Saturday, 30 April 2011

A bit of fun....Rusthall Parish Council election

I have selected the 9 candidates I shall be voting for next Thursday. 14 candidates are contesting the election and I doubt if all my selection will finish in the top 9, although I can but hope they will.

Thought I would have a bit of fun and list the candidates I expect to be elected, but I iterate that they may or may not be the ones I vote for.  In no particular order my list is as follows:

  • Jonathan Clark
  • Maria Simmons
  • Chris Elwood
  • Jenny Blackburn
  • Kelly Watson
  • Malcolm Lawrence
  • Clare Codd
  • Barry Edwards
  • John Rusbridge.
That leaves:
  • Andy Richards
  • David Appleton
  • Mary Lawrence
  • Jane Geer
  • Leonard Lewis
Good luck to all the candidates and I look forward to the electorate proving me wrong!

Follow this link for the election 'blurb' published by the candidates.

'Edenbridge Needs a Secondary School': the saga continues.

A few years ago Kent County Council decided to close the secondary school in Edenbridge.  One consequence of the decision has been the need to transport children to other towns for their schooling, which is not without its problems.  However, Edenbridge is not unique.  The selective system in operation in Kent results in many children across Kent travelling many miles to their schools, even more so for  children attending a school controlled by a faith organisation.

A small group of Edenbridge residents decided it would be a good idea to open a new secondary school in Edenbridge.  The local education authority is not keen on the idea which leaves the free school route as the only option.

The process to be followed to open a free school is daunting.  Just how difficult it is may be judged by following this link to the Department for Education website.  

So far the group working to open a new school has not been transparent. Rumours  have been circulating in Edenbridge about the proposed location, the name of a 'benefactor'  and the proposed name.  Little of substance is in the public domain, which is not good enough.  A free school proposal must show support for it from the community and in particular from parents of prospective pupils.

It is time that those behind the proposal went public: what is the proposed intake for the school, what is the proposed curriculum, where will it be located (planning permission will be required I suspect), who will be the owners of the company which operates the school?

Lots of questions, no answers.  To succeed a secondary school will need the support and commitment of the people of Edenbridge. They should be consulted now.

UKIP busy in Rusthall

I have received a third election leaflet from UKIP, nothing as yet from the Liberal Democrats.

The UKIP candidate is focusing on his connections with Rusthall. The leaflet repeats the claim that he will be an 'independent voice' but how can a candidate standing for a political party be an independent?  Different yes, independent no.

The leaflet castigates the Liberal Democrats (who have seven councillors) for being an ineffective opposition.  What a one man band expects to achieve is not mentioned in the leaflet.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Councillors are beyond reproach -aren't they?

A Conservative candidate in Thanet has been expelled for describing the women of Margate as 'sluts'. Oh dear. The offending word appeared on his Facebook page.

The overwhelming majority of councillors are fine upstanding citizens.  Unfortunately, a few are reprobates.  Some have made it to a Blog devoted to unmasking wrongdoing.  Not for the squeamish.

As far as I am aware councillors are not CRB checked, which seems rather strange as councillors can come into contact with children and vulnerable adults.  In my extensive travels I  came across one male councillor with an unhealthy interest in small boys, but he had not been CRB checked.   Are councillors CRB checked?  They should be.

It's hotting up in Rusthall

The borough council election is hotting up.  The UKIP candidate has been 'pressing the flesh' in the High Street and with the current anti-EU sentiment could do well.  Not well enough to win I believe, but he could draw votes from the Conservatives as happened in the recent Pembury by-election and let the Liberal Democrats slip into first place - ironic in view of the Liberal Democrats being the most pro-EU party.

The Liberal Democrat candidate is a local publican and a member of a well-known Rusthall family.  Should do well, although I have yet to see his election address.

What is of particular interest is that in 2012 the Conservative candidate will be the current Leader of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.  A Conservative loss in 2011 in Rusthall should concentrate his mind!

The parish council  election is fascinating.  A very good mix of candidates - wide age range, varied experience and  differing opinions on priorities for the new council.  I have selected the 9 candidates I shall be voting for from the field of 14.  Wonder if my selection will all win through?

I have served on a parish council and attended meetings of numerous parish councils over the years. I cannot help but feel that the candidates' expectations of what a parish council can achieve are somewhat optimistic, but good luck to them.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Citizen Smith

I had forgotten that John Sullivan, who wrote Only Fools and Horses, had an earlier success with Citizen Smith, starring Robert Lindsay.

