Time running out to have your say on five-year plan

Gemma Adam

Residents have just days remaining to make their views heard on Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s key priorities for its major projects and spending for the next two years.

Despite facing a major £261,000 cut to its annual government grant, the authority remains on course, it says, to deliver pledges to improve the area’s cultural and sports facilities as part of its five-year plan agreed in 2014.

However, the loss in its national funding amounts to a 50 per cent cut since 2010, losing out on £3.2 million in government money over five years. By 2020, the council will not receive any central funding and is expected to be self-funding through retaining business rates.

The borough’s outlined priorities include making the town an attractive place for businesses through the creation of more space for emerging start-up firms. The council also intends to work with developers in identifying potential new housing sites to meet demand for quality housing within the borough.

Council leader David Jukes said: “Since launching our five-year plan we have exceeded our expectations in planning terms, including opening up Longfield Road on the retail estate, which is complete, as well as the A21 improvement gaining approval. On the current progress it will open up this time next year.

“We planned the Cultural Hub at the library three years ago and were allocated Heritage Lottery funding of £4.3 million towards it, but we’ve had another £930,000 from the Arts Council towards it, so that’s also happening.”

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