As independents we support  the extension of democracy and a greater formal role for the residents of the county and boroughs. The views of the people on major issues should be integral to the process and not, as it is now, incidental. The illusion is that we elect representatives and they present your views for you, but that isn’t enough because some projects need an independent and specific input from residents. With a County Council and Borough Council dominated by the Conservative Party and with a Conservative government, do not expect too much resistance against government diktat. It’s easier for them to just comply. If that weren’t bad enough we have Conservative party employees serving as councillors, how’s that for conflict of interest?

Specific issues come and go all the time, so these are just current examples, but you’ll need to know how we view the world. We don’t accept the artificial political chasm between left and right that party politics has created. If you want good schools, so do we, If you want more say in major developments, we’re with you 100%, if you want a vibrant town centre, so do we, if you want the potholes fixed (I definitely do, after having both nearside tyres taken out by one, with no compensation) so do we. That’s no surprise because most people want the same things. 

Below are some of the current issues that we hold firm views upon. Where there is no ‘read more’ button, it’s because it hasn’t been written yet.

01

The capel story

Nowhere in the history of local government and local representation are residents views so roundly ignored as in the panic to dump as much concrete around us as fast as possible. We aren’t opposed to more homes, but mass building projects, like Capel should not be permitted until the necessary infrastructure is in place. Impact assessments that allow these to go ahead are often politically weighted

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02

The police role

The PCSO role is simply a diversionary tactic to avoid the commissioning of warranted police officers. The illusion is that there is a police presence when there isn’t. We believe that a full complement police force, with a regular presence, on foot in our town is a major deterrent to criminal behaviour.

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02

The decaying high street

The government’s never ending assault on our economy has had a devastating effect on those small businesses that make a town centre a vibrant and interesting place to be. However, the decline in Tonbridge began long before the current destruction, with a combination of  excessive business rates, exorbitant parking charges and an unkempt river bank., amongst other reasons. We are blessed to have the very best of natural beauty, so let’s invigorate our town centre and encourage a diverse shopping experience to return. Other towns do this very well, so can we, with the will.

02

where are all the dentists?

There are no dentist at all in Tonbridge who are prepared to take on NHS patients and private dentistry costs an absolute fortune. We know, of course, that it’s a national disgrace, not just a local one, but opposition to this lack of essential care has to begin somewhere. We’ll make a noise about it whenever it might have an effect. Nobody else will, or they would have already done it.

02

Cars, parking and speed

It’s not entirely clear that the widespread obsession with reducing speed limits is making any positive contributions at all and the downsides of slowing down the whole county are simply not discussed. In Tonbridge we are in the midst of a ‘trial’ period, which is taking place when we’ve been in lockdown for a year. None of the evidence gathered will be representative of the normal situation, but it’s a political, not a practical agenda in the first place.  We think the existing speed limits should be enforced before not enforcing lower ones. 

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