Community Champion recognised with County Award

Ellen Neville, our very own Community Champion has been recognised for all her hard work in setting up and developing the Community Fridge / Pantry project in Hawkhurst.

Her nomination stated;

Ellen Neville is a long term resident of Hawkhurst who has made positive contributions to areas such as Hawkhurst Primary School and the Scouts in the past. However, this year she led and set up the Community Fridge / Pantry which has been a great success. The aim is to reduce food waste and provide for the local community. In this year of all years this has become an invaluable resource for many families in challenging circumstances. None of the support would have happened with Ellen Neville’s drive in fund raising, operational management and passion for supporting good causes in Hawkhurst.”  The KALC Community Award 2021 is signed by the High Sheriff of Kent.

Ellen said “A very simple light bulb moment that became far bigger than I could have ever imagined… and I couldn’t leave it there could I?!

It is a huge honour to accept this award and I must thank the team of volunteers that have been on this journey with me. We had no template for operating the Hawkhurst Community Fridge; we had to think fast and adapt even faster.

It has been an absolute pleasure to work with and for members of my community and see some wonderful people shine through the dark times. These people are now my friends and part of my brighter life too.”

Once more a big thank you to Ellen and all those who have worked so hard during the year to support others.


For further information, please contact Richard the Parish Clerk on 01580 752058 or


Mrs Norma Long celebrates 100 years young and counting

Councillor Clare Escombe, Chairman of Hawkhurst Parish Council, said “It is with great delight that we are bestowing the title of Honorary Freewoman of the Parish of Hawkhurst to Mrs. Norma Long who is 100 years young and counting on the 1st March 2021.”

Norma has spent her whole life living and working in Hawkhurst. She is an independent woman who is everything good about Hawkhurst.

Due to the current circumstance Norma’s extended family cannot get to celebrate this fabulous day so our thoughts are with them all.

The residents of Hawkhurst have stepped up to an appeal on social media and have sent numerous birthday cards to the Parish Office and we were delighted to drop them off to Norma along with some flowers and a certificate “Bestowing to her the Freewoman of the Parish of Hawkhurst.”

Norma has been a very loyal and enthusiastic member of Hawkhurst Local Historical Society, probably the longest serving member. She is known for her cheese straws which are to die for, as anyone who has attended the social evenings can testify.

Norma is the first person to have the honour of Freewoman of the Parish of Hawkhurst and it is well deserved.

A little Christmas cheer

Councillor Martin Taylor-Smith, Vice Chairman of Hawkhurst Parish Council, said

“The Council have been supporting the Hawkhurst Community Support Group since the pandemic started and we have decided to contribute £2,650 “Hardship Fund” to HCSG to support the community, especially the Food 4 Families fund in Hawkhurst.

Food 4 Families are working with more than 20 families in Hawkhurst and we hope this will go some way to helping them.

It is important to support those less fortunate, especially at this time of the year.

The Parish Council also wants to thank all those who have voluntarily worked tirelessly for HCSG during the COVID 19 pandemic.

Parish Council Donates PPE to local care homes

– stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives

Hawkhurst Parish Council made a donation of PPE to support Bowles Lodge and Hawkhurst House this week.

Councillor Clare Escombe, chairman, Hawkhurst Parish Council said:

“In Hawkhurst we have two care homes doing amazing work in the current crisis and one of our suppliers delivered a mix of paper towels, wipes, sanitizers and gloves to the Council which would have been used at the Council venues. As our venues are closed we decided to make a donation to both Bowles Lodge and Hawkhurst House”

Lindsey Leathem at Hawkhurst House said “Thank you so much for the donation. They will come in very handy.” Councillor Escombe continued “We are aware it is a drop in the ocean but every little helps and we have given them our suppliers details. There is still an appeal for PPE to help the local GP’s and care home settings – call 01580 453015”

Hawkhurst celebrates 75th Anniversary of VE Day

stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives –

Hawkhurst residents are pulling together to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. Councillor Clare Escombe, chairman, Hawkhurst Parish Council said:

“In Hawkhurst, as elsewhere, we are getting used to “lockdown” but it has only been 5 weeks – image how you would feel after 5 years! That’s how long we worked together in World War II.

So let’s celebrate the collective effort of grandparents, parents, relatives and indeed some of the older members of our community on Friday 8th May 2020.” There are a range of activities to enjoy;

  • Decorate your house in Red, White and Blue
  • Hold a front garden “Garden Party” – 3pm
  • Enjoy a community sing-along – 9pm
  • Art Competition

For further information contact or

or phone 07444837029.

In addition, HCSG are also doing a VE Day Children’s Art competition – closing date 5th May 2020 – visit

Councillor Escombe continued “The VE Day events were celebrating ordinary people making extra-ordinary efforts in a common cause, and that is what we as a community are doing now by “staying in, protecting the NHS and saving lives”

ENDS: For further information, please contact Richard the Parish Clerk on 01580 752058 or Email

Hawkhurst Parish Council – our community beating the virus together

Hawkhurst residents are pulling together and creating a model for community support that is spreading across the county.

Commenting on the establishment of a community support group, Councillor Clare Escombe, chairman, Hawkhurst Parish Council said:

“In Hawkhurst, as elsewhere, there has been a wonderful community response to the coronavirus crisis from people eager to help their neighbours and recognising that we are all in this together.  Given the scale of the support needed over the coming weeks, it was important to establish robust systems to ensure that everyone in Hawkhurst can access the support they require and that volunteers are co-ordinated and properly supported.  The Parish Council, working with local volunteers, set up Hawkhurst Community Support Group.”

