New doubts have been placed on the Conservative Council’s plans to take out a huge loan to build a new civic centre and theatre in Tunbridge Wells after two defeats for the Party in Thursday’s Borough Council elections.
While the Southborough votes followed usual trends, Nick Pope (pictured below) of the newly formed Tunbridge Wells Alliance Party stole the limelight by defeating his Conservative opponent in Park Ward.
Mr Pope had been a vocal opponent of the plan approved by the Council last December to take out a £77million loan to build a brand new Town Hall and Theatre.
The loan would represent £ 1,600 of new debt for every household in Tunbridge Wells and mean that the council tax will have to absorb £60 per household per year in interest payments on the loan.
One of Southborough North’s Conservative Borough Councillors, Joe Simmons, held an informal referendum in October in which 80 per cent of voters were against the scheme.
Mr Simmons (pictured below) voted against his own party’s Civic Centre plans in December and held onto his seat in Thursday’s election with 51% of the vote in Southborough North.
Meanwhile in the Southborough and High Brooms ward, Labour’s Alain Lewis (pictured below) was victorious with 62% of the vote.
The Conservatives’ second setback came in St John’s ward where Nasir Jamil dropped into third place, with victory for the Liberal Democrats’ Mark Ellis who took 47% of the vote.
|Trevor Poile||Lib Dem||354||29%||Not elected|
|Martin Betts||Labour||247||20%||Not elected|
SOUTHBOROUGH AND HIGH BROOMS:
|Harry Allen||Conservative||455||26%||Not elected|
|Marguerita Morton||Lib Dem||211||12%||Not elected|
|Nick Pope||Tunbridge Wells Alliance||773||34%||Elected|
|Catherine Rankin||Conservative||630||28%||Not elected|
|Rachel Sadler||Lib Dem||533||23%||Not elected|
|Hugo Pound||Labour||335||15%||Not elected|
ST JOHN’S WARD:
|Mark Ellis||Lib Dem||1038||47%||Elected|
|Bjorn Simpole||Labour||599||27%||Not elected|
|Nasir Jamil||Conservative||575||26%||Not elected|
The new make up of the 48 member Borough Council would appear to be:
Conservative 41 (down 2)
Lib Democrat 4 (up 1)
Labour 2 (unchanged)
Tunbridge Wells Alliance 1 (up 1)
Eleven Conservative Councillors failed to support their own party’s Civic Centre/Theatre plans when they were voted on last December.
The newly-formed group opposed to the Civic Centre loan, Tunbridge Wells Alliance, failed to win the six other Borough Council seats they contested, although the group did win significant shares of the vote (between 15% and 32%).
The Conservatives came close to a third defeat when in BROADWATER they won by just 8 votes after a recount. Result below:
|Christoper Hall||Lib Dem||471||39%||Not elected|
|Louise Reid||Labour||213||17%||Not elected|
|Alan Elder-Brown||UKIP||59||5%||Not elected|