The Labour Party Candidate won 51% of the vote in Thursday’s by-election, taking the seat from the Conservatives, but the Conservatives will retain a clear majority on Southborough Town Council.
The by-election was held in the Council ward covering High Brooms and East Southborough and followed the surprise resignation of the Conservative, Glenn Lester, who had been one of the two key councillors driving forward the scheme to demolish the Royal Victoria Hall Theatre and replace it with the Southborough Hub.
The victorious Labour candidate, Alain Lewis (pictured below), told Southborough News: “I am grateful for the support of over 50% of people who voted in Southborough and High Brooms Ward who have said resoundingly that they want a local candidate to represent them on their Town Council.”
Mr Lewis continued: “These voters have sent another strong message to the ruling Conservative group that they are fed up with the secrecy that surrounds the Community Hub project, and that they back Labour’s plan for the Ridgewaye Fields to be given Village Green status to ensure that they are never built on again.’
Of the 3,106 people on the electoral role, 643 voters cast their ballot which calculates as a turnout of 21 %. This was 35 more people voting than in a similar poll in 2011.
The full votes are in the table below, indicating that Labour managed to boost its supporters by 76 per cent compared with the similar poll in 2011 when Glenn Lester joined the Town Council.
|2017 CANDIDATE||2017 RESULT||2011 RESULT|
|Lib Dem||Allen Lear||64||10||25||4|
NB A different set of candidates stood between 2011 and 2017 and the % figure indicates the support for each party, with Labour increasing its share from 31% to 51% over the six years.
The party representation in the Town Council is now Conservative 11, Labour 6 and Liberal Democrat 1. The Hub scheme brings together resources and land from three Councils (Kent County Council, Southborough Town Council and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council) which are all run by the Conservatives.
The Conservative Cllr Peter Oakford, who lives in Pennington Road, remains a strong advocate of the Hub scheme and his hopes for the development are outlined in previous Southborough News posts, including an extended recorded interview with him from November 2016. Click here: