Reasons to vote LIB DEM on Thursday May 2

There are many positive reasons to vote Liberal Democrat this Thursday, besides getting rid of the dreadfully expensive and ineffective Conservative councillors runing Kent.

The Lib Dems are calling for an end to secrecy at County Hall, and would insist on more open and online meetings, during which the public could email in questions, to make them more participative and democratic. This includes local board meetings held in each borough, many of which are currently held in private. We would also reduce the number of signatures required on petitions to trigger a debate.

Maintaining and repairing Kent’s roads is also a KEY priority, including restoring the budget cut of £1.6 million to road repairs, by cutting down on wasteful consultants, and extending the network which is gritted in icy weather conditions.

Introducing 20 miles per hour speed limits outside schools and hospitals, and in residential and shopping areas where residents support them.

Raising primary school standards – Kent has some of the worst performing and most unequal schools in the country, according to an OFSTED report.

And in Tunbridge Wells, we would work to get the A21 widening back on track, sort out the parking and traffic problems in the town centre by involving the public more widely in exploring alternative solutions to gridlock, and improve the pavements and street lighting.

Please vote for your local LIB DEM candidate ALAN BULLION on Thursday May 2 for Positive Change in Tunbridge Wells for Kent County Council

Lib Dems win council pledge to hold special meeting following Tunbridge Wells parking campaign

At a full council meeting on April 24, Liberal Democrat group leader and county council candidate David Neve secured the promise of a long overdue meeting to discuss the difficulties and expense of parking in Tunbridge Wells, which at present puts many people off visiting and shopping in the town centre.

“For once all the Tories, Labour, UKIP and Independent councillors (except the mayor who abstained) agreed with me and my amendment on parking, which was to hold a special meeting of planning and transportation,” said long-serving St James councillor and KCC candidate for Tunbridge Wells East David Neve.

This success follows a 2,000 strong petition and a campaign led by Courier contributor Sarah Bond on the many problems and pitfalls of the current payment system.

As Sarah rightly says in the Tunbridge Wells edition of the Courier, the ‘Pay and Display’ ticket machines fill motorists with stress, demand correct coins and don’t even give us change. And ‘Pay By Phone’ has big flaws, too.

In these tough times we should not have slap-happy wardens ticketing shoppers and tourists. Women have to run with wet hair from the hairdresser’s, mums have to pull children out of important eye checks, businessmen have to rush out of important meetings, musicians have to run off stage mid-set, and retailers watch in horror as customers rush off mid-sale. It’s utter madness, as many local retailers have told the Lib Dems, the Courier newspaper, and BBC Radio Kent.

As Alan Bullion, Lib Dem County Council Candidate for Tunbridge Wells West says: “The current system is sheer lunacy and deters many shoppers and tourists from coming into the town at all, so local retailers, restaurants and other businesses are all losing valuable revenue every day this way.”

“It is high time to scrap the current ‘Pay and Dismay’ system and consider the merits of much fairer alternatives like ‘Pay on Exit’, as well as making the first 30 minutes free, with free parking on Sundays and bank holidays, to attract more tourists and shoppers to visit the town centre,” Alan added.

Lib Dem Priorities for the Kent County Council Elections on Thursday May 2 2013

The Liberal Democrat Priorities for Kent 2013

As the official opposition to the Conservatives over the past 4 years on Kent County Council, the Liberal Democrats have tirelessly worked to hold the council to account and speak up on behalf of local residents. Time and again we have exposed examples of waste, maladministration and badly implemented ideas.

The Conservatives try to claim they are an able and sensible administraion: but so many Kent residents know that is not the case. Time and again, we open our newspapers to stories of Kent County Council waste, from huge pay-offs to senior officers, to fortunes being wasted on Kent TV, and that millions of Kent Tax payers money is STILL in Iceland over 5 years after it was first put at risk through poor investment decisions.

During the last 4 years, it is the Liberal Democrats that have spoken up against the Conservative administration. Labour have just three Councillors on Kent County Council: they have nort been able to offer an effective opposition. UKIP didn’t get one Councillor elected to Kent County Council in 2009.

Opening Up Kent

Kent County Council seems to be shrouded in secrecy. The Liberal Democrats would work to open up our Council, make sure we open our books to local people and get residents actively involved in making decisions that affect them.

Record of Action

  • Over the last four years, the Liberal Democrats have challenged the Conservative leadership on huge payoffs to key officers and ex-Chief Executives.
  • The Liberal Democrats pushed successfully to get illegal payments made to Chief Executive’s for elections refunded.
  • The Liberal Democrats have fought for secret reports into KCC businesses to be made public and the businesses operations made more transparent to local residents and businesses.
  • The Liberal Democrats have fought to get more time at Council meetings to be spent discussing residents concerns through petitions by fighting for lower thresholds for petitions to be heard for debate.

