North Cornwall was a District Council, formed in 1974 which disappeared with the formation of the Cornwall Unitary Authority on 1st April, 2009. It covers the towns of Bude, Bodmin, Launceston, Wadebridge, Camelford and Padstow, with 62 parishes in all.
This is a very large division centred on the civil parish of Altarnun, the largest in Cornwall. It reaches across to the outskirts of Launceston, since the last election, North Hill and Lanest parishes has been added to the division, with the move of South Petherwin and Trewen parishes to Stokeclimsland Division. St Thomas the Apostle Rural parish has been transferred to Launceston North division.
Politically, it has been usually represented by Liberal Democrat councillors but, in 2009 in the former Altarnun division, the Lib Dems fell to a distant 3rd place behind the Conservative Party's Philip Parsons who squeezed out the Independent David Eno by 80 votes.
Councillor Parsons is not standing this time so it will be interesting to see if the Lib Dems can regain their former leading position. There is not an Independent this time and it will be a fight between the four main parties.
'Defending' the seat for the Conservatives is Vivian Hall who stood for the Conservatives in the old Stokeclimsland division in 2009, just coming third behind the Liberal Democrats (a long way behind the Independent victor). There is a journalist for the Cornish Guardian of that name but I am not sure if it is the same person. Also 'defending' for the Liberal Democrats is Councillor Sasha Gillard-Loft, who currently represents the Launceston South Division. She suffered some bad publicity in last year as one of four County Councillors who had fallen into Council Tax arrears and were taken to court. As was reported at the time, Cllr Hillard-Loft said: "...life still happens for us and circumstance still happens for us." Whether this will effect her campaign remains to be seen, but I doubt it will be much of a story.
UKIP are fielding John Knights, but with no recent history for the party in local elections in this area, it is difficult to guess at how he will do, though one would expect a fairly decent vote share, although not one likely to threaten for the seat.
Appearing for the first time on the local election ballot for a number of years is a Labour Party candidate, Geoff Hale. It will be interesting so see how he fares, given the lack of Labour activity in recent years. I think the 'Labour is a wasted vote' leaflets will be out and about but, in principle, I think people should have a chance to vote for a Labour Party candidate, so this can only be a good thing. However, fourth place beckons Mr Hale.
Prediction: Lib Dem Gain (though with little confidence)
The former County Town of Cornwall, Bodmin is the largest town in North Cornwall witrh a population of around 13,000. For such a relatively small population, they have a large number of Freemason lodges, 7 in all, which all share one masonic hall in the town's St Nicholas St.
Having lost all sense of the poetic in Saltash, the Boundary Commission have improved the names of the Bodmin wards from East, Central and West, to St Leonard, St Mary's and St Petroc; so, kudos to them for accepting that recommendation.
Bodmin St Leonard
Liberal Democrat Councillor Pat Rogerson is defending this division having comfortably held it in the 2009 elections when it was the slightly revised Bodmin Central division. The Rogerson family are well-established in the politics of Bodmin and Cllr Rogerson's husband just failed to be elected in Bodmin East in 2009.
Standing against her for the Conservatives is Peter Scoffham, but the small changes in the area do little to offer him hope of extra Conservative votes and UKIP's candidate, Chris Wallis, will doubtless be a hindrance to Mr Scoffham. At the last election, an Independent candidate took over a fifth of the vote and the question is where is that likely to go?
For the first time for a while, Labour have a candidate with the return of David Acton who stood for Labour in the old County Council's Bodmin St Mary's division in 2005. He achieved just above 13% of the vote at the time and anything like that in this seat might cause a few nerves to be frayed for Cllr Rogerson. I suspect that UKIP's share of the vote will be more damaging to the Tories and, whilst I suspect her vote share will drop, Cllr Rogerson will probably be safely home here.
Prediction: Liberal Democrat hold
Bodmin St Mary's
This is the former Bodmin West Division held by Councillor Ann Kerridge, who was also a member of the old North Cornwall council and the old Cornwall council. Elected very comfortably in 2009 when she only faced a Conservative candidate, she could face a tougher fight this time with UKIP, Labour and, perhaps most worryingly for her, Mebyon Kernow-Party of Cornwall, standing. Surprisingly, the Conservatives are not putting anybody up this time.
UKIP's Peter Walters will be hoping to soak up the majority of the Tory vote and others besides and might have ambitions to take the seat but that would only be possibly if the centre/centre-left vote was hopelessly divided. It has to be said that it is more likely that MK's Roger Lashbrook, a first team manager of Bodmin RFC and owner of a local sporting goods store, would take advantage than Mr Walters. In the 2007 district elections, MK's Ernest Chapman was elected to the two seat ward, only 73 votes behind Cllr Kerridge, squeezing out her husband, Philip. This suggests that Mr Lashbrook will have high hopes of taking this seat.
It may be that Labour's Janet Hulme may save the day for Cllr Kerridge as the votes that go Labour's way (as a protest against the coalition government) rather than Mebyon Kernow's enable her to stay in front.
The Liberal Democrat campaign hasn't really been helped by a leaflet being delivered declaring it is a 'Two Horse Race Here' between the Lib Dems and Tories - as has already been noted, the Conservatives aren't standing. Labour won't win here, although it is nice to see them standing, but MK might.
Prediction: Too close to call between Lib Dems and MK-PC
Bodmin St Petroc
This is the former Bodmin East division, won narrowly in 2009 by the Conservative's Councillor Lance Kennedy, taking by just 33 votes from Steve Rogerson in a two horse race. This would have been considered a shock result as former counciller Rogerson was favourite to comfortably hold the seat.
A former policeman, Cllr Kennedy, the Cabinet member for community safety, public protection and waste management, resigned from the Conservatives on 6th March this year in protest at the decision of the Council to vote for a zero percent rise in Council Tax. He is also the Vice-Chair of Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Panel.
He is defending the Division as an Independent and the Conservatives have not been able to find an alternative candidate so are not in the race.
The Lib Dem's Steve Rogerson returns to challenge Cllr Kennedy and will have high hopes of retaking the seat, not least as Cllr Kennedy, who would be hoping to retain the Conservative vote whilst gaining others attracted to his new non-party label, has also to fight off a challenge from UKIP's John Masters, who will, as polls suggest nationally, be gaining his support from former Tories at a much higher rate that from other parties.
On the face of it, one would think it would be an easy enough gain for Mr Rogerson but, given the challenge from Mebyon Kernow-Party of Cornwall's John Gibbs, he could have a battle to hold onto his own vote share. Mebyon Kernow are campaigning hard on the issue of the Bodmin Master Plan and its effects on the local football team, skate park, local shops amongst other things so they obviously believe they can come close here. One would hope that the increase in the number of candidates (and parties) will increase the turnout.
Prediction: Lib Dem gain
There was a lot of discussion and recommendations from interested parties about what to do about Bude and its electoral divisions, from two one-member divisions, to a three member division which would continue to have Statton within the division's borders. In the end, it was decided that Bude, excluding Stratton but including Poughill, would be the Council's only two-member division.
Whilst all the seats are being contested in Cornwall, we already know for certain that the Liberal Democrats will take one of the Bude seats as there are only three candidates standing, two Liberal Democrats and one Conservative. This is rather disappointing as Labour, for the first time in years, actually put up a candidate in the Bude North and Stratton byelection and gaining 7.7% of the vote.
The Conservative candidate at this election, town councillor Louise Jane Emo, did stand in that byelection, but as the Independent candidate. It has to be said that it didn't go well as she only took less than 6% of the vote (93 votes).
Standing for the Liberal Democrats Councillors David Parsons (the victor in the byelection with over 60% of the vote) and Nigel Pearce.
Whilst Ms Emo will do better than at the byelection and would hope for over a quarter of the vote, I can't see anything other than the safe return of two Liberal Democrats here. I am suprised that Mebyon Kernow-PC have failed to put up a candidate here as they have held a district council seat in the past and polled incredibly well in 2005.
Prediction: 2 Lib Dem holds
Grenville and Stratton
This new division includes Stratton, a town which formerly had its own lawcourts and was a centre of commerce and industry, which has only slowly accepted being overshone by Bude, with which it now shares a civil parish. This division includes the parishes of Launcells, Kilkhampton and Marwenstow and runs north and east of Bude. Grenville (also Granville) is the name of the noble and Royalist family whose home base was in Kilkhampton.
It is a two-horse race for the Division with the Liberal Democrat Councillor Paula Dolphin facing the Conservative Shorne Tilbey.
In 2009, the Poughill and Flexbury Division was the tightest race in Cornwall with only 23 votes between Cllr Dolphin and the third place Conservative candidate, with an Independent just failing to take the seat by 12 votes. This exciting division no longer exists and Cllr Dolphin will be hoping for an easier ride.
Mr Tilbey is a company director and appears to have had interests as a planning consultant and architect, his business registered in Berkshire as well as Bude.
The current mayor of Bude and Stratton, Cllr Dolphin promises to "shout the loudest" and I think she should have plenty to shout about as I can't really see her losing this seat with Stratton being strongly Liberal Democrat.
Prediction: Liberal Democrat hold
Poundstock division is on the north coast of Cornwall and it has had some changes since the last elections, with the addition of Marhamchurch parish to the north of Poundstock itself. I am not sure what effect the changes will have on the electorate but, given the almost universal agreement that Marhamchurch be joined with this division, I assume it is basically neutral in a political sense.
The old Poundstock division was highly marginal with Councillor Phil Tucker beating the Liberal Democrat's Bob Booker by only 45 votes. This time, Cllr Tucker is the Conservative candidate in Launceston Central so the Conservative candidate is former company director, Andrew Ades.
His main challenger, one presumes, is Liberal Democrat, Nicky Chopak, who was the Chair of the Bude Partnership, a non-party organisation which seeks to promote the prosperity of the area around Bude on the North Cornwall coast and promote its natural heritage. She is the owner of Compass Consultants, an insurance brokers in Bude.
Returning as a candidate is Poundstock town councillor and former chartered civil engineer, Rupert Powell, the UKIP candidate from 2009 who appears to have no political designation this time (not even as an independent). This may be a mistake or he may have left UKIP. He came a distant third last time with 11.2% of the vote and, if he was still UKIP, I wonder expect him to significantly increase his vote share and it is possible that he still will.
Standing for Mebyon Kernow-Party of Cornwall is Czech-born Jacobstow farmer, Paul Sousek. Mr Sousek is trying to create the first carbon neutral commercial farm in Cornwall, an impressive endeavour, and a campaigner for Transition Farming. He stood as an MK candidate in 2009, coming a distant fourth (but not last) with 5.3% of the vote.
MK-PC do not have much of a political pedigree in this area and I don't really see Mr Sousek winning, but he might have an effect on the outcome if he is chosen over Ms Chopak.
I would guess that it will be between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems, but Mr Powell will be hoping to pick up a lot of votes from the independently minded and, for those who remember his UKIP label, the euro-sceptics.
On balance, given the Liberal Democrat history of winning around here, I would bet on Ms Chopak being elected.
Prediction: Lib Dem gain
A largish town for this area, Launceston has a regular population of over 7,000 but, due to the much needed Eastern European worker population, it is probably somewhat higher than that. Without the afore-mentioned workers, Launceston would struggle to maintain its industry. There are large business developments on the outskirts of the town and this seems to have had a detrimental effect on town centre businesses, with many of them going out of business.
Launceston is also the place where St Cuthbert Mayne was martyred on 29th November, 1557, after a trial found him guilty on evidence so flimsy that even Judge Jeffries took exception. The trial judge, Sir Roger Manwood, had instructed the jury to find him guilty as: ""where plain proofs were wanting, strong presumptions ought to take place".
Launceston Central includes the whole of the central older part of the town. This division sees two sitting councillers facing off against each other, with Liberal Democrat Councillor Alex Folkes being challenged by Conservative Councillor Philip Tucker, who has transferred from Poundstock division.
Making up the field is Kris Roberts for the Labour Party.
In the 2009 elections, a straight fight between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives saw Cllr Folkes take almost 2/3rds of the vote and he should be hopeful of maintaining most of this, not least given the fact that even the experienced Cllr Tucker is unlikely to make this area more popular for the Tories. His hope must be that the Labour party can pick enough votes off the Liberal Democrats to allow him to sneak in through the middle but there are no mathematical equations he could believably produce in this area to see him win.