The catch-phrase 'power to the people' has not been taken up by the Conservative Party in pursuit of the Localism agenda. Lindsay was at one time married to Cheryl Hall the co-star of Citizen Smith.

Cheryl is a former Leader of the Labour Group on Kent County Council.  I recall attending a party she held one Christmas at County Hall. Lovely lady, no side.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Add a bit of spice

It would add a bit of spice to the parish council election in Rusthall if the local bookmaker offered odds on who will top the poll and who will come last. Also the top three in the correct order.  :)

Monday, 25 April 2011

Rusthall parish election leaflet

Good to see that all the candidates got together and published a joint election address.  At the very least the electorate will know something about each of the candidates. My advice is: write a list of the candidates you intend to vote for and take it to the polling station. What with the Borough Council election  and referendum vote there is a lot to vote for on 5th May.

You can vote for as few candidates as you wish at the parish election: just make sure you do not vote for more than nine! One person has informed me that he intends to vote for one candidate and not use his eight other votes.

Just one minor criticism of the leaflet. It is not a voting paper for the alternative vote system it is a voting paper for or against changing from the current system to AV.

Rusthall Parish Council election

Still no word from all but two of the candidates for the parish council election, although the Conservative candidate for the borough council election has sent out an election address which does not mention he is standing for the parish council.  We shall have to see what the next few days brings.

I have been somewhat surprised at the antipathy towards a parish council by some in the village.  Some is directed at the people who wanted a parish council but the main anxiety is how much the council will cost.  We know £40,000 is the limit for the first year, but thereafter? 

The £40,000 will have to be repaid to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and who knows what spending plans the parish council has in mind.  The candidates should inform us as to how much and on what they would like to spend our money.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Edenbridge Needs a Secondary School

The title for this blog is taken from  a Facebook Group page.  The following has been posted by the leading light promoting the school:


Shall be told whom the 'mystery' benefactor is and when the school will open its doors?

Ticket barriers

The railway station at Tunbridge Wells has ticket barriers.  Since they were installed last year I have not seen them in use.  I have never seen the barriers at Charing Cross, Cannon Street, London  Bridge, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Ashford not in use,  so what is special about Tunbridge Wells?

The dynamism of an hiberating tortoise

Page four of this week's local newspaper The Courier is a free election leaflet for the Conservative Party ahead of the local elections.  All is well, steady  as she goes, Captain Bob is at the tiller to steer the Council safely through the dangers ahead.   The Conservative crew are all happy bunnies.

The message from Councillor Atwood goes along the lines, I want modernisation where it is needed, I want to consult with the world and his wife and at some time in the distant future we may, just may, make a decision.  Decisive stuff.

The latest wheeze is to call for a 'town-centre master plan' to add to the plethora of plans, surveys and consultations that exist already quite apart from the statutory documents required for planning application purposes.

One interesting paragraph in the report is the following:

He (Councillor Atwood) said after scrutinising the detail of the Tunbridge Wells Regeneration Company...he was happy with its terms.

That will disappoint a few people.

One might well ask why Councillors Jukes and Glen Hall resigned from the company?

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Rusthall Parish Council: Who will get my vote?

A fortnight to go before the first election to Rusthall Parish Council.  The village is hardly in ferment. Let's hope there are a few fireworks from the candidates to enthuse the electorate to come out and vote.

It is a fact that the vast majority of people did not respond to either the first or second consultation on  forming a parish council. Indeed, those promoting the formation of a parish council expressed concern that far fewer people responded to the second consultation than to the first.  Of them that did respond, the 'pro' parish council adherents heavily outnumbered the opponents.  Some of the comments by the 'anti' brigade were most uncomplimentary about the people 'pro' a parish council.

So, where will my votes be going? 14 candidates for 9 seats.  I have dismissed one candidate as he lives in Ramslye.  One candidate has delivered an election address, so for effort might well receive one of my votes.  Another candidate has had posters placed in shop windows. At least shows some gumption so might well receive my vote.  4 of the candidates I know, which might or might not lead me to vote for them.

That leaves 7 candidates about whom I know nothing and for whom I shall not vote.  I understand from one of the candidates that there was talk of a collective election address.  So, come on  let's be hearing from you if you want me to consider voting for you.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

A success story!! Kent Savers.

According to the Chief Officer of Kent Savers Credit Union no other credit union has issued so much money on loan to its members in the first year.

It is proposed that Kent Savers' pays a dividend of 3%.  No bank is offering anywhere near 3% on current or savings accounts.  A good reason to join Kent Savers - but you have to live or work in Kent.

