Published: 14:31, 08 January 2019
| Updated: 14:40, 08 January 2019
A parish council has spent £5,000 so residents can have a say about a controversial community centre.
Residents in Paddock Wood are invited to cast their vote next week in a poll over plans to build a community centre in Memorial Field.
The vote was triggered by members of a campaign group who believe this would be a "loss of valuable green space".
More than 500 people have signed a petition against the plans, which would be funded by developer contributions and a rise in the council precept.
The new community centre would include a cafe, pre-school classrooms and offices for the Paddock Wood Town Council.
The chairman of the town council, Meryl Flashman, says there would still be enough space for two renovated tennis courts, a football pitch and a cricket ground if the centre is built.
On behalf of the campaigner from the Friends of Memorial Field, Wendy Morris, said: "We are opposed to this location citing loss of valuable green space in the heart of our town.
"The ground is regularly enjoyed by many who appreciate the peace, space and freedom it provides.
"The land has served our community for sixty years and was purchased through funds gifted by its residents and was provided for the purpose of exercise and recreation.
"We do not want to lose any of the land to building and parking.
"Community centres create noise, parking and traffic problems.
"We do not think this is the best location and we are asking for residents to vote no in the forthcoming poll."
Yet Memorial Field is considered the best location by Tunbridge Wells borough council and the town council out of 12 possible sites that were originally listed.
Vice-chairman of Paddock Wood town council, Carol Williams, said: "We have done a lot of work with the public on this project and we are trying to talk to as many people as possible.
"I have been to a lot of events and we have been consulting the public in three out of four of the years I have been on the town council.
"We have done a lot of work with the public on this project and we are trying to talk to as many people as possible..." Carol Williams
"As Paddock Wood is growing, we need more space for community groups like Brownies and Scouts and the Universtiy of the Third Age.
"We have had a lot of public support for this community centre but we will have to wait and see the outcome of the poll."
She added the council has also reached out to residents online through Facebook and their own website.
To find out more about the poll, the town council are holding events at the library on Thursday, January 10, from 10am to 8pm and on Saturday, January 12, from 10am to 2pm.
To take part in the vote, residents must turn up at the Day Centre in Commercial Road from 4pm to 9pm on January 15.
The results of the poll will not be binding but depending on the outcome, it could convince the town council to reconsider the selection of the Memorial Field.