PROTEST OUTSIDE THE HENRY SIMMONDS           ( pic Courtesy Sevenoaks Chronicle)


When we first heard about the appalling idea to convert a perfectly viable pub into an unnecessary Sainsbury Local, we realised that there were some very strong Planning reasons for it to be stopped.

Pete Gillin, Chairman of Wrotham PC, has a great deal of planning experience, and gave us a lot of good advice, and wrote this very strong letter to T&MBC Director of Planning, Steve Humphrey Pete Gillin Letter .

The local traders started  a People's Consultation, gaining 1539 signatures of support, and only 4 in favour of Sainsbury , and the BG Parish Council began the process of making a Planning  Submission BGPC submission .

We also nominated the Henrys Simmonds as an Asset of Communty Value (AoCV) which would enhance its protected status, and asked T&MBC to issue an Article 4 Direction, which would have required Sainsbury to submit a full Planning Application. Wrotham PC also sent a strong submission Wrotham PC submission .

When the Planning Officer's Recommendation  came through it became very clear that we were going to be ignored.

At the Planning Hearing on 10th December Sue Murray and Martin Coffin slavishly followed the Officer's report, squashed the Article 4 direction, and then strongly supported Sainsbury's "loophole" application. Only Tony Sayer and I voted against. I was unhappy about the process, did some information requests to TMBC, and discovered that the decision not to protect the Henry Simmonds with an AoCV was made in secret by the "Management Team", using completely contradictory logic (.Management Team  report)

There were two interesting reports in the KM, TMBC urging us to help their local traders, whilst simultaneously crushing ours! KM Articles

I do smell a rat! Could our Henry Simmonds be a sacrificial goat to tempt Sainsbury back into Tonbridge as the Flagship Store for Nic Heslop's grandiose Tonbridge Town Centre Regeneration? You may recall they bailed out about a year ago, perhaps the cost of wellies for the staff put them off ! . 


Grand Opening 2015 by Cllr Sue Murray  



Area 2 Planning Committee 10th December 2014

There was a packed and very supportive Public gallery, thanks to everyone. Although the result had already been decided long before we arrived, I always arrive in naïve hope that this time we might see democracy!  Nope, not at Tonbridge & Malling under this crew of pirates.

Agenda Items

Informative - We were advise that our bid to nominate the Henry Simmonds as an Asset of Community Value had been refused. ( By the same people who want it turned into a Sainsbury)

5. Article 4 direction - if adopted this would have required Sainsbury would have had to submit a full planning application, and not slip through a loophole.

The Borough Solicitor had tried to ban Pete Gillin, Chairman of Wrotham PC, from speaking. Pete has done an immense amount of research for us. We challenged them, and they backed down.

Adrian Stanfield, the Borough Solicitor, and Martin Coffin, Borough Cllr for Wrotham, frightened committee members with a pre-arranged conversation about the cost, saying Sainsbury could demand compensation of £3-400,000.(drivel).  Sue Murray spoke against allowing the Article 4, Tony Sayer and I spoke in favour. They ignored us and turned down our request.

6.Sainsbury application. Tony from Wells Greengrocers and Russell from Secret Garden spoke, and then a consultant reciting lies from Sainsbury. Apparently the co-op only has 3 carpark spaces!!

Again, Sue Murray spoke in favour, except she didn't like the color of the signs, Tony S and I spoke against - we were again ignored and the application was approved.

7. A-Z Housing. One member of the public spoke, and a planning consultant. Again Sue Murray spoke and voted in favour, Tony S and I against, but they approved it anyway.

That meeting was a shameful episode - Members are supposed to approach a Planning Meeting with an open mind, but they had clearly been instructed and rehearsed well before hand. What really galls me is that the Borough Solicitor had previously "strongly advised " me not to vote (see below) !! Not only do they abuse the Planning System by whipping tory members, they try to gag those who oppose them.