Congratulations to the directors and staff of the credit union for what has been achieved so far. It is important to remember that the funding to set up the credit union came from Kent County Council.  Credit to the politicians who drove the project to form the credit union.

For more information about Kent Savers press on the link at the bottom of the right hand column of this blog.

Good News from the Bridge Trust

Delighted to read in the Bridge Trust's newsletter that the Trust has been chosen  by John Lewis Blue Water to be the latter's partner charity for the next two years. The staff of John Lewis voted for the Trust from a shortlist.  Not sure if it was first past the post or the alternative vote system which was used.

The Trust is 'extremely proud' it has been chosen, and so it should be.

For more information about the Trust please visit:

Monday, 18 April 2011

Royal Victoria Place, Tunbridge Wells

Shopping malls are not places I enjoy visiting.  Many are depressing: low ceilings, no natural light and inadequate circulating areas.  Royal Victoria  Place was almost a pleasure to visit: high ceilings, natural light and a broad expanse of circulating area.

The owners of RVP are intent on 'sweating the assets'. Part of the well above the food hall has been covered, coffee shops located in the circulating areas and an ever increasing number of stalls placed in the main passages.  It is all so cluttered.  I do not wish to be approached by stand holders seeking to sell me their wares. 

Definitely going down market.

One space which could be used to good effect is the square by the Camden Centre.  Why no outside cafe? Why not use the space for entertainment?

Friday, 15 April 2011

A new secondary school for Edenbridge.

Many residents in Edenbridge regretted the closure of Eden Valley School. Children have to travel to adjoining towns and those who use public transport often miss out on after-school activities.

A small group met Sir John Stanley MP, whose constituency includes Edenbridge, last November to discuss their concerns and promote the idea of a 'free' school in Edenbridge.

It is unlikely that the local education authority will open a new school in Edenbridge, so the free school route is the only option available.

One member of the group has talked of a 'mystery' benefactor and that is the current position - a mystery.

It is clear from Department for Education information that the application process to open a free school is rigorous.  Evidence of local need and support has to be gathered.  There is no sign that this has happened or is happening.

The cry goes up from time to time from a member of the group: 'we shall have a new school in Edenbridge'.  It would be helpful to have a public statement on what is happening, who is involved and above all the identity of the 'mystery' benefactor.

In your dreams Neve

David Neve, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council regales the readers of the local  newspaper with the comment:

If we get a few more seats we shall be looking to get a seat on the cabinet.

Politically bonkers.  Cabinet places are not allocated on the basis of the strength of the political parties as was the case under the committee system.  Does Neve expect the Tories to give up a cabinet place to an opposition party?

I have not identified a council cabinet which has members from different parties, except in the case of 'hung' councils where no party has an overall majority. Can Councillor Neve point us in the direction of a Lib Dem controlled council with an overall majority where a cabinet seat is held by an opposition party?

Politically it would be a bad move for the Liberal Democrats to have seat in the cabinet as whenever an unpopular decision was taken the Tories would be able to point out that Lib Dems were party to the decision.

Hypocrisy from Lib Dem Leader, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.

Last February I posted an item about a Liberal Democrat councillor in West Sussex.

A councillor has been criticised for refusing to step down despite living in Canada, 4,700 miles from his constituency. Brian Hall travels across the Atlantic from his home in British Columbia to attend meetings of West Sussex County Council. He will not stand for re-election as a district councillor in May, but will continue to represent Haywards Heath from Canada.

Last week I noted that the Liberal Democrat candidate for Goudhurst & Lamberhurst lives 16 miles from the seat she is contesting.

The Liberal Democrat Leader is quoted in this week's local newspaper (The Courier) thus:

We think it's very important that our candidates live on the area.  Local should mean local.

Rank hypocrisy.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Notice of Poll

The Returning Officer at parish and borough elections has to publish a Notice of Poll. Against each candidate's name is listed them who signed each candidate's nomination paper - two in the case of a parish council candidate, ten for a borough council candidate.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Conservative election address.

Interesting election address from the Conservatives for the Borough Council elections in Tunbridge Wells. Bit of trumpet blowing: I have served Rusthall well, but the candidate might as well, no-one else is going to do it for him.

The proposal to convert  Southwood Road sports pavilion into an indoor sports hall and refreshment area is one I support. When I chaired Rusthall Community and Youth Project the Council turned down a similar proposal on the grounds that the building would not be supporting outdoor activity.  A golf clubhouse would have been ok!

