West Devon


West Devon is a local government district with borough status in Devon, England. Its council is based in Tavistock, the borough's largest town. The borough also includes the towns of Hatherleigh, North Tawton and Okehampton, along with numerous villages and surrounding rural areas.

West Devon
Borough of West Devon
West Devon shown within Devon
West Devon shown within Devon
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionSouth West England
Non-metropolitan countyDevon
StatusNon-metropolitan district
Admin HQTavistock
Formed1 April 1974
 • TypeNon-metropolitan district council
 • BodyWest Devon Borough Council
 • MPsGeoffrey Cox
Mel Stride
 • Total448.3 sq mi (1,161.1 km2)
 • Rank21st (of 296)
 • Total58,190
 • Rank292nd (of 296)
 • Density130/sq mi (50/km2)
 • Ethnicity
99.1% White
Time zoneUTC0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)
ONS code18UL (ONS)
E07000047 (GSS)
OS grid referenceSX5150683684

A large area in the south-east of the borough lies within the Dartmoor National Park, and part of the south-west of the borough lies within the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The neighbouring districts are Torridge, Mid Devon, Teignbridge, South Hams and Cornwall.

History edit

The district was formed on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, covering the area of three former districts which were all abolished at the same time:[1]

The new district was named West Devon, reflecting its location within the wider county.[2]

On 27 April 1982 the district was awarded borough status, allowing the chair of the council to take the title of mayor.[3]

Governance edit

West Devon Borough Council
Founded1 April 1974
Debo Sellis,
since 21 May 2024[4]
Mandy Ewing,
since 30 May 2023
Andy Bates
since June 2020[5]
Seats31 councillors
Political groups
Administration (20)
  Independent (11)
  Green (4)
  Liberal Democrats (4)
  Labour (1)
Opposition (11)
  Conservative (11)
First past the post
Last election
4 May 2023
Next election
6 May 2027
Meeting place
Kilworthy Park, Drake Road, Tavistock, PL19 0BZ

West Devon Borough Council provides district-level services. County-level services are provided by Devon County Council.[6] The whole borough is also covered by civil parishes, which form a third tier of local government.[7]

In the parts of the borough within the Dartmoor National Park, town planning is the responsibility of the Dartmoor National Park Authority. The borough council appoints two of its councillors to serve on the 19-person National Park Authority.[8]

Political control edit

The council has been under no overall control since the 2023 election, being led by a coalition of the independent councillors, Greens, Liberal Democrats and Labour.

The first election to the council was held in 1973, initially operating as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing authorities until the new arrangements came into effect on 1 April 1974. Political control of the council since 1974 has been as follows:[9][10]

Party in control Years
Independent 1974–1987
No overall control 1987–1991
Independent 1991–1995
Liberal Democrats 1995–1999
No overall control 1999–2015
Conservative 2015–2020
No overall control 2020–2021
Conservative[11] 2021–2023
No overall control 2023–present

Leadership edit

The role of mayor is largely ceremonial in West Devon. Political leadership is instead provided by the leader of the council. The leaders since 2011 have been:[12]

Councillor Party From To
James McInnes Conservative pre-2011 15 May 2012
Philip Sanders Conservative 15 May 2012 5 May 2019
Neil Jory Conservative 21 May 2019 30 May 2023
Mandy Ewing Independent 30 May 2023

Composition edit

Following the 2023 election and subsequent by-elections in June 2023 and May 2024, the composition of the council was:[13][14][15]

Party Councillors
Conservative 11
Independent 11
Green 4
Liberal Democrats 4
Labour 1
Total 31

The independent councillors, Greens, Liberal Democrats and Labour sit together as the "West Devon Alliance" group, which forms the council's administration.[16] The next election is due in 2027.

Elections edit

Since the last boundary changes in 2015, the council has comprised 31 councillors representing 18 wards, with each ward electing one, two or three councillors. Elections are held every four years.[17]

In the EU referendum of 2016, the majority of voters in West Devon voted to leave the European Union (18,937 to 16,658, that is 53.2% to 46.8%). The turnout was 81.25%.[18]

The borough straddles the constituencies of Central Devon and Torridge and West Devon.[7]

Premises edit

The council is based at Kilworthy Park in Tavistock, being a modern office built on the site of the goods yard of the old Tavistock North railway station.[19]

Towns and parishes edit

The whole borough is divided into civil parishes. The parishes councils for Hatherleigh, North Tawton, Okehampton and Tavistock take the style "town council". The small parish of Kelly has a parish meeting rather than a parish council.[20]

Town Twinning edit

West Devon has been twinned with   Wesseling, Germany since 1983.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Definition) Order 1972", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1972/2039, retrieved 30 July 2023
  2. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Names) Order 1973", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1973/551, retrieved 31 May 2023
  3. ^ Alteration of areas and status of local authorities 1980–1982 (PDF). London: Department of the Environment. 1982. Retrieved 3 August 2023.
  4. ^ Stephenson, Alison (21 May 2024). "New West Devon mayor". Okehampton Today. Retrieved 23 May 2024.
  5. ^ Clark, Daniel (23 April 2020). "South Hams and West Devon councils confirm new Chief Executive appointment". Devon Live. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  6. ^ "Local Government Act 1972", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, 1972 c. 70, retrieved 31 May 2023
  7. ^ a b "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 25 July 2023.
  8. ^ "Who are the members?". Dartmoor National Park Authority. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  9. ^ "West Devon". BBC News Online. Retrieved 9 September 2009.
  10. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  11. ^ Churm, Philip (12 December 2021). "West Devon's newest councillor". Plymouth Live. Retrieved 29 July 2022.
  12. ^ "Council minutes". West Devon Borough Council. Retrieved 29 July 2022.
  13. ^ "Local elections 2023: live council results for England". The Guardian.
  14. ^ "Independent councillor wins by drawing lots after by-election is dead heat!". Tavistock Times Gazette. 23 June 2023. Retrieved 3 August 2023.
  15. ^ Pitt, Sarah (3 May 2024). "West Devon Borough Council by-election: Lib Dem win in Tavistock North Ward". Tavistock Today. Retrieved 10 May 2024.
  16. ^ "Council minutes, 27 June 2023". West Devon Borough Council. Retrieved 3 August 2023.
  17. ^ "The West Devon (Electoral Changes) Order 2015", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 2015/1, retrieved 3 August 2023
  18. ^ "EU Referendum Results 2016". West Devon Borough Council. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  19. ^ "How to find our offices". West Devon Borough Council. Retrieved 3 August 2023.
  20. ^ "Town and Parish Clerks contact details". West Devon Borough Council. Retrieved 3 August 2023.

External links edit

50°38′N 4°06′W / 50.633°N 4.100°W / 50.633; -4.100