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David Osborne is determined to protect our precious green spaces, improve air quality and nurture biodiversity

March 4, 2021 9:19 PM
Originally published by Liberal Democrats on Kent County Council

Liberal Democrat candidate for Tunbridge Wells West, David Osborne, sets out the importance of nurturing and maintaining valuable open space within Tunbridge Wells. David Osborne

"At the heart of the West Division lies 250 acres of Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons, the lungs of the town. I'm a Freehold Tenant of the Manor of Rusthall. That sounds a bit pompous, but just means that I have a house that fronts onto the Common and was once able to graze my sheep!

I'm also a Friend of Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons which is one of the best supported charities in the Town and does a massive amount to encourage healthy enjoyment of our open spaces.

The Council has a statutory obligation to fund the Commons but provides only £170,000 a year. This pays for basic upkeep leaving the Friends and Freehold Tenants to finance projects from donations to improve access, promote biodiversity and protect habitats for our various indigenous species, such as the great crested newt. TW Commons

The Commons have never been more visited than during the Covid lockdowns.

As Lib Dems we want to promote more Forest Schools on the Commons so that our local young people can learn about flora, fauna, biodiversity, conservation, geology, geography, history and even prehistory with our Neolithic excavations at Rusthall - learning within the confines of a unique open space that is intrinsically woven into the DNA of the Royal Spa.

Whilst the Commons are protected by law from development, they are nonetheless owned by a property developer based in Norwich. The Friends have registered the Commons as an Asset of Community Value and we fully support their efforts to one day deliver the ownership of this special place to our residents."

You can watch David's video by clicking here.