

of 33% and the NDP Housing

policies seek to ensure that the

right houses of the right quality

are built in the right places to

meet the current and future

needs of our community.


In January 2020 the average

price of a house in our area

was £506,000, which is 16

times the estimated average

salary of people living in

the parish. In 2017, the NDP

surveyed local businesses

who indicated that over

80% of their staff travelled

to work from as far away as

Gillingham, because they

could not afford to live here.

This is not sustainable and

must be addressed, but how?

The same survey suggested

we would have to build 300

homes for these workers, but

it is very clear that they would

have to be at a price that they

could afford.


In the 2011 census over 25%

of the parish was over the age

of 60, an indication of our

increasingly ageing population.

Many of these will probably

be wanting to downsize, but

where are the properties to

meet their need, which will

enable them to continue to

live independent lives for as

long as they are able/want?

We are calling for high quality,

appropriately sized housing

designed to be adaptable to

meet future needs.

The government has set

a target of net zero carbon

emissions by 2050. Besides

getting out of our cars, any

houses built in the parish

should be in the vanguard to

ensure that they are designed

to reduce our carbon footprint.

What do you Think?

Have Your Say!

Consultation on the neighbourhood

development plan runs from mid-

October for six weeks. All your

comments will be taken into account

and will help to inform the final version.

Your voice matters and can make a


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.

16 Parish CakeAutumn 2020


Culture & Community

Cllr. Kim Fletcher asks, ‘What do you need

to evolve the culture of the parish?’


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


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.



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


Chelsea fringe festival, Cranbrook Goes Nuts in May

visiting acts and Cranbrook

Operatic and Dramatic Society

productions and is also home

to the popular Cranbrook Film


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 six 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.


Local Experts with a Network of London & Regional Offices


Parish CakeAutumn 2020 17



Cllr. Kim Fletcher lists the infrastructure needed in the parish in

light of new development – what else do you want to see?

THE NEED for water, drainage,

power, internet and services,

such as GPs, a pharmacy and

shops, is a given for modern


However, the sudden

building programme TWBC

has planned for the parish

will stress our existing

infrastructure, so the NDP is

working to minimise this.

A new multi GP surgery

is planned on Wilkes Field,

alongside an improved public

space in the Crane Valley and a

community centre.

New cycle and footpaths

are planned to improve the

links from the outskirts of the

parish to the centre, without

resorting to a car.

Increased local parking off

Angley Road is planned with

improved footpaths to the

town centre and schools.

The High Weald Academy

has been rebuilt ready for

more pupils from a wider area.


Formerly known as Hartley Dyke Farm Shop

The lack of employment

and business opportunity

land remains a big concern, as

domestic land is more valuable

than commercial sites.

Drainage in the Crane

Valley, the potential for

flooding and the capacity

of the sewage works are

issues taken up with the

Environment Agency.

Traffic and transport are a

real concern and have been

described in other articles

within this special feature

We need your views on other

infrastructure that may need


What do you Think?

Have Your Say!

Fresh Fruit & Vegetables • Flowers • Plants

•Shrubs • Hot & Cold Foods • Drinks

• Groceries & Delicatessen

Charity Farm, Swattenden Lane, Cranbrook, TN173PS

Tel: 01580 712546

Consultation on the neighbourhood

development plan runs from mid-

October for six weeks. All your

comments will be taken into account

and will help to inform the final version.

Your voice matters and can make a


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.

18 Parish CakeAutumn 2020


Have Your Say –

Don’t Miss Out!

Cllr. Nancy Warne on the upcoming consultation of the draft

Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Neighbourhood Development Plan

PLANNING IS a complex and

serious subject, and one which

many people don’t want to

think about. Until it directly

affects us, we don’t necessarily

want to get involved at all. But

planning has a huge impact

on our lives and the level of

development proposed for our

parish will affect all of us.

Neighbourhood planning

gives us a chance to shape

future development in

our parish. This is why it’s

important to take the chance

this autumn’s consultation on

Cranbrook and Sissinghurst’s

Neighbourhood Development

Plan (NDP) offers and have your


The consultation period will

run from mid October 2020 for

six weeks – so please take this

opportunity to have your say in

helping shape the future of our



The draft plan has taken

years to develop and has been

informed by extensive public

engagement events. The

planning policies within it

encapsulate what is important

to the parish’s residents,

businesses and community

groups. They relate directly

to the parish of Cranbrook

and Sissinghurst and should


conform to planning at borough

and national level. The draft

TWBC Local Plan has the

proposed housing allocations.

Our neighbourhood plan’s

policies are specific to our

parish and describe what we

most value and would like to

protect, and what we would like

to see in any new developments

in the next 15 years. The

purpose of this consultation

is to find out what you think

about these draft policies. The

plan includes seven areas:

• Design & Heritage

• Landscape & Natural


• Access & Movement

• Business & Employment

• Housing

• Community & Culture

• Infrastructure

You may think we’ve missed

things out, you may feel we’ve

included too much. You may

have an opinion about the

priorities for community

infrastructure in the parish

and what we should be asking

for from the developers. The

recent lockdown has given

us time to re-evaluate what’s

important to us and we’d like

to hear your thoughts on that.


Due to the government’s

restrictions as a result of

the coronavirus pandemic,

the parish council is not

yet sure whether we are

able to hold face-to-face

public engagement events.

However, things may change

and we have provisionally

booked the Vestry Hall and St.

George’s Institute for dates

in October in case we are able

to run events by then. We will

provide updates nearer the

time on the parish council and

NDP websites, and on social


Be assured that these

events will be properly riskassessed

and made Covidsecure

through limited-entry,

one-way systems and other

safety measures. For residents

unable to attend, the NDP

Steering Group will be holding

question and answer sessions

online via the Zoom platform.

What do you Think? Have Your Say!

Consultation on the neighbourhood development plan runs from

mid-October for six 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.

Parish CakeAutumn 2020 19


Please send your letters to or by post

to Parish Cake, Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Parish Council, The Old Fire

Station, Stone Street, Cranbrook, TN17 3HF. Please note, letters may be

published in a shortened form at the discretion of the editor.

Thank you for the Support

FURTHER TO Cllr. Garry Pethurst’s article

“Blown Away by Support” in the summer

2020 edition of Parish Cake, I am writing

to endorse his remarks concerning

support for the vulnerable members of the


As my wife and I come into this

category we wish to express our warmest

thanks to Cllr. Andy Fairweather and all

his helpers for the wonderful support

we have received from the Sissinghurst

community: the meals delivered from

the Milk House, the great service and

deliveries from the Village TN17 shop and

the kindness of friends and neighbours in

shopping for us at all times, not forgetting

the odd treat such as Rebecca Smith and

her team delivering a cream strawberry tea

on VE Day, were all greatly appreciated.

With very best wishes to all concerned.

Alison and Geoffrey Cunningham,


A Foul Problem

DURING THE four months of lockdown a

walk in my nearby 'Angley Woods' became

a welcomed family outing. What should be

a safe, picturesque adventure looking up at

the trees and wildlife has quickly become

an unpleasant game of 'dodge the dog

poop' with my children. As you approach

the entrance of the public footpath of

Angley Road you are immediately met by

the unpleasant scent of o'de dog poop,

which even a dog owner would agree is a

foul one.

Dog defecation lines the public walkway

or, on my last walk. a large amount right in

the middle of the path.

As a mother of two I certainly would

not leave my house without a nappy

Would you use a Free Outdoor Gym?

AS PART of my work for Kent Sport I

have been trying to identify the barriers

that stop some people from Cranbrook

and Sissinghurst being more physically

active and one of those appears to be the

cost of exercise classes.

It led me to wonder if we could install

some outdoor gym equipment in one

of the parks and, if we did, would it get


Tunbridge Wells has four outdoor

gyms, which are completely free to

use and accessible for all ages and

abilities. There are apps that you can

download to record your fitness progress

and all equipment has easy-to-follow

instructions. I see no reason why one

of these modern facilities couldn’t be

successful in our parish, either on the

Ball Field near the play area or in the

Crane Valley near the proposed new

community centre.

In February, I attended the launch

of the outdoor gym in Calverley

and allow my baby to defecate on the

public footpath. Not only is not picking

up dog foul illegal but it poses a serious

health risk to other animals and humans.

Contact with dog excrement can cause

'Toxocariasis', a nasty infection that can

lead to nausea, diarrhoea and in rare cases

more serious conditions.

After our recent encounters with

Covid-19 and the risk posed on our health

we should all be vigilant on keeping

each other safe. With social distancing

measures still enforced one quite often

has to step to the side or off the footpath

in Angley to maintain a safe distance and

how one could do this without trekking

home with dog poop on their shoe would

be a sheer miracle.

On a recent walk I lost count at the

amount of poop as you can see in my

Park, Tunbridge Wells, and was really

impressed by the range of equipment.

