Clean sweep for Tunbridge Wells Conservatives at County Hall elections

The election count on Friday [May 7] following Thursday’s vote saw the Tories keep control of County Hall.

Five of the six incumbent Conservative councillors re-stood, including Peter Oakford the deputy leader of KCC and Cabinet Member for Finance, who was re-elected to his Tunbridge Wells north division seat.

Sean Holden [Cranbrook] beat off competition from Tunbridge Wells Alliance’s only candidate, Nancy Warne, who came second. He secured 51 per cent of the vote compared to her 29 per cent.

James McInroy [West], Sarah Hamilton [Rural], and Paul Barrington-King [East] were also re-elected.

Becki Bruneau also won the South Division. The newly elected councillor replaced incumbent Catherine Rankin, who stood down due to ill health.

Turnout was high for a local election, at around 42 per cent. The last County Hall elections saw just 35 per cent of the electorate cast a vote.

More than 30 candidates stood for the six seats that represent Tunbridge Wells.

The election saw KCC remain Conservative controlled, with the ruling party securing more than 56 in the count on Friday [May 7], with several wards in Kent still to declare.

There were 80 seats of the 81-seat chamber at County Hall in Maidstone being contested.

The ballot in Elham Valley ward had to be cancelled following the death of Labour candidate Chris Deane – a by-election is expected to be held for that seat later in the year.

KCC has a budget of more than £1.7billion, which it spends on everything from schools, maintaining the roads, caring for older people, children’s services and public health – including leading the county’s Covid response.

Nearly half the money spent by KCC comes from Council Tax, with 70 pence in every pound of Council Tax paid by residents going to County Hall.

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