This week’s round-up of your views sent to the South Hams Gazette

A Change for the Same

The South Hams District Council election held on the May 4 2023 saw the Liberal Democrats gain control. This was based, I assume, on previous promises plus the offer of sweeping changes offered in their manifesto. Just a few that spring to mind are:-

1/ Julian Brazil had always stated, while in opposition, that he had never voted for a council tax rise. “A rise would have a severe impact on the hard working people of the South Hams”. They have now implemented a rise in council tax.

2/ Never supported the idea of the Plymouth Freeport. Now support it with a LibDem councillor on the Freeport board.

3/ Promised that if they were in power they would issue a Compulsory Purchase Order on the Atmos site. No evidence that this has even been considered since the election.

4/ Building social housing would be a priority. My family have offered two acres of ground at Follaton that we own, free of charge to the council, if they build social housing on it. The ground is next to the main road and borders where the present housing ends. The reply that we received to our offer states that the “project would be unviable”?

I wonder if they have looked at their manifesto since last years election or has it now found its way into the Archive file?

Richard O’Connell


Yesterday I met Anthony Mangnall canvassing door to door in Higher Brixham to be re-elected as our MP. He told me that the Labour candidate is on track to win and that the idea of voting tactically “is just the usual LibDem nonsense”.

I’ve fact-checked this and both the & websites indicate that a LibDem vote is most likely to unseat the Conservative in this constituency. The latest YouGov poll has the LibDems at 39%, Conservatives at 32% & Labour at 17%. Mr Mangnall was explicitly asking me to vote for him based on his personal record. Given the awful record of the current Government, I can see why he might not wish to be associated with the incompetence of the Tories. Since our meeting, I  have been trying to work out what Mr Mangnall has done personally to offset the years of Conservative omnishambles and I am struggling. He has a 98% record of voting with the Government, even when other Tory MPs have rebelled. He has supported everything which has led to the current chaos and failure at home and on the world stage. He has repeated Rishi Sunak’s untruths, such as £900 of tax cuts for every working family, ( has shown that those earning below £26k pa face a rising tax bill), a claim that even appears in Mr. Mangnall’s election literature. I won’t be voting for him and told him so - but I will be casting a tactical vote for the LibDem candidate. Steven Keay, Castor Road, Brixham


Just a small question. Can Caroline Voaden tell me how the Lib Dems plan to dispose of thousands of inshore and offshore wind turbines when they come to the end of their life in 20 - 25 years? 

The sails and top cab are made from fibreglass which is not recyclable.  America has resorted to either burying or abandoning them where they stand. We would be buying these turbines from Europe at great cost both to install and maintain, and apparently there is no strategy across the industry regarding disposal at the end of their life. Some of our early sites are within five years of needing an answer.

J Brook, Kingsbridge


This month brought two celebrations of the amazing work carried out by people who give up their spare time to help charities across the UK.

Cats Protection wants to say a huge thank you to our 9,000 volunteers who help 157,000 cats every year.

From hands-on cat care, helping in our shops or running fundraising events, Cats Protection volunteers make an incredible difference to help cats and their owners. Thanks to them, we’re able to rehome around 30,000 cats every year, run services to support cat owners fleeing domestic abuse and those grieving the loss of a cat, and campaign for better animal welfare legislation.

Our volunteers come from all walks of life and all ages, united by a shared love of cats. We’re always happy to welcome new volunteers, whether it’s a one-off for a couple of hours or a long-term slot. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, learn new skills and make a difference in the community. To find out more about volunteer opportunities at Cats Protection, please visit

Julie Meredith, Cats Protection


We’re calling on local people to help fill available blood donation appointments at our Plymouth Donor Centre at Derriford Hospital on Derriford Road over coming days and weeks to help us boost our blood stock levels.

There is a particular need for O negative and O positive donors.

If you’re able to donate, please go online at or call 0300 123 23 23 to book an appointment.

Please also encourage family and friends to book an appointment too.

By giving an hour of your time, you could save up to three lives.

Paul O’Brien, NHS Blood and Transplant


General Election campaigning is dominated by policy areas such as the economy and health where the volume of data is immense.  We know politicians are being selective in the figures they quote and many voters will end up more confused than enlightened.  In order to assess a government it can therefore be useful to look at policy areas where the data is simple and less open to politicians’ smoke and mirrors.

One such area is tree planting.  Politicians appear to love tree planting.  I doubt if there is an MP who hasn’t been photographed by a local paper, planting a tree in a public space somewhere in their constituency. Unlike other more contested environmental issues, all MPs will be happy to acknowledge the benefits of trees for the climate, wildlife and our wellbeing.  Because of this, like fixing potholes, a tree planting pledge is one of the things we know will appear in all parties’ manifestos. 

Tree planting is also largely free from external factors.  There’s nothing Putin can do that can stop a determined British government from planting trees.  So how has the  Conservative government performed?  In 2019 13,500 hectares of new woodland were created in the UK.  In their manifesto that year the Conservatives ambitiously promised this would be increased to 30,000 hectares a year.  The most recent figures compiled by Forest Research on behalf of the forestry authorities in the four nations show that planting had actually fallen to just 13,000 hectares in 2023. An abject failure by a political party which since David Cameron’s ‘hug a husky’ moment in 2006 has never viewed the environment as anything more than a photo opportunity.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Quinn Totnes