Tunbridge Wells businessman to stand for council

Tunbridge Wells businessman to stand for council
Sedat Zorba

Sedat Zorba, who runs Zorba Meze Grill in Tunbridge Wells, says he is to stand for the borough Council at the next local elections to increase the links between the Town Hall and local businesses.

Mr Zorba, who has donated free meals to NHS staff at Tunbridge Wells Hospital during the pandemic, is to stand for the Conservative Party.

He told the Times: “I have been living in Tunbridge Wells many, many years. It is one of the most beautiful towns to live in the UK.

“Covid threatenes to destroy many businesses and damage our high streets. With my business knowledge and skills, I think I can help.

“I understand how businesses work and what we should do to increase our turnover and bring more people to Tunbridge wells.”

He says his candidacy has already been accepted by the Conservatives and he is to stand in Culverden Ward, a seat currently occupied by Lib Dem Councillor Justine Rutland, who won it in a by-election in 2019.

The restaurant owner, who also recently successfully campaigned to get the Council to reopen Meadow Road car park, says he also hopes to improve public relations within the Council.

“When they closed Meadow Road car park, I would have expected the relevant department of Council or Councillor to visit all the businesses that would have been affected by the car park closing, but they never did that,” he said.

He added: “The Conservatives have run the town for more than 20 years, but I believe where they can improve is to have better public relations to get people to understand why decisions are made.”

Mr Zorba is not the only local businessman who has shown an interest in standing for Council in the next raft of local elections.

Matthew Sankey, who runs his eponymous pub on Mount Ephraim, has also said he is considering standing in the local elections for Speldhurst ward.

It is understood he is expected to join the Tunbridge Wells Alliance party.

The news comes after the Cabinet Office announced that local elections across the UK are set to still go ahead on May 6 despite the pandemic.

Last year borough elections were cancelled due to coronavirus, so May 6 will not only see the postponed election of a third of seats at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, but also all 81 Kent County Council seats, along with the post of Kent Police and Crime Commissioner.

However, council leaders across Kent have written to Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to ask him to postpone the elections until autumn due to the disruption they will cause as councils attempt to recover from lockdown.

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