County Council Elections: Candidates for North Devon

A file image of a ballot box

A file image of a ballot box - Credit: Archant

Barnstaple North 

Nicholas John Agnew – Labour Party

Nick Agnew

Nick Agnew - Credit: Labour Party

We live in such a beautiful part of the world, yet Barnstaple suffers some remarkable inequalities. House prices are high and yet average wages remain low. Young people who can’t get on the housing ladder feel forced to leave the area. Work opportunities are often limited. 

Now is the time to hold the Tories to account and to change the fortunes of the people of Barnstaple, and that is why I am asking for your vote on 6th May. 

Robbie Mack – Green Party

Robbie Mack

Robbie Mack - Credit: Green Party

Born and raised in Barnstaple, Robbie Mack returned to the area in 2017. He was elected to North Devon Council and Barnstaple Town Council in 2019 and has been using his role to represent the needs of people in Barnstaple. During the pandemic Robbie helped organise a volunteer network to collect shopping and prescriptions for shielding residents. He also supported households affect by the floods last year, accessing financial support and cleaning up the area. 

Rob Pet - Freedom Alliance

Rob Pet

Rob Pet - Credit: Freedom Alliance Party

Most Read

The Freedom Alliance Party has formed for a growing body of people who are looking for change and the support required when travelling against the current mainstream narrative and in this journey, together we are learning, and sharing information, growing the seeds of a new, honest, truthful and inclusive way for humanity to move politically forward. 

Ian Roome – Liberal Democrats

Ian Roome

Ian Roome - Credit: Liberal Democrats

I've been in Local Government for eighteen years, at the forefront of major campaigns like saving RMB Chivenor. For years, Tory-led decisions at county level have continually failed to meet the needs of communities and people in North Devon. My experience has earned me a reputation for getting things done! That's what North Devon needs at County level – someone who delivers – like properly repaired roads, fairer funding, investment in local businesses and a greener environment. 

Natasha Vukic – Conservative Party

Natasha Vukic

Natasha Vukic - Credit: Conservative Party

A business owner and former primary school teacher, Natasha is passionate about entrepreneurial spirit, public duty, family and community. Education is a subject close to her heart and she is a strong supporter of the hospitality and food & drink industry across North Devon. 

Natasha knows first-hand how difficult it has been for businesses and families over the past year, and so wants to provide fresh ideas and a change of leadership for Barnstaple North.

Barnstaple South 

Lou Goodger – Green Party

Lou Goodger

Lou Goodger - Credit: Green Party

Lou Goodger works as a dental nurse and has two children attending local schools. Lou regularly leads litter picks and is an active volunteer in her local woodland nature reserve. When Coronavirus hit, Lou stepped up to help the more vulnerable in our town, sewing reusable face masks and delivering prescriptions. Lou has fought predatory planning applications threatening beauty spots and environmentally sensitive sites. 

Philip John Hawkins – Labour Party

Phil Hawkins

Phil Hawkins - Credit: Labour Party

I work for NHS professionals as an Operating Department Practitioner in the post anaesthetic care unit at North Devon District Hospital. I Live in North Devon in a three-generation household with my partner, my mother-in-law and my teenage son. 

Your choice is clear on the 6th of May - vote for me and I will fight tooth and nail for you to halt the cuts and improve the services left devastated by the other parties. Isn't it time we demand better for Barnstaple and North Devon? 

David William Hoare – Conservative Party

David Hoare

David Hoare - Credit: Conservative Party

David is a North Devonian who’s lived in Barnstaple for most of his life. He’s heavily involved in local politics, including working for two MPs, giving him the knowledge, contacts and experience to get things done. 

With a background in hospitality, David is passionate about supporting local businesses and our high street. He wants to build on the excellent record of outgoing Conservative Councillor John Mathews and be the strong new voice for Barnstaple South. 

Josie Knight – Freedom Alliance

Josie Knight

Josie Knight - Credit: Freedom Alliance Party

I am standing with Freedom Alliance as it feels to me the natural progression after one of the most remarkable life altering years in our modern history. I feel that this party offers an option to those who have felt powerless to voice their truths in the face of a relentless negative and unrealistic media outpouring and resulting government restrictions. I wish to be part of a change which allows the freedom of all without pressure, fear and censorship. 

