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Tory casualties at borough elections

By This is Kent  |  Posted: May 14, 2010

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THE LIB Dems prised two seats from the Conservatives in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council elections.

Tory casualties were seen in Benenden and Cranbrook, and in St John's.

Peter Davies, who was set this year to be deputy mayor, lost his seat to Francis Rook in Benenden and Cranbrook.

Recent troubles in Cranbrook over the redevelopment of the borough council's offices and the public outcry over parking charges was largely blamed for the Tory defeat.

Across the borough in St John's, where both parties have historically fought hard for the seat, Conservative Chris Woodward was defeated by Trevor Poile.

The council now has six Lib Dem councillors and 42 Conservatives. The last Labour foothold in the council, the Southborough and High Brooms seat, gave way in 2007's borough elections.

Mr Poile, who reclaimed his seat after losing it in 2007, told the Courier last Friday morning it was "good to be back".

He added: "As ever it is always a close result with me. I look forward to the next four years."

Visibly shocked by the result, which robbed him of his chance to be the borough's mayor next year, Mr Davies was nonetheless gracious in defeat.

He said: "It is local democracy and local issues were paramount and although the Conservatives were doing well nationally the local issues were important enough to buck the trend. I will continue doing what I can for Benenden and Cranbrook and doing what I can to help Francis and everyone locally."

Would he be back?

"I don't know," he replied.

Mr Rook added winning had been down to "a lot of hard work" but he was "elated" and Mr Davies was "a hard act to follow".

"I think winning has been down to a multiple of issues but I think mainly in Cranbrook it has been the way the borough council has treated us and the constant plundering of the assets of the town."

The elections saw a turnout of 68.59 per cent.

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    P W, From SE In NW  |  May 14 2010, 11:01AM

    The Tories should have been routed years ago. You can't see it can you - A derelict town centre. A continuing planning policy that's causing gridlock for the whole area. Chasing business out of the town and turning it into a lifeless ghetto. No proper provision for affordable housing! What is wrong with you people!