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Priority Five – A Council that listens to what residents say

Tunbridge Wells has not benefited from over two decades of Conservative control.

They have presided over the decline of our retail centres and failed to show the political leadership required to make the Borough fit for the future. They promoted a new Civic Centre and theatre scheme as the solution for regeneration but failed to secure the public support needed to deliver at considerable cost to the local taxpayer. They have no new ideas or vision and the Borough needs new leadership.

We are committed, alongside other opposition parties, to transforming the political culture of the Council. We will end the approach of decisions being made in private before consultation takes place. We want the Council to be ‘citizen focused’ and
open to scrutiny and transparency. We want the younger generation to have a greater role in shaping the future of the place they are growing up in. The Calverley Square and Southborough Hub projects are just two recent examples of this poor political culture of inadequate consultation and not listening to the views of residents.

Labour Councillors will work to:

1. Engage local residents, town forums and other parties to develop a new vision and direction for the Borough.

2. Develop an open, listening and transparent citizens first culture which gives residents real influence and challenges waste and poor performance.

3. Encourage more public involvement by providing greater opportunities for residents to contribute to Council meetings.

4. Engage residents and businesses in helping to co-design and develop solutions to the major issues facing the Borough.

5. Improve how we harness of the talents and ideas of residents and businesses to improve the Borough above party political considerations.

6. Build stronger partnerships with Town and Parish Councils which have been neglected under the current administration.

7. Improve political leadership, effective scrutiny and ability to deliver value for money and efficient public services across the Borough.

8. Support councillors to be well informed, engaged and effective in representing everyone living in the communities they were elected to serve.

9. Bring forward proposals on youth engagement so that the next generation has greater opportunity to be engaged and be heard by the Council.

10. Learn from best practice at other local authorities who have created well functioning participatory local democracies and implement changes in Tunbridge Wells to improve decision making and relationships with residents.

Labour Councillors believe that residents are best placed to inform and shape future decisions and should be at the centre of how a council operates. Consultation must be meaningful and rooted in the genuine principles of people being involved in the design of the places and the provision of services where they live. This is how we
create a better Tunbridge Wells for all