Coucillor Folkes got himself into a bit of trouble a couple of years ago when, along with 3 other Cornwall Councillors, he was taken to court for Council Tax arrears, but I don't really see that it will harm him too much here.
Labour last had a candidate in this area in the 2007 district council elections and managed 6.4% of the vote. If Mr Roberts can get into double figures, he will have done well.
Prediction: Liberal Democrat hold
Launceston North and North Petherwin
Taking in part of Launceston town and reaching north-west to North Petherwin (and gaining St Thomas the Apostle Rural parish in boundary changes), this Division is represented by the Liberal Democrat's Cllr Adam Paynter who comfortably held the seat in 2009 with 57.1% of the vote in a straight fight with the Conservatives. This time the field is more crowded with Cllr Paynter facing four challengers,
For the Conservatives, Bill Sowerby of Coobmeshead Farm, Lewannick is hoping to be elected. Last year he won the Royal Forestry Society Small Woodlands Gold Award for the 1.45-hectare Coombeshead Millenium Wood he planted in March 2001 and has maintained since. Very impressive and shows an attention to detail.
UKIP have Graham Ford standing but with only a little electoral history, it is hard to see how they will do. In the 2003 district council elections, UKIP's Stephen Dolley could only get 19% of the vote in a two-horse race against the Liberal Democrat's Eve Paynter (a relative of Adam, I assume) in the smaller North Petherwin ward. I cannot guess how well he will do but I am sure he will be targeting the Conservative vote and hoping to come second.
There are two Independent candidates, Max Hailey, a Chartered Marketer, a Governor of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust representing East Cornwall and a school Governor in Egloskerry, and the marvellously named Krystyna Zdan-Michajlowicz, a multi-media artist.who works to help those support and develop young people who have found it hard to engage in formal education. Originally from Luton, she has lived in Launceston for nearly 20 years.
Whilst his share of the vote will undoubtedly fall, I believe that Cllr Paynter should be safely home, it is second place that will be interesting.
Prediction: Liberal Democrat hold
With Liberal Democrat Councillor Gillard-Loft now standing in the Altarnun division, the Liberal Democrats have selected local journalist, community-campaigner and record-breaking power-lifter Jade Farrington to defend the seat.
Surprisingly, there is no Conservative candidate but their candidate from 2009, town councillor John Conway, is standing this time as an Independent. On the Cornwall Council website, he is registered as Town Clerk of the St Stephen by Lunceaston Rural Parish Council. He will probably hope to hold on to the Conservative vote and pick up the Independent vote, which was 2.6% in 2009 (just 26 votes behind Mr Conway).
UKIP have chosen James Wonnacott, an eminent knight of the Knights Templar UK, a quick visit to their Aims page should show you why UKIP appeals. UKIP are working hard here and have been busy leafleting but, whilst I see them getting a fairly healthy vote, not least in the absence of an official Conservative candidate, I doubt they will win this seat.
Labour have returned to the fray in this part of Cornwall with some enthusiasm and have selected local woman Susan Roberts Alfar as their candidate. Recently returned as a town councillor in an uncontested election (quite usual in Cornwall), she stood in a town council byelection at the beginning of 2012 achieving 13.2% of the vote on a very low turnout. The Liberal Democrats won with 28.6% and beating a non-label candidate by only 3 votes.
This is an open election and I could see Mr Conway grabbing the seat, not least because Labour could take a fair few votes which Ms Farringdon could otherwise have hoped for. The real issue is how well UKIP will do.
Prediction: Liberal Democrat hold (but close)
Lanivet and Blisland
This division basically bypasses Bodmin with it running from the civil parish of Lanivet 2 1/2 miles southwest of the town to Blisland, 5 miles to the northeast. Very much a rural division, it would seem a perfect place for the Conservatives to stand but, even though they fairly comfortably held the seat in 2009 against a split opposition, Councillor Mick Martin is not standing again and the party has no candidate.
So, in a genuinely open contest, any of the candidates could hope to do well. The Liberal Democrats have selected local film-maker and B&B owner, Chris Batters. He has produced and directed three locally based films in the past three years and is a fairly well-known figure locally.
The Green Party has nominated Steve Haynes, who appears to be fighting a fairly lonely battle with little help, which is some ask in this huge division of six parishes.
UKIP have selected Tom Hobbs, the Chairman of their North Cornwall Branch. He will be hoping to pick up votes from the disenfranchised Conservatives and those disgruntled with politics at the moment. It is interesting that the three parties standing have all benefited from protest voting in the past so the dynamics here will be interesting.
I would guess electoral history in this area is with the Liberal Democrats but they could lose votes to the Greens and UKIP are likely to produce a healthy vote share. Having said that, I think Mr Batters will do enough to win the day.
Prediction: Liberal Democrat gain.
St Teath and St Breward
Just north of Lanivet and Blisland is the division of St Teath and St Breward which lies between Bodmin and Camelford. It was comfortably won in 2009 by Delabole garage proprietor and Independent, Councillor John Lugg, also a St Teath and Delabole parish councillor. Last time he only faced a Conservative but this time he is up against a Liberal Democrat as well.
Hoping to take advantage of this will be the Conservative candidate, Chartered Accountant and company director, Henry Hine who, at the age of 74, seems keen to start a new career.
For the Liberal Democrats, Eddie Jones, the chair of St Teath and Delabole Parish Council, is to aiming fly the flag of change.
On the face of it, Cllr Lugg looks fairly safe but the Liberal Democrats have a strong electoral history here so it could be fairly tight.
Prediction: Independent hold (probably)
Camelford division, which now includes the small Tremaine Parish as well as Treneglos and Tresmeer parishes, was gained by the Conservative Keith Goodenough, a local farmer, who had been defeated in 2005 when he stood as an Independent, with a majority of 71 votes over the Liberal Democrat incumbent, Cllr Janey Comber.
Now in a straight fight with the Lib Dem's Rob Rotchell, mayor of Camelford, things could get tricky for Cllr Goodenough.
Camelford, a growing town of over 2,500 people, is 10 miles north of Bodmin and the major part of this division. It is remembered as a place where the water was polluted in 1988 but this fact is not something that the local people wish to dwell on.
Whilst Cllr Goodenough is undoubtedly popular, I think it is going to be difficult for him to hold his seat against Mr Rotchell.
Prediction: Too close to call, for now.
Since the last elections, this division has had some substantial changes with South Petherwin and Trewen parishes being added, bringing in over 1,000 new people. It has lost North Hill Parish (and around a thousand people) to Alturnan. The village of Stoke Climsland is at the centre of the Civil Parish of Stokeclimsland (I don't understand the contraction of the words), not far north of Kelly Bray.
These substantial changes make this an interesting place for the candidates.
Independent Councillor Neil Burden has represented this division, in its various forms, since 2005 (having also been a district councillor, where he was elected unopposed) and took 56.4% of the vote last time, with the Liberal Democrats in a distant second place and the Conservatives third. A 546 majority in Cornwall is very good.
Cllr Burden is the Deputy Leader of Cornwall Council and the Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Children's Services. There have been some real battles on the council recently and I suspect his opponents see this as a chance to take out a big figure. He has not helped himself by the fact that, hot on the heels of the resignation of Independent Councillor Collin Brewer being forced to resign for saying "all disabled children should be put down" because they cost the council too much money, it was revealed that he had himself 'mis-spoken' in a 2010 meeting with members of the Parent Carer Council for Cornwall (PCCC) and later wrote to Sandra Ward the then chair of the PCCC, who had written to the Council leader demanding an apology and either his resignation or dismissal.: "I apologise unreservedly for my comments, which I accept were inappropriate." He did not resign.
It remains to be seen if this will do him any damage but hoping to gain any fallout from this will be the Liberal Democrat candidate, Wayne Gostling, who works in tree work and forestry services.
For the Conservatives, John Phillips is the candidate but they haven't done well in this area in local elections for a number of years. UKIP's Antonia Mary Damaris Willis (a name that wonderful must be written in full) will be adding to the pressure faced by Cllr Burden.
Unless locals are angry with him and coalesce around a single candidate, which is very unlikely given the different electorates they appeal to, it is hard to see Cllr Burden losing here, but he could have a bit of a shake up.
