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Manifesto

OVERVIEW

Since inception in 2018, Tunbridge Wells Alliance has been steadily growing in reputation, members and councillors.

 

In 2022, The Alliance won yet more seats, resulting in the Conservatives losing control of the council after 24 years.

 

We negotiated our terms to join the Borough Partnership and together took control of the administration, making inroads on retaining services, improving their delivery and restoring financial stability. 

 

There is much more that The Alliance can achieve as truly local, independent and effective councillors.
 
We are passionate about keeping national party politics and rhetoric out of local government decision making. At a time when national politics is in disarray, it is more important than ever that our residents are better served through independent representation.

 

We direct our energy and skill sets as a party through our councillors to ensure that the Borough of Tunbridge Wells supports healthy and safe communities that can be proud of their unique heritage, environment and culture.

 

We prioritise the borough remaining an exceptional place to live, work and visit, whilst adapting to a modern world and challenging the balance between development and conservation so that the borough thrives and delivers for everyone.
 
As we continue to hold the administration, our pledges are:

 

DEMOCRACY

 

  • Selecting candidates who are listening and respecting their communities first.

  • Encouraging engagement in public consultations by making them clearer, simpler and widely available.

  • Offering members of the public proper time to promote their ideas and concerns, ask and respond to questions, and debate issues constructively. 

  • Increasing opportunities for members of the public to engage at committees and full council meetings.

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

PLANNING AND HOUSING

 

  • Normalise development proposals through the promotion of positive town planning and neighbourhood plans. Listen to and enable local people and organisations in the formulation of these plans.  

  • Ensure that the significance of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is appropriately considered in planning decisions.

  • Maintain a balance of East-West councillors on the Planning Committee

  • Bring local housing need to the forefront and meet it within new developments.

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

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

WASTE & RECYCLING

 

  • Promote the council’s efforts to continue to improve its waste recycling programme.

  • Support the council adopting national strategies for tackling the problem of single-use plastics and non-recyclable packaging.

  • Encourage the council to help residents with recycling at a more local level, for example listing the local repair cafes, vintage and pre-loved furniture and fashion shops.

  • Educate councillors on how to facilitate local focus groups on initiatives that reduce food waste and share excess food in the community, thereby reducing CO2 emissions.

  • Adopt regular public information schemes on littering and fly-tipping

ROADS AND TRAFFIC

 

  • Find and create opportunities 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 re-route of HGVs from our rural lanes and villages.

  • Present working examples of how to successfully tackle excess traffic movements in caused by the search for on-street parking spaces in our towns and villages.

  • Simplify and consolidate fee structures in council owned car parks whilst keeping them free from borough-wide subsidies.

HEALTH AND WELLBEING

 

  • Lead on addressing the issue of airborne pollution and seek to find ways to improve air quality and enhance the beauty of our natural environment.

  • Implementing modern methods to clean and cool our towns.

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

  • Ensure our public green spaces are conserved and enhanced, and are safe and accessible to all users.

COMMUNITY

 

  • Promote safe neighbourhoods by working with town and parish councils, community groups and community safety stakeholders.

  • Promote the protection and development of community assets, such as community centres, through liaison with parish and town councils, ward councillors, community groups and other stakeholders.

  • Continue 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.

  • Embed the community support scheme in the council for years to come.

  • Roll out 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.

  • Use our position in the administration 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.

  • Always make the case for the inclusion and dignity of all age groups and residents with special needs when allocating resources.

CLIMATE CHANGE

 

  • Lobby to embed improvements to building regulations to raise the standard of housing design, quality and energy efficiency.

  • Promote sustainable development, to ensure our social and economic needs are met whilst protecting and enhancing the borough’s environmental resilience to climate change, including our contribution to our biodiversity and nature recovery.

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

  • Support the provision of EV charging points on Council operated property.

  • Use our expertise to promote and lead in adopting modern methods to clean our air in built up areas and cool our towns.

 

BUYING

 

  • Review and refine the procurement process that uses out dated techniques which prioritise price over quality and service.

  • Use the Local Government Association guidelines with regard to disclosure.

  • Draw from our working knowledge of contracts and services to challenge providers on delivery.

 

FULL BOROUGH APPROACH

 

  • Infrastructure First is a party-wide priority which demands fair and proportionate resources be allocated to rural areas, including the three towns outside Tunbridge Wells and our many villages.

  • We continue to listen to the concerns and suggestions of residents and employers outside of TW and ensure they are given full consideration when allocating resources across the borough.

  • We value our local town and parish councils and we liaise with them regularly; providing in depth reports and building relationships which sets us apart from other councillors.

  • Use the work of the neighbourhood plans to identify local needs and desires for our local communities.

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