Conservative councillor Nicky Hopwood is now the leader of the main opposition group at South Hams District Council and represents Woolwell.

She explains: ‘‘I have a background in finance and along with my husband Dave run a successful plumbing and heating business and a property lets portfolio. ‘‘We have four children and six grandchildren and being with family is when I am at my happiest.

‘‘I first stood as a District Councillor is 1999. I had two young boys who played football and it was when Devon FA introduced six-a-side football but didn’t provide any pitches. I couldn’t get one in Woolwell so decided to stand for election and yes the first thing I got was a six-a-side pitch in Woolwell.
Nicky is on the Executive and has the portfolio for IT and Customer services. She is now leader of the main opposition group and believes her vast experience of being a Councillor will help new members in her group.

At a local level she says: ‘‘I am proud to represent Woolwell and have done a lot within the area over the years. I believe that I have a good understanding of the residents and area and what they want. I am not the type of Councillor residents see once in four years around election time, I am in constant contact with them through walking around the area and my social media page ‘Woolwell’ Matters.’’

So what does Nicky do to relax?: My main hobby is my horses, I have both riding horses and keep Dartmoor ponies so they all keep me busy. I love walking my whippet Pip around Woolwell and dog walking is a great way of meeting people on a daily basis.’’

The Conservatives lost control of SHDC at the last elections. Why does she think that was?

‘‘The previous four years prior to the elections were difficult with lockdown and the challenges that brought. The bin situation which was inherited from the previous council didn’t help but not withstanding those two things, for so many councillor Conservative seats to have been lost all over the country, problems with central government must be a significant factor.

So what’s next?: ‘‘My priorities for Woolwell over the next four years are to make sure that we the best outcome out of the development of 2000 homes on our doorstep.

‘‘My focus for the South Hams will be housing and the cost of living crisis. People need affordable homes to live in. ‘‘The new administration has said that they will deliver homes that are affordable to all, but what is the definition of an affordable home and how are they going to do this? The Conservatives set a target of delivering 500 affordable homes and this number was well exceeded.

‘‘We lost the administration of the Council of which I am extremely proud to be part of, albeit now in opposition. The new administration has inherited a balanced budget, and healthy reserves, I just hope that at the end of this term they do not leave the council in a poor state financially and spent the money wisely.’’