Victory for Labour and Lib Dems in Southborough & High Brooms Area

The two Borough Council seats up for grabs in the Southborough area have been won by John Francis of Labour and Joe Opara of the Liberal Democrats.

Sixteen seats were being contested in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council of 48 seats. The results are unlikely to alter the leadership of the council overall, which is currently run by a coalition of Liberal Democrats, Labour and the Tunbridge Wells Alliance Party.


The new state of parties is:

Lib Dem go up from 15 to 17
Labour go up from 7 to 8
Tun Wells Alliance go up from 9 to 11
Cons drop from 13 to 11
and there’s one independent in Paddock Wood left (there were 4 independents before the vote).

In Southborough North, Joe Opara joins the council for the Lib Dems – the Lib Dem there who won 4 years ago, Trevor Poile is stepping down.

In Southborough and High Brooms, it was a Labour hold, with John Francis stepping into the seat previously won 4 years ago by Luke Everitt for Labour.

The local results were:
John Francis (Lab) 933
Misha Mitchem (Con) 305
Paul Johnson (TW Alliance) 169
Yvonne Raptis (Lib Dem) 165
David Holton (Green) 162

Joe Opara (Lib Dem) 619
Sarah Bridges (Con) 478
Jon Farina (TW Alliance) 163
Martin Betts (Lab) 143
Sue Lovell (Green) 73

Civic centre

On the Southborough and High Brooms Town Council, there will be 10 Labour, 5 Conservative and 2 Lib Dem councillors. One seat is vacant but another Labour or independent member is likely to be co-opted to bring the council to full strength.

Meanwhile in neighbouring Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, the Conservatives lost overall control.  The results were Conservatives 20, Lib Dem 11, Green 8, Labour 3, Independent Alliance Kent 2. However, the Conservatives are believed to be talking to the two Independent Alliance councillors to make an agreement which would see the current Conservative leader of the council, Matt Boughton, remain as leader. (Update 13th May)

The Conservatives retained control of Sevenoaks. The result there was Conservatives 33, Lib Dems 14, Green 4, Independent 3.

Looking at a few Tunbridge Wells Borough Council seats in more detail:
In Speldhurst and Bidborough, Paul Curry triumphed for the Tunbridge Wells Alliance, holding onto a seat previously held by Lucy Willis for the Alliance in 2019.

In Sherwood, the cabinet member for housing and planning, Hugo Pound was victorious for Labour. And it was a clearer margin of 98 votes this time – Hugo Pound won by just 11 votes in 2019.

Marguerita Morton of the Lib Dems held onto her seat in St Johns.

In Culverden, David Osborne produced a Lib Dem gain from Independent.

In Park ward, Siobhan O’Connell returned the seat to the TWA – defeating Christian Atwood by 252 votes – he had previously defected from the Alliance to the Conservatives.

The Alliance councillors David Hayward in Pembury and Nancy Warne in Benenden and Cranbrook were re-elected to the same seats they won in 2019.

Paddock Wood West was a Lib Dem gain, with Mark Munday the new councillor – that seat was Conservative four years ago, though the Conservative Matt Bailey had become Independent. Meanwhile, Paddock Wood East saw the Independent, Rodney Atkins, returned.

Pantiles and St Marks was another win for the Lib Dem candidate, Pamela Wilkinson, who replaced the independent councillor Andrew Hickey who did not run again. Long standing former Conservative councillor David Scott did compete for that seat but he was defeated by 492 votes.

In Rusthall, Jayne Sharratt of Labour defeated the sitting Lib Dem councillor, Dave Funnell by 94 votes.

In Goudhurst and Lamberhurst, Alison Webster from TW Alliance was victorious – the seat was previously held by Linda Hall of the Conservatives.

But the Conservatives did hold onto 2 seats they were contesting. Andy Fairweather held onto his seat of Frittenden and Sissinghurst for the Conservatives. He won an impressive 67 per cent of the vote. And Godfrey Bland held onto his seat of Hawkhurst and Sandhurst for the Conservatives. He had a big majority of 509, taking 48% of the votes.

Southborough News