Promise of More

  • The Liberal Democrats would open up Kent County Council far more to local people.
  • The Liberal Democrats would introduce a public right to speak or ask a question at all Council and Cabinet meetings.
  • The Liberal Democrats would slash the number of signatories needed to get a petition debated at full Council, as we have argued repeatedly for years.
  • The Liberal Democrats would ensure all Committee meetings are webcast (including the currently unbroadcast Personnel Commmittee and all Local Boards) and allow input from the public into meetings via Twitter and Facebook.
  • The Liberal Democrats would take Freedom of Information seriously, and reduce the time to respond to all queries to half the current 20 days.

Making Local Decisions Locally

Although the Conservative Administration say they want local people to be involved in local decisions, its often more lip service than action. Locality boards are meant to offer local decision making as a mix of County and district Councillors for an ear meet and discuss local issues, but in some places they don’t exist, in others they meet in private, they have no decision making powers and no money to spend.

Record of Action

  • The Liberal Democrats have pushed for local accountability with properly constituted Locality Boards across Kent meeting in public and agendas and minutes published.
  • The Liberal Democrats have championed participatory budgeting in their divisions, with Trudy Dean, Tim Prater and George Koowaree already giving local people their say in how local grant money is spent in their areas.
  • The Liberal Democrats have pushed for Joint Transportation Boards (specific transport “locality boards”) to have real decision making powers, for example to veto specific streetlight turn-offs.

Promise of More

  • The Liberal Democrats would ensure that every area had a properly constituted Locality Board by taking our relationships with districts seriously. Properly constituted locality boards that met in public would have defined decision making and veto powers for decisions in their locality and a budget to tackle the issues they want to prioritise.
  • The Liberal Democrats would encourage more Councillors to promote and use participatory budgeting in their areas, giving local people a say in which organisations in their areas should receive grants.
  • The Liberal Democrats would increase the amount of money each Councillor can spend in their area on Highways projects to ensure localised problems can be tackled. We would look at ways that some of this funding could be opened up to Participatory Budgetting: giving local people a say on the Highway priorities in their area too.
  • The Liberal Democrats would give Joint Transportation Boards the right of veto and decision on projects in their area. We would also give Joint Transportation Boards a budget so they could kick-start transportation projects or repairs in their area.
  • The Liberal Democrats would make openness, tranparency and getting local residents input into decisions the over-arching priority of the council. We would make Council transparency a Cabinet member responsibility and form a Transparency Working Group (comprising councillors of all groups on the Council, local business leaders, community group leaders, residents, journalists and Youth Council members) would take ideas online, in public, and challenge the council to get them in place quickly and monitor the impact. Getting real-time feedback from the right people and acting on it effectively will save the Council money in the long-term and improve both services and the perception of them.

Our Children’s Future

Kent’s Children have been let down over the past four years by the Conservatives.

In 2010 an Ofsted report found that Kent was failing its looked after children: children who are the most vulnerable in our society and need our help and support being let down by our County Council. It’s taken over 2 years and the investment of millions of pounds of emergency spending to turn the service around so that it is now deemed to be adequate. Our children should never be failed in this way again.

Kent’s schools have one of the worst records in the country of helping our children become the best they can be.

Kent’s Conservative adminstration have punished the brightest and best of our children by removing free to-school transport to our Grammar schools. To reward children who work hard to pass the Kent test by making them pay their own fare to school is a perverse and damaging decision.

Record of Action

Promise of More

  • The Liberal Democrats would reinstate free to-school transport to our Grammar schools. The Liberal Democrats want to help and encourage our school children, not punish them for academic success. Our budget proposals for this year showed how this could be afforded.
  • The Liberal Democrats would re-instate £200,000 this year to fund sports projects across the County to help embed the Olympic legacy, and would commit to funding through to at least the Olympics in Rio 2016.
  • Making use of experienced and effective voluntary organisations to support families so they do not go into crisis
  • Work to build robust local teams, with strong local managers, to deliver

A Fair Deal for Staff and Residents

The first act of the newly elected Council in 2009 was to vote through a payrise of £1,000 for every Councillor. The Conservatives pushed the rise though immediately after the last election, despite opposition from the Liberal Democrats who wanred to increase was unsustainable and unsupportable.

