Ivybridge will see a five-way political battle on May 4 as representatives from all the main political parties face the public vote in Devon County Council elections.
The town’s electoral division is one of just two in the South Hams where all the major parties are putting up candidates. Incumbent county council heavyweight, Conservative Roger Croad faces Labour man Tony Rea, Liberal Democrat Laurel Lawford, Green Phil Picton and Ian Ross of UKIP.
The electoral landscape in the South Hams has been drastically altered by an important boundary shake up, aiming to distribute voters more evenly across divisions.
A new Kingsbridge division encompasses what used to Kingsbridge & Stokenham, where leading Lib Dem Julian Brazil will once again look to repel the challenge of young pretender, Conservative Josh Gardner and Labour’s Gerrie Messer.
The Thurlestone, Salcombe & Allington division currently held by Conservative Rufus Gilbert is now called Salcombe after the boundary changes, which see the addition of the parishes of Aveton Gifford, Bigbury, Kingston, Modbury and Ringmore; and the loss of East Allington and Kingsbridge. Cllr Gilbert will face Lib Dem Elizabeth Huntley, fresh from victory in the recent Charterlands by-election and no doubt keen to take another Tory scalp, Labour’s Dave Trigger and Green, John Green.
South Brent has also changed this time round with the disappearance of the old South Brent and Dartington seat, currently held by Conservative and DCC vice-chairman Rosemary Rowe. The village now finds itself part of a vast new South Brent & Yealmpton division stretching from the sea at Newton and Noss up to the middle of Dartmoor, and including Diptford, Avonwick and North Huish parishes.
Four candidates will fight it out to represent this huge area including Conservative Richard Hosking, currently DCC member for the soon-to-be-swallowed Yealmpton division. He will face competition from Antony Power of the Liberal Democrats, Labour’s Lisette Granados and the Green Party’s Marianne Tissandier.
A new Dartmouth & Marldon division takes in the Dartmouth & Kingswear area held by Conservative Jonathan Hawkins with the addition of Marldon, Littlehempston and Berry Pomeroy parishes. Cllr Hawkins will be challenged by Lib Dem Susie Jackson, Labour’s Tessa Lannin and Green Heather Nicholson.
The county council elections take place on Thursday, May 4 when almost 600,000 people get a chance to vote. With an annual budget of over £1.1bn, Devon County Council touches the lives of thousands of people by providing vital local services to support children and families, the elderly and vulnerable and communities.
It is also responsible for important infrastructure such as Devon’s massive road network and is the only democratically elected voice for the whole county on issues such as the economy and sustainability.
Polling stations across the county will be open from 7am to 10pm, with voters having to register before Thursday, April 13. In the South Hams the votes will be counted at the Totnes Pavilion leisure centre and announced the day after the poll.
The full list of local candidates is as follows:
Bickleigh & Wembury: John Hart, Con; John Harvey, Lab; Coral Smith, Green; Caroline Voaden, Lib Dem.
Dartmouth & Marldon: Jonathan Hawkins, Con; Susie Jackson, Lib Dem; Tessa Lannin, Lab; Heather Nicholson, Green.
Ivybridge: Roger Croad, Con; Laurel Lawford, Lib Dem; Phil Picton, Green; Tony Rea, Lab; Ian Ross, UKIP.
Kingsbridge: Julian Brazil, Lib Dem; Josh Gardner, Con; Gerrie Messer, Lab.
Salcombe: Rufus Gilbert, Con; John Green, Green; Elizabeth Huntley, Lib Dem; David Trigger, Labour.
South Brent & Yealmpton: Lisette Granados, Lab; Richard Hosking, Con; Antony Power, Lib Dem; Marianne Tissandier, Green.