TW Alliance announce plan to launch political party for Tunbridge Wells elections

Pam Mills

The campaign group TW Alliance has registered as a political party with the Electoral Commission in order to field candidates in the May council elections.

It’s the latest move in its campaign to stop the proposed £90million Civic Complex and theatre due to be built next to Calverley Grounds, close to the homes off some of the founders of the group.

Alliance members met on Monday to finalise a launch event for the new party, that’s expected to happen in the next few days.

The news comes at a time when another opponent of the Civic Complex, Tory Cllr Peter Bulman, has refused to stand down even though he has moved 160 miles to live in Norfolk. [Full story page 2]

No details of the Alliance’s election campaign have so far been released and it’s not known how many candidates will enter the contest. However, the Alliance has made it clear in previous comments that it will target the seats of councillors who have voted in favour of the Civic Complex.

Cllr Tracy Moore, who takes the lead role for the council on the Civic Complex, said yesterday: “I welcome the TW Alliance registering as a political party.

“They will now have to come out of the shadows and abide by the same rules as the other parties, especially in terms of openness and transparency.

“As candidates or councillors their members will have to declare any personal or pecuniary interests, just as elected members always do.”

Cllr Moore has previously been attacked through anonymous posters in the town for her support of the new development.

Fifteen of the borough council’s seats will be decided at the ballot box on May 3 and those elected will serve until 2022.

At present the council is made up of 43 Tories, three Liberal Democrats and two Labour members which means there is no threat to the overall control of the Conservatives.

Council Leader David Jukes said: “There are 48 seats on the council so if they get two per cent of the seats they will only have one seat and their impact is not going to be tremendous.

“They are a single issue party, but there are many more issues that we as a council have to deal with, including housing and infrastructure.”

He concluded: “There is a silent majority in favour of the Civic Complex and theatre and that silent majority will vote at the ballot box.”

The Alliance previously told the Times: “We want to improve the quality of decision making within our council. It is not trying to be vindictive but always trying to improve the process.”

This week, they added: “We are not currently in a position to answer questions on TW Alliance and the plans.”

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