Totnes MP Anthony Mangnall held a closed meeting of the South Hams Society to discuss the government’s Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill.

He explained his thoughts: “ This is the first time in 32 years that we have had something as sizeable as this in therms of reform around our planning laws and there are lots of good parts but there is more to be done.

Devon’s part of the the Shared Prosperity Fund for the next three years has been set at around £15 million whereas EU funding over the same period would have been around £130 million coincidentally the sum that Cornwall will be receiving under the SPF.

The Chairman of the South West Business Council Tim Jones described Devon’s share as “derisory” and Anthony Mangnall admitted the government could do more saying that the South West sometimes got overlooked and that as a Devonian he would do all he can to fight for the area’s corner. Anthony said: Devon MPs are already looking for an uplift in the quantum and looking at the other funds available from government to make sure Devon is not losing out. He cited funding for Torbay including Brixham but admitted Cornwall got in very early with their request.

Dartmouth and Woolwell in the South Hams are getting Gigabit broadband and Anthony Mangnall admits that people always want it to roll out faster but says it is on the way. through Connecting Devon and Somerset and BT Openreach.

Three projects that could boost the area are the electrification of the railway line through Devon which he thought would be a “fantastic idea” he wants to see South Brent train station open and said there would soon be an announcement about GWR and the historic railway at Dartmouth. On the subject of transport he said: “What we really need to concentrate on is the buses. I’;m working with Devon County and District Councillors. What we need is cheaper, more regular, more affordable buses that are taking people to the places they need to go like Dartmouth to Torbay Hospital, like Kingsbridge to Derriford Hospital. These are the things that are needed. the upgrade of the A38 to motorway status that he felt wasn’t necessary at this time as it had only just been upgraded to a dual carriageway. He said we need to open South Devon to public transport rather than people bringing cars. On the reopening of Plymouth City Airport he wasn’t sure the case was there especially as Exeter Airport hadn’t yet got back to full capacity but with electric aeroplanes this could be looked at.

On the Prime Minister himself Anthony Mangnall confirmed his letter was still with Sir Graham Brady the Chairman of the 1922 demanding a vote of no confidence in him. He said: Conservatism and Conservative politics is about more than one person, it’s about the policies that we exhibit. I also feel passionately that out institutions matter, that they must be looked after. My view is the same as it was on the 3rd February and if anything I feel perhaps to some extent that I have been proven right. What you’ll find with us Devonians is if we say something, we’ll do something.”