OVERVIEW

Tunbridge Wells Alliance will direct all its efforts as a party, and through our councillors, to ensure that the Borough of Tunbridge Wells supports a healthy and well cared for community that can be proud of its carefully maintained and cherished environment.

We will ensure that a proper balance is struck between conservation and development, so that the borough remains an excellent place to live, work and visit, whilst keeping pace with the changing requirements of new generations.

Our detailed manifesto pledges are as follows.

DEMOCRACY

Campaign to elect councillors who will listen to and respect the community.

Create a council that reflects the views of its residents, rather than imposing its own views on them.

Ensure that public consultations are made clearer and simpler.

Offer members of the public proper time to promote their ideas and concerns, ask and answer questions, and debate issues.

Campaign for increased opportunities for members of the public to present their views at committees and full council meetings.

Push for greater transparency and openness so that residents can be fully informed about how the council is performing, what consultations are taking place, and what decisions are being and have been made.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Campaign for improvements to building regulations, to raise the standard of housing design quality, quality energy efficiency and sustainability.

Ensure that the council fulfils its climate action commitment to eliminate carbon omissions in its operations by 2030.

Ensure the council sticks to its Air Quality Action Plan 2018-23 to monitor and address issues of air pollution throughout the borough. Review and update the action plan for beyond 2023.

BUYING

Review the buying process that uses old techniques which heavily favour price and use the Local Government Association guidelines with regard to disclosure.

PLANNING AND HOUSING

Protect land in the Green Belt land and the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty against inappropriate development.

Make sure local housing need is met through new developments.

Ensure contributions from developers are distributed fairly throughout the borough and that improvements to infrastructure bring benefits to residents.

Ensure that developments across the borough are coordinated through proper town planning and neighbourhood plans. Listen to local people and organisations in the formulation of these plans.

Encourage and support small-scale local and community-led housing delivery schemes, such as community land trust and co-housing projects.

WASTE

Encourage the council to continue to improve its waste recycling programme.

Ensure that the council adopts a strategy for tackling the problem of single-use plastics and non-recyclable packaging.

Encourage the council to find ways to deal with recycling at a more local level, for example by finding suitable locations for local composting centres for garden waste.

ROADS AND TRAFFIC

Press for the council to take back control of its roads from Kent County Council, so that concerns such as repairs and traffic control can be prioritised locally.

Aim to declutter our towns and villages from unnecessary street furniture and road signs, and prioritise the mending of pavements and verges.

Lobby for a ban on HGVs using our rural lanes and villages as rat runs.

Address the issue of excess traffic movements in Tunbridge Wells caused by the search for on-street parking spaces.

Help stimulate the retail and wider business economy in Tunbridge Wells by offering ‘first hour free’ parking, or similar arrangements, in council owned car parks. During the recovery from Covid restrictions, this is even more critical.

HEALTH AND WELLBEING

Support improvements to public rights of way to ensure a better network of cycle and bridleway routes in our towns, villages and rural parishes.

Encourage the council to address the issue of airborne pollution and seek to find ways to improve air quality.

COMMUNITY

Press for the continuation of the CCTV monitoring programme. This has made our streets safer, protected traders and enabled the police to obtain convictions for criminal offences. Seek a funding contribution from the police, as well as resisting any decisions taken by the council that put the financing of this at risk.

Pressurise the council to continue with its community grants programme. Lobby for the council to continue to support Citizens Advice Tunbridge Wells & District, which may have to close without council funding. Support local community initiatives throughout the borough by making small grants that can help turn these initiatives into realities.

Support the Amelia Scott cultural hub development, which is being partly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. This makes good use of the existing library, museum, and adult education centre buildings.

Press for the regeneration of the remaining civic buildings, including the town hall, Assembly Hall Theatre and police station, to ensure they are preserved for the public benefit. Take soundings from the public concerning the future use of these buildings.

Put pressure on the owners of the old ABC cinema site to ensure that it is developed as soon as possible. The development should include a suitable community element.

Push the council to progress licensing to allow a full market in Calverley Road pedestrian precinct in Tunbridge Wells to promote a better market, support existing and new businesses, and attract footfall.

Ensure that the council takes into account the needs of all age groups when allocating resources, including teenagers and older people.

FULL BOROUGH APPROACH

Ensure that the council does not neglect the concerns and requirements of our rural areas. Fair and proportionate resources should be allocated to these areas, including the three towns outside Tunbridge Wells and our many villages.

Listen to the concerns of residents and employers in these locations. Ensure they are given full consideration when allocating resources across the borough.

Liaise with, and strongly value, our local town and parish councils. These councils consist of elected individuals who give their time for no financial reward, and whose local knowledge and suggestions are invaluable to their local communities. Encourage the use of parish and neighbourhood plans to highlight local issues and preferences.