Candidates announced for the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council election

Pam Mills

Less than one month until polls open, candidates for the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council election have been announced.

The Civic Development is a key debate topic heading into the vote on Thursday, May 3, which will decide 16 of the authority’s 48 seats.

This £90million proposal for a new theatre and Town Hall continues to divide opinion after the Conservative-ruled council passed through advanced plans in December.

Former protest group Tunbridge Wells Alliance, set-up initially to oppose the development, is standing seven candidates in a newly formed political party.

It is also the first local election in Tunbridge Wells that will see a candidate from the Women’s Equality Party, with Liz Orr standing in Culverden ward.

Parking, business, the environment and traffic are also high on the agenda for all seven parties contesting the vote.

The majority of the Conservative Party will not be threatened this time, with one third of the seats up for grabs, as the Tories hold 43 of the 48 seats.

But the vote is a chance to see a change of guard, with the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat Parties to contest all 16 seats.

There is also UKIP and the Green Party contesting two and one seat respectively.

Parties have tactically chosen where to stand candidates, with several seats worth watching on election night.

St John’s and Sherwood are traditional battlegrounds, which have changed hands over the years.

Also worth keeping an eye on is Culverden, where five candidates are hoping to succeed Conservative Cllr Don Sloan, and the currently Labour-held Southborough and High Brooms, where Cllr Graham Munn is stepping down.

Here’s a full list of candidates:

Benenden and Cranbrook Ward
Saul Clackson – Liberal Democrat
Tom Dawlings – Conservative
Anne Musker – Labour
John Smith – Tunbridge Wells Alliance

Brenchley and Horsmonden Ward
Zoe Norman – Liberal Democrat
Alan McDermott – Conservative
Kelly Llewellyn – Labour

Broadwater Ward
Christopher Hall – Liberal Democrat
Chris Woodward – Conservative
Louise Reid – Labour
Alun Elder – Brown – UKIP

Culverden Ward
Martin Brice – Liberal Democrat
David Scott – Conservative
Carol Wilson – Labour
Liz Orr – Women’s Equality Party
Lucy Willis – Tunbridge Wells Alliance

Hawkhurst and Sandhurst Ward
Clare Bishop – Liberal Democrat
Patrick Thomson – Conservative
Ana Draper – Labour

Paddock Wood East Ward
Gillian Douglass – Liberal Democrat
Allan Gooda – Conservative
Derek Boyle – Labour
Rodney Atkins – Tunbridge Wells Alliance

Paddock Wood West Ward
Trevor Bisdee – Green
Elizabeth Thomas – Conservative
Raymond Moon – Labour
Brian Ransley – Tunbridge Wells Alliance
James Cole – Liberal Democrat

Pantiles and St. Mark’s Ward
James Scholes – Conservative
Lorna Blackmore – Labour
Andy Hickey – Liberal Democrat

Park Ward
Catherine Rankin – Conservative
Hugo Pound – Labour
Nick Pope – Tunbridge Wells Alliance
Rachel Sandler – Liberal Democrat

Pembury Ward
Paul Barrington – Kind – Conservative
Sarah Carpenter – Labour
Colin Sefton – Liberal Democrat

Sherwood Ward
Bob Backhouse – Conservative
Seb St John – Labour
Nick Twist – Tunbridge Wells Alliance
Alan Bullion – Liberal Democrat
Chris Hoare – UKIP

Southborough and High Brooms Ward
Harry Allen – Conservative
Alain Lewis – Labour
Margeurita Morton – Liberal Democrat

Southborough North Ward
Joe Simmons – Conservative
Martin Betts – Labour
Trevor Poile – Liberal Democrat

Speldhurst and Bidborough Ward
Julia Soyke – Conservative
David Adams – Labour
Jackie Prance – Liberal Democrat

St. James Ward
Matt Bailey – Conservative
Isobel Kerrigan – Labour
David Neve – Liberal Democrat
Steve Bowser – Tunbridge Wells Alliance

St. John’s Ward
Nasir Jamil – Conservative
Bjorn Simpole – Labour
Mark Ellis – Liberal Democrat

To read more about the elections, read tomorrow’s Times of Tunbridge Wells newspaper.

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