On the thorny issue of regeneration of Tunbridge Wells town centre the leaflet states that the Council Leader has promised further consultation to ensure the priorities of local residents are taken fully into account when considering regeneration projects.

Sir Humphrey would have been proud of the author of that sentence.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Rusthall Parish Council election

I am informed that candidates (all?) are meeting later this week to discuss sending out (joint?) election literature.  Would make sense if they all contributed to an information sheet.  We need to know something about the candidates and pertinently what their priorities are for spending the funds available to the Council.

So far one candidate has stated he wishes to see the public conveniences re-opened or rebuilt, another has suggested the Council contribute to the cost of the Christmas lights.  Any more ideas we should know about before we vote?

UKIP election literature

An election address from UKIP arrived yesterday. How a nominee of a political party can describe himself as 'an independent voice' beats me.

The substance of the leaflet is a claim that the three main parties are all of a muchness and only UKIP has distinctive policies on the EU and immigration. The relevance of this to an election to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council eludes me.

The leaflet makes the preposterous claim that on the issue of local accountability UKIP 'will break the stitch-up between the Conservative, Lib Dem and Labour Parties'.  I thought the parties viewed each other with suspicion, loathing and detestation. 

The one point I do agree with  is the opposition to the 11% increase in councillors' allowances the Tories pushed through..  The UKIP leaflet claims this was with Liberal Democrat help! True or untrue?

Not a word on town centre regeneration, public transport, level of council tax or indeed anything of a local nature.  Depressing.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Jokes in poor taste

OFCOM has announced that Channel 4 breached guidelines when it transmitted a routine delivered by Frankie Boyle. The routine targeted and mocked the mental and physical disability of a nine year old who is blind and has autism. Channel 4 defends its action by stating the routine was 'simply absurdist satire'.

In Tunbridge Wells two members of the English Democrats have been execrated across four pages in the local press for having the temerity to have a link to a joke on their Facebook pages about running into a mosque with park strapped to the body. 'Offensive' according to the newspaper.  Some might argue it was 'simply absurdist satire'.

I find both 'jokes' distasteful.  However, the disproportionate coverage by the local newspaper shows how common sense and the use of critical faculties fly through the window whenever race or religious hatred cards are played.

Friday, 8 April 2011

A tale of two Leaders

The former Leader of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Roy Bullock, came out with a robust defence of development proposals for the Great Hall car park site in Tunbridge Wells, based on a persuasive analysis, in a letter to the Courier.

An article in the same newspaper refers to a dearth of retail space being a  'major issue' with thirty key businesses or brands wanting to come to Tunbridge Wells.  A survey indicates that more retailers want to move to Tunbridge Wells rather than Crawley, Maidstone or Ashford but are constrained by lack of space. Roy Bullock understood the issues and came up with a process to deal with them.  Unfortunately his failure to consult brought about his downfall, or rather, was the excuse which enabled his opponents to bring him down.

Sadly, Roy's clear headed thinking is not shared by his successor, Robert 'Plumber' Atwood. The Courier carries his comments thus:

When asked if the Morrisons, cinema and Town Hall sites could be the key to its retail growth (he) said: absolutely this is a possibility we have to explore.  We are not in a position to say absolutely yes or no, but we would be foolish not to explore the opportunities they might present.  I would like to have better communication with the business lobby.

What on earth has he being doing over the past three months?  Surely this matter should have been explored or in the process of being explored, not something we have to explore?  He wants better communication with the business lobby - well get out there and communicate!

So far, the Aspic Brigade has made the running. Let us hope that at long last the penny has dropped that the route this bunch hopes to take Tunbridge Wells is the path to economic suicide.  Open the dialogue with business and go for full throttle regeneration.

Hatchet job on English Democrats continues in the local press.

The Tunbridge Wells edition of the Courier carried  last week a three page hatchet job on the chairman of the English Democrats.  His reply has been ignored.

This week the paper has turned its fire on the party's candidate in the local elections - who gained 8% of the vote at a by-election last year. The paper has focussed on her clicking a Facebook link supporting the 'joke' of running into mosques with pork strapped to one's person.

Not funny, but then neither is the so-called 'ironic' humour of professional comedians who focus on individuals with disabilities.  I haven't seen the Courier complain about this.

The Courier castigated the chairman of the English Democrats for 'inflammatory' comments he made about Muslims 'grooming' children.  In this context, follow this link for some truly alarming material from the Daily Telegraph.  Or here from the Daily Mail.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

A tad disappointed.