Not only is there cardio equipment, such

as the skiing machine and hand cycle,

and strength equipment that uses your

body weight as resistance, but also a

large frame which allows more advanced

users to build muscle tone. It is well

worth having a look next time you are in

the town.

The Calverley project cost about £20k

so, in order to gauge whether or not

this is something the residents of the

parish would like, my colleagues from

the Health Improvement Team at TWBC

have created a short survey which can be

accessed at


It would be really helpful if you could

take a couple of minutes to fill this in,

many thanks.

Mark Lawrence, your Everyday

Active Champion

attached photo and feel now that this

surely has become a cause for public

health. I have often had to clean dog poop

from my children's shoes, bike and our


At a time when we should all be striving

for better fitness and courtesy to our

neighbours is it really so much to ask a

dog owner to take a moment bend down

to retrieve their dog’s poop, or at the very

least flick it into the overgowth and off the


A sign at the entrance to the woods asks

all to take away what they bring. This is

not being read or upheld. Better signage is

needed at the entrance and along the main

footpath along with appropriate dog bins

to contain waste.

Name supplied

20 Parish CakeAutumn 2020

Dulwich Spirit

Encouraging innovation and independence,

building confidence and resilience


M&A Brown & Sons Ltd, Iden Green Farm, Cranbrook Road, Goudhurst, Kent TN17 2PA ✆ 01580 211599

Parish CakeAutumn 2020 21



and views from

Cranbrook and Sissinghurst


Giant Eyes


AS PART of its expansion drive

in the UK, Aldi has confirmed

that one of the towns in Kent

it will be investigating will be


The company has told Parish

Cake that the site will have to

be around 1.5 acres and able

to accommodate a 20,000 sq ft

store with about 100 parking

spaces, ideally on a prominent

main road and with good

visibility and access.

Cranbrook is one of 15 sites

around the county where Aldi

will be seeking a freehold site,

suitable for development. The

supermarket chain has more

than 800 stores across the UK

and the expansion target is

1,200 by 2025.

Parish council chairman,

Cllr Kim Fletcher, commented:

“Having a second supermarket

in the town would bring a

greater number of shoppers

and traffic, so the site would

have to provide a serious car

park and lorry access.

“Currently, this is difficult

to envisage given the demands

on local land for housing,

the protection of our Area of

Outstanding Natural Beauty

and the expected traffic

jams and pollution from the

new houses. The market will

decide”. Graham Holmes


No to Urbanisation and Dangerous Access

A HUGE cheer has gone up from

Sissinghurst villagers following a

unanimous decision to refuse the

controversial development of 42 homes in

Mill Lane.

Following objections from KCC about the

approach to the site off the single track lane,

all the members of the TWBC’s planning

committee agreed it should be turned down.

The main objections to Dandara’s plans

were the danger of emerging from the lane

onto the A262 close to a blind bend and

urbanisation of the area with road lighting.

Peter Mellor, who has lived in the lane

for more than 30 years, and who led the

objectors’ fight, said: “A very sensible

decision by TWBC’s elected planning

committee to refuse unanimously this

application after hearing and carefully

considering all the facts, including the

important issue of highway concerns.

“Various elements of the development

proposals for this particular greenfield site

are unsatisfactory in many ways. Developers

today need to listen to and take on board

advice and concerns from local residents

during the design stages - as well as taking

advice from their own consultants.

“Otherwise, for decades after developers

have built and left, local residents have to

live with what, in many cases, is unsuitable

development - spoiling the character and

day-to-day living within the vicinity.

“The current ‘Build, build, build!’ edict

from government is very worrying for the

future of our delightful parish of Cranbrook

and Sissinghurst. Small-scale, suitablysited

and attractively designed ‘affordable’

housing for truly local people should be the

aim – not large-scale estates.”

Trisha Fermor

stop press

As Parish Cake went to press it was

not known if Dandara would appeal

against the decision.

22 Parish CakeAutumn 2020






PLANS TO build three large houses in

the gardens of Cranbrook vicarage have

upset the Rev Ann Pollington and brought

widespread condemnation.

The Rev Ann’s home in Waterloo Road,

built in the 1950s, has a garden which the

former horticulturalist tends and where

she keeps chickens and grows flowers and

vegetables. She is keen to support wildlife

and much of the land, on which the

diocese plans to build, is left as a nature

reserve. She is currently adding a wildlife


She told Parish Cake: “The diocese

knows the reason why I don’t want the

building to happen. I don’t want to live in

a building site but my main complaint is

that Cranbrook does not need any more

five bedroomed houses with tiny gardens.

“I have opened up the garden for people

to come and see it and I had one woman

in tears saying it was such a lovely garden.

It has been the venue for summer church

gatherings and it is also home for my


chickens which will lose their area. My

garden would become tiny and I would be

looking out onto a six foot fence close to

my windows.”

The Rev Ann is also concerned that

her current single width driveway is not

planned to be widened but will also serve

the new properties.

The parish council has unanimously

recommended refusal. Members are

against the loss of the vicarage grounds

and the building of more five-bedroomed

homes in the town. They also objected to

the entrance and exit being unsuitable as

it is on a pinch point in the road. TF

stop press

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

was due to consider the application

as Parish Cake went to press.







THE HARD work of our parish

council clerks has again been

recognised with a prestigious


Clerk Lori Ham and her

deputy Lynn Thirkell have

joined only six other councils

in Kent – out of 300 – in being

awarded Quality Status in the

Local Council Award Scheme.

It recognises that Cranbrook

and Sissinghurst Parish

Council achieves good practice

in governance, community

engagement and provision of

services. More importantly,

it notes that the clerks go

“above and beyond” their legal

obligations by leading their

communities and continuously

looking for ways to improve

and develop further.

Parish council chairman Cllr

Kim Fletcher said: “This is a

welcome public recognition of

all the hard work done by our

excellent parish clerks. We are

very proud of their high quality

service to the parish council

and the community.”

The clerks said: “We were

overjoyed at being recognised

for all our hard work and being

named a quality parish council

with only six others in Kent.”


Parish CakeAutumn 2020 23



and views from

Cranbrook and Sissinghurst

Queen’s Award for

Nourish Foodbank

NOT ONLY is the Tunbridge Wells charity Nourish a

lifeline for so many who find themselves facing food

poverty but it is also the recipient of the Queen’s

Award for Voluntary Service, the highest honour that

can be given to a UK group.

The award was first created in 2002 to

commemorate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and each

year the recipients are announced on 2 June - the

anniversary of the Queen’s coronation.

Nourish is run by more than 60 volunteers ranging

from 16 to 70 and has provided 63,126 meals during

the past year. Over 7,000 people, more than half of

them children in the borough, including Cranbrook,

have needed to call on Nourish for help. With the

Covid-19 pandemic, that number is set to rise.

Dawn Stanford, Nourish’s operations manager,

said: “We are over the moon with getting the award.

I am delighted for all the volunteers who do such

a wonderful job. Myself and a colleague have been

invited to Buckingham Palace in May for a garden

party and I have already bought my hat!” Nourish is

one of 230 charities to be recognised by the Queen,

for outstanding voluntary service to their local

community. Mignon Brian

Foodbanks are not self-referring. If you

are facing food poverty, contact your

GP, Citizens Advice, DWP, local clergy

or health visitor and ask for a foodbank

voucher. Don’t go hungry – there is help available.

Nourish Tunbridge Wells: 01892 548892

St Dunstan’s Church, Cranbrook:

St Theodore’s RC, Cranbrook: 01580 713364

The Parish Cake would like to send out a special thank you

to the parishioners of St. Theodore’s Church who tirelessly

collect and donate to the Nourish Foodbank every week, and

have done so for the past seven years! In 2013, St. Theodore’s

also adopted Nourish as their main charity. Your kindness and

recognition of food poverty means so much to so many.

for help

Hawkhurst Pioneers a

Local Community Fridge

DO YOU have food in your fridge

that is about to go out of date and

you know you won’t get a chance to

eat? You are not alone. The average

family in the UK throws away

approximately £810 worth of food

each year. The food sector in the UK,

including supermarkets, destroys

an astonishing £3 billion worth of

unsold food each year.

Food poverty is on the rise, yet

tonnes of food are being wasted. So

how can we get the food that would

normally be discarded, into the

hands of those who would use and

need it?

The Hawkhurst community have

helped to solve that very problem.

The first community fridge in the

local area was launched on the 29

June. The volunteers that run the

fridge are food hygiene trained,

and the premises is registered,

insured and abides by the stringent

guidelines of the UK-wide

Community Fridge Network. At this

time there are around 50 community

fridges scattered across the country.

What is a community fridge?

It is a fridge for the local community

and shops to donate and/or share

food that would normally go to


Where is the community fridge?

The entrance of the new Green Shop

on Rye Road, Hawkhurst.

When is it open? Monday to

Saturday 9:30 to 16:00.

Can anyone use it? Yes! Just open

the fridge and take what you need.