Caroline Frances Leaver – Liberal Democrats

Caroline Leaver

Caroline Leaver - Credit: Liberal Democrats

I am standing as Lib Dem candidate for Barnstaple South to build on my experience as a district councillor in Newport - fighting for individuals and the community alike. The Tories have been in charge of Devon for 12 years. They have let the roads get into a terrible state while awarding themselves a 15% pay rise. Devon deserves better! My priority will be the people of Barnstaple South, not lining the pockets of councillors. 

David Graham Luggar - Independent

David Luggar

David Luggar - Credit: David Luggar

I’m working to make Barnstaple an even better place to live and work.   

I’m determined to get value for the council tax we pay, so I’ll continue to demand Barnstaple should get a fair deal. 

The role of a Councillor is to deliver core services efficiently; too often we hear excuses and delays when the work needs doing now. 

So, as your local Councillor I’m here to listen and make things happen. Thank-you for your support.

Braunton Rural 

Mark Cann – Labour Party 

Mark Cann

Mark Cann - Credit: Labour Party

I have lived in Braunton since 2009. I am a retired teacher and am married to Val who taught at Kingsacre School for over 25 years. 

I want to see our roads made safer for cyclists and walkers and I want to see a solution found to the air pollution problems at Caen St. I also want to see a Youth facility return to the village and ensure that our young people get the support they need. Vote for change on May 6th. 

Stewart Johnston – Freedom Alliance Party 

Stewart Johnston

Stewart Johnston - Credit: Freedom Alliance Party

I am standing so that all those who want their freedom back, can vote and send a clear message to Boris and Co: “No More Lockdowns and Medical Coercion”.  In Sweden- No Lockdowns and the same mortality rate as the UK. The Lockdowns have caused devastation to lives, families and businesses here and everywhere. Let’s take back our right to decide our futures.  Vote Freedom Alliance. 

Pru Maskell – Conservative Party 

Pru Maskell

Pru Maskell - Credit: Conservative Party

A former Staff Nurse at North Devon District Hospital and passionate environmentalist, Pru is a leading member of a volunteer group for Georgeham and Croyde. She works tirelessly to support her community, doing so particularly during the pandemic. 

Having grown up and gone to school in Braunton, and now living in Croyde, Pru is standing for election as a county councillor to tackle issues like antisocial behaviour, vandalism, local traffic, and air and plastic pollution. 

David Relph – Green Party 

David Relph

David Relph - Credit: Green Party

David Relph, Vice-Chair of Braunton Parish Council, lives in Braunton with his wife and three dogs. David wants to help bring to North Devon the benefits of a greener economy - better housing, new jobs, and better quality of life for us all. To do this we all need to pull in the same direction, and David knows how to do this well – he has led big partnerships in the health and civic sectors. 

Liz Spear – Liberal Democrats 

Liz Spear

Liz Spear - Credit: Liberal Democrats

We are all too familiar with the on-going County Council issues, but this election is unique because of the pandemic. NHS and Care Services are still underfunded and underpaid. Our local hospital is crucial for North Devon. Our schools are also underfunded still. Getting fair funding for our area is key! Devon County Council must do more. With a long, proven track record in local government, I am well placed to fight for our community.

Chulmleigh and Landkey 

Valerie Cann – Labour Party

Val Cann

Val Cann - Credit: Labour Party

I have lived in North Devon since 1975 and was a Primary School teacher until my retirement in 2008. I taught in Barnstaple, Bideford, Lynton and finally in Braunton where I worked for 20 years. 

Climate change is the most pressing issue facing us all and as your County Councillor I will promote environmentally sustainable practices and policies in Devon with the aim of reducing carbon emissions towards a target of net zero by 2030. 

Paul Henderson – Conservative Party 

Paul Henderson

Paul Henderson - Credit: Conservative Party

Paul is an experienced councillor and is no stranger to the challenges faced by local government. 

Paul is also a local business owner and knows how tough it has been for residents and employers, which is why he is determined to fight for a high level of service from the County Council. 