Prediction: Independent hold
A fishing port on the North Coast of Cornwall, the town of Padstow (also a civil parish) lies on the west bank of the estuary of the River Camel. Whilst the traditional industry was that of a fishing port, tourism is now the mainstay of the local economy and their a a lot of second and/or holiday homes in the area which has created a sitiuation where locals cannot afford to buy. With an average salary of £15,000, even getting a mortgage is difficult and this weighs heavily on the local political scene.
Just up the coast is the small village of Trevone which has a beautiful bay, this is part of the civil parish and division.
Gained in 2009 by Conservative candidate Stephen Rushworth, Padstow has always been a marginal seat between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats and, usually, the Lib Dems edge the victory. Councillor Rushworth's apparently comfortable victory last time (249 majority) was in the face of a divided opposition where Mebyon Kernow's candidate came within 10 votes of overhauling the Liberal Democrat in second place. The joint vote of the Lib Dem, MK and Green candidate far out-polled Cllr Rushworth. Cllr Rushworth was, until the end a February, Cabinet Mamber for the Economy but was sacked for voting against the Budget proposed by the executive.
I assume that is the reason that neither MK-PC or the Green Party have put up a candidate this time, but I find it surprising as this was a seat I would have thought that MK-PC thought they had a shot at.
For the Lib Dems, a sheltered housing manager with Cornwall Council, will be hoping to overcome the gap and take the seat back. Given the dynamics, I think he might well achieve this; if Mebyon Kernow had been standing instead, I'd have put money on it.
Prediction: Too close to call
Wadebridge is a town and civil parish in north Cornwall, 5 miles from Padstow. The Royal Cornwall Agricultural Show takes place just outside the town each year.
A different kind of show is playing out in this division with five candidates vying to take the seat from Independent Councillor Collin Brewer. He has been a district and County Councillor here for a long time, always topping the poll. As it happens, Mr Brewer resigned his seat after telling a member of Disability Cornwall at a stall in County Hall that "disabled children cost the council too much money and should be put down". He claims he said this to get a reaction; well he certainly got one. Reluctant to resign, he finally did so on 1st March of this year but has decided to run again.
Standing against him for the Conservatives is Brian Aubone Bennetts (another wonderful name in this county of great names) hoping that disgruntled electors will turn to him and, from the 2009 second place, send him to County Hall. With a third of the votes last time, the Conservatives do seem the main challengers.
Also standing is the former mayor of Wadebridge (2011-2012), B & B proprietor Steve Knightley. The Lib Dems don't always do so well in this part of Wadebridge but in such a split electorate, he might hope to take the seat, but this mightn't be helped by the presence of the Labour candidate, Adrian Jones.
Mr Jones is a bit of a hero for standing in the Bude North and Stratton byelection and gaining 120 votes (7.7%), not massive but the first chance for people to vote Labour there in a local election in years. On paper, Wadebridge East should be better for Labour as there has been some activity here in elections, although without much success. Self-employed Mr Jones is the Chair of Wadebridge Chamber of Commerce, the Director of Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network, the Vice-Chair of Wadebridge-Langueux Twinning Committee, Publicity Officer for Cornwall Folk Festival Steering Committee and an Active musician, in 3 local bands, including award-winning Swing Empire. He has an MBE for his work in New York after September 11th 2001. So, a busy man.
UKIP have Roderick Harrison as their candidate who has been a long campaigner against what he sees as the detrimental nature of the UK's relationship with the EU. It is difficult to know what sort of vote UKIP will receive here but I would guess that it will be fairly decent, it will probably damage the Tory hopes but could also take a lot of Mr Brewer's vote.
Perhaps most discouraging for Mr Brewer is that the other Independent candidate for 'his' seat is Sarah Maguire, the young mother who led the local campaign for his resignation. A serious woman with a commitment to advocacy, you can tell that her anger with the former Cllr Brewer was not fabricated.
In Cornwall, I have no personal interest but I would happily see any of these candidates defeat Mr Brewer - some people deserve their come-uppance. The question is, will his support stay solid or will the divided opposition allow him to lose a lot of support and still win?
Prediction: Too close to call - I will guess another time.
More straight-forward than its next-door neighbour, this division was easily won by local postman, Conservative Scott Mann in 2009. Formerly on the district council where he was Conservative Group leader, Councillor Mann eventually served as deputy leader of the Conservative Group at County Hall until he resigned from the post a year ago in protest at the proposed public funding for the Stadium for Cornwall and dissatisfaction with the leadership of then Conservative Council leader, Cllr Alec Robertson.