How do I donate to the fridge?

Simply go to the fridge and pop your

unwanted, still in date, food in!

The Community Fridge is quite

simply a great place for the locals

to connect to their community

while being able to access nutritious

food. The fridge is also helping the

environment by reducing waste

with the added bonus of helping

people to save money. For more

information please visit www. or

email hawkhurstcommunityfridge@ Mignon Brian

24 Parish CakeAutumn 2020




slide in the Ball Field,

Cranbrook, looks a little

lonely but the parish council,

which spent £6,492 on the

new attraction, is sure it will

soon be covered in children

having fun!

• ANNIE WATSHAM, Cranbrook,

enjoying a picnic at Knole Park with

an uninvited guest!

• A SPECIAL horse blessing service will be held at Bull

Farm, Glassenbury Road, Cranbrook, at 3pm on Sunday 13

September. It will be conducted by the Rev Ann Pollington,

the vicar of Cranbrook, who said: “The service will be very

short… then I bless the horses. I will be supplying horse

refreshments – carrots afterwards!”

• CRANBROOK UNION Mill is undergoing an extensive

facelift and will not be re-opened until next season. Work

will include removal of the sweeps which will be taken

for repair to a Suffolk millwright’s workshop. The building

will also be sanded down and repainted. To minimise the

effects of dust much of the building is being covered in

heavy-duty cling film.

• A NUMBER OF street lights have been condemned for

safety reasons. Three in the Cranbrook conservation area

must be changed, but no modern equivalent of the swan

neck ones are available. Lantern-style lights will be fitted

to maintain a retro look but cost nearly three times more.

Parish council chairman Cllr. Kim Fletcher said: “The world

shortage of polycarbonate means temporary light fittings

may be used until the heritage lights are available. We want

to maintain a market town look, not a municipal car park.”

• PLANS TO build two four-bedroomed houses on

land behind Medivet, High Street, Cranbrook (formerly

Pearson, Stuart and Partners) which were turned down by

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council have also been refused

on appeal.


• THE CENTURIES-old properties in Stone Street, Cranbrook, looked

incongruous next to 21st century road making machinery when, for the

first time in decades, a new surface was laid in July. The narrow section of

road had been in a pot-holed state for a long time.

• MORE THAN 500 life-saving emergency trauma packs are

being distributed across the county, thanks to Police and

Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott. In a UK first, the packs

can be found at public spaces, thanks to the Kent and

Medway Violence Reduction Unit headed by Mr Scott. The

red bags contain simple enhanced dressings and gauzes

to help preserve the life of someone who has been injured

until emergency services arrive.

• FOR THE first time since lockdown in March, Cranbrook

Market was able to set up its stalls again on 15 August.

Further markets will be held in the Co-op car park on the

left-hand side of the store on 5 September, 7 October, 14

November. The Christmas market will be held in the High

Street on 11 December. TF

Parish CakeAutumn 2020 25


Sissinghurst Virtual Flower Show Successes


dampen the spirits of

Sissinghurst Flower Show

Society members who

enthusiastically supported

the second virtual event in


Following on from the

success of the online spring

show, the summer event

was just as packed with

colour and entries – 130

from 60 different entrants,

up by 40 on the previous


All the entries

were judged by Royal

Horticultural Society

judges, just like a real

show, and entries

can be seen at www.

The autumn show will

also be virtual and details

will be included on the

website nearer the time.

The society always

welcomes new members

living in or connected with

the parish of Sissinghurst.

Anyone interested can

email for

information on becoming a

member. TF


Celebrations Ahead

NEXT YEAR, Cranbrook Bowls Club members will be

celebrating its centenary.

Spokesman Tony Platts said: “We are at present

holding open mornings for coaching every Monday,

Wednesday and Saturday mornings 10am until 12

noon until the first week in October for anyone who

wants to learn or to play bowls.

“The club is currently looking for new members.

Anyone interested in finding a new sport/hobby why

not give bowls a try? It is a game the whole family

can play.

“The club offers free coaching and tuition is

available by a qualified coach and experienced

bowlers. Social distancing is kept as per Covid-19

regulations and all equipment is sanitised after each

time it is used.

“We look forward to meeting you at the green

which is situated at the top of Jockey Lane Car Park,

to the left behind the large hedge.”

Further information can be found on

Facebook, under Cranbrook Bowls Club or www. TF

Sports Writer

Joins Team

PARISH CAKE is delighted

to report that we welcome

keen sports follower and

experienced cricketer

Grahame Grant to our team.

His regular column will

start in the December edition

and everything to do with

sport in both Cranbrook and

Sissinghurst – from rugby

to pickleball and football to

cricket – will be featured.

Match reports can be sent

directly to his email below.

Clubs and groups who

would like to see their efforts

in print and photos in the

magazine are urged to ring

Grahame on 07770 857254 or

email him on grahame041@ TF

Beyond the

Here and Now

FOR MANY people, coming out of

lockdown may have been a little like

Noah coming out of his ark. Having

been shut in for about a year, Noah

and his family stepped out into a

world that was similar to the one

they'd know. However, it was also

quite different.

During lockdown we've made

many changes to our lives. Perhaps

you've got to grips with new

technologies, benefited from online

fitness sessions, spent time growing

your own veg or said "Goodbye" to

the daily commute.

Like many churches, we started

meeting again after months of

hosting online services. Being able

to actually see friends and worship

together was a breath of fresh air -

particularly as we met outside.

One of our livestream

contributors took up running during

the lockdown. She spoke about life

being like a race. Whether running

uphill or down, focus is important.

It's easy to be overwhelmed by the

here and now, rather than keeping

the whole race in mind.

As we continue to move into a

new pattern of normal life, reflect

on your own lockdown experience.

What's really important? Which

changes have you made that should

stay and which should be consigned

to history? Chris Goodchild,

Vine Church

26 Parish CakeAutumn 2020

Offering luxury designer clothing hand bags,

shoes and accessories and up to 80% off.

New store now open

Tenterden - 17a High Street TN30 6BN

Cranbrook - 21 High Street TN17 3EE - 01580 712900 - Open 6 days a week

We are currently taking in stock if you having anything exciting you’d like to seek via us.



of the great events

we are rightly proud of!

Apple Fair Back on the Autumn

Calender – With New Mayor!

IT IS all systems go for this

year’s Apple Fair – the

14th since it was launched

– with a ‘Smugglers and

Mods’ theme as well as

a surprise “crowning”


The organisers have

been trying to keep it a

secret that Linda Page, the

founder of Cranbrook in

Bloom, has been chosen

as the new mayor. She will

be following on from the

town’s first holder of the

title, the much-loved Phil

Mummery who sadly died

earlier this year.

On Saturday 3 October,

attractions will include a

Where’s Phil? competition

with cut-out scale forms of

his previous appearances,

loads of great music, stalls

selling everything from

cheeses to carved wooden

objects, apples in all their

different guises and fancy

dress from both themes.

Anyone who owns a donkey

is urged to bring it along to

take part in the Ugliest Ass


Joint organiser Stuart

Cleary said: “We sounded

out Cranbrook and the

wishes of the people were

that the show must go on.

“As well as the Red-

Barrows race down the

High Street there will be

displays from Mod Scooter


Chapters and the Dr Syn

Re-enactment Society.”

Mr Cleary, who is also

supporting a new campaign

to put Cranbrook firmly

on the tourist map again,

mentioned the “sad

quote” by Darling Buds

of May author H.E. Bates:

“Cranbrook is a village

giving the impression of

trying to remember what

once made it important.”

Mr Cleary said: “The new

mayor has lots of plans to

up the status of Cranbrook

and get it onto the existing

tourist trail and make

Cranbrook the Capital of

the Weald. How important

it is to lift ourselves above

our local rivals.

“Who needs Tenterden,

1400, when you have her

older sister coming of age?

Cranebroca 1100 will have

a new mayor to pick up

from Phillip’s great start. ”

Both Mrs Page and her

husband Fred, who own

Pages’ newsagents in

the High Street, will be

teaming up with the town’s

borough councillor Tom

Dawlings, Mr Cleary and

others to come up with

a strategy to make the

town the first destination

visitors to the area want

to see.

He joked: “…look at

Tenterden’s Wikipedia

page, it’s much better

written than ours and

more extensive. And they

haven’t done anything

since 1449!” TF


On being chosen as the

mayor elect, Mrs Page

said: “It is all a bit

surreal. I thought, no

there must be plenty

of other people who

could be mayor but

Stuart wanted me and he

said it needed to be a female.

But it doesn’t make me any different. The

last thing I want is for people to put me on

a pedestal.

“It is a bit of a blank canvas with no

precedence. I will be speaking to Val [Phil’s

widow] to see what he had in mind. I am

sure there were things he wanted to do.

But I cannot replace him and I would not

want to.

“Phil was always dressing up in

costumes at events, often as a woman, but

I am happy to dress up, but not as a man!”

The mother-of three was a founding

member of Cranbrook in Bloom “at least

20 years ago” and the team has been

responsible for making the town even

more attractive with tubs of flowers.

Thanks to their efforts, the group has won

gold several times in the annual South and

South East in Bloom competition. TF

The mayor-making ceremony will take

place during the Apple Fair on 3 October.

The event will run from 11am to 4pm.


Following the successful spring and

summer shows this year, the Sissinghurst

Flower Show Society’s autumn show will

also be held online. Photograph your

exhibits and send them to SFSS@mail.

com by 5.30pm on Friday 11 September.

All entries are free. Visit for

schedule and preparing entries. TF

Parish CakeAutumn 2020 29



on Camera

During Lockdown


been captured for posterity

by keen photographer

Charlotte Lock to raise

money for the NHS.

Charlotte, who lives in

the village, has raised more

than £800 for NHS charities

by snapping villagers, at

the correct distance, during


Charlotte, who works in human

resources for the NHS, said she was

delighted to have raised money in the

village and thanked everyone who took part.

She also snapped families in Hawkhurst. TF

30 Parish CakeAutumn 2020




Zachery Phillpot-Brian has his say

IT IS safe to say we are all still adjusting

to life, even after the easing of

lockdown. Although some sectors such

as casinos and clubs are still closed; we

welcome the reopening of pubs, retail

shops, hairdressers and other places

that people have desperately missed.

Some say the government is selfishly

reopening places to keep the economy

going, in return for a few more deaths.

Others believe this is necessary for the

long term and the government cannot

afford to keep paying for people not to

work through the furlough scheme.

I believe that the government is in a

tough spot. However, it is a spot they've

put themselves in by not taking the

virus seriously enough in the first place

and delaying lockdown. It seems the

government has a choice of digging a

deeper hole of debt along with millions

more losing their jobs or increasing

the spread of infection. It’s a daunting

position they find themselves in.

So, what can we do about it?

Unfortunately, not much. But we, the

general public, can do little things.

Even if it is an inconvenience. Wear a

mask, keep your social distance, wash

your hands and don’t kick up a fuss

about it.

I can’t believe it when I hear people

complaining about wearing a mask,

claiming it is their right not to wear

one, that masks are an infringement on

their “freedom of expression”.

You may think a mask is pointless,

but wearing one will prevent you, if you

have it, from spreading coronavirus to

someone else who in turn will spread it

to others, with the disease eventually

reaching someone vulnerable who

could die. It also protects you from

picking up the virus.

I’d say wearing a mask is worth it.

Even if doing so does fog up my glasses.

Until we find a long-term solution

we have to pull together and make

this country safe again. There is no

use pretending things are OK. It's up

to us as a country to fix the mistakes

our leaders have made, by not acting

sooner, and doing our part.

Lead by example and hopefully

others will follow suit. Until the day

we can go back to some sort of real

normalcy and safety, let’s stay safe.

Remember that the virus still isn't

something to take lightly, especially

when it comes to those out there who

are not strong enough to beat it.

So, don’t be selfish. Wear a mask.

Parish CakeAutumn 2020 31




Open Morning

Friday 9th October, 9.30am – 12pm

Meet our new Headmaster, Mr Eddy Newton

Pre-register online

Marlborough House School, Hawkhurst, Kent, TN18 4PY

100% Common Entrance Exam pass rate

100% Cranbrook Entrance Exam pass rate

‘Excellent’ academic and pastoral care (ISI rated)


Would you like some inspiration to update, refurbish,

or re-design your existing living space, to include an attractive,

stylish home office area?

If so, we can help.

Social Distance ✔

Remote Consultation ✔ 01580 241325

32 Parish CakeAutumn 2020

MP’s comment

Helen Grant

MP Helen Grant opposes developments which

threaten the heart of the Weald

SINCE I became the MP for

Maidstone and The Weald

in 2010, I have been visibly

and publicly opposed to the

number of houses which

central government has

imposed on our part of Kent.

Frankly, the targets are too

high for the already overstretched

infrastructure and I

am ever fearful of the impact

upon our precious rural


In addition to making

formal representations at

the Maidstone Local Plan

consultations I have been

involved in several community

efforts to protect our green

spaces, including; ‘No to 65’

in Sissinghurst, ‘Hands off

Coxheath’, ‘Save Fant Farm’

in Maidstone and the ongoing

‘No to 2000’ campaign in

Marden. Some we win and

some we don't, but either way

we have been known to give a

developer or two a bloody nose

and demonstrate the power

that communities can have

when they come together in an

organised way.

Most recently I have been

in contact with Chris Pincher,

the Housing Minister, to

convey my strong view that

the housing targets for local

authorities in West Kent should

be reduced. I made clear to him

that at the very least I would

hope that the timescales by

which these houses must be

delivered could be increased

to give our councils greater


I know that Tunbridge Wells

Borough Council (TWBC) is

currently considering the some

8,000 responses they received

during the public consultation

on their draft Local Plan. They

currently intend to publish

a revised draft of the plan

before the end of this year

and I will be meeting with the

chief executive and leader

of TWBC shortly to discuss

their progress with this vitally

important task.

While my work to reduce

the housing burden for our

community will continue

unabated, we still need to

find a way of delivering the

homes that our children

and grandchildren need.

I do believe that garden

communities could form an

important part of the solution

to this conundrum. They must,

however, be properly planned

with appropriate transport

connections and sufficient

facilities for health, education

Helen with ‘No to 65’ campaigners

in Sissinghurst in 2014.

and convenience stores.

Properly planned garden

communities would negate

the need for inappropriate










piecemeal developments,

such as that proposed for

Turnden, Cranbrook. I have

already raised my fundamental

opposition to this development

with TWBC and hope they will

take into account the serious

concerns held by local people

when coming to a decision.

In the meantime, I will

continue to do everything I can

to ensure that new homes are

only built in the right numbers,

in the right places and with

the necessary supporting


Parish CakeAutumn 2020 33



No to TWBC’s

Local Plan

Cllr. Sean Holden, borough councillor for Benenden and

Cranbrook and Kent County Councillor for Cranbrook,

explains why he is voting ‘No’ to TWBC’s Local Plan


THE LOCAL Plan – it’s the

wrong plan for Cranbrook

and Sissinghurst. It’s the

wrong plan for the Area of

Outstanding Natural Beauty

(AONB) in which they are

set. It’s the wrong number of


I will vote against it when it

comes before Tunbridge Wells

Borough Council (TWBC).

Chartered Accountants

helping you, your business

and your family

We specialise in farms, families, trusts and estates and have a

dedicated team who can help you manage your financial needs.

We have direct experience with equestrian and farming matters,

and we also offer an extensive range of services including:-

• Bookkeeping

• Succession planning

• Accounts preparation

• Inheritance tax advice

We face an additional 900

houses in this plan, with 300

already permitted in Hartley. I

cannot vote for such a scheme

on behalf of Cranbrook and

Sissinghurst residents.

In 2016 the government

suddenly blocked the existing

plan and, instead of 6,000

houses, said the Tunbridge

Wells Borough had an

• Tax returns and

VAT advice

• Estate planning

• Payroll

Please contact

Telephone 01580 313108

Suite 1 Bedgebury Business Park, Goudhurst, Kent TN17 2QX

“objectively assessed need”

for 13,800.

I’ve never accepted that

“need”. We know they’re not

for people presently living

here. We know infrastructure

will be run ragged whatever

“mitigation” developers


TWBC councillors rightly

agreed the only strategic

answer to government

imposition was a new

settlement. Spreading it

among beautiful rural areas

would overwhelm their

character and infrastructure.

So about 4,500 are set for

Paddock Wood and 2,800

around nearby Tudeley (not in

the AONB). But for Cranbrook

it’s 900 and Hawkhurst 700 in

the AONB!

I say, to protect the

beautiful character of our

ancient town and countryside,

these allocations should

go to Paddock Wood’s new

settlements and to Tunbridge

Wells’ town. They already face

7,000. A few hundred more

would make little difference

there but a great deal here.

Better, would be a

government strategic rethink.

Kent County Council (KCC)

has always disappointed

me by going along with the

county-wide requirement of

200,000 in 10 years. I’d rather

see KCC rally the 12 local

councils against cramming

everything into the South

East. They should go to the

Midlands and the north

where land prices are lower

and building can stimulate

struggling economies.

Covid has changed work

and how we view and use

cities and towns. Digital

communication has proved

efficient, productive and

beneficial to the quality

of people’s lives. Where

you actually are is often


I’ve asked our MPs to

press for the imminently

redundant HS2 railway’s

£100bn to be switched to

digital communications and

for houses to go north.

34 Parish CakeAutumn 2020



Radical Changes for


Will they help overcome the housing crisis?

asks borough councillor Nancy Warne

AN OVERHAUL of the planning system has

been proposed by central government, which

claims radical reforms are needed in order

to increase the rate of house building. These

could have a major impact on our built and

natural environments, as well as the ability

for our local communities and planners to

influence future development.

