Report of life expectancy reveals shocking figures for Ilfracombe central ward compared with the rest of North Devon

Ilfracombe people have the shortest life expectancy of anywhere in Devon, according to a new report.

Those in Ilfracombe central ward can expect to live for an average of 74.6 years according to the annual public health report which went to its cabinet this month.

That contrasts to those in Newton Poppleford in East Devon who enjoy an 89.6 year average.

The massive 15 year gap still exists despite an upward trend elsewhere across North Devon, according to the report written by Dr Virginia Pearson, director of public health for the county council.

She said the inequality in Ilfracombe needed to be addressed with a more targeted approach.

Although focussing on central ward, similar trends had been seen in eats and west wards, she added.

Death from circulatory disease, which includes heart disease, have risen over the past seven years, with 170 deaths in Ilfracombe central between 2011 and 2013.

Respiratory disease deaths are shockingly high at 112 during that period, compared with 23 for the rest of North Devon.

All three Ilfracombe wards have seen an increase in death from cancer, whereas the rest of Devon has remained stable.

Councillor Andrea Davis, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said a North Devon Public Health Plan aimed to focus on Ilfracombe as well addressing issues such as smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and alcohol.

"In North Devon there are some areas where the levels of deprivation are among the top 20 per cent nationally, and this is reflected in some of the figures we see - for example, alcohol-specific admissions and self-harm," she said.

She said the public health team was already working on ways to deal with the problems and tackle health inequality across the county.

"Work to reduce food poverty; initiatives to help children manage their weight; and integrating services such as drug and alcohol and domestic violence, all help provide a comprehensive support package," she added.

Elsewhere, the best place to live in North Devon for life expectancy is Chittlehampton, where people reach an average of 87.7 years.

In Torridge, Kenwith ward is the lowest with 79.6, while Three Moors is 89.2 years.