A good rural road network, fair funding for education and high-quality elderly care services across Chulmleigh & Landkey are all priorities for Paul. 

Turtle Knight – Freedom Alliance 

Turtle Knight

Turtle Knight - Credit: Freedom Alliance Party

The Freedom Alliance Party is committed to personal liberty and free speech without censorship or penalty. Because where there is a silencing of information that is aimed at ending free speech, free press and even the right to get together to communicate is curtailed, this needs to be recognised as a very worrying state of affairs. Give the people a choice – our unalienable rights have to be upheld. 

Glynn Lane – Independent 

Glynn Lane

Glynn Lane - Credit: Glynn Lane

As a District Councillor for the past 10 years I have a wealth of experience representing residents’ concerns. Working in building and farming and living in the area all my life I have great local knowledge which gives me a good understanding of the challenges facing rural communities. I’m committed to supporting issues such as better roads and drainage, more broadband access, fairer funding for schools, improved care services and support funding for community groups. 

Philip Mason – Independent 

Victoria Nel – Liberal Democrats

Victoria Nel

Victoria Nel - Credit: Liberal Democrats

We all know North Devon continues to get less than other areas in Devon under the Tory-led county council. Whilst we are all campaigning a better deal for North Devon, and to fix things that need fixing – like our roads and drains, our social care and fairer funding for our schools - it is clear only the Liberal Democrats can deliver these for North Devon. If elected, I will be committed to prioritising North Devon. 

Nick Withers – Green Party

Nick Withers

Nick Withers - Credit: Green Party

Nick Withers grew up in South Wales and has lived in Chulmleigh for the last 18 years. He is a Chulmleigh Parish Councillor and, working alongside Devon County Council as Chulmleigh Parish Paths Partnership Co-ordinator, helps maintain footpaths and bridleways in the parish. He is a founding member, along with his wife Claire, of Sustainable Chulmleigh ‘working towards a greener future’ a group with over 200 members. 

Combe Martin Rural 

Katherine Armitage – Freedom Alliance Party 

Katherine Armitage

Katherine Armitage - Credit: Freedom Alliance Party

Freedom Alliance supports the many scientists, doctors and nurses that are putting their jobs and livelihoods on the line in order to get facts and truths out. They would not be doing this without good reason, and in doing so, they are silenced by media and so-called fact checking, as soon as the bcc start debunking, Facebook and YouTube start deleting, well, you just know there’s something in it! Vote Freedom Alliance for the truth to come out! 

Oliver Bell – Labour Party 

Oliver Bell

Oliver Bell - Credit: Labour Party

I was born and raised in North Devon, attending Woolacombe Primary School followed by Ilfracombe Academy. I studied Law and Politics at Swansea University and returned here after graduating. In 2019, I became a Parish Councillor in Mortehoe and more recently I helped form the Mortehoe and Woolacombe Community Land Trust, becoming its first Treasurer. 

If elected my priority will be ensuring the needs of rural areas, which have already lost the most in this decade of austerity, are not ignored. 

Andrea Davis – Conservative Party 

Andrea Davis

Andrea Davis - Credit: Conservative Party

Andrea is an experienced councillor with a passion for our rural communities and Exmoor. She works tirelessly and proactively with parishes from Mortehoe to Brendon to ensure they get the help and support they need. 

Andrea has secured £2.2m for a new roundabout at Lynton Cross, improving road safety for residents and visitors. She was instrumental at Devon County Council in securing £60m for the Link Road, which will benefit the whole of North Devon. 

Julie Hunt – Liberal Democrats 

Julie Hunt

Julie Hunt - Credit: Liberal Democrat

The effects of Tory-led county council failures are felt in North Devon daily - like the cancellation of repairs to fix the A39 at Watersmeet! The question is, how much longer must our communities be left behind? If elected, as an experienced councillor, I will fight to get our roads repaired properly, and our ND farming communities the support they need, and ensure we get fairer funding for schools, mental and physical and care services. 