Under the proposals, a new system based

on a zoning will require local planning

authorities to identify areas for “growth”,

“renewal” and “protection” and set general

principles for development in these areas

through their Local Plan.

Applicants will no longer have to apply for

planning permission, but individual schemes

will be automatically allowed if they comply

with the plan requirements.

Although some of the new ideas are

welcomed, such as greater use of digital

technology and local design codes, many

concerns have been expressed by community

representatives, planners and academics,


• Reduction of input of local community

knowledge, thereby undermining local


• An increase in affordable housing

thresholds from developments of 10 units

to 40-50 units, meaning less affordable

housing will be built

• Changes in the standard method of

calculating housing need could see an

increase in housing targets by 33%, which

means that even “protected” areas are at

short-term risk from overdevelopment

• No evidence that such radical changes are


• Other factors which influence the lack of

housing supply are not addressed

• Climate and health crises are not

addressed, which would see critical

improvements to building standards

• Checks and balances on quality, safety and

environmental protection removed

• Undermines skills and resources of

planning professionals in making policy

and managing development

• Increased pressure on local planning

authorities to produce Local Plans at


• Burden of financial risk to provide

essential community infrastructure falls

on local authorities.

In short, it is unlikely that these proposals

will do what they say on the tin, and

fundamental problems remain unaddressed.

There are other factors which play a part

in the lack of land supply for housing and

housing delivery rates. For instance, there is

nothing to compel developers to complete on

approved permissions, nor to discourage the

practice of land “banking”. And, crucially, the

investment drivers which impact on housing

demand and affordability are not considered

in these proposals.

What can

you do?

Two separate

consultations are now

open. Parish and borough

councillors will be

responding, but individuals are encouraged

to do so as well:


Deadline for

comments – 1 October 2020.

planning-for-the-future Deadline for

comments – 29 October 2020.

Please do also write to MP Helen Grant at with your

views and keep an eye on

and for updates.

Tim Ivinson


Est. 2004

Services include:

• Exterior and Interior Window Cleaning,

• Soffits and Fascias Cleaned,

• Gutters cleared and cleaned

If you would like your windows cleaned the

traditional way call Tim on 07974 450069

Parish CakeAutumn 2020 35



Welcome to a

new section for

the children of the

parish! Please send

us your words and

pictures – we’ll try

and publish as many

as we can here.

To kick things

off we asked via

Facebook for

either a picture of

your favourite toy

out and about

in Cranbrook or

Sissinghurst, or a

piece of writing

on how you

found lockdown.


to our first

featured readers!



Life and Pain

in Lockdown!

By Lily Charge, 10 years old,


IN LOCKDOWN, I feel very

enclosed in my own home.

Although I have so much to do,

I get very impatient. Sometimes

I wake up early so I can get my

home-schooling done quicker,

and one day I had to go into

school (because I’m a keyworker

child), better get into the


Around the town I live in, I

have been counting how many

rainbows or painted rocks I can

find. So far, my family and I have

found over 60 of them, that has

surprised me because we live

in a very small area. I made 12

posters and on one of our many

walks I pinned them on fences,

tree and lamp posts. Some

people asked me if I had made

them because I had initialled the

bottom of the paper L.C.

Well… there has been

something HUGELY positive last


had a living room dance party

while Face Timing everyone. I

opened my presents and cards

that they had sent me.

I enjoyed catching up with

friends and relatives on social

media. It felt extraordinary to

hear their voices and seer them

once again, even if it was a

strange experience. I miss them.

Victory in Europe day was

very special. The school had set

up tasks throughout the week,

leading up to a VE day party.

My whole family got involved in

making banners, food and drink.

We also made a hamper for my

great grandad and his wife. It


• A menu

• Wartime lemonade

• Cheese scones

• Sausage rolls

• Wartime shortbread

• Jam tarts

• A poster and a string

of bunting

All in a decorated box.

We dropped it off at their front

porch, knocked on the door and

stood at the gate.

They were so surprised and

grateful and grandad told me

that he was only 15 when VE

day happened! He said that

everyone partied in the high

street and set a bonfire in the

middle of the road. To keep the

fire going people threw their

furniture onto it.

Only recently, in this

extremely hot weather, we

had a water fight – more like

a tsunami. I got my mum and

brother with my fantastic

aim (NOT). It was brilliant fun

passing the water balloons

around the circle until someone

dropped it and makes the

balloon POP! I wish it lasted


The walks were rather

enjoyable but… my family

made me go on the longest

walk ever. To start with I loved

walking across meadows and

over styles into a patch full

of sweet smelling bluebells (I

picked some to take home).

Then we kind of got lost!

However, when we saw

36 Parish CakeAutumn 2020

Benenden School ahead all

of us we realised how far we

were from home. Luckily we

found out the way back, by

the handy Google Maps.

Turned out we went eight

miles and I’m never doing that

horrible walk ever again!!!!!

My poor dog Evie was

always left alone, when we

had to go to school. Now she

is as happy as I am because

we are together in lockdown

(that’s one more positive

thing to add to my birthday).

I planted some flowers, with

Evie ditching her ball in the

pots of soil and spilling the

dirt everywhere! Naughty girl!

The flowers I planted were

sunflowers, petunias and lilies.

They are growing very quickly.

I liked playing and building

with my Harry Potter Lego. I

sent approximately four hours

trying to make Hedwig and

finally finished it. My fingers

were red and sore OUCHY. I

felt like I was just putting the

building on repeat because it

just went on and on and on

and ON! When I completed in

I was like hallelujah it’s done.

To top all of that off, I think

I’ve had about a million and

one BBQs and chimeneas

over the past few months.

Yummy… we have slept in

the caravan on the drive and

pretended to be on one of

our holidays in Dorset. Mum

bought us a tiny paddling

pool and that served as our

luxurious beach and sea. But

not quite the same.

Oh, and I also learnt to knit.



Members Only

at this Club

Bear in Cranbrook by

Martha Lavey-Moore,

5, Cranbrook


For the next issue, please send us:

• In under 200 words: What is your favourite part of Cranbrook or Sissinghurst?

• In a picture: You in your favourite part of Cranbrook or Sissinghurst

If we end up with too much to publish we will ask parish council chairman

Cllr. Kim Fletcher to choose his favourites!

Please email your entries to Trisha, our friendly editor -


Play Café

Welcome to a café

setting that puts

children first while

also serving locally roasted,

award-winning coffee!

CREATED BY Seth and Katie Gulliver, Gulliver’s

combines the couple’s passions of great food

and the power of imaginative play.

Seth, previously a catering manager at

Bodiam Castle, says he found fun levels lacking

when visiting local eateries with his children,

even those aimed at youngsters. “The reasons

seemed pretty clear,” he says. “Most of the

space was what you’d find in a regular café but

with the prerequisite ‘picket fence’, artificial

grass and an awful lot of toys piled up. There

was no separation of toys which meant more

confident children dominated the popular


ones. The result? Squabbles and stress!”

Seth and Katie, a clinical phycologist

specialising in young children, decided they

could do better by embracing imaginative play.

“We’ve created the kind of place that

appeals to children of all ages and gives them

their own space,” says Katie. “There are also

games and toys that can be played at the table

with a family if the other areas are too busy.”

Child-friendly design

Tables and chairs are lowered, there’s

comfortable seating for breastfeeding mums,

a toddler toilet and even a loyalty scheme built

around the children.

The menu features children’s favourites

as well as the opportunity to explore new

flavours and ingredients, and all meals are

made fresh on site.

“We got help from the experts with our

menus,” says Seth. “Children from Yalding

Primary School gave up some of their playtime

to share their thoughts on the type of food

they would like to see!”

Everyone’s welcome

Not forgetting the grownups, Gulliver’s serves

locally roasted award-winning coffee – perfect

if you want to relax while the children create

something at the ‘building bar’ or let off steam

in a setting made especially for them.

Parish CakeAutumn 2020 37








Larry, Downing Street Chief Mouser, spy for British

Intelligence and Her Majesty, had just seconds to

stop Dr Doo from launching a missile and destroying

the Cranbrook Union Mill. Larry, now inside the Doo

Compound, was ready to save the day the British way.

“10!” piped a disembodied voice.

“And we’re off,” whispered Larry. He pulled his pistol from his

utility belt. Larry was covered top to paws in a black, bulletproof

jumpsuit and balaclava. He aimed his pistol at the ceiling and

deployed the suction cup and cord mechanism then pawed the

yellow button, held onto the pistol. The cord recoiled back into

the pistol’s barrel.


With one paw, Larry fumbled with his utility belt and pulled

out four small suction cups. Then, like only a cat can, he twisted

his body in impossible ways to apply them to each paw and then

attached himself to the ceiling, looking like a spider-cat. He then

began to combat crawl along the ceiling to the laboratory where

he could hear multiple humans barking orders to each other. He

lowered his head and peeked inside the doorway.


