The FUTURE of the PALACE TOWER
The Palace Tower is a key feature in Otford’s heritage, but a point in time has arrived when its future must be given some thought. Sevenoaks District Council has been responsible for the Tower, including Palace Field and its structures, since the 1950s, but they want to reduce their expenditure and areas of responsibility. They have invited the Otford community to take on responsibility for the site. Otford Parish Council is not prepared to do this, so it has been suggested by Rod Shelton (who has done so much to protect the village) that a Building Preservation Trust (BPT) should be created. A BPT would allow representatives of the whole community to be involved in development or use of the site and would enable access to funding bodies.
The Parish Plan indicates the importance of the Tower to the community and options for its future in terms of basic preservation and possible community use. The costs for such work are unknown but would no doubt be considerable. Before Otford as a community can consider such a commitment, a survey has to be undertaken in order to determine the present condition and state of the Tower and hence the steps required to make it – in the first instance – weatherproof and structurally sound. Such a survey will cost in the region of £4,000.
At a recent Otford Society committee meeting it was agreed that – despite the difficulties involved - the Tower is worthy of preservation and of becoming a community-owned amenity. The Society will donate £500 in the first instance towards the cost of the inspection survey and will help with further fund-raising from the membership. Contributions from members will be very welcome, and we propose to allocate time for discussion of this whole issue at the Society’s AGM on 29 March.
If you do wish to make a donation, please send your cheque payable to The Otford Society to The Treasurer, 69, Knighton Road, Otford, TN14 5LE or if convenient by transfer into our account at Lloyds Bank, Sort Code 30 97 49 account No. 01442052
St George’s Day and Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebration Lunch
Members and friends are invited to the St George’s Day Celebration Lunch at the Woodman, Otford Monday 23 April 2012. 12.00 for 12.30
Roast Beef (or a vegetable option) Dessert and coffee Cost £13.00
Drinks will be available at the bar. Limited to 40 people. Book now to avoid disappointment
Tickets available from Tony Wiltshire 01959 524887 Please make cheques payable to the Otford Society Any unsold tickets will be available at the AGM
As well as raising our glasses to England’s Patron’s Saint and Shakespeare, we will remember the Centenary of Octavia Hill, campaigner for the preservation of open spaces and recreation areas. She was co-founder of the National Trust, set up in 1895, to preserve place of historic interest and natural beauty.
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