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Tonbridge & MallingParliamentary constituency
- Votes: 35,784
- Vote share %: 62.8
- Vote share change: -0.9
Liberal DemocratRichard Morris
- Votes: 8,843
- Vote share %: 15.5
- Vote share change: +8.9
- Votes: 8,286
- Vote share %: 14.5
- Vote share change: -7.8
- Votes: 4,090
- Vote share %: 7.2
- Vote share change: +3.1
Change compared with 2017
- CON majority: 26,941
- Registered voters: 79,278
- Change since 2017: -1.5
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Local Democracy Reporter
Widespread cuts are planned at a Kent council over the next three years, which could see its councillor membership reduced by a third.
A total of 54 councillors were elected to serve Tonbridge and Malling residents in the most recent borough council elections, but plans are now under way to cut the local authority’s membership to 35.
Tonbridge and Malling council’s Conservative administration says around £1m will be saved over a 10-year period. Opposition councillors say the cuts will be “bad for democracy” and they criticised the “cabinet’s stranglehold” on the council.
Councillor Nicolas Heslop (Con), leader of the authority, is expected to suffer a £5m shortfall from the coronavirus crisis this year. He said: “Reducing councillors from 54 to 35 will save residents over £100,000 each year.”
Tonbridge and Malling council has the third highest number of councillors out of the county’s 12 district authorities, just behind Maidstone’s 55 and Thanet, which has 56. Tonbridge would drop to the third lowest with the cuts, ahead of Dover’s 32 and Folkestone’s 30.
In a written statement to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, councillor Heslop added: “At the last local elections, the Conservative Group stood on a manifesto commitment to further lessen the size of the bureaucracy at Tonbridge and Malling by reducing the number of councillors by a third.
“Over a number of years, we have reduced the cost of running the borough council and it is only right that the number of councillors should be addressed too as part of this process.”
Local Democracy Reporter
A £1m emergency fund will be created to support the reopening of leisure centres across Tonbridge and Malling over the next 12 months.
Tonbridge and Malling council’s cabinet has unanimously agreed to develop a crisis budget for leisure trust, tmactive, which runs several gyms across the borough, including Larkfield Leisure Centre, on behalf of the local authority.
Green Party councillor Mark Hood, who supported the proposal, said: “It would be awful to see the leisure trust go to the wall and unthinkable for employees to lose their jobs.”
A decision on the trust’s final cash settlement will be made by Tonbridge’s full council on 14 July as elected members review the authority’s worrying financial position, with a £5m shortfall from coronavirus predicted this year.
Local Democracy Reporter
A post-emergency Covid-19 pandemic reserve will be created by a Kent council as it plans to recover from its “dire” financial position.
Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council’s £200,000 cash pot will be used as a support mechanism for businesses and residents as they attempt to bolster their financial positions.
The move comes weeks after it was revealed that the local authority could face up to a £5m shortfall from the pandemic over the next 10 months.
Councillor Martin Coffin (Con), Tonbridge and Malling council’s cabinet member for finance, described the financial position faced by the local authority as “quite beyond measure” over the next 12 months.
He said: “From this pretty dire sense of finances that we are facing should potentially throw some opportunities forward.
“I’m sure the management team will be looking to find what silver lining there is and we’ll find them.”
His comments came during Tonbridge and Malling council’s second virtual cabinet meeting where its six members unanimously agreed to press ahead with the Covid-19 emergency reserve package.
They also discussed the economy facing the council from until April 2021. The Government has provided £1.3million to the authority as part two rounds of emergency funding over the last three months.
However, Tonbridge and Malling council officials have had to draw down around £146,000 from its revenue reserve to pay for key frontline services during the public health emergency.
Financially, coronavirus has also hit key income streams for the council, including the loss of £300,000-a-month of revenue from car parking fees, the third highest across the county, behind Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells.
The homeless have been provided with temporary accommodation during the emergency, which has seen costs “shooting up” by 33% from £288,500 to £394,888 in this financial year compared to the one in 2019.
Tom Tugendhat has been re-elected as the MP for Tonbridge & Malling, with an increased majority.
The Conservative candidate beat Liberal Democrat Richard Morris by 26,941 votes, 3,433 more votes than the majority at the 2017 election.
Dylan Jones of the Labour Party came third and the Green Party's April Clark came fourth.
Voter turnout was up by 0.2 percentage points since the last general election.
More than 57,000 people, roughly three-quarters of those eligible to vote, went to polling stations across the area on Thursday, in the first December general election since 1923.
All four candidates keep their deposits, after receiving more than 5% of the votes.
This story was created using some automation.