Two years later, the Conservatives finally backed down and slightly cut Councillor allowances (but not back to 2009 levels). The Liberal Democrats’ however took a cut – which we supported – of over 10% to the responsibility allowances the group receive to help the Council balance its books. Neither the Conservatives or Labour took a similar cut.

Despire such a big payrise for Councillors, the council has frozen staff pay twice in the last 4 years, and given a 1% increase to staff in the last two years, whilst at the same time shedding thousands of Council posts.

Record of Action

  • The Liberal Democrats opposed the rise in Councillors allowances in 2009. Lib Dem Tim Prater invested his 2009-10 Allowance rise on a project in his local community funding a postage licence and equipment to allow a Sandgate shop to introduce postal services after the closure of the village’s Post Office.
  • The Liberal Democrats took a cut of over 10% to the responsibility allowances they receive to help the Council balance its books. Neither the Conservatives or Labour took a similar cut.
  • The Liberal Democrats have backed moves to see the lowest paid Kent staff receive a larger payrise, and have worked to ensure all Kent County Council staff are paid at least a living wage.

Promise of More

  • The Liberal Democrats would ensure all Kent members of staff are paid at least the living wage, by abolishing KS2. We would ask all Kent schools to do the same thing.
  • The Liberal Democrats want to restore public trust in Councillors – and a part of that is to be fair about the allowances we receive. We would commit that Councillor Allowances should never rise faster than the pay of our lowest paid staff. If staff get a zero rise in pay in a year, so should Councillors.

Proposed expansion of Langton Green Primary School – please let me and KCC know your thoughts

Public Notice




Expansion of Langton Green Primary School (Community)


Notice is given in accordance with section 19(1) of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 that Kent County Council intends to make a prescribed alteration to Langton Green Primary School (Community), Lampington Row, Langton Green, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN3 0JG from 01 September 2013.

It is proposed to enlarge Langton Green Primary School by 30 Reception Year places taking their PAN to 60 (2FE) for the September 2013 intake.

The current capacity of the school is 210 and the proposed capacity will be 420. The most recent census recorded that there were 221 statutory age pupils registered at the school. The current admission number for the school is 30 and the proposed admission number will be 60.

Successive Reception year intakes will offer 60 places each year and the school will eventually have a total capacity of 420 pupils.

This Notice is an extract from the complete proposal. Copies of the complete proposal can be obtained from: Education Cabinet Committee, Kent County Council, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1XQ, or from the KCC website.

Within four weeks from the date of publication of these proposals, any person may object to or make comments on the proposal by sending them to Simon Webb, Area Education Officer, Green Zone, Commercial Buildings, Gibson Drive, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent, ME19 4QG.


Patrick Leeson

Corporate Director,

Education Learning & Skills,

Kent County Council.


Publication Date: 14th April 2013

Vote Lib Dem for a positive change on Thursday May 2

Thursday May 2 is YOUR opportunity to vote Lib Dem for a positive change of county council administration.

What have the Tories done with YOUR hard-earned money?

A recent OFSTED report has placed Kent primary schools among the worst in the country for the 4th year running.

Of 141 councils in England, Kent was rated 131st.

Another 100 KCC staff are expected to lose their jobs from this April. This is on top of the huge council reorganisation which has seen over 1,600 people lose their jobs.

This includes huge pay-offs to senior staff, investments in companies that went wrong, and spending on pet projects like Kent TV which never paid off.

Having sent one Chief Executive on his way with a payment of £408,000, they then appointed another only to decide two years later to do away with the position at a further cost of £420.000.

Another £7,400 a year is being paid to ‘Locality Board’ chairmen when these are currently little more than talking shops.

A further £250,000 is being written off on just one of the County Council’s failed companies.

Some £4.5 million has gone on expensive consultants, while payments have been made to the wrong bank accounts, some of which will never be recouped.

Remember also the money KCC put in Icelandic accounts which then went belly up with the financial crisis and were frozen.

Meanwhile, front-line services are being cut, roads and pavements badly need mending, but the media department is still hiring staff.

The Conservative-run County Council has money for spin but not for essential public services like libraries.

Isn’t it time for a change from four years of Tory waste and failure at County Hall in Maidstone?

VOTE LIB DEM on Thursday May 2

Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm

Alan Bullion – Welcome to my website for Tunbridge Wells West Division

Welcome to my website.

I am standing as the Liberal Democrat County Council Candidate for Tunbridge Wells West Division on Thursday May 2.

This area covers Culverden, Rusthall, Langton Green, Groombridge (Kent), Speldhurst, Ashurst (Kent), and Bidborough.

Polls will be open from 7am to 10pm.

More news will be published shortly.

Please contact me should you have any questions.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best Wishes,

Alan Bullion