I admit to being disappointed that no news has been forthcoming concerning the mystery benefactor whom we are informed is going to establish a free school in Edenbridge.  The people of Edenbridge should be told.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

A new school for Edenbridge

In recent years three schools have closed in this area: Huntley School in Tunbridge Wells, Ridgeway School in Southborough and Eden Valley School in Edenbridge.  Each school day a vast army of children is on the move.  Some children travel considerable distances.  A horde passes through Tonbridge railway station each school day.

The cost of this daily travel must be huge, particularly as fuel costs and fares have risen strongly in recent months.  The carbon footprint must send the Green Party into a tizzy.

The human cost of all this travel is enormous.  Children are away from home a long time, those who have to use public transport forgo after school activities.

The Coalition's free school initiative provides an opportunity to escape from the straitjacket of local education authority planning.  However, the process for opening a school is an administrative nightmare.

In Edenbridge a group has been formed with the express intention of opening a free school in the town.  The support of the local MP has been solicited and the leader of the group has announced that there is a secret benefactor. Why the identity of this benefactor should be a secret beats me. How can a group be expected to work if it does not know the individual or organisation pulling the strings?  Indeed, if it is planned to solicit support from people and organisations in Edenbridge it is essential to know the identity of the prime mover.

It was announced on Facebook that the school would be named the Harris Hall Academy.  This led me to assume that the benefactor was none other than Baron Harris of Peckham who has been setting up schools  bearing his name in South London.  It has been denied that Baron Harris is the benefactor.  Could it be Rolph Harris?

Monday, 4 April 2011

Borough Council election contests shaping up nicely

Should be some interesting contests in this year's elections for seats on Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.  The Tories are fighting all seventeen seats, Labour thirteen, Liberal Democrats eleven, UKIP ten, Independents five, Green Party one and English Democrats one.

The big surprise is the number of seats Labour is contesting.  the Green Party is concentrating its fire power in Culverden Ward.

One retiring Conservative councillor standing for re-election has an Uckfield, East Sussex home address. Obviously qualifies under other criteria, but really.  Paddock Wood to Uckfield must be about twenty miles.

Roy Bullock, as I expected, has stood down in Goudhurst & Lamberhurst. 

In Frittenden & Sissinghurst the retiring Conservative councillor has been de-selected and is standing as an Independent.  The 'official' Conservative candidate lives in Cranbrook.  No other candidates. I expect the Independent to win.

It will be interesting to see if the Independent wins in Cranbrook against the sitting Conservative and a Labour candidate.  A Lib Dem won last year.

Fourteen candidates declared for Rusthall parish election stakes.

Fourteen candidates will contest nine seats at the first election for the new Rusthall Parish Council.  Good spread of candidates from across the parish.  One candidate is from outside the parish, he lives in Ramslye.  He can stand as he lives within three miles of the parish border.

Let's hope there is a good turnout on election day.

Goudhurst & Lamberhurst Liberal Democrat Candidate lives in St Johns!

During the recent Pembury by-election the Liberal Democrats made great play of the fact that the party's candidate lived locally, whereas the Conservative candidate lived 4 miles away.

For the Goudhurst & Lamberhurst ward election the Lib Dems have selected a candidate who lives in St. John's, Tunbridge Wells.    Wonder how they plan to make a virtue out of this?  Really it is not on to lambaste a candidate from another party for not being local and then selecting a person who lives a good 8 miles from the seat they are standing in.  Double standards?

As I surmised Roy Bullock is not standing as an Independent.

Sunday, 3 April 2011


Good to see candidates for the Rusthall Parish Council election putting up posters and distributing leaflets. No imprint though of the publisher and printer on the material I have seen. I believe it is a legal requirement?

My April Fool joke certainly took a few people in I am pleased to report. Should I decide to re-enter the election fray it will to stand in 2012 against the current Leader of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council who is one of my ward councillors.  Unless, that is, there is a marked improvement in his performance

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Adrian Ratcliffe

I have known Adrian a long time. The first time I met him was in the 1990s when he chaired Sherwood Community Action Group and I was a councillor. He was one of the few people in Sherwood at that time prepared to get off their backside and attempt to improve the estate.

A few years later I met Adrian when he was involved with industrial chaplaincy on North Farm.  More recently we have become friends on Facebook and I have been following with interest the activities of the English Democrats (ED) and the English Defence League (EDL), neither of which am I a member nor a supporter. 

