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Welcome to Speldhurst Parish Council, serving the villages of Ashurst, Langton Green, Old Groombridge and Speldhurst. To find out more about what we do to help improve and maintain quality of life in our parish, visit our Parish Council page


To find out the dates of forthcoming meetings and view meeting agendas, visit our Meetings and Agendas page. To view the minutes of previous meetings, visit our Meeting Minutes.


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We have a vacancy on the Parish Council. Get in touch to hear more about what the role involves. See below for Co-Option Notice and how to apply.


19/05/23: An update from Matthew Sankey - the Langton Pavilion Cafe mediation process

Today, Friday the 19th of May 2023 I chaired a meeting to reconcile the mediation work. Guy Lambert of LGCSA, Emma Howden of The Langton Pavilion Café, Cllr Alan Rowe & Clerk Katie Neve were present.

During the meeting we went through each and every part of the new proposed “hire” arrangement that satisfies both SPC, Emma & LGCSA’s legal view point.

Once these “heads of terms” had been agreed, and points clarified it was then agreed to;

  1. Draft a new hire agreement proposal.
  2. Agree an extension to allow time for this new agreement to be legally drawn up.
  3. To give Emma time over the weekend to decide if she wishes to continue her business under these new terms.

This process has taken a while, but that’s to be expected given how much emotion has been put into the project from all sides.  I would like to thank everyone for acting politely during the meeting that lasted almost 4 hours.

I’d like to make a special mention and thanks to Lynn Trainor who held a vigil during the meeting.  Whilst I am a long way from being spiritual or religious, I was genuinely touched by this display of affection & concern for all our wellbeing and love for our community.  This will be one of the positive takeaways from this process, believe me there have actually been many.

I look forward to completing the mediation process once the heads of terms are signed, the extension agreed & Emma’s conclusion made.

Thank you all for your patience with this, Matthew

10/05/23: SPC's statement in response to Matthew Sankey's mediation report - Langton Pavilion Cafe

This statement can be read in the PDF document attached below. 

28/04/23: Update from the Langton Pavilion Café Mediation Process 

Matthew Sankey, mediator in the process, wishes to publish the following information. SPC has yet to submit their response to Matthew; we are organising a meeting to do so as soon as is practically possible. 

Dear all,

  Attached is my report on the findings of my discovery meetings with LGCSA & Emma Howden of the Pavilion Café.  In this document that outlines the areas of conflict I have helpfully provided a recommendation for each that I feel is fair and reasonable.

Throughout this process I have refrained from giving my opinion, but now has come the time that I must give it.

Despite the time it has taken to get to this point, I have to say that the actual tangible areas of conflict are negligible – the greater conflicts are born out of incredibly poor communication between the parties.  In addition, there are far too many grey areas within the occupational license and when these are contested there has been a lack of decision making to rectify the issue.

In my opinion much of the management document and occupation license are sound* but misses much detail on these areas of conflict - with these ambiguous areas rectified this shouldn’t be an issue moving forward.

Sadly, if these issues cannot be resolved then I cannot see a future at the pavilion for a community café.

The remaining issues remain emotional ones.  Of all the hours that I have spent on this, these have taken up the most time – this is completely natural and just goes to show how much passion the parties have for the Pavilion and what it can and does offer our community.  Both sides feel hard done by and we have ended up in the place we are today. 

I submitted this introduction and report to the parties via email on the 25th of April and hope to receive a response to the recommendation by next week. 

I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and for the public for remaining calm and honouring my request to be left to do this with those parties free from the internet noise.

Matthew Sankey 

*Sound when it comes to the operation of the agreed licensed activity – Any work to try to confuse this with any new or ongoing legal disputes I will not accept.  I’m aware that the LGCSA wish to question the legality of the license and management report.  In my opinion this is something for them to take to SPC directly and formally, not via an elected official or mediator.

Matthew's report can be read in the PDF document attached below.