Steven White – Green Party 

Steven White

Steven White - Credit: Green Party

Steven White grew up in Lynton and campaigns on issues affecting rural life. Steven volunteered in Lee Abbey as a youth worker and has since been working in hospitality, an industry that is exposed to seasonal work and low wages. Steven will work to create better employment opportunities for the people of North Devon. Steven is a busy volunteer, helping vulnerable people during the Coronavirus crisis and campaigning for a better North Devon.

Fremington Rural 

Frank Biederman – Independent

Frank Biederman

Frank Biederman - Credit: Frank Biederman

I am honoured to have served Fremington Rural as independent councillor for eight years and very much wish to continue. Social care, children’s’ services, roads and affordable housing remain our priorities here and I continually press for proposals to support improvements. Specifically bringing child and adult care services back in house, the reintroduction of the lengthsman to maintain drains and gullies, providing safe crossing points and adequate infrastructure to support our growing communities. 

Steve Jarvis – Green Party 

Steve Jarvis

Steve Jarvis - Credit: Green Party

Steve Jarvis chairs Fremington’s Climate Emergency Working Party, working with Parish Councillors to get local action on the Climate Crisis. During the Coronavirus lockdown, Steve organised a support contact network for his neighbourhood. In his free time, Steve is a keen DIYer and cyclist, and fights to improve cycling infrastructure. He sails out of Instow Yacht Club and is part of a singing group that raises money for charity entertaining in care homes. 

Dr Finola ONeill – Labour Party 

Dr Finola ONeill

Dr Finola ONeill - Credit: Labour Party

I am a local GP and a member of SOHS and I work to support, improve and protect our local services. I would really welcome the opportunity to use my experience to help support health and social care in Devon. 

I hope you would consider giving me the opportunity to work on the Council to represent all of you and your concerns and needs. I have a lot of energy and drive and believe in the importance of listening and giving power to people’s voices. 

Scott Paddon – Conservative Party 

Scott Paddon

Scott Paddon - Credit: Conservative Party

Scott is a proud North Devonian and wants to see the community where he was born and raised continue to thrive and flourish. 

A passionate environmentalist, he feels blessed to live in an area of such natural beauty which he wants to protect and preserve. If elected, he will work with the community and district and parish councils to keep our parks, woodlands, beaches and streets clean, and ensure the area is safe for all. 

Patrick Sullivan – Freedom Alliance Party 

Patrick Sullivan

Patrick Sullivan - Credit: Freedom Alliance Party

People are not being heard, and they are asking for a new party with a different narrative from the mainstream political blinkered bias. 

The Freedom Alliance Party has literally sprung up, which is no mean achievement under the present situation, and is reaching out to those people who already have questions that the mainstream narrative isn’t even asking let alone answering. 

Helen Walker – Liberal Democrats 

Helen Walker

Helen Walker - Credit: Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrats have a vision for North Devon which prioritises North Devon communities – not County Hall. As a county councillor, I will have the commitment needed to ensure we get decent funding for our area. We need investment in 'green' businesses; to encourage 'buying local', get better funding for education, and healthcare services. As an advocate for the disabled, and wheelchair user, I'm also committed to fixing the state of our roads and pavements – properly!


Cecily Blyther – Labour Party

Cecily Blyther

Cecily Blyther - Credit: Labour Party

I have lived in North Devon for 23 years and my two children have grown up here. I teach at Petroc and am deeply concerned at the continued underfunding of our schools and colleges. Education must have proper, long-term funding – from local councils as well as government – in order to ensure that all people can access it, from cradle to grave. 

Ilfracombe’s schools are underfunded, our local health services are shrinking, our farming and fishing communities are suffering - Ilfracombe deserves better. 

Paul Crabb – Conservative Party 

Paul Crabb

Paul Crabb - Credit: Conservative Party

Paul is well known in Ilfracombe. A local businessman, experienced councillor and former Mayor, Paul has been central in securing the major infrastructure investment that can be seen coming into the town. 

Paul is at the heart of the community and always on hand to help. Among other things he has co-ordinated the legendary Birdman contests, joined litter picks, visited care homes, and has also been a dedicated volunteer for the successful Covid vaccination roll-out. 

