Councillor David Cloke, the only Horrabridge resident on West Devon Council, will stand down to make way for a replacement to be chosen in the coming elections.
He announced his decision at this week’s meeting of Horrabridge Parish Council, on Tuesday (March 12,) which he attended as a guest, as usual.
He became a parish councillor 28 years ago and a borough councillor 12 years ago and said he had enjoyed it all on the whole, although running West Devon was now a very different job, thanks to funding cuts and the imposition of new technology on all councillors. He felt that Horrabridge could do better at producing volunteers for involvement. When he was elected to Horrabridge Parish Council in 1991, that was the last time there were enough candidates to require a parish election. But there are at least 1700 registered voters locally who are qualified to stand and some from adjoining neighbourhoods would also qualify one way or another.
He has had to defend his West Devon seat. The last time, in 2015, there were four candidates for two council seats representing the newly created Burrator Ward, which takes in Horrabridge, Walkhampton, Dousland, Meavy and Sheepstor. Diana Moyse, representing the Conservatives, took one and Cllr Cloke ( Independent) the other. Their challengers then were Bridget Cole, Burrator parish councillor and matriarch of a Yelverton farming family, standing as an Independent, and Dorothy Lynn, standing for the Green Party.
This year’s list of candidates will be published on April 4. Contenders have until April 3 to get their applications in. The same dates apply for Horrabridge Parish Council. Currently, it has nine members – all of them co-opted at various times, without any public vote – and three vacancies. At least one new name is likely to be put forward this year but it will need at least three more to force an election on May 2.
The West Devon elections will be held the same day, using the same polling stations. All 31 of the borough seats are up for contest.
Apart from Burrator Ward, the local interest at borough level is mainly in Buckland Monachorum Ward, taking in Yelverton, which is currently represented by leading Devon Conservative Philip Sanders and Buckland Monachorum parish councillor Ric Cheadle, an Independent in this capacity although he has Liberal Democrat connections.
The Conservatives currently have a majority on West Devon Council, which gives them the power to put their councillors in key positions – including, so far, Mr Sanders as council leader and chairman of the central Hub Committee. He is likely to face some sort of challenge over the Conservatives’ recent record, both nationally and locally.
For more on the coming elections, see previous Horrabridge Times report HERE