The lab was typical. Computers, desks, maps and a glass wall

with a stinking great eight-foot-long missile. Larry couldn’t

believe what he’d clapped eyes on. This missile was big enough

to take Cranbrook off the map. Luckily, Larry was equipped with

a Catnap-Grenade. He unhooked it from his utility belt, put

the grenade to his mouth, pulled the pin with a fang - and that

was when he noticed one of the humans was looking up at him



“Hello!” Larry chirped. “Just thought I’d drop by.” Larry

dropped the grenade. All the humans now gawped at Larry,

gawped at the grenade, then began to push each other out of the

way to the exit.

Calmly, Larry activated his balaclava’s inbuilt gasmask.

The grenade went off with a flash of light then a cloud of

grey coloured gas. The humans looked ay each other, puzzled

expressions on their faces, then dropped where they stood.

“Having a ‘Licence to Nap,’ makes it all too easy,” yawned Larry

behind his mask. “Suction deactivate,” he said. Immediately the

cups on his paws lost their suction and Larry fell, twisted mid-air

and landed on the computer console.


He began to thump away at a computer. A map of Kent and

London appeared on the screen. Larry began to tap away at the

missile coordinates.

“HALT!” barked a voice behind him. Larry heard the

unmistakable ‘click’ of a gun that did not contain utilities.


Larry slowly turned around and sat back on his hind legs.

A huge caramel brown Alsatian dog sat in the doorway; gun

pointed at Larry.

“Well, well, well,” said the dog. “If it isn’t my little mouse

catching nemesis.”

It was, Dr Doo himself.

Doo stared menacingly at Larry with giant watery brown eyes.

He’d fastened a mask to his snout, immune to the toxins of the



“Why Cranbrook?” asked Larry, as he slyly raised one back leg

to fish around in his utility belt with his back claws. “Did some

local take you out for walkies and made you scoop your own

dodo, Doo?” Larry couldn’t help but giggle at his own joke.

Doo snarled. “Well, as I’m going to kill you, I may as well tell

you…” Doo began his monologue. “Under the Union Mill, buried

deep, is the largest gold nugget ever stolen. It’s priceless and

was buried there by the Hawkhurst Gang back in 1748. Only they

got themselves shot or hung before they could retrieve it. I need

to blast big enough to cause a distraction. During that time my

humans will retrieve the gold and, just like that, I’ll be gone.”

Larry yawned loudly as he pulled a small glass breaking baton

from his belt.


“Sounds like you’ve been reading too many story books,”

chortled Larry.

Doo barked smugly. “Oh Larry, I received the information from

Downing Street. You’ve got a RAT! You never can seem to catch

them, can you?”

Larry’s tail puffed-out, but he’d run out of time.


The missile began to rumble.

“Well, I’d love to stay and chat,” said Larry. “But I must fly!”

38 Parish CakeAutumn 2020

In the space of half a second Larry hit enter on the computer,

threw the baton against the glass which exploded and cat leapt

onto the missile with his suction cup paws. Doo was firing his

gun, but the bullets harmlessly bounced of Larry’s bulletproof


“1 – missile activated!”

The missile took off with Larry attached. He heard Doo howl

in his wake. Larry had changed the missiles direction to that of

the River Thames in London. Flying at 300 miles per hour, he

was there in minutes.

Larry pawed a large red button on his vest and a Union Jack

flag parachute popped open, pulling him off the missile. Larry,

now flying safely through the air, watched the missile splash

down and detonate deep underwater near Tower Bridge. Then

to Larry’s horror, a large water bubble formed then exploded,

raining greenish-brown river water on anyone driving or

walking over the bridge. Cars’ horns started blaring and people

started swearing.

“You’ll cool off!” Larry yelled, whilst cringing.

Meanwhile, at Downing Street, the PM was in his office,

talking to his dog in a cutesy voice when an assistant passed

him a note. As he read it his face turned redder and redder until

he looked like an exploding tomato.

“LARRY!” he screamed.

Helen Grant

MP for Maidstone

and the Weald

I am here to help you in any

way that I can. If there is

an issue of concern to you,

where you believe I can

assist, or if you would like to

arrange a meeting with me,

please email me at helen. or

telephone 020 7219 7107.



Produced by

Helen Grant MP,

House of Commons,

London SW1A 0AA





Kent Peg Tiling

Bespoke Joinery

Bespoke Bathrooms

Period & Listed Buildings

Conversions & Extensions

Traditional Lime Plastering

Renovations & Refurbishments

T:01580 712072

M:07787 948823

Parish CakeAutumn 2020 39

I WONDER what our

gardens would look like

now if it were not for

the bravery of an army

of intrepid hunters who

travelled the world in

search of plants?

This thought was

prompted after browsing

a seed catalogue showing

a wonderful flower

– Gloriosa superba

“Rothschildiana” – which

took me 4,000 miles away

to a magical time.

Running a wildlife

camp with my husband

and sharing India’s

wildlife from tigers to

cobras was unforgettable,

especially as these glory

lilies were as abundant in

the grounds as daisies on

English lawns.

Earlier this year, I

ordered six tubers –

looking more like fat

cigars – and planted

them in a large pot. A

few weeks later, thanks

to some very hot summer

days, I was rewarded with

numerous flowers on

each plant. One oddity

which surprised me

was how they grew tiny

tendrils from the ends

of their leaves to grip on

to their neighbour. I also

discovered all parts of

the plant are poisonous

according to an RHS


In the


Glory Lily Brings Memories

Deciding to investigate

this gorgeous plant

further I discovered it had

been named in honour

of Walter Rothschild, the

second Baron Rothschild,

a member of the banking

dynasty who, like many

of his forebears, had a

passion for plants from

across the globe. An avid

sponsor of plant and

animal collectors – he

even had a carriage pulled

by zebras – he began a

museum at the age of

10 which later morphed

into the Natural History


It is interesting to note

that not long before his

death in 1937, he was

involved with the Roads

Beautifying Association.

As its name implied it

advocated tree and plant

growing to improve

the urban landscape

– a practice which is

sorely missed today

with unnecessary verge

mowing and tree felling.

He expressed the

philosophy of the

association as being “to

let the poor man have

the same pleasure from

driving up to his cottage

or his house as the rich

man can get from his

private drive.”

Penny Royal

Let’s Cook!


INTERESTING to read that chutney

comes from the Indian word “chatni”

meaning to “lick or to eat with appetite”.

Well, this recipe will surely make you do

both! Now is the time to stock up on this

delectable addition to any larder. Great

with cheese or a curry!


1.5lbs plums

8oz green or red tomatoes

8oz onions roughly chopped

1.5lbs cooking apples, after coring and


1lb stoned raisins

1 pint malt vinegar

1.5lbs demerara sugar

1.5tbs cooking salt

1. Wash plums, de-stone and halve. Chop

the tomatoes roughly and put them with

the plums into a preserving pan or a large


2. Pass the onions, apples and raisins

through a coarse mincer or a food processor

then add these to the pan with the vinegar,

sugar and salt.

3. Cook the chutney very slowly for about

three hours to evaporate much of the liquid.

Stir occasionally during cooking especially

towards the end to stop it sticking.

4. Put the chutney into hot sterilised jars

and seal with lids. If you want to enter your

chutney at the village flower show don’t use

waxed discs. Keep for at least three months

to mature.

Bon Appetite!

Emma Fraser

40 Parish CakeAutumn 2020

Badger’s plot

Autumn Allotment Jobs

A new column in Parish Cake, we hope that Badger’s Plot

will inspire a new generation of grow your own enthusiasts and

also be of benefit to the more experienced

ONE OF the side effects of the

lockdown has been the rise

in awareness of the health

benefits, both physically and

mentally, of growing and

eating fresh produce.

Most gardening columns

tend to launch at a convenient

point in the calendar – usually

early spring – when enthusiasm

is probably at its height. This

column begins at a time when

either the harvesting is mostly

over or, conversely, there has

been much head scratching

over perceived failures.

Let’s begin by looking at the

jobs that need to be addressed

during September and October:

• Plant or lift and divide


• Plant spring cabbage and,

towards the end of this

period, plant out garlic and

autumn onion sets

• Later in this period, sow

broad beans

• It’s not too late to sow the

last of your radishes together

with winter-hardy lettuce

• It might be worth trying a

late sowing of French dwarf

beans. They will survive at

least until the first frosts.

• Place boards under pumpkins

or squashes to protect the

bases from rotting. After

harvesting, allow the skins

to harden in the sun and

prolong the storage period.

Now is also a good time to start

thinking about how you will

manage your plot next year.

Is your soil in good condition

and productive enough?

Have you ever considered the

“no dig” method of growing

vegetables? Should you

consider organic gardening?

