By-election being overshadowed by national ballot

By-election being overshadowed by national ballot

Residents go to the polls tomorrow [Thursday] to vote for a replacement on Tunbridge Wells Borough Council for Cllr Ronen Basu who died in September.

As reported in the Times last month, the Culverden seat is being heavily contested by the national parties with Lib Dems, Labour, Conservative, Greens and the Women’s Equality Party all fielding candidates.

However, the local candidates are struggling to get people to discuss local issues and are finding people either ‘entrenched’ to political parties or completely ‘disenchanted’.

“I have been trying to talk about local issues but when people see me all they want to talk about is the General Election,” said Justine Rutland who is standing in the seat for the Lib Dems.

“There seems huge disenchantment with all parties from a lot of people at the moment, while others remain very entrenched to the particular parties that they support.

 “Brexit is coming up a lot. I think people are quite fed up with it but and there seems to be a lot of warm feelings for Greg Clark, but also a lot of negativity – it is quite a toxic subject.”

David Adams, who is standing in the ward for Labour, also believes the by-election result will come down to national party preferences.

“I am trying to stick to local issues but I think all the candidates in the area have pretty similar agendas so it will probably come down to people’s political party preferences.

“Some local issues are being raised. The bin situation is coming up a lot, traffic concerns, the affordability of local housing, and the situation with the Town Hall.”

Residents of Culverden can cast their votes at Bishops Down School in Rydal Drive, Headway, in Culverden Park, The Gallery at Trinity Theatre, and St John’s Church in St John’s Road.

The polling stations open tomorrow at 7am and close at 10pm.

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