I live in Tunbridge Wells and want to see it thrive. I'm particularly interested in the Park ward of the borough council as I grew up there and, nostalgia aside, it is a beautiful area of Tunbridge Wells with some lovely parks and beautiful old, and new, buildings. I have worked with the Liberal Democrats for several years and held the post of chairperson for the last three years. I am also an approved parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Democrats.
Recently, I've become more and more disillusioned with the government on all levels - national, county and locally. I'm particularly concerned about investment in the proposed civic development, lack of investment in infrastructure such as roads, schools and public services as well as the issues with retail development in the town. We need a variety of housing for our growing population and solutions for everybody, including social housing and shared ownership schemes.
There are two seats up for election in Park this year. Rachel Sadler, the former Tunbridge Wells Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate and I are both standing. We are both socially conscious, forward looking and keen to embrace creative solutions. We have both campaigned on a variety of issues, including the development of the old cinema site, recycling and environmental issues. We want an inclusive community in Tunbridge Wells that embraces our heritage and welcomes visitors as well as catering to our residents. We want policies that are friendly towards young and old, families and single people. A Tunbridge Wells for all.
If you want to see a real opposition to the Conservatives in Tunbridge Wells, vote Liberal Democrat on May 2nd.
You can reach me on 01892-278756 or direct message me on @gillydthack
I have lived in Tunbridge Wells for 14 years with my wife and two sons. I commute to London several times a week to run a technology business and Chair the Tunbridge Wells Liberal Democrats. I’m also Secretary of the Tunbridge Wells Foresters Football Club in which many of the boys and girls of our Ward get their weekly fun and exercise.
You’ve told me what you care about most in the Ward and across Tunbridge Wells over the last few months and so my priorities as your Councillor will be: (1) improved roads, pavements and parking (2) reduced congestion and pollution, (3) better thought out new developments.
EUROPE - WHY STAYING OPEN AND TOLERANT IS VITAL
Brexit has led to uncertainty and worry for many of our town’s citizens. In Kent we are closely linked to Europe both physically and culturally - this will not end because of Brexit, and we need to continue to recognise and embrace the diversity and tolerance of our local communities and support our local businesses in their trade with Europe.
Please contact me at [email protected] or 01892 618 277
Here are extracts from my presentation to the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council planning committee last year. As I plan to stand in Park ward for the borough elections in May, my views may be pertinent to local residents.
In Tunbridge Wells, we have a brilliant civic site - with the library, museum, adult education centre and town hall grouped together - along with a theatre which is also used as a gathering place for large meetings. The Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is now proposing to divide this civic space into two spaces - one to include the library, museum and adult education centre and another for the town hall, theatre and office spaces. Public facing services will be accessed via the new cultural hub and the business of the council will be conducted down the street behind closed doors. The council plans to close the Gateway. The Liberal Democrat motion for a public referendum on the proposed civic development was denied.
Apart from the fact that there are some serious questions about the suitability of the proposed new building, the town hall does not need to be placed on expensive property in the centre of town as there are no plans for public facing services. It could be relocated to Pembury, Hawkhurst or Paddock Wood. Further, the business proposal put forward seems overly optimistic considering that Tunbridge Wells is an hour away from the west end and some of the best theatre in the world.
Once again, the council has failed to properly maintain and update a building, causing it to fall into disrepair to build a case for replacing it. Personally, I do not like the architecture of the current civic development and would prefer the Decimus Burton houses that stood there before the town hall, but demolishing a building on the basis of its design and the fact that it hasn't been properly maintained does not seem to be in the public interest.
I understand that the current theatre is not fit for purpose but suggest that we do not need a 1200 static seat theatre in Tunbridge Wells but should, instead, be looking at a much more flexible space since we are unlikely to attract first run shows.
Finally, we should consider the fact that this will put a prominent building on a well-loved park in a conservation area. Despite the fact that it has been designed in two blocks, it still creates a large mass where there was relatively open space. For the residents, it may well seem as though they will have a Mela every night of the week with a much larger volume of night time traffic, particularly up Mount Pleasant and Grove Hill Road.