Justine Rutland stands for the Liberal Democrats in Culverden

Justine Rutland has announced her intention to stand for the Liberal Democrats in Culverden ward in the upcoming bye election on Thursday, November 14th. Justine works from home as a copywriter for a marketing agency in Langton Green and also as marketing manager for the Tunbridge Wells Puppetry Festival.

Justine grew up in Culverden, on Byng Road, and attended St John’s primary school then Bennett Memorial. She moved back to Tunbridge Wells in 2004 with her husband after having their first child. Seven years ago, they settled in Culverden. Their three children attend local schools. A trustee of King Charles the Martyr church, Justine says that she adores Tunbridge Wells. Her priorities are:

Pedestrian safety - reduce congestion and improve air quality

Local Plan – promote sustainable and genuinely affordable housing; protect green spaces; and encourage sustainable travel

Support retail via markets, events and making the town centre a more attractive destination; evaluate parking charges; boost tourism.

Justine promises openness and transparency, and will work hard to preserve, enhance and revitalise the town, and to represent the views of Culverden residents on the council. She would be very happy to hear Culverden residents' thoughts and concerns on local issues. If you would like to contact Justine or to help the campaign, please contact the Liberal Democrats by emailing [email protected]

The Culverden by-election will take place on 14 November. Justine would appreciate your vote.

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Council's Proposed £108 million New Town Hall Development Turned Down

Liberal Democrats led the way to a full council vote which turned down the proposed Town Hall complex on Calverley Grounds last night. 

In a full council vote, councillors voted 27 to 12 against the planned proposal which, to date, has cost Tunbridge Wells taxpayers over £10 million.

Activist, Angela Funnell, and Councillors James Rands and Ben Chapelard spoke against the proposal, citing the cost for future generations, the lack of planning and the flaws of the plan as reasons to reject it.

Ben Chapelard, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Council Group and Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate, stated that the proposed Town Hall complex is the wrong project in the wrong place. He had particular objections to the underground car park and the fact that the theatre and office block would have been set on Calverley Grounds, a much loved park.

"This is not the time to be building additional car parks," he said. "This is the time to be encouraging public transport, walking and cycling in the borough. This is the wrong project in the wrong place."

Liberal Democrats continue to work on a cross party group to come up with alternative ideas to solve the issues around the Town Hall and the Assembly Hall Theatre.

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Lib Dems Halt Tories' £108 million Town Hall Development

Local Liberal Democrats succeeded in calling a halt to Tory plans to build a £94 million, now £108 million, new town hall, office and theatre complex on Calverley Grounds.

Within days of the local elections in May, Liberal Democrat councillors made a formal request for an extraordinary meeting of the Full Council to debate the scheme.

At that meeting on June 17, Council agreed for the Conservative Cabinet to "stop all spending on the Calverley Square project with immediate effect" except for costs associated with completing the current stage of the design process which the Council had already committed to funding.

The Liberal Democrats were also successful with a motion to make sure Full Council votes on whether to start building, rather than leave the decision to the Cabinet of six Conservatives. At the July Full Council meeting our three Liberal Democrat demands, including giving a vote to all councillors, were unanimously supported by councillors.

A council vote on the continuation of the project is expected today, October 8, 2019.

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