Clare explained:

“The Community Support Group matches volunteers with people needing support – whether that is shopping, collecting prescriptions, or simply arranging telephone calls to check on people and combat loneliness.

Hawkhurst is a traditional village, yet is fully utilising digital technology in order to support the residents.  An on-line form enables people to register as a volunteer; and, those who need support can nominate themselves or you can suggest someone who might need support who will then be contacted.” 

The Group’s co-ordination team have access to the bespoke online database, which is automatically populated when help is requested or offered through the online platform.  This form can be found on the new HCSG website and from links in our Parish website and community social media pages.

There is also a dedicated telephone line 01580 453015 which is answered between 9am and 6pm with messages taken out of hours.  To ensure no-one is left out the Council has produced leaflets that are being delivered by volunteers to houses in the Parish.

As well as the registered volunteers we know that many people are informally helping neighbours.  This is great, but it is important for them to register with the Community Scheme to ensure that the person they are helping is supported if anything happens to the volunteer.

Cllr Escombe concluded:

“Hawkhurst is blessed with goodwill, enthusiasm and talent and we have been incredibly fortunate with the offers of help.  We have amazing local talent – our operating procedures were written by a resident with experience in emergency planning and our on-line system created by a leading tech-entrepreneur.  This model has been shared locally with the other parish councils and with the National Association of Local Councils.  

As well as responding to local needs, HCSG will also deliver support to residents by acting as the Hawkhurst hub for the county-wide response.  HCSG’s Co-ordination Group have worked tirelessly over the past week to get HCSG up and running. 

We already have more than 100 volunteers and I want to pay tribute to this community spirit, which we very are proud to support.


For further information, please contact Richard the Parish Clerk on 01580 752058 or


High Court to consider White House planning application

Commenting on the High Court’s decision to grant permission for a Judicial Review of the White House planning permission Councillor Clare Escombe, chairman, Hawkhurst Parish Council said:

“We are pleased that the High Court considers that we have an arguable case and have granted permission to proceed with a Judicial Review of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s decision to grant planning permission for 43 apartments on the White House site. This was the first hurdle to overcome which only around 25% of all claims pass. It means the case will now be listed for a full hearing in Court later this year”  

Cllr Escombe went on:

“The decision to initiate legal proceedings was not taken lightly. We remain concerned that neither the Borough Council nor the County Council, as highway authority, have to date properly considered the cumulative traffic impact of approving numerous developments on the staggered crossroads at the centre Hawkhurst.  We are cautiously encouraged that since taking this action Kent County Council have indicated that they will be carrying out a proper cumulative assessment in order to inform their position on current and future applications.”

Clare concluded:

“We will not waiver in our pursuit of a better Hawkhurst.  Congestion in the centre of the village is significant and already adversely affects the quality of life for those who live, work and visit our Parish.” 

Note to editors:


For further information, please contact Richard the Parish Clerk on 01580 752058 or Email

Support our Local Business

stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives –

Hawkhurst residents are pulling together and supporting local business.

Many local businesses have moved to online bookings with delivery or click and collect creating a new model for community shopping.

We want to thank all the local businesses – too numerous to mention all of them – who are helping the Hawkhurst Community Support Group (HCSG) to support the community.

Commenting on the challenges to local business, Councillor Clare Escombe, chairman, Hawkhurst Parish Council said:

“This is a crisis where a flexible approach is key. In Hawkhurst many businesses have taken this approach and the local community should try and support them. The Parish Council is at the heart of efforts to support the community during the current crisis. I have also been overwhelmed by the generosity of local firms who have been supporting the work of the HCSG”

One further aspect is that the Council is landlord for the Kino Cinema.  

As a good landlord the Council, using its emergency decision making powers vested in Cllrs Clare Escombe and Martin Taylor-Smith, has deferred their rent due for next six months.  This combined with the Government funded business rate refund means their fixed costs should hopefully be negligible until restrictions are lifted.  

Cllr Paul Green, who proposed the rent deferral said: “The Kino is a great attraction for the village and is very much part of the community, we want to see them come through the crisis and emerge as a going concern.  We are all in this together and hope that other commercial landlords are able to show similar forbearance to help save our high street for future generations.”

We have also reserved our regular bookings at the Copt Hall and King George V Sports Pavilion for when things get back to normal.

Cllr Escombe concluded “Remember the Government advice about staying in, protecting the NHS and saving lives. Only shop when you have to, but remember “social distancing” advice about staying 2 metres apart.”

For those who cannot shop for themselves then the HCSG can assist

  • just register on-line htps://
  • or phone 01580 453015
  • or email

Together Hawkhurst can beat the virus.


For further information, please contact Richard the Parish Clerk on 01580 752058 or


Garden Waste and Civic Amenity Collections Suspended

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council have reluctantly suspended, until further notice, garden waste collections and the Civic Amenity Collections, from Fowlers Car Park.

This is due to the COVID 19 crisis impacting on their resources.

The collection crews have been working very had over recent days but a reduction in the number of staff available due to sickness and self-isolation means that TWBC have had to prioritise there services to focus on refuse, food, clinical and recycling collections.

KGV Tennis Court update.

The upgrade of the Tennis Courts at King George V Playing Field started on Tuesday 17th March 2020.

However, work has temporarily been suspended due to the COVID 19 crisis and will be completed as soon as possible.

The Facilities are closed and should not be used. We appreciate your understanding.