On one of the warmest sunniest Saturdays of the summer, Southborough’s new Civic Centre was opened by the town’s mayor, Dianne Hill, in a festive event attended by hundreds of local residents.
Dianne Hill delivered the following speech: “A big welcome to everyone from Southborough, High Brooms and beyond to a Festival celebrating our past, present and future. A Festival that is the first to take place in our new Town Square and in our new Civic Centre and Library.”
She continued: “I’d like to give a big thank you to everyone who has helped make this special day a success. In particular Southborough Street representing our amazing local businesses; Southborough SOS Group for their work making the Town clean and tidy for us; and all the other many groups that support our Town.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to Malcolm Clarke (Managing director), Graham Tuthill (project manager) and their team from Baxall Construction Ltd (pictured below with Greg Clark MP) who have been incredibly helpful and supportive delivering this building on time in extremely difficult circumstances. Thanks also goes to James and Bryn HMY architects.
“We also thank Kent County and Tunbridge Wells Borough Councils but the biggest thank you, goes to you the people of Southborough and High Brooms who have waited patiently for this project to be completed.
“We stand here in the centre of Southborough, so rich in history. Nearby are the ghosts of the Ridgeway secondary school, our much loved Royal Victoria Hall, the Bat and Ball and the Bell pubs, and here the site of our very first fire station.
“But it is not just about our past or our present. We all have a special job of looking after the future of our town. We have to protect our common and our green spaces, plant more trees, support our local shops and defend its character for the sake of future generations who will live here.
“Now, we are here to celebrate our community and the possibilities that this new beating heart of Southborough and High Brooms, will provide for all of us. Please take the opportunity to look around the Centre and enjoy the stalls and events laid on for you during the day.
“We have waited a long time to have our Town centre back. So let’s officially open this event and then the party can begin.”
The festive atmosphere was largely thanks to the huge efforts of Nell Price and Rebecca Clow in organising a large number of stalls – some selling refreshments and others displaying the work of local groups ranging from the Scouts to the Southborough Cricket Club.