In February, Cllr Mann was selected as the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for North Cornwall. A strong campaigner for affordable housing in the area, Cllr Mann seems a popular figure.
Opposing him for the Liberal Democrats is local town councillor, and former mayor, Elliot Osborne. Well-known locally, I think Mr Osborne will have a good try to take this seat, but Wadebrige hasn't been a place the Lib Dems have won district of County elections in recent years.
Adding to the mix, the Labour and Co-operative Parties have jointly nominated John Whitby, who is fighting both a local campaign against County Hall and a national campaign against the Coalition Government stating that he is fighting "against one party, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats". A successful businessman in the Co-operative movement (formerly national chair of the National Federation of Co-operatives), Mr Whitby has been a local councillor in two other local authorities and on two occasions has been a parliamentary candidate. If nothing else, it shows that the Labour (and Co-op) Party in Wadebridge is determined to re-establish its presence.
What effect this has on the result is open to question, Cllr Mann will doubtless gain from the lack of a UKIP presence (they took nearly 15% in 2009 and would probably have done better this time) and this may well recompense him for any unpopularity of the administration at County Hall. Mr Osborne's commitment to Wadebridge will probably stand him in good stead but the presence of a fairly vigorous Labour campaign is likely to hamper him more than Cllr Mann.
Prediction: Conservative hold.
St Issey and St Tudy
From St Eval Civil Parish, 4 miles south west of Padstow, the Division stretches from here across to St Tudy civil parish, 5 miles north east of Wadebridge. A vast area which is a rural economy bolstered by tourism, close to Bodmin Moor. It includes the Parishes of Egloshayle, St Breock, St Ervan, St Eval, St Issey, St Mabyn & St Tudy.
In 2009, the seat was narrowly won by Liberal Democrat, Jeremy Rowe, with a 66 vote majority over the Conservative candidate, Paul Charlesworth. Councillor Rowe is the leader of the Liberal Group on the County Council and will be hoping that, after very disappointing results in 2009, he can lead his party to victory this time.
This year, Councillor Rowe is in a two-horse race with an Independent candidate, Emma Hambly PhD. A parish councillor and former scientist, Dr Hambly now works as caretaker in the family-run holiday let and as an artist. She is campaigning vigorously on the issue of renewable energy in terms of opposing what she describes as "inappropriate renewable energy projects" which she believes are "resulting in the desecration of Cornwall's most valuable asset...its landscape". She particularly holds the Liberal Democrats responsible for this, hence, I assume, her campaign to oust Cllr Rowe. She is also campaigning on the issue of affordable housing which, to be fair, every candidate in Cornwall expresses concern about. She can claim her Cornish ancestry back to the Domesday Book (and, I assume, before).
I cannot claim to understand the politics of rural Cornwall, but I would expect that the campaign of Cllr Rowe will be more professionally run, with a more boots on the ground, than that of the delightfully committed Dr Hambly. Whilst I believe she would be a much needed shake up for the politics of County Hall (or anywhere), I can't see her winning here.
Prediction: Liberal Democrat hold
St Minver and St Endellion
St Minver and St Endellion civil parishes are contiguous and the division is bordered by the Camel Estuary on the west and St Endellion is 4 miles north of Wadebridge.
Originally elected as a district councillor for St Minver ward in 2007, Councillor Brian Gisbourne comfortably took the new St Endellion divion in 2009 against a split opposition, which included two Independents (including a former councillor) and a Liberal Democrat. A company secretary, Cllr Gisbourne is also on St Minver Lowands Parish Council.
Standing in the Independent interest this time is Port Isaac builder and St Endellion parish councillor, Andy Penny.
For the Liberal Democrats, Ed Headley-Hughes is standing and, I am sorry to admit, I cannot find out anything about him or his campaign. Any information gladly received.
On the face of it, electoral history points to a battle between Cllr Gisbourne and Mr Penny and, until 2009, there was little history of Liberal Democrat candidates standing. On that basis, I see this as a two-horse race between the two afore-mentioned and will give it to Cllr Gisborne, with a reduced majority over Mr Penny.
Prediction: Conservative hold