Syed Jusef – Liberal Democrats 

Syed Jusef

Syed Jusef - Credit: Liberal Democrats

We know there is lots to do to put the whole of North Devon back on its feet, including beautiful Ilfracombe. It's not clear why the Conservative county councillor has delivered so little for the communities of Ilfracombe after eight years! Roads still need fixing; Children’s Services are labelled inadequate; we still have huge income inequalities. If elected, I will push for funding to improve schools, support investment in green businesses, and tackle income inequalities. 

Lesley Mason – Freedom Alliance Party 

Lesley Mason

Lesley Mason - Credit: Freedom Alliance Party

I am standing for Freedom Alliance for Ilfracombe because Freedom Alliance is the only real opposition for change and common sense. We will ensure Governments are accountable and subject to parliamentary approval and due process. 

We want to build bridges across the current divisive narratives and give people the right to make a living and operate business premises and work towards counteracting the lockdown economic damage and resulting mental health issues. 

Netti Pearson – Green Party 

Netti Pearson

Netti Pearson - Credit: Green Party

Netti Pearson currently represents Ilfracombe West in the Town and District Councils. Netti is North Devon Council’s lead member for the Environment. In this role, she is working to improve waste, recycling, litter, and dog waste collection services, and is planning more wildflower meadows and trees planted across North Devon. Netti has been campaigning with SOHS for a public NHS and a return of services to North Devon and Ilfracombe’s Tyrrell Hospital.

South Molton 

Steve Cotton – Independent 

Steve Cotten

Steve Cotten - Credit: Steve Cotten

A ubiquitous arrangement of social camaraderie in a rural setting of serenity, that’s what it's all about! Holes, holes, holes, I hear you say, we should be proud of our pot holes, let's make them the best! 

Why vote for me? I don't know but I do have a pub and that makes sense. Vote Cotton for a breath of fresh air in a stagnant pool of inconsequential opacity. 

Steven Hinchliffe – Labour Party 

Steve Hinchliffe

Steve Hinchliffe - Credit: Labour Party

I have lived in South Molton for 27 years with my wife Sue who is an Advanced Practitioner Occupational Therapist at North Devon District Hospital. I work as a Carpenter and together with my wife have raised two daughters who were both educated at South Molton Schools. 

As a previous Chair of Governors at South Molton Community Infants School, I am passionate about the quality our children’s education. If successful, as your voice for South Molton, I shall champion our children’s needs and ensure your voice is heard at County Hall. 

Gill Saunders – Green Party 

Gill Saunders

Gill Saunders - Credit: Green Party

Gill Saunders got involved in politics when she joined the fight against the fracking industry. There she met Green Party campaigners leading the movement. Recently retired, Gill enjoys volunteering on Exmoor, has become an active member of the U3A, and got involved in the local Green Party. Gill has performed and directed shows, volunteering in Barnstaple’s Queen Theatre back in the 1980’s. 

Val Schenn – Freedom Alliance 

Val Schenn

Val Schenn - Credit: Freedom Alliance Party

Many likeminded people tell me they need a voice because after a year of lockdowns they no longer trust what they are being told. This present road is leading our children and grandchildren into a world of lockdowns, division, debt and control. Hard-won freedoms will be consigned to history. 

Vote on the issues that matter most - the seeds of a new, honest, truthful and inclusive way for humanity. Freedom Alliance is the real opposition. 

Alex White - Liberal Democrats 

Alex White

Alex White - Credit: Liberal Democrats

If you choose to vote for me, you can be assured that I will fight tirelessly to get our area a much better deal than the one we have with the current underperforming Conservative-run County Council. We need to urgently fix our roads and drains. We also need to encourage and build a local economy that promotes 'Devon made' products and services, and help our local farming community by ensuring no County-owned farm is sold. 

Jeremy Yabsley – Conservative Party 

Jeremy Yabsley

Jeremy Yabsley - Credit: Conservative Party

Jeremy is an experienced Councillor and School Governor, chairing South Molton Community College and Bicton College of Agriculture. He’s been instrumental in acquiring funding for the new Junior School and Community College. 

As a farmer, Jeremy understands the needs of rural communities and works closely with Parish Councils to fund and address their priorities. He’ll continue to focus on improving highway maintenance, investment for rural areas, fair funding for schools and better social care services. 

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter