Jamie 'Rocky' Johnson has lived in Broadwater for over 50 years. Two of Jamie’s three children go to the local primary school where Jamie is a parent-governor. He is a member of the Independent Police Advisory Group (IPAG) and an Independent Critical Incident Advisor for Kent Police. Jamie has been involved in sport for many years, including boxing at an international level. Jamie is standing for the Liberal Democrats in Broadwater ward in the local elections on 5 May. In this column for Times of Tunbridge Wells (published 23 February 2022), he outlines some of the pressing issues in his local community and offers some solutions.
Interesting article in the press from Christopher Hall, Lib Dem Councillor for Broadwater.
With the news that the average house price in Tunbridge Wells now exceeds half a million the town is continuing on its trajectory as an exclusive enclave for those who can afford it.
For many of the residents in my ward, this news might as well come from another world. Dozens of families, many of whom are struggling with the cost of living. are being forced to move out of their homes in Showfields to make way for redevelopment.
So far only a small handful of residents have been offered a suitable home to relocate to. Is it any wonder? There are currently nearly a thousand people on the housing register. The average wait for a 2 bed property for social rent is 3 years. For a 3 bed, it's longer and rising.
This Conservative-led Council’s failure to deliver affordable housing for rent, on their watch it has to be said, speaks volumes.
If we genuinely want this town to be an inclusive community that puts residents' wellbeing front and centre, we need a change in who controls the council this May.
Tunbridge Wells Election Results Since 2014
In June 2014 the local Conservative party held 79% of the seat on the Borough Council (38 seats out of 48). By May 2015 the Conservatives held all but 6 seats, i.e. 88% of councillors were Conservative. Since that time the opposition parties have eroded the Conservative majority, so that in November 2021 the Conservatives lost overall control of the council. The Liberal Democrats are the largest non Conservative party with 12 seats i.e. 25% of all seats.
[Source: Democratic and Community Engagement Manager Reports]
Here is an interesting "GIF" map showing the election changes since May 2014 - note how the dominance of the Conservatives in the elections has declined so as at today the opposition parties of the Lib Dems, Alliance, Labour and Independent now hold a majority of seats.
The Boundary Commission is asking Tunbridge Wells borough residents for their views on new warding patternsRead more
Map of Tunbridge Wells Wards - May 2022 Elections
The local elections being held on the 5th May 2022 are hugely significant. The Conservative party have lost overall control of Tunbridge Wells Council and expectations are that their numbers will continue to decline after the elections.
There are 20 wards in Tunbridge Wells, of which 16 have elections in May.
Here is an interactive map showing the wards holding elections:
Suspension of Garden Waste Service Costing Tunbridge Wells > £1 million p.a.
Tunbridge Wells Lib Dem leader Cllr Ben Chapelard commented, 'Cash-strapped Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is now paying the price for the Conservatives’ poor decision-making