These questions will be

answered in forthcoming

issues, but if “no dig” takes

your fancy, you need to start

planning now. This system

abolishes digging in favour

of continuously mulching

the soil, with cultivation

restricted to light weeding and

hoeing. During winter, time

should be spent removing

all the perennial weeds

like docks, mare’s tail and

bindweed and preparing the

ground to receive good quality

compost. More about this next

time and until then, happy



Parish CakeAutumn 2020 41


Sunpatch Farm,

Headcorn Rd,

Smarden, TN27 8PJ

Tel: 01622 890046

Sales • Service • Repairs & Parts


Mon - Fri 8.30am– 5.30pm,

Sat 8.30am – 1pm

A different kind of funeral director

for a changing world.

At Holly’s Funerals we treat all

our customers as individuals.

We’ll work closely with you to

help you achieve exactly the kind

of funeral that’s right for you.

For more information please feel free

to call us at any time or look online.

From love comes beauty

01580 389184

Hartley Dyke, Cranbrook • Coombe Lane, Tenterden

42 Parish CakeAutumn 2020


Affordable Housing

Sarah Lewis, TWBC’s housing register and development manager,

gives details on the borough’s affordable homes options


THE CURRENT planning

policy requirement for

affordable housing is 30%

(which has been increased to

40% within Tunbridge Wells

Borough Council’s (TWBC)

draft Local Plan). It is made

available through registered

provider (RP) partners as

social or affordable rented

housing. The borough

council aims for social rent at

approximately 50% of open

market value.

Affordable rent has

typically been favoured for

new development, set at up

to 80% of the open market

value or the Local Housing

Allowance (LHA) rate,

whichever is the lower.

The remainder, normally

40% of the affordable

housing, is available through

RPs as ‘intermediate’

housing. Typically this

housing is shared ownership

where a household buys

a share of the property –

typically between 25-75% of

the open market value - and

pays rent on the remaining

portion to the RP. Applicants

may buy further shares in the

future when they are able but

there is no obligation to and,

when they sell, they sell the

percentage that they have


There are two other

intermediate housing models

– ‘intermediate rent’, which

is set at 80% of the open

market value, or ‘Rent to Buy’

where a household pays an

affordable rent to the RP with

an expectation that they will

buy on a shared ownership

basis in the future (normally

within five years).

To apply for affordable/

social rent the household will

register with TWBC via Kent

Homechoice and be assessed

for their eligibility for its

Housing Register according

to housing need. Visit www.

If and when accepted, all

affordable and social rented

homes are advertised via

Homechoice and households

‘bid’ for homes according

to their housing need and

length of time waiting.

To apply for any

intermediate housing,

including shared ownership,

intermediate rent and rent

to buy, applicants need

to register with the South

East Homebuy Agent,

which is currently Radian

Housing. Radian assesses

their eligibility against




financial and current

housing requirements and,

if accepted, applicants see

properties available for low

cost home ownership in the

South of England. www.




We’re a friendly group of local businesses who meet every

Friday morning over breakfast to share advice, pass business

and learn more about each others specialisms and skills.

Suitable for established businesses and start-ups, the club is

privately run by its members for its members. Why not take

advantage of our free introductory meeting (Full English

breakfast included!) and see if its something you feel would

benefit your business.



or call 01892 547495 to reserve a seat,

find out more and get involved...

Parish CakeAutumn 2020 43



to Cranbrook

Annie Watsham explains how a chance

encounter led to her establishing a

thriving local art business

IN LATE summer 2008 Grahame

Grant and I went down to the

Vestry Hall in Cranbrook to sign

the Gurkha Justice Campaign

petition. A chance comment I

made to Peter Carroll, who was

heading up the campaign, of

‘How’s your campaign going?’

elicited the response, ‘Not that

well.’ My response about getting

Joanna Lumley (whose father

was a Gurkha) involved started

something bigger than I could

ever have imagined…

It instigated a love of and

connection with Nepal and the

Gurkhas. I had been trekking in

Nepal in 1999 for charity (I was

sponsored by Joanna Lumley)

but this took it to a different

level. Joanna visited Cranbrook

in June 2009 to meet me and

the Gurkhas have visited

Cranbrook several times since

then to collect for charity, most

poignantly in 2015 after the

Annie & Grahame

at a private view

devastating earthquake which

shook Nepal. Always a huge hit

with the public the Gurkhas are

a joy to be around!

After this I went on in 2009 to

meet NB Gurung, a wonderful

watercolour artist who lives

in Kathmandu and whose

stunning works we started to

bring to the UK (wrapped in

Nepali newspaper and then in

muslin with wax seals – works

of art in themselves!). We then

framed them and sold through

our website. Thus began the

idea for Grierson Galleries and

we were extremely fortunate to

be offered gorgeous premises in

a stunning historic building in

Sevenoaks, where we launched

in early 2016.

We supported local artists

and Sevenoaks School, as well

as our artists from further

afield, built up a huge artist and

supporter network and made an

excellent name for ourselves. In

2019 we were invited to make

the move and exhibit our art in

our home town of Cranbrook

at the newly launched Hive on

Stone Street. This was perfect

timing as we needed to vacate

our Sevenoaks premises.

In July 2019 Grierson

Galleries at the Hive held

their first edgy innovative

exhibition – we are now on

our fifth! Delighted to be

in our home town, we are

thrilled to represent so many

diverse, talented artists and to

support the local community,

schools and art


and to offer


from art


to ‘try before

you buy’ and

Art as Investment.

We have many diverse artsrelated

plans in the pipeline to

extend our Art Hub services to

our artists and the public.

We also organise and host our

annual Benenden Art Show and

will be launching our first Art in

Transition art show at Dulwich

Prep Cranbrook next year. Both

sadly had to be postponed

this year due to Covid. Local

businesses support us, and we

love working to mutual benefit.

It’s a fascinating journey

and one never knows where

a chance comment will take



Watch NB

Gurung painting live

(as filmed by my daughter

Louise) on his terrace in

Kathmandu at

more info

Enjoy our delicious café and patisserie offerings safely –

all homemade on the premises. Grierson Galleries

Open Mon-Sat 8.30am-4.30pm,

Sun 9am-2pm

01580 720559 / 07970 413492

We also offer bespoke cakes and

afternoon teas. The Wendy House, 27 Stone Street, Cranbrook | 01580 714954

Tel. 01580 388190

The Street, Benenden, Kent, TN17 4DB

Open for Business

Parish CakeAutumn 2020 45


Farm Shops

Sarah Calcutt gives a rundown of these local wonders of the Weald

IN THE middle of lockdown the chief

executive of Produced in Kent wrote to all

its members who were involved in providing

additional services to communities during the


The letter recognised the actions of

many businesses going above and beyond

what would ordinarily be expected of them.

It formally recognised their hard work,

dedication and professionalism over the

lockdown period, it detailed the farmers, the

processors, the hospitality outlets moving

their business models to take outs, the

retailers who provided a lifeline to those

needing groceries delivered.

Our local farm shops really stepped up

didn’t they - aren’t we fortunate to be living

where we do? How many of us now have

Hinxden milk, cream and yoghurt delivered

to our doorsteps twice a week? Collected, or

had delivered, boxes of fresh produce, dairy,

bread and meat? I returned to the shopping

habits of our parents or grandparents and

went to see one of Cranbrook’s two butchers

every few weeks to stock up (and wasn’t that

an interesting lesson in value for money and


Personally, with my neighbours, I had

fish, ice cream (a big shout goes to Eugene

Hughes and the cheerful tune that heralded

the delivery of the ultimate in lockdown

treats, a tray of soft ice cream studded with

naughty sweets) fresh produce and dairy

delivered for two months. We then, like

many, went to these shops to for regular

stock ups.

And now, how are the farm shops doing,

who are the stars of our corner of the

Weald? Well, all through lockdown Hartley,

Cranbrook, Taywell and Ladysden farm shops

all went above and beyond in helping locals

get essentials. Ranges were revised overnight,

box delivery schemes were organised in a

matter of days and online click and collect

services ensured appropriate distancing.

Local Champions

Lower Ladysden Farm

Beware of dinosaurs thundering down the maize maze this autumn!

Weather permitting the maze will be open through to Halloween again this

year. The pumpkin patch is thriving with even more varieties than ever,

watch out for some extraordinary shapes and colours. The farm shop is also

thriving with partnerships with local bakers, dairies and key growers plus

its own produce meaning that the offering is seasonal, local and very fresh.

Finalists in the National Farm Shop awards this year, Ladysden is going

from strength to strength. Home grown turkeys were a great success in

2019, fed a varied diet plus foraging through the asparagus rows.


Farm Shop

Growing by

the day, this

farm shop has

a broad offering

and features a

lot of very specialist, niche local

producers. The hospitality is great

and the team knowledgeable about

their lines - they have been masters

of social distancing bringing a large

proportion of the shop outside to

help customers. They also have

a pumpkin patch growing well

and their partnership with the

Glassenbury Shoot will soon begin

to deliver fresh game. You’ll also

soon be able to order game and

turkeys for Christmas plus a lot of

gifts for foodies.

