Our plan for Tunbridge Wells

Our plan for a Liberal Democrat Borough Council

We’re asking you to vote for a Lib Dem controlled Council on 2nd May 2024 – one where most councillors in the Borough are Liberal Democrat. For this to happen, you need to use every vote you have to elect Lib Dem councillors for your area of the Borough. Most residents will have three votes to choose three new councillors for their ward; residents in St John’s will have two votes each and residents in High Brooms will have one vote each.

We have had thousands of conversations on doorsteps over the past year and voters tell us they want change. We want to deliver it for you.

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We plan to:

  • Freeze car parking charges for 12 months while we continue to manage Council finances prudently.
  • Breathe life back into the town centre and continue to improve Royal Victoria Place (RVP) with more family-friendly shops and leisure activities. 
  • Fight for the right infrastructure for new housing developments. 
  • Plant a tree for every resident in the Borough and create a new nature reserve near Paddock Wood. 
  • Create new youth hubs across the Borough

See below for details.

 


 

Freezing Car Parking Charges

We’ll freeze car parking charges for 12 months while we continue to manage Council finances prudently.

Tunbridge Wells residents are facing a cost-of-living crisis, not helped by Conservative financial mismanagement locally and nationally. We’ll do our bit to help by freezing parking charges for 12 months. Lib Dem sound financial management is turning things around locally; we have delivered the first balanced budget since 2019 while protecting services for residents, despite the Conservative Government cutting central government funding for the Borough by 90% since 2015.  

The Town Centre

We’ll breathe life back into the town centre; we’ll continue to improve Royal Victoria Place (RVP) with more family-friendly shops and leisure activities, such as a cinema. 

The Conservatives presided over decades of decline in our town centre, including letting the ABC cinema site lie barren for over 20 years.  We’re taking back control of the RVP so we can bring in new leisure facilities and the shops people want and can revitalise the centre of town. Let’s not forget the Conservatives wasted £11m on the project to build a new theatre and town hall on Calverley Grounds. 

Infrastructure and housing

We’ll fight for the right infrastructure for new housing developments.

Tunbridge Wells needs more affordable housing. But for too long the Conservatives have failed to hold developers accountable for the infrastructure needed to make development sustainable and to gain the support of local communities. We’ll fight to ensure infrastructure such as GP surgeries and public transport are delivered and promote affordable housing for residents. We’ll hold developers to their promises and will be prepared to take legal action where necessary. The local Lib Dems will continue to support amending the Local Plan to remove the Tudeley Village proposal which was lacking infrastructure and the additional development in West Paddock Wood that was to be built on a flood plain. 

A Tree for Every Resident

We will plant a tree for every resident in the Borough and we plan to create a new nature reserve near Paddock Wood. 

We want to build a lasting legacy for our children by creating new green spaces and making a contribution to achieving net zero carbon emissions.  Planting trees in the right places can help combat the scourge of flooding from local rivers, improve biodiversity, provide sanctuaries for wildlife, and create educational resources for our schools. 

New Youth Hubs

We’ll create new youth hubs across the Borough. 

We want to create six hubs spread across the Borough - in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Paddock Wood, Sherwood, Broadwater and Southborough. We will set aside £10,000 per hub per year for local youth organisations to bid for. From our thousands of conversations with residents across the Borough over the past year, we know that an important priority for many people is having more activities for the young. 

 

What the Liberal Democrats have delivered so far

 

Since 2022, the Liberal Democrats have led a cross-party administration running Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. These are some of the things we are very proud to have delivered for local residents:

  • We have achieved the first balanced budget for over five years, despite cuts in central Government funding since 2015.
  • We permanently blocked the £110m Calverley Square proposal. 
  • We have created a Community Support Fund which provides £100,000 (now fully funded for three years) to support those most in need in our community, including support for food banks, community larders, victims of domestic abuse and vulnerable children. 
  • We have bought back the lease of Royal Victoria Place shopping centre, which will enable us to take control of our own destiny in the town centre. This was possible because the Council’s finances are now in good shape. 
  • We have made the Assembly Hall Theatre a thriving venue again. 
  • Planning permission has been granted for the old ABC cinema site on Mount Pleasant and ground will be broken in early 2024. 
  • We have opened the Town Hall co-working space and have advanced plans for a farmers’ market in the centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells.
  • We are on track with our plans to reduce the carbon emissions of the Borough Council by, for example, decarbonising the Weald Leisure Centre.