This is our monthly look at some of the local stories making the headlines in October.
Bewl Water Country Park has been sold in a multi-million pound deal to the Markerstudy Group. The sale involving the 1,000-acre site – which includes the stunning 770 acre reservoir – is expected to be completed with Kent Attractions early next year. Contracts were exchanged last month with completion agreed for January 2016. With substantial investment and improvement plans underway, the group says it will be working closely with visitors, clubs, residents and the council to ensure that ‘Bewl Water prospers and continues to play a key role in boosting the economy in Kent.’
Almost two years after being forced to close due to a serious fire, Webbs in Tenterden has reopened. The kitchen and homeware store had been forced to shut after a blaze ripped through the building on bonfire night 2013, but after lengthy renovation work it finally opened its doors to crowds of customers who were eager to see the redevelopments.
“I feel a bit of everything – relief, excitement and trepidation,” says director Carol Webb. “It has been a long 22 months to get to this. Everyone has worked so well but it is a listed building so it all took time.”
If you’ve ever been curious about what goes on in a town toilet block, then you’re in luck. The public toilets in Tenterden now have their own Twitter account and update their followers daily on everything from cleaning to local issues. @Tenterdenloos mostly posts pictures depicting the cleaning process of toilets around the town, and already has a strong following curious to know more about the life of a lavatory.
Woodchurch residents were in for a surprise recently when a Spitfire aeroplane landed unexpectedly in a nearby field. The vintage aircraft had begun experiencing difficulties, so pilot Rob Davies was forced to land suddenly, crashing into the ground. Thankfully, although the propellors and wing were damaged, the pilot was unharmed and was out of the aircraft by the time the emergency services arrived. “I’m fine, it was a very simple engine failure, I walked away unscathed,” he says.
FULL STEAM AHEAD
Plans to extend the Kent and East Sussex Railway to Robertsbridge – where it will meet the Network Rail mainline have reached a milestone point with the completion of a new carriage shed, which was unveiled at the Rolvenden locomotive depot. The building of the 120m shed was made possible by a £500,000 donation from an anonymous benefactor. Other steam enthusiasts have already donated £2million to the project, which it is hoped will be completed by 2018. “The K&ESR is grateful for the support of the RVR in funding the carriage shed which will allow our precious historic Victorian and Edwardian carriages to be kept in the dry, allowing them to be enjoyed for many years to come,” says Ian Legg, deputy chairman of the Kent and East Sussex Railway.