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New political party to fight May elections in Tonbridge and Malling

There will be a brand new political party contesting next year's borough council elections in Tonbridge and Malling.

Mike Taylor and Tim Shaw, who were elected as Independents for the Borough Green and Long Mill Ward at the last go round in 2015, have registered a new political party with the Electoral Commission.

To be known as the Independent Alliance (Kent) Party it will enable the pair to stand together with like-minded individuals under the same banner.

Cllrs Mike Taylor and Tim Shaw on the day of their election to represent Borough Green and Long Mill
Cllrs Mike Taylor and Tim Shaw on the day of their election to represent Borough Green and Long Mill

Mr Taylor said: "It was a long drawn out bureaucratic process, but now we are up and running."

The party will field at least five candidates in the elections next year and claims their stance of opposing the Borough Green Garden City of 3,000 new homes proposed in the borough council's Local Plan will gain them support.

Mr Taylor said local Conservatives were already worried.

He said: "A number of people in Borough Green have contacted us in recent weeks to say they have had a Conservative leaflet pushed through their letterbox along with one of our own leaflets urging people to object to the Garden City plan."

He said: "The obvious implication for those receiving the leaflets is that the Tories are opposing the scheme, when in fact the reverse is true. The garden city is the policy of the Conservative-run council."

The emblem of the Independent Alliance Party (5820657)
The emblem of the Independent Alliance Party (5820657)

Cllr Taylor said: "Local People do not want a Garden City , we value this rural Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Greenbelt, and our valley filled with fields and woodland, the only signs of settlement being the village church spires. The Conservatives have completely underestimated the strength of local opinion in the eight parishes, and this will force them into desperate measures."

Cllr Taylor said that his party would contest the two wards of Borough Green and Long Mill, and Ightham, Wrotham and Stansted at the next election. But he added: "We could well fight farther afield. Perhaps there are Conservative councillors fed up with their party's approach who would like to join us?"

The current council comprises 48 Conservatives, four Liberal Democrats and Mr Taylor and Mr Shaw as Independents.

All the councillors are up for re-election in May.

It has not been possible to reach the Conservative's West Kent Campaign HQ for comment.

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