Nominations for local elections have been finalised
12th April 2019
THE PEOPLE of Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge go to the polls on May 2.
In Tunbridge Wells just over a third of the Council’s 48 seats are to be contested. While in Tonbridge the entire council is up for re-election.
Nearly 80 nominations have been sent into Tunbridge Wells Borough Council from prospective candidates wishing to contest the 18 seats up for grabs.
The council elections in Tunbridge Wells are held over a four-year cycle, where one third of the council is up for election every year except for one year in four when there is no election.
Many councils choose to re-elect their public officials in this way, rather than re-elect an entire chamber, as it provides continuity and consistency.
All political parties have fielded candidates in Tunbridge Wells with 18 Liberal Democrat and Conservative prospective councillors standing, 15 Labour, 6 Tunbridge Wells Alliance, 6 Green, 9 from Ukip, with several independents, Green Party members and Women’s Equality Party also fielding candidates.
In the borough of Tonbridge & Malling, all 52 seats are being contested in 23 wards.
Only one ward, Down and Mereworth, is not going being contested, with Conservative councillors Ann Kemp and Piers Montague, who replaces Matthew Balfour, not being challenged.
Of the 20 wards in the borough of Tunbridge Wells, 16 have seats up for election, and there are two by-elections.
78 people from the borough putting themselves forward to represent one of the wards, but there are 18 seats up for election as Park ward and Paddock Wood East are holding by-elections in addition to the council seats that have come to the end of their term.
Currently, all but one of these seats is held by a Conservative party member, with Independent, James Hannam, currently sitting for Frittenden and Sissinghurst, not seeking re-election.
Candidates have put themselves forward from all the major parties, with Tunbridge Wells Alliance, Liberal Democrats, Labour, Ukip, WEP, Greens and the Conservative Party fielding multiple candidates across the borough, along with a number of independents.
Of the current incumbents, three members of the Cabinet at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council are up for re-election. Among these is David Jukes, the sitting Conservative leader of the council, who is standing for re-election in Speldhurst and Bidborough.
The current cabinet member for Communities and Wellbeing, Lynne Weatherly, is stepping down from public service to concentrate on her business and family life after representing Sherwood since 2011.
Current cabinet member for Economic Development and Communications, Tracy Moore, is also up for re-election and is contesting Park ward for the second time.
In both boroughs, parish and town councils are also up for election.
In Tonbridge ten of the Greens are standing in the town, which has 15 Conservatives, eight Lib Dems, seven from Labour, two from UKIP and one independent, Stacey Pilgrim, who is up against the Mayor Pam Bates in Trench ward.
Among the notable changes in personnel, former Mayor Owen Baldock is standing down from Castle Ward after more than three decades of public service.
The 73-year-old attended Ridgeway School in Southborough and grew up in Speldhurst and Hadlow.
Also standing down is Peter Bolt, who has been representing Judd ward since 1976 with a four-year hiatus in 1995-99.
Sarah Spence, one of the councillors for Vauxhall ward, is not running this time, with Carl Lewis, the town’s Poppy Appeal organiser and flood warden, running with the incumbent Maria Heslop.
Matt Boughton, assistant to local MP Tom Tugendhat, is standing in Medway ward, having previously served as a councillor in Maidstone.
He and James Lark are hoping to replace the outgoing Russell Lancaster and Benjamin Elks, while Tom Edmonston-Low is vacating his seat in Higham.