Hartley Coffee Shop and Farm Shop

The butchers have just announced a new

partnership for local pork and they continue

to run offers for stocking freezers and for

social gatherings.

Keith and the bakery team have one of the

broadest offerings around; have you tried

the sweetcorn, marmite or beetroot loaves

yet? With the deli counter, coffee shop

and Cranbrook Fishmongers on the site,

they have


They also

have an


range of

poultry and

hams for

Christmas, all

locally reared.

Cranbrook Farm Shop

If you couldn’t find a vegetable from the shop they could have

probably sold you the plant to grow during lockdown! This

shop is such a Tardis and as we get towards Halloween and

then Christmas expect to see lots of goodies to squirrel away

for the holidays. There are some surprising gourmet lines

amongst their offerings, their prices are hard to beat and they

have the smiliest team in the district. They have a fantastic

Christmas ordering scheme; best to start planning soon!

46 Parish CakeAutumn 2020



An Estate full

of History

Long term local Ivor Hatcher on discovering

local history during lockdown


son of the former owner of Great

Swifts, was an intrepid explorer.

Along with his brother Claud,

he explored Africa and was

responsible, along with others,

for mapping out Lake Chad.

To commemorate this the mill

pond on the Great Swifts estate

was renamed Lake Chad.

The Alexander brothers

travelled thousands of miles to

explore, but recently many local

people have discovered Great

Swifts and the surrounding

farmland and are exploring the

beautiful countryside right on

their doorstep.

The estate is full of history!

The actress Elizabeth Taylor

lived in one of the farmhouses

before the war. Kent County

Cricket was played there and a

section was filmed for the BBC

series Anne of Avonlea in the

early `70… and so much more.

Where cows once grazed

it was landscaped for a golf

course and is now a private

garden with a footpath through

the centre. The main footpath

from Cranbrook to Sissinghurst

was once busy with locals

journeying between the town

and village.

This land, as are so many

places, is being explored by

families, friends and dog

walkers who are enjoying the

beauty of this historicallyinteresting


It must be remembered

though, most land is privately

owned. Walkers should stay

on the designated paths and

follow the Country Code. Gates

must be left as found and dogs

kept on leads where there is

livestock. The countryside is to

be enjoyed, but respected. Enjoy

your walks wherever you may

roam! Ivor


ABOVE: Lieutenant

Boyd Alexander

LEFT: Swift’s Park


Capital Allowances Consultants

Helping people in the area save money upon

their commercial buildings such as offices,

shops, restaurants, hotels and holiday let cottages

For Information contact Paul Jempson on

Tel: 0800 954 5081

Mob: 07957 822110

Parish CakeAutumn 2020 47

Rare breed & native

livestock producing

the best quality

grass fed meat

Shop online at

for delivery or collection from our farm

butchery just outside Cranbrook

Please call 01580 891046 or email us at: to discuss any

bespoke requirements you may have

Paley Farm, Paley Lane,

Cranbrook, Kent

TN17 2LX




Face to face in central Cranbrook

studio when allowed


Very experienced, fully qualified and insured.

Professional member of EPTA & ISM

Happy to help with all enquiries

Please contact

Georgina on 01580 712202

48 Parish CakeAutumn 2020


Museum Matters

Once again, Mike

Huxley shares the

wonderful secrets

to be found in

Cranbrook Museum

THIS YEAR was to have been

an eventful one for the

museum - that is until the

virus came along.

With the two exquisite

Roman urns from Frittenden

on display for the first time

in decades and exhibitions

planned, starting with a visual

history of the primary school

from the mid-1800s, there

was plenty to interest visitors.

Although we have been unable

to open to the public, we will

have all these available when

we re-open, hopefully, next


News hot off the press is

that we have been able to

purchase a new Cranbrook

Colony painting to add to our

collection. Sevenoaks Fine Art

recently had an oil painting

for sale by Gertrude Hardy of

her father F D Hardy sitting

at his easel. The same easel

is on display in the museum

along with his palette which

so delighted the Art Gallery

that we were very fortunate to

be given a generous discount,

enabling it to come back to


As many readers will

know, Hardy was one of

a small number of artists

who moved to Cranbrook

in the 19th century to paint

the picturesque cottages

and people. Much of their

work was sold to wealthy

industrialists in the Midlands

who loved the rural, idyllic

scenes. Hardy, along with

his friend, painter Thomas

Webster, rented studios in

the old house in the High

Street (now known as The Old

Studio). Hardy also painted

The Chimney Sweep in one of

the cottage buildings that now

makes up the museum.

With lockdown and so

many children at home we

have been making a series

of short films about the

history of Cranbrook. If you

haven’t already seen them

go to our website www.

With topics such as The

Great Fire of Cranbrook,

Cranbrook’s Old Shops and

The Cranbrook Colony of

LEFT: Our latest

addition to our

collection is a

painting of F D

Hardy sitting at

the same easel

that is on display

in the museum

along with his


Artists, there is plenty of

inspiration for children along

with parents and teachers

– indeed we are reliably

informed that grown-ups like

them too!

We have also created a

herb, physic – and most

significantly – a dye plant

border in the garden. Next

spring we should have an

interesting and attractive

display. A growing team of

gardeners has been actively

involved in maintaining and

improving what is a beautiful

cottage garden that enhances

the museum.

Your Country Lifestyle

Department Store!

Our departments are:

Equine • Small Holder • Pets & Wild Birds

Garden • Gifts and Cards • Fuel

Clothing including:

Joules, Seasalt, White Stuff, Toggi, Jack Wolfskin, Hoggs,

Thought, Jack Murphy, Hunter Outdoor and more...

We have plenty of free parking, and we offer a free local

delivery for orders over £50 (£2.50 charge for under £50)

Open 8.30-5.30 weekdays, 9-5 Satudays and 10-4 Sundays

Swattenden Lane Cranbrook, TN17 3PS

01580 713189 |

Parish CakeAutumn 2020 49

local legend

Peter Ryan

Cranbrook’s only Bevin Boy tells Trisha

Fermor about his amazing life in the town

and away from it


In Cranbrook in 1926. I was

one of seven children but one,

Arthur, died at birth.



Cranbrook Primary School

and left at 14. I went to work

for Radcliffe’s butcher’s shop,

but after three weeks they

sacked me! Then I got a job


at the Wilsley Hotel for the

Horsley family. I was in the

Air Training Corps to be a

“Brillcream Boy” and a friend

of mine who was a gunner got


In 1944 I became a Bevin

Boy working down the coal

mines in Yorkshire. I didn’t

have any choice because I

could have been put in prison.

[At the time Bevin Boys were


"We go that extra mile"

Lady & Gentlemen Drivers

Town and Country

Travel in Style

Business and Social Pleasure

Allows you to Drink

Like a Lord

Leave Like a Lady!

To Book Text: 07785 11 20 21 or Call: 01580 441 302


Peter with the

Bevin medal,

awarded to men

conscripted to

work in mines

between 1943-48

young British men conscripted

to work in the mines between

1943-48 to increase coal

production. The scheme was

named after Ernest Bevin, the

wartime minister of Labour

and National Service]. It was

horrible and after a couple of

years I went home suffering

from conjunctivitis and

malnutrition. Two doctors

got me out of the mines and I

came back to Cranbrook.


There were no apprenticeship

schemes in those days but I

fancied decorating and got a

job in Cranbrook and worked

at it for 60 years, on and off.



I learned fluent French

because father’s sister married

a Belgian soldier and when we

had a family reunion in 1935,

when I was nine, I was hooked

on the language. I went on to

work as a waiter in Nice for

two years and as it was close to

Italy I learned Italian as well.



I ran guided tours for 27

years and used to help at the

museum. When I gave up and

got my scooter everyone was

very kind and let me cross the

road. I gave up driving a car

over here when I was 91 but

gave up driving in France when

I was 70!



I like reading and learning

poetry and can recite the whole

of It Was Christmas Day in

the Workhouse, all 22 verses.

I sew - I made all my curtains

and tablecloths - make jam and

chutney and recently cleaned

the grave in St. Dunstan’s

churchyard of an Indian

princess, Rosa Perry.



I was told by a doctor when I

was in hospital I had a very rare

condition. I also get exercise

while walking behind the

coffins of my friends!

50 Parish CakeAutumn 2020

An extra pair of hands

when you need them!

• Bookkeeping

• Credit control

• Data entry

• Back office support

...and more

Are you drowning in paperwork ?

Pink Giraffes offer administrative and

business support services to help you to

use your time more cost effectively.

Our help enables you to do what you

love, after all it is probably the reason

you started your business!

if the service you are looking for isn't here please call us

T. 01580 848190 E.

More magazines by this user