Local elections 2nd May 2024 – have your say

Apr 25, 2024

Dear Supporters

Following the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) review of the number of councillors, wards and ward names for Tunbridge Wells, from May 2024:

  • the number of wards will reduce from 20 to 14

  • the number of councillors will reduce from 48 to 39

This means that all seats on the Council are up for election on Thursday 2 May 2024, although the previous procedure of voting for one third each year will return for future elections. There are no elections in Tonbridge & Malling this year.

You can view details of the LGBCE review and its final recommendations here.

The interviews

Martin Webber, who has highlighted our campaign previously, has recently interviewed the leaders of the parties standing in Tunbridge Wells. It is well worth listening to and the local plan comes up frequently.

It is interesting that the leader of the LibDems, Ben Chapelard, declined repeated requests for an interview for unspecified reasons.

What this means for Capel

For the first time, residents in Capel will elect three members to represent the combined Capel & Pembury Ward. There are currently three councillors in Pembury and one in Capel (see below) and this is being reduced to three in total.

Whilst this means there will be three voices on the council, many residents are concerned that Capel’s needs might become diluted without strong representation by those elected.

There are 10 candidates for the three seats:

Candidates table
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Liberal Democrats…

Whilst the LibDem led coalition has proposed that Tudeley Village is withdrawn from the revised local plan, TWBC continues to defend its suitability.

They have sent frequent flyers and leaflets ahead of the election, saying they “will also continue to support amending the Local Plan for housing to remove both the Tudeley Village proposal that was lacking infrastructure and the additional development in West Paddock Wood that was to be built on a flood plain”.

Save Capel is concerned that they have not ruled out TGV coming back nor followed our submission that alternative sites should be properly considered now. They continue to pursue the development of around 1,250 houses in East Capel.  


The Conservatives are defending two seats and their third candidate is a member of Pembury Parish Council.

Tunbridge Wells MP, Greg Clark, has written to a number of residents, as shown below:

Greg Clark letter

The criticism of “their” Borough-wide Plan is difficult to follow given it was the Conservative administration that built its draft local plan around the proposal from the Hadlow Estate.

Why Capel would be safe in their hands is difficult to understand without their express support for the continued removal of TGV and the unsuitable elements of East Capel. This has not been forthcoming.

None of the Conservative candidates appear local to Capel contrary to what Mr Clark is stating (their base being Pembury), so their intimate knowledge of Capel is open to question.

The letter appears to be purely party political in content and should be read that way, rather than casting light on the intentions of the named councillors.

Independents for Tunbridge Wells…

Their candidates were formerly members of the Alliance Party (TWA) and this new independent group is fielding candidates in all but one ward (Park). TWA are not standing in Capel & Pembury.

Whilst supporting the deletion of TGV, both candidates voted against the revised local plan in December, saying “Even with the removal of the untenable “Tudeley Village”, we believe the Local Plan is still not fit for purpose. We are completely aligned with the SaveCapel group on this issue. We need the infrastructure first!

Revised Local Plan

TWBC has submitted the revised plan, evidence base, and the responses received in the initial consultation period (including Save Capel’s submission here) to the Inspector. You can read the Council’s letter here.

TWBC is now consolidating the submissions received in the extended consultation period and will forward these along with its full response to the Inspector. We can therefore expect details of further hearings sometime in the next few weeks as directed by Mr Birkinshaw.

And finally…

This is an unprecedented opportunity for your votes to make a difference for Capel. As ever, your Executive does not prescribe which way to vote, but whatever your political persuasion please use your three votes to support the candidates who will protect our wonderful parish.

That said, we recognise and greatly appreciate the ongoing support of Cllr Patterson to our campaign and for his work as Mayor.

As ever, the Save Capel Executive would like to thank you all for your continuing support. We’d love to hear your feedback on this via email to savecapel@gmail.com

Stewart, Ian, Dave, Maggie, Charlie, Jan, Mark, and Chris

Your donation could make the difference. Please help us Save Capel

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