Local Lib Dems Win New Seat in St. John's

Liberal Democrat candidate, Pete Lidstone, won the St. John's seat in the local elections on May 5th with a confident majority of 43% beating the incumbent conservative. Pete, who put in many long hours talking to local residents, was ecstatic about his win.

"The voters of St John's have given a clear mandate for change, and want to see more action from their Councillors. I will fight to deliver change and represent St John's within the conservative-led council", said Pete yesterday.

Liberal Democrats also won one of the St. James' seats on Thursday with voters returning an overwhelming 71% majority for Councillor Ben Chapelard.

"I will use your mandate to continue getting things done in St James’, represent your views and make sure that the Conservative-run council listens to you. I may not always succeed, but rest assured I will always give it my best shot", Ben told St. James' residents.

Hugh Patterson narrowly lost his borough seat in Capel by 76 votes and retained his parish seat.

"It is my pleasure to have served my fellow residents in 12 out of the last 16 years", said Hugh. "I hope my successor will continue to work on flood prevention and reducing lorry traffic in the village."

Liberal Democrats won 45 council seats nationally and the party and supporters were heartily thanked by the Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron.

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Lib Dems Fight Local Elections

Tunbridge Wells Lib Dems are gearing up for the local elections to be held on Thursday, May 5th.

We will be fighting to ensure that the voices of local people are heard. Please give us your support!!

The Liberal Democrats are standing in the following wards for the upcoming local elections and for Police and Crime Commissioner:

 

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Kishwer Falkner talks to Tunbridge Wells Lib Dems

The Tunbridge Wells Liberal Democrats held their annual dinner at the Royal Wells on Friday, March 18, 2016. Baroness Falkner of Margravine was on hand to give a talk about the upcoming European Union, the refugee crisis and the state of the party. There was also an auction with a variety of prizes which members bid for in a silent auction.

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Local Tunbridge Wells Chair, Gillian Douglass, introduced Baroness Falkner by reading a list of her accomplishments and accolades which Baroness Falkner denounced as being too extensive but noted that the party has told her that "these things must be done." Lady Falkner currently sits on the House of Lords European Union (E.U.) Sub-Committee on Financial Affairs and is a Member of both the House of Lords E.U. Select Committee, and the Joint House of Commons – House of Lords Select Committee on the National Security Strategy.

During her address, the Baroness remarked that, while she rarely agrees with the Prime Minister, she agrees with him regarding the European Union and stated that she believes that he has done a remarkable job in negotiating an agreement which she believes will be of benefit to the United Kingdom. She stated that no other country has been able to opt out of so many areas of the E. U. which they find disagreeable, notably the euro and the Shengan Agreement. This allows the U.K. the benefits of being able to control her finances and borders more effectively.

In regard to the refugee crisis, Baroness Falkner stated that the U.K. has donated £1.9 billion to relieve the plight of refugees. She supports the idea of accepting refugees from the refugee camps rather than from within Europe and also supports the Liberal Democrat policy of accepting 3,000 children in crisis.

Baroness Falkner spoke briefly about the state of the Liberal Democrat party saying that the Liberal Democrats have been in worse plight before and have fought back. She stated that she supported the idea of a coalition government which was the right thing for the country at the time but was somewhat critical of Nick Clegg for putting party politics above policy matters on one occasion.

The Liberal Democrats are fighting local elections on May 5th in the Borough of Tunbridge Wells as well as a number of parishes. They are also campaigning strongly to remain in the European Union. If you want to become involved with the local party or for further information, contact Gillian Douglass on 01892 670526 or Marguerita Morton, Secretary and Fundraising Chair on 01892 522756 or Membership Secretary, Sheesh Bloomfield on 07968331217.

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Councillor Patterson Fights to Protect the Green Belt

Hugh PattersonWhen you elected Cllr Hugh Patterson in 2012 he promised to fight to protect the Green Belt surrounding Five Oak Green.

