AT the annual meeting of Mid Devon District Council on Wednesday, May 22, the Mid Devon Liberal Democrats proudly celebrated a year in control of the council, marked by what it describes as “significant progress and fulfilled promises”.

The party says this milestone follows the Liberal Democrats historic victory last year when it secured a majority on the Council for the first time since 1999. 

Since then, the LibDems say they have diligently worked to enhance the lives of Mid Devon residents, delivering on key manifesto pledges.

It lists key achievements during the past year including:

• Tackling the previous administration’s loss-making private building company, 3 Rivers, which had cost taxpayers millions. The company has been closed, and the St George’s Development in Tiverton is now being transformed into much-needed social housing. This has increased the council’s social housing stock, with all 3 Rivers assets either sold or transferred back to Council ownership. • For the first time in years, the Mid Devon District Council budget is fully balanced, and without reliance on reserves. It says finances are now managed responsibly and transparently under this Liberal Democrat administration, with little assistance from Central Government. This year, the council earned around £2.4 million from treasury activities, helping to keep Council tax levels down. It adds that senior management costs were reduced by more than £100,000 by eliminating two senior posts. • Household support fund payments have aided more than 1,200 of Mid Devon’s most vulnerable residents, with cost of living support being extended for at least the next six months and the council continuing to fund a hardship officer post. • A new model State of the District Debate engaged more than 70 attendees from Town and Parish Councils. This initiative marked the beginning of a collaborative process that is already yielding results. • Mid Devon’s recycling rates are now in the top 10 per cent nationally and second in Devon, which it says is demonstrating a commitment to environmental sustainability. Additionally, the council has secured more than £3.5 million for decarbonisation projects, invested in lowering energy use, future-proofing its leisure centres, and planting more than 500 new trees to support the council’s ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

• Mid Devon District Council was the first in Devon to introduce a Council Tax exemption for Care Leavers and then agreed to support care leavers further with access to leisure facilities.

• The council provided more free parking than ever before during the Christmas period to support local residents during the cost of living crisis. Essential community spaces, such as local paddling pools, remain open for public use.

• The council’s housing service has completed new housing projects in Tiverton and Cullompton, aligning with Mid Devon’s ambitious strategy to increase affordable homes for local residents. • The council has implemented new measures for transparency, including regular detailed financial reports to Council meetings and a new performance/risk monitoring dashboard. This ensures all Councillors and the public understand performance throughout the year.

• Mid Devon District Council has been shortlisted for Local Authority of the Year in the South West planning awards.

Commenting on these achievements, Cllr Luke Taylor, Leader of the Council and Liberal Democrat Ward Member for Bradninch, stated: “In May 2023, the residents of Mid Devon sent a clear message that they had had enough of Conservative rule.

“This public support and delivery of our key manifesto promises demonstrates that we are best placed to manage Mid Devon, having balanced the budget, delivered more for our residents, and ended the disastrous 3 Rivers vanity project.

“The Liberal Democrats in Mid Devon continue to deliver on their promises, ensuring a thriving community for our residents.

“I’d like to thank all the members and officers who have helped deliver these impressive achievements over the past 12 months under this Liberal Democrat administration. We look forward to continuing to work hard to navigate the challenges and opportunities ahead for Mid Devon.”

In Crediton, all four of the Mid Devon District Councillors, Jim Cairney, Frank Letch, Guy Cochran and John Downes are Liberal Democrats.

On Tuesday, May 21, Cllr Guy Cochran was elected as Chairman and Mayor of Crediton at the Annual Meeting of Crediton Town Council.