Southborough Society calls for Town Museum and debates Library

The town’s heritage and amenities group, the Southborough Society, says a museum to display the area’s rich and varied history should be incorporated into plans for the new Hub.

The Society set out its ideas at its Annual General Meeting on Thursday night which saw the best attendance for a decade, with around 50 members and non-members attending.

The evening began with a talk about conservation work on Southborough Common given by Ian Johnstone of the Kent High Weald project and concluded with many members expressing their concern about the planned replacement for Southborough’s currently well-used library.

The Society’s retiring President, Lt Col Maxwell Macfarlane, told the Society’s members his view was that the replacement library should be a “self-contained quiet room, not a corridor with books in it”. He continued: “I’m worried that the library in the Hub is not going to be what it ought to be.”

The current brief for the new library has been published under a Freedom of Information request to Kent County Council.  The Council says its aim is  “to create a “buzzy”, busy space” in the Hub.  For full details click this link:

In his address on Thursday, the Southborough Society Chairman, Michael Howes, told members: “This year is a turning point in the history of Southborough as we eagerly await the planning application for the Hub project. This has proved to be a controversial and divisive development – to say the least – and the Society has actively encouraged members to monitor the scheme at its various stages including the public consultation which was held in January.”

M Howes

Michael Howes continued: “A pitiful number of people responded to this consultation and this suggests a huge apathy amongst members of the community who are presumably fed up with this political hot potato, not to mention the current eyesore of the site on London Road”.

The Southborough Society has had several meetings with Jonathan White, the project coordinator at the KCC, to advise him of the facilities the Society would like to be included.

Michael Howes’ address continued: “In particular, we have pushed for a museum area within the new library complex so that Southborough can at long last have somewhere to show off its rich and varied history. The draft plans which were released last week definitely have room for improvement and the local theatre people in particular have been vocal about the inadequacies of the proposed facilities. We look forward to the project progressing rapidly and intend to keep a very close eye on the developments”.

One thought on “Southborough Society calls for Town Museum and debates Library

  1. Whileof course the Tunbridge Wells Civic Society’s members have views on this issue, we know from experience that our intervention in Southborough matters is not welcomed by the Southborough Society, who feel we ought not to interfere in “their patch”.
    We are facing our own Cultural Hub proposals, so follow the Southborough case with interest but do not feel it appropriate to intervene.


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