Over the last two years he has campaigned against the two solar parks proposed in the parish. He said “Although I am in favour of solar energy, as a valuable contribution to a greener energy supply, I think there are better places to build solar farms. The Green Belt is there to preserve the openness of the countryside and to prevent our village being swallowed up by Paddock Wood and Tonbridge. Build these solar arrays - but not on Green Belt land.”

Cllr Patterson pointed out major problems with the flood impact assessment for one of the schemes, which was later changed in order to take account of the flooding risk in Five Oak Green. In the end planners agreed narrowly to approve both sites, though one was amended to make it smaller and ensure a more limited impact on the village.

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Councillor Patterson Calls for Money for Flood Relief

As chair of the Parish flood committee Cllr Patterson has worked with local residents, the Parish Council and other authorities since the flood of December 2013 to reduce the risk of further flooding in the village.

  • Public meetings twice yearly have allowed residents, particularly those in the centre of Five Oak Green, to make their concerns clear to the authorities.

  • Since 2013 the drains in the centre of the village have been CCTV’d and blockages cleared.

  • The Environment Agency relined the culvert in the late summer of 2014 at a cost of half a million pounds.

The next stage is for the flood diversion scheme to be built. This would protect homes in Five Oak Green from river flooding. At the time of writing half of the money needed still needs to found. There is money available to the Parish from the developers of the solar parks. Cllr Patterson believes it is important that “a proportion of this money should be given to the scheme in order to encourage other larger bodies like the County Council and Network Rail to make a contribution. Around 100 HOMES in Five Oak Green are at risk from river flooding. This would protect them from flood risks of greater than 1 in 100 years”.

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Cinema Site Update

The Times of Tunbridge Wells recently reported that the Carlyle Group was in the final stages of an agreement to sell the site to site to developer, Bellhouse Joseph for development of a hotel. While there is speculation that negotiations have fallen through there may still be a deal in the offing.

The 1.3 acre site is reported to have been bought by the Carlyle Group for £9.9 million in 2011.

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Lib Dems celebrate huge vote surge in Southborough North by-election

Liberal Democrat campaigners in Tunbridge Wells and Southborough are celebrating a massive surge in support in Thursday’s by-election. The seat is one of the Conservatives’ safest in the Borough where they polled 60% of the vote this May. However, they hung on by just 49 votes from a strong Lib Dem campaign led by candidate Trevor Poile.

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Lib Dems want street lighting answers

Kent County Council has announced that it has plans to end its unpopular part-time lighting scheme introduced recently in our streets.

However, there is uncertainty as to when this will actually happen as the plan requires £40m to convert the street lights to low energy bulbs.

The Council does not yet have this money and it may take years to secure.

“Why didn’t the Council focus on getting the funding for these improvements earlier,” says Trevor Poile.

“With the money in place the street lights could have been upgraded without the need to switch off our lights after midnight.”

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Getting serious about mental health services

One in four of us experience mental health problems at some point in our lives. But for too long it has been neglected by the NHS.

Lib Dem parliamentary campaigner for Tunbridge Wells, James MacCleary said, “It’s so important that mental health should not be ignored or stigmatised. It should be taken as seriously as physical health.”

The Lib Dems are using £400 million to help people with mental health problems get the right support early on, such as talking or psychological therapies, and are introducing waiting times so people will know for the first time when they can expect treatment.

James added, “It’s great that the Lib Dems are introducing the first ever waiting times for mental health services, but there is more to do to ensure the essential changes needed in mental health care happen.

“That’s why we are pledging an extra £8 billion a year for the NHS in the next Parliament, including half a billion dedicated to improving mental health care.”

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Royal Victoria Hall must be at the heart of our community

With the recent closure of the Royal Victoria Hall, the future of the building has been the topic of much concern recently.

For many years the Hall has been part of plans for a hub in the centre of Southborough involving the Town Council, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and Kent County Council.

“The three Councils must work hard to ensure that the Royal Victoria Hall forms part of any future plans,” says Trevor Poile.

“The Hall is part of Southborough’s history. I believe that all opportunities should be explored to improve and enhance the Hall as part of any redevelopment.”

 

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