Working in partnership with the Borough's Town Councils, Chambers of Commerce and Business Improvement District (BID), West Devon Borough Council is developing a support package for the Town Centres, with an additional £70,000 of funding.

Tavistock and Okehampton town centres

11/08/2020

This money is being provided on top of £20,000 of funding already made available by the Borough Council, with the aim of supporting and enabling the great work the Town Councils and BID are doing to get their town centres back on their feet.

To help boost the local economy, they are looking at a number of proposals to support the local economy.

These include:
• A Town Centre Boost Grant
• Business training, advice and support
• Marketing campaigns for the area
• Local events
• Amending some car park and toilet provision to encourage shoppers and visitors to shop on our high streets

The Leader of West Devon Borough Council, Cllr Neil Jory, said: "I'm delighted to announce this package of support for our local towns. We are proposing a range of measures because I believe that it is so very important that we do what we can to get the high streets back onto their feet, not just now but over the coming year. We are committed to working in partnership with our town councils to improve our local economy."

Cllr Ric Cheadle, Chair of West Devon's Economy Working Group said: " West Devon Borough Council is also working as part of Team Devon on a range of initiatives aimed at helping businesses get back on their feet. These include both bids to Government for additional grants to recognise the particular challenges facing the South West and more immediate help aimed at regenerating town centres." 

The support on offer includes a financial grant to help the town centres, which can be spent locally wherever each Town Council feels the need is greatest.

In Tavistock, there are proposals to change the Abbey Car Park from a long stay to a short stay to increase the amount of visitor parking spaces closer to the shops. The Borough Council has also funded the reopening of the Bedford car park toilets for the summer period to provide more convenience for town centre shoppers.

Tavistock Town Council said: "The Town Council and Tavistock BID Co welcome the opportunity to work with West Devon Borough Council, together with the resources and initiatives being made available, to both support and promote the Town Centre and to encourage residents and visitors alike back to a safe and vibrant high street".

Businesses are being supported directly with the incredibly successful Pop-Up Business School, financed by the Borough Council to improve opportunities for small and start-up businesses. Over 50 businesses took part in a week of free training, covering everything from setting up a website to getting your business started without any funding.

Business Support in the Borough will then be continued with further training options currently being discussed.

Pop-Up Business School Co-Founder Simon Paine who also presented at the SW Devon Course said: "Our first event in Devon has been a brilliant week - West Devon and South Hams' newest businesses have been incredibly engaged and have already taken action to make sales. We are very grateful for the support of the councils to make the event happen."

A number of weekend events are also being proposed for the main towns to encourage visits during the off peak seasons, with free weekend car parking being offered by the Borough Council to attract as many visitors to the towns as possible. A co-ordinated marketing campaign will tie-in to attract visitors from outside the area with a focus on promoting, Made in Devon, local businesses.

Overall this package represents a substantial proportion of the recent £89k funding package West Devon Borough Council has been allocated in the recent funding package announced by Central Government.

Okehampton Town Council Clerk Emma James said: "The initiatives and support package being put into place by the Borough Council to promote the area with the aim of attracting visitors to the towns and encouraging them to buy from our high streets is welcomed.

"Assistance and training opportunities offered to local businesses to date has been successful, the continuation of which will help new business start and existing ones to enhance their ways of working."

Find