At a packed special meeting of the Borough Council on Monday night it was agreed to stop all new spending on the planned Tunbridge Wells council offices and theatre.
There has been widespread public concern that the new civic centre would have led to the council into a heavy burden of debt.
Estimated borrowing would top £90million and the main Conservative backers of the plan lost their council seats at the recent local election.
Now the new Conservative leadership on the Borough Council has reflected on the election result and agreed a pause for consultation in the coming months.
A motion amended by the Conservative leadership at Monday’s meeting (shown above) was approved by 24 votes to 20 which stated: “Cabinet be requested to stop all new expenditure on the Calverley Square project with immediate effect and to not enter into further commitments other than, with the involvement of all political parties and other relevant stakeholder groups, to manage an orderly consideration of all alternative proposals.”
The motion was supported by Southborough’s Conservative councillor Joe Simmons but opposed by Southborough’s 3 Labour members and one Lib Dem councillor who wanted a clearer halt to the scheme.
Leading Conservative Councillor Scott said he wanted a reevaluation of all possible schemes but he argued the council did not have the “luxury” of not doing anything as he said £50 million needed to be spent on upgrading the existing theatre and council offices.
Councillor Scott said it was everybody’s job to come up with an answer and all of the options would cost money.
A further motion requesting the full council is consulted before any further key decisions are taken was passed by 30 votes to 14, even though it was opposed by the Conservative leader of the council.
This second vote saw around 10 Conservatives oppose their own leader, suggesting council policy remains in flux.