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Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Labour, Greens, Ukip, the Women's Equality Party, the Tunbridge Wells Alliance and Independents all fight for the vote in Tunbridge Wells

By Alan Smith

Voters in Tunbridge Wells will be going to the polls on May 2 in 16 of the 20 wards.

In total 18 seats are being contested - as two are two member wards - that is around a third of the total of 48 members that make up the council.

They include seats in Paddock Wood and Cranbrook and in the Weald villages of Benenden, Frittenden, Sissinghurst, Hawkhurst, Sandhurst, Goudhurst and Lamberhurst.

The Tories are certain to hold on to control of the Town Hall
The Tories are certain to hold on to control of the Town Hall

At present the Conservatives have the overwhelming upper hand, holding 40 of the 48 seats. Lib Dems have four, Labour two, Independents and the Tunbridge Wells Alliance one each.

But who knows how Brexit - or the lack of it - might affect the Tories' fortunes?

Also there is a lot of disquiet about the current administration's plans for a new theatre and civic centre in Calverley Grounds, which could help the chances of Tunbridge Wells Alliance candidates who oppose the scheme.

The Tories are fielding a full slate of 18 candidates, but so are the Lib Dems. Labour has 15 men and women in the field, Ukip has nine and the Tunbridge Wells Alliance and the Greens both have six.

There are also four independent candidates and two hopefuls from the Women's Equality Party, making a total of 78 candidates in all.

In no ward is there a straight fight between any two parties, everywhere there are at least three groups vying for the public's approval.

Voters in Paddock Wood East have the greatest choice. They have to select two winners from 10 competing candidates.

Whatever the result of the individual battles, there is no doubt who will be in charge of the council on May 3.

The Tories would have to lose in every seat to lose overall control of the council.

At the same time as the borough council elections, there are elections for parish and town councils - at least there should be.

There were due to be elections in seven parishes and two towns, but in fact voters will only be asked to go to the polls in Goudhurst, Paddock Wood and Southborough, as all the others had too few or only just sufficient candidates to fill the empty seats, meaning they were all automatically elected.

The borough council candidates are:

Benenden and Cranbrook

Wendy Fitzsimmons, Lib Dem

Sally-Ann Marks, Con

Anne Musker, Lab

Nancy Warne, Tunbridge Wells Alliance

Culverden

David Adams, Lab

Nasir Jamil, Con

Liz Orr, Women's Equality Party

James Rands, Lib Dem

Paul Standing, Ukip

Frittenden and Sissinghurst

Andrew Fairweather, Con

Brian Guinnessy. Lib Dem

John Smith, Tunbridge Wells Alliance

Goudhurst and Lamberhurst

Simon Fowler, Lab

Linda Hall, Con

David Knight, Ind

Jeremy Stirling, Lib Dem

Hawkhurst and Sandhurst

Godfrey Bland, Con

Ana Draper, Lab

Helena Waters, Lib Dem

Paddock Wood East

Rodney Atkins, Ind

Derek Boyle, Lab

Martin Brice, Lib Dem

Christopher Camp, Con

Sarah Hamilton, Con

Bill Hills, Ind

Josie Holden Wilby, Green

Martin Huebscher, Lib Dem

Robert Seggie, Lab

Amanda Wells, Green

Paddock Wood West

Matthew Bailey, Con

Trevor Bisdee, Green

James Cole, Lib Dem

Tracey Goacher, Ukip

Raymond Moon, Lab

Pantiles and St Mark's

Trish Fowle, Lab

Lawrence Heasman, Con

Andrew Hickey, Lib Dem

John Hurst, Green

Celeine Thomas, Women's Equality Party

Park

Christian Atwood, Tunbridge Wells Alliance

Becki Bruneau, Tunbridge Wells Alliance

Gillian Douglass, Lib Dem

Linda Jagger, Lab

Mike Jerrom, Ukip

Tracy Moore, Con

Rachel Sadler, Lib Dem

Vic Webb, Ind

Victoria White, Con

Pembury

Rick Bayles, Green

David Hayward, Tunbridge Wells Alliance

Sue Nuttall, Con

Peter Scott Ukip

Colin Sefton, Lib Dem

Joel Turner, Lab

Rusthall

Alun Elder-Brown, Ukip

Dave Funnell, Lib Dem

Dave Pate, Con

Bjorn Simpole, Lab

Sherwood

Alan Bullion, Lib Dem

Christopher Hoare, Ukip

Hugo Pound, Lab

Sam White, Con

Southborough and High Brooms

Alexis Bird, Lib Dem

Luke Everitt, Lab

Christine Marshall, Ukip

Max Puller, Con

Southborough North

Nicholas Blackwell, Lab

David Elliott, Con

Stephen Lukacs, Ukip

Trevor Poile, Lib Dem

Speldhurst and Bidborough

David Jukes, Con

Iola Palmer-Stirling, Lib Dem

Lucy Willis, Tunbridge Wells Alliance

St John's

Robert Horan, Ukip

Marguerita Morton, Lib Dem

Peter Oakford, Con

Benjamin Phillips, Green

Louise Reid, Lab

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