Council numbers set to be reduced

Olympian Louis Smith

Currently, the Council, which is under no overall control, has 48 councillors who represent the borough’s 50,000 voters in 20 wards.

TWBC was contacted by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England [LGBCE] in December 2020 after it discovered a disparity between the number of electors and councillors at the Town Hall.

 The local elections watchdog called for a review and said the authority had to cut numbers and needed to have an equal number of councillors – especially as voters elect members a third at a time, with elections held three years out of four, rather than annually.

It asked the authority to come up with a plan for a reduced Town Hall, but councillors voted down an attempt to cut their numbers last October.

Now the government body has said it is ‘minded’ to reduce the size of the Town Hall to 39 councillors and is asking the public for its views.

In a statement released yesterday [Tuesday], the LGBCE said: “The Local Government Boundary Commission has decided that the number of councillors in Tunbridge Wells should be 39. This is a change from the current council which has 48.”

It added that a 10-week consultation on the proposals available on will run until March 21, 2022.

The change, which will take effect in May 2024, will not only mean that the number of elected members will be cut, but the boundaries and number of wards is also likely to be adjusted.

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