Priority Two – Build Back Better and Safer – in our towns and villages

Build Back Better and Safer – in our towns and villages

We want people to enjoy coming to our towns and villages. The upper town centre of Tunbridge Wells requires a complete overhaul and a new vision. Paddock Wood, Cranbrook and Hawkhurst town centres and many other village centres also require investment and new infrastructure as they grow and house more residents.

The majority of the public wants more pedestrianisation in town centres. Vibrant town centres need people living in them, who feel safe to go out and live their lives, in cleaner, greener, town centres without polluting traffic.

Labour Councillors have been closely involved in developing the new co-working concept for the Town Hall and look forward to seeing work on this repurposed and redeveloped site commence in 2022.

In Tunbridge Wells, the Assembly Hall needs to be redeveloped into a flexible space to meet the needs of 21st century audiences.  We never needed to build anything new. Architects have been saying for over twenty years that the first option to be considered must be to renovate, refurbish and renew – which is far less damaging to the environment and costs less. Tunbridge Wells Labour agrees.

Given a rise in disturbing events in the last year, the Borough must commit to a greater focus on the safety of women and girls. Improved lighting, widened footpaths, redesigning car parks and sports areas, increased CCTV monitoring at night will increase women’s confidence in using our parks and streets. We also need Tunbridge Wells to have the operational police response it needs, including the reinstatement of police and PCSO resources lost over the last decade.

The Conservatives have been asleep at the wheel when it comes to Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour. The cuts to our policing and community support officers has been the wrong priority. We must focus our efforts on being tough on crime and tough on its causes. It is the least the public should expect and deserve.

 

Labour Councillors will:

  1. Provide practical support for our local cultural, arts, food and drink scene, recognising that this is one of Tunbridge Wells’ biggest assets, and promote investment in towns and village centres like Paddock Wood, Hawkhurst, Cranbrook and Southborough.
  2. Reduce vacant premises by increasing the number of new independent retailers, encouraging short term lets for pop-up shops and developing retail to draw in visitors and encourage residents to spend in their local area.
  3. Support the provision of a new market in Tunbridge Wells town centre that is affordable and increases footfall into the town centre.
  4. Revitalise our parks and open spaces, using more of them as venues for art, music, culture, sport and leisure.
  5. Work with others on delivering a ‘meanwhile use’ for the old cinema site that is of benefit to the local community and Tunbridge Wells town centre.
  6. Support local retailers by becoming less reliant on parking income to fund services and provide incentives such as money off parking vouchers redeemable at retailers and free parking on Sundays.
  7. Work with the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner to improve the safety of all by ensuring there is a visible, pro-active and responsive police presence throughout the Borough.
  8. Work collaboratively to agree a Tunbridge Wells Town Centre Area Plan including the redevelopment of the Town Hall estate and the Assembly Hall.
  9. Work to greatly improve access to public toilet facilities across the borough and support proposals to improve accessibility to public transport, public buildings and community facilities.