Q 1 What range of cultural facilities is available?
For example, does the town have a theatre, cinema, art gallery, museum and library?
West Malling has a public library and unmanned Tourist Information Centre and two other points displaying local tourist information.
Occasional Art exhibitions are held by the Malling Art Club
Periodic Photographic exhibitions by the Malling Society at the Clout Institute from the Freda Barton collection.
A Malling Heritage Centre in Douces Manor is in the process of being set up to all aspects of local heritage in particular the connection with West Malling Airfield during World War II.
Q 2 Local events
a.What local events have the potential to draw the whole community together?
b.What types of events are these (for example, fairs, festivals, and carnivals)?
c.How regular are they?
d.How well attended are they?
e.What opportunities are there to develop such events?
a.Local events include Town Malling Day, Christmas Lights switching on ceremony, farmers’ markets, Heritage Open Days, Parish boundary walk, regular meetings of the numerous clubs and societies, cricket festival, Bonfire night at West Malling Church of England Primary School and regular events organised by the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, West Malling Baptist Church and the Thomas More Catholic Church. West Malling has a considerable number of local Societies and Clubs including : The Malling Society (heritage, conservation, history & planning matters), Malling Art Club, Malling Stamp Club, Malling Photographic Club, West Malling Active Retirement Association, West Malling Short Mat bowls club, Tonbridge & Malling Ramblers, the Malling Lions, Malling Rotary, Royal Association, British Legion, a branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, St John Ambulance, Women’s Institute and various groups within the Churches. Age Concern Malling is open each day holding lunches for senior citizens and also arranging fund raising events and regularly takes groups away for a week long holiday. The Malling Lions & Lionesses regularly hold events to raise money for local charities.
b.Town Malling Day is a fair and all day event, Heritage Open days normally has five events taking place including the conducted tours of St Mary’s Abbey.
c.The farmers’ markets are monthly and most of the other events tend to be annual.
d.Attendance over 10, 000 has been recorded on Town Malling Day and the Christmas Lights ceremony fills the town,
e.The main problem on all the events is that the organisation, operation and planning is entirely dependent on volunteers. Recruiting new volunteers is proving difficult, but a recent bulb planting morning on the Village Green attracted a good number of local residents. It is felt with the setting up of the Heritage Centre will involve an increase of volunteers in the new project.
Q 3 Community venues
a.What community venues are there in the area?
b.Where are the community centres, village halls and other venues?
c.How does the number and location of available venues in the town and surrounding villages compare to the population and number of local community groups?
d.What is the quality of these community venues and their facilities?
a.Community venues include: the Village Hall, Clout Institute, Parish Church Centre, West Malling Church of England Primary School, & Rotary House (Age Concern Centre).
b.All the community centres are within easy walking distance from the Town Centre.
c.The number and location of the venues is sufficient for the local population but there is virtually no venue provision for youth groups and younger person’s activities.
d.The Village Hall, Age Concern building and the Primary School are modern with good facilities. The other properties are in very old buildings and have been updated with the constraints of their design, in particular parking and disabled access.
Q 4 Arts-based community groups
a.How many people are involved in arts-based community groups?
b.What is this figure as a proportion of the local population?
c.What facilities are there to meet the needs of the local arts groups?
a.approx 150 persons
c.The Malling Art Club meets once a month and regularly holds exhibitions, Malling photographic society meets every week, and a sketching group meets regularly in the Church Centre. A quilting group meets regularly and the one month South East Studios promotion open five or six local artists’ homes to visitors to view their work.
Q 5 Associations and links
a.What strong associations or links does the area have?
b.What locations are involved?
c.How well are these associations promoted?
Look at cultural associations (for example, famous people and events, literary links, famous products, and local foods), and historical associations (for example, battles, historic ruins, houses and parkland).
a.West Malling has Conservation Status in recognition of its outstanding architecture. The Saxons were believed to be the first to settle in numbers in the area. The first recorded mention of West Malling dates back to 945AD.Between 1100-1105 Henry I granted the Nuns of Malling Abbey to have a market every Saturday morning. Bishop Gundulf built and founded St Mary’s Abbey in 1090. He also built St Leonard’s Tower (an English Heritage Site). More recently West Malling is synonymous with the World War II airfield now the Kings Hill site. It also boasts the oldest tiled building in England, off the High Street.
b.Grade I, II, and Ila listed buildings are too numerous to list. Outstanding are St Mary’s Abbey, St Leonard’s Tower and the Twitch Inn in Douces Manor. There is now the Manor Country Park, off St Leonard’s Street and land acquired by the Parish Council, known as Macey’s Meadow.
c.The major event to promote these buildings is Heritage Open Days, promoted by Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council and the Civic Trust.
Q 6 Religious establishments
a.What religious establishments are active in the community?
b.Which denominations are served?
c.How well attended are the religious establishments?
d.How do religious establishment groups work with other groups and the local authorities on social issues?
a.There are five religious establishments - The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Baptist Church, Pilsdon at Malling, St Mary’s Abbey and the Thomas More Roman Catholic Church.
b.Church of England, Baptists, and Roman Catholics.
c.About National Average with the Baptist having an attendance of 150 in the morning and 20 in the evening each Sunday.
d.The religious groups organise events & publicity under the Churches Together in Malling. The Pilsdon in Malling in particular is involved in drug & alcohol rehabilitation. The Baptist Church runs a pre-school group and a mother & toddler group.
Q 7 Local reportage
a.What mechanisms does the local community have to report and comment on local events and issues?
b.Where are they based?
c.Who contributes to them?
d.How effective are they in reaching their intended audiences?
Is there, for example, a local paper, radio station, TV station, web-based forum, or town website?
a.The Parish Council produces an annual newsletter, the three Churches produce newsletters, the Primary School produces a weekly newsletter, and weekly events etc are reported in detail in the Kent Messenger weekly news. The Parish Council has a website.
b.All within the Town
c.Local editors and correspondents
d.The annual parish Council newsletter is distributed to every household in the Parish
These mechanisms are inadequate for meaningful communication of critical issues as they arise. There is criticism of the Parish Council as being the people who know about what is going on but fail to communicate it – however the Parish Council is only supported by the part time Parish Clerk and does not have the resources to implement a more regular newsletter.