Liberal Democrat Trevor Poile has returned to the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council by defeating his Conservative opponent, Cllr David Elliott, in Southborough North.
Cllr Poile (pictured below) previously represented the same ward for 12 years between 1994 and 2007. He told Southborough News: “This win is particularly special as I have come back as a Borough councillor for my home ward after 12 years.”
In the past decade, Cllr Poile has remained an active member of the Southborough Town Council.
He said: “I was not expecting to get over 50% of the votes, I’ll be honest. Clearly it was part of a trend across the Borough, but my win was much bigger than expected.”
|SOUTHBOROUGH NORTH||Votes||Share of Vote|
|Trevor Poile||Lib Dem||691||53%||Elected|
|David Elliott||Cons||414||31%||Not elected|
|Nicholas Blackwell||Labour||135||10%||Not elected|
|Stephen Lukacs||UKIP||76||6%||Not elected|
Cllr Poile continued: “It is a fantastic result for me but it is also quite humbling that I have had that support. It is always hard work to win an election but the hard work really starts when you become elected.”
Meanwhile, his defeated opponent Conservative David Elliott, who had represented the Southborough North seat on TWBC for the past 12 years, told Southborough News he was disappointed with the result.
Cllr Elliott, who remains on the Southborough Town Council, said: “We felt that Southborough North was a fairly safe seat. In the 2015 election, I took 58% of the vote and as Conservatives we have tended to concentrate our efforts elsewhere and perhaps neglected the North Ward.”
David Elliott told Southborough News that he “would be back” and was proud of his achievements as a Borough Councillor. Cllr Elliott (pictured below) took early retirement aged 56 in the year before his election. He said: “Since my election in May 2007, I have been working full time supporting local residents in the North Ward.”
Cllr Elliott was briefly mayor of both Tunbridge Wells Borough and Southborough Town, when his one year as mayor in Tunbridge Wells and two years as mayor of Southborough overlapped for 15 hours. He pointed to his success on the Town Council improving Southborough Common – working with the Kent High Weald Partnership – and said: “My main achievement is that I have contributed towards delivering the Southborough Hub.”
Cllr Elliott says he will continue to work for Southborough as membership secretary of the Southborough and High Brooms District Overseas Friendship Association and he is also looking forward to organising the Classic Car show for the Lions Gala Day at Meadow’s School on 23rd June.
Cllr Poile reflected on the dramatic day of council defeats for the Conservatives: “The feel at the count at the Town Hall reminded me of the time in 1990s, when the Lib Dems took control of the Borough Council.”
He continued: “It was a perfect storm for the Conservatives. They have clearly been punished for what they’ve been proposing in the centre of Tunbridge Wells.” Full details of Thursday’s Borough and Town Council results are written up in two more blogs I have already published.
Meanwhile, Labour won the Southborough and High Brooms ward on the Borough Council. The victor was Luke Everitt (below) who said he was “over the moon.”
Cllr Everitt told Southbrough News that he thought the planned theatre and council office complex in Calverley Grounds was not viable, as it would never have generated the ticketing revenue it needed. Having spent recent weeks on the streets canvassing for votes, he said “I have yet to meet anyone in support of the Civic Centre scheme.”
Cllr Everitt, who is 32 and who formerly worked in the Council election team, said he thought the Tunbridge Wells council chamber had become an “echo chamber” without serious scrutiny of policies, but that there was now a clear mandate from voters for change.
|SOUTHBOROUGH & HIGH BROOMS||Votes||Share of Vote|
|Alexis Bird||Lib Dem||352||21%||Not elected|
|Mark Puller||Cons||309||18%||Not elected|
|Christine Marshall||UKIP||195||11%||Not elected|
Supporters of the Civic Centre project had pointed to the success of the Marlowe theatre in Canterbury (below) . But Cllr Everitt pointed out the Marlowe had benefited from significant public investment in the past but had now left council control and become a trust, so – he said – “being lost to the public realm.”
In the local votes a year ago, Conservative Joe Simmons (who voted against his own party’s Civic Centre plans) held onto his Borough Council seat for the Conservatives with 51% of the vote in Southborough North. Meanwhile in the Southborough and High Brooms ward, Labour’s Alain Lewis was victorious with 62% of the vote.
Southborough has 2 Borough Councillors in North Ward and 3 in Southborough and High Brooms Ward, with Dianne Hill from Labour being the 3rd representing High Brooms.
Some of Labour’s Borough councillors are shown below celebrating Thursday’s results: Luke Everitt, Hugo Pound (in Sherwood), Dianne Hill and Alain Lewis.