Former councillor made an Alderman
Former Tunbridge Wells Borough Council member James Scholes has been made Honorary Alderman of Tunbridge Wells at an event in the Town Hall on Thursday 28 September.
A meeting of Full Council in May voted to confer the award which acknowledges his more than 40 years as a councillor.
James Scholes was elected a borough councillor in Pantiles ward in 1976 and during his time in office he held many roles including the most senior civic position of Mayor of Tunbridge Wells on two occasions, and Leader of the Council. He stood down from office in May 2022.
At the event invited guests were told about some of the work Mr Scholes undertook when a councillor, including how he led the transfer of the Council’s housing stock to Town& Country Housing. This was one of the first-ever transfers of local authority social housing to a newly created housing association with the aim of replacing unsuitable housing estates with redevelopment based on the needs of the community. He also led the successful Heritage Lottery bid for Dunorlan Park in Tunbridge Wells which resulted in an award of £2.1 million enabling restoration of many of the park’s historic features.
The Mayor presented Mr Scholes with a framed decorative scroll and a certificate. Mr Scholes said he had ‘enjoyed every moment of life on Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’ and paid tribute to his wife Jane who had supported him throughout'.
Mr Scholes was also a Kent County Council councillor for 24 years from 1993 to 2017. As well as elected office he was active in supporting local voluntary and charitable groups including as a trustee of Showfields Community Trust.
What is an Alderman
Alderman is an old Saxon term meaning literally an ‘older man’ in a leadership role in a local community. It became a more formal role as town and city councils evolved as part of emerging representative local government.
The Council has elected three Honorary Alderman since 1974, the first being Rudi Schmitt, mayor of our twin town of Wiesbaden, in 1980. The other two were former mayors of the borough – Dennis Smith in 2009 and David Kirby in 2010.