Should anyone care to peruse my Facebook page you will find it is eclectic. There you will find individuals from the far left to the far right, from many nations, of many faiths or none, people with a very diverse range of interests, opinions and prejudices.  Cosmopolitan.

In my opinion we should withdraw from the EU, have an English Parliament and elected mayors. I oppose AV. Nothing far-right in that and as far as I am aware (apart from AV) more or less what the English Democrats  (ED) stand for, as do some within the Labour and Conservative parties.

The trouble for the ED starts when it comes to the issues of  immigration and multi-culturism.  At one time it was taboo to talk about immigration, as to oppose immigration was equated to racism.  Now, both the Conservative and Labour parties recognise that the scale of immigration is a major issue and thankfully it is possible to talk about it without being branded racist.

The Prime Minister and the Chairman of the Conservative Party have both spoken in recent months about the dangers of segregation of communities along ethnic, cultural and religious lines.  Opposition to Shari Law has been expressed by a former Lord Chief Justice no less. In many respects the policies of the ED are reflected in mainstream opinion.

The problem for the ED is that some of its supporters also have links with the EDL and the British National Party (BNP).  Whilst the EDL denies strongly it is racist, some supporters are as are some ED members/supporters.

Undoubedly Adrian posted items in  very poor taste, but it is ironic that he should be castigated in the local paper on the very day militant Islamists murdered United Nations staff in Afghanistan because a fool in America burned a copy of the Koran.

To spread the story about Adrian across the front page and two inside pages of the paper in my view was excessive.  What it has done is given the right-wing racist morons a huge publicity boost  which will undoubtedly aid recruitment.

The po-faced comments of those rushing to disassociate themselves from Adrian were to be expected.  Head in the sand time by people unwilling to acknowledge that there are serious  underlying issues and tensions which will not go away simply by applying the epithets  'right-wing' or 'racist' in a  casual manner.  Fortunately there are some, John Denham whilst in government  for one, who recognise that understanding the issues and finding solutions is essential if the constituency which supports the EDL, BNP and to a lesser extent the ED is to  be countered.  The real issues relate to deprivation, not race, and unless tackled  minority groups will continue to be the scapegoats.  It is the message we should be concerned about, not vilifying one of the messengers.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Rusthall runners and riders

Conjecture in the local press that there could be between 14-17 candidates standing at the first election to Rusthall Parish Council.  Nine seats available.  Originally it was proposed there should be eleven.  Ideas  from declared candidates which have surfaced in the press or leaflets.

  • The Parish Council should make a contribution to the Christmas Lights on the High Street
  • The public toilets should be re-opened or re-built.
  • The Rusthall bus service should be extended to Pembury Hospital.

History repeats?

In the local newspaper this week is a quote from a Tunbridge Wells Borough Council officer:

Tunbridge Wells is richer, younger and livelier than before.  Its population has changed and the town must also change to meet the new damands of that population.

The officer commented on objectors to development such as the Civic Society. We believe the opposition is short-sighted.

The comments were made when plans for the Royal Victoria Place shopping centre were published 25 years ago.  Apposite today. The Civic Society continues its 'aspic' policy as Canute like it seeks to stem the tide of change.  For Royal Victoria Place read civic complex.

Back in the 1990s the Conservatives provided strong political leadership  and did not pander to a self-appointed cabal intent on  the town becoming a backwater.

One hope, but doubts, the current political leadership has the backbone their predecessors had.

Tory upheaval continues in Tunbridge Wells

The long-running farce within the Conservative Association continues.  The former Leader of the Council, Roy Bullock, has been suspended for sending to councillors a circular in which there are disparaging comments about Councillor James Scholes who is the Chairman of the Conservative Association, a former Council Leader  and currently a member of Robert 'Plumber' Atwood's cabinet.

So much for Plumber Atwood's much vaunted 'unifier' claims. Attacks on Plumber's insipid leadership continue in the letters column of the local press. 

The most likely beneficiaries from the Tory in=fighting, the Liberal Democrats, hardly inspire confidence that they are willing to promote economic re-generation.

Time to stand and be counted

I have decided that the time has come to stand and be counted; to voice my opposition to the forces of reaction in Tunbridge Wells which over the years have opposed  any changes which would take Royal Tunbridge Wells out of its 1960s time warp.

I shall be standing as an Independent at the forthcoming local elections. It is not my intention to produce a manifesto given the bad name such documents have following the jettisoning of commitments by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats nationally in their lust for power.   My campaign slogan will be: full throttle regeneration.