Plans to radically alter constituency boundaries are entering the final stage of public consultation.
Following a decision by Parliament, the number of constituencies in the UK is to be reduced to 600 from 650.
To ensure the number of electors in each constituency is equal, the independent Boundary Commission for England has been asked to make recommendations about how boundaries should change.
And their proposals would see wholesale changes to the current South West Devon constituency currently held by Gary Streeter MP.
Following this third and final consultation, the BCE will consider all the evidence submitted throughout the process. Its final recommendations will be put before Parliament in September 2018 and if agreed, the new constituencies will be in use at the next scheduled General Election in 2022.
Opposition parties have objected, seeing in the plans an attempt by the Government to consolidate its own power by making it more likely to win future elections. This suspicion has been strengthened by the revelation this week that if the proposed changes had been brought in before the General Election earlier this year, the Conservatives would have won a clear majority.
The proposed Ivybridge and Tavistock constituency would see the northern edge of Mr Streeter’s domain jump well beyond Tavistock, consuming around half of the current Torridge and West Devon constituency, which would disappear. The southern boundary would remain at the coast, from Bigbury-on-Sea to the edge of Plymstock.
The change would see Ivybridge, as well as other South Hams communities like Modbury, Yealmpton and Bigbury lumped together with towns and villages on the western edge of Dartmoor. A large section of the national park itself would also fall inside the new boundary, which extends almost as far as Launceston, although it remains within Devon.
Although the constituency would make a big gain in terms of land area, two of its most populous wards, Plymstock Dunstone and Plymstock Radford, would pass over to the new Plymouth South constituency. A small parcel of land including Aveton Gifford and Ashford would also be lost to the Totnes parliamentary area.
The Totnes constituency would also expand to take in Denbury, Ipplepen and Broadhempston under the plans, but would retain the same name.
An initial 12-week consultation was held in the autumn last year, giving the public the first chance to view and comment on BCE’s plans, followed by a second consultation this spring of this year. Over 25,000 public responses were received during these stages, and the commission revised more than half its original suggestions. The South Hams constituency proposals have remained the same throughout the process.