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What life is like in the regenerated estate on the outskirts of Tunbridge Wells

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Original article from Kent Live

When thinking of Tunbridge Wells, tranquillity and luxury comes to mind.

To an outsider, the name may conjure up an image of the Pantiles or Calverley Grounds packed with sunbathers and picnics.

However, there is area on the outskirts of town which remains unknown to many people.

Sherwood estate has previously been labelled as a rough and unwelcoming area to live in, but times have changed.

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An injection of funds has seen classy-looking apartments and facilities erected, like the community centre.

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A £34 million Town and Country housing regeneration scheme was approved in 2012, which has since seen new housing replace old council blocks.

We visited Sherwood estate and spoke to those in the community to find out what life was really like.

Sherwood estate

'The area is so much better off'

Miss Falguni Patel owns the Premiere shop which is situated next to the community centre.

She previously lived above the off-license shop, but now lives elsewhere in Sherwood.

In total, she has lived in the estate for 35 years, and only had positive things to say about the area.

"We have been here for the last 35 years, and it's been great," she said.

"There was a time when things weren't too good around the area, but that simply isn't the case anymore.

"I think the new buildings have really helped to improve the area. It's brought lots of new people to Sherwood and that can only be a good thing, the area is so much better off.

"I wouldn't say the area deserved to be labelled as rough at all, we spend 12 hours a day here in the heart of the community and things really are not that bad at all.

"Sometimes trouble does happen but you get that anywhere, and it's only a small amount."

Happy Friar in Sherwood estate

'I'm happy here'

Mrs Yong co-owns the Happy Friar Chinese takeaway.

She is relatively new to the area, having lived in Sherwood for two-and-a-half years.

Despite having mixed opinions about the location, she claimed she is happy to live in the area.

"I have lived here with my partner for two-and-a-half years now, and we run this Chinese takeaway," she said.

"It's definitely very practical to live close to where we work, so we moved here with an open mind.

"I think the area is okay overall, it's definitely not the best but I'm happy here.

"On the other hand there are of course many areas that are not as nice as this, and where crime happens quite a lot.

"From my time spent here, I don't think that's the case."

Sherwood community centre

'It's nice and peaceful here'

Tom Holmes is another resident that has just moved into the area.

He also has a property in Tunbridge Wells town centre, and actually prefers living in Sherwood.

He said: "I just moved into this place in March this year, so I'm new around here.

"I lived on the other side of Sherwood when I was younger, and there is a huge difference compared to how it was back then.

"I think the new houses and facilities have definitely gone a long way to help improve the area.

"I also have a place in Tunbridge Wells town centre, but I actually prefer it in Sherwood, it's nice and peaceful here.

"The people are really friendly and welcoming, and I'm enjoying living here."

Sherwood estate

'The best bit is the community'

One of the chemists inside Greggs Wood Pharmacy, who asked not to be named, also spoke with a great passion for the area.

The 40-year-old had lived and worked in Sherwood for 17 years, and claimed she never had a problem.

For her, the best part despite the new facilities is the community feel around the area.

She said: "I've lived and worked in Sherwood for 17 years now, I've never had a single problem.

"The people are just lovely, and although the new buildings have really helped to improve our area, that's not even the best part.

"For me, the best bit is the community, it's so strong here in Sherwood.

"Where I previously lived, we'd be giving each other supplies if we had ran out!

"The labels that this place is given really aren't fair.

"People just assume everyone is bad because of the reputation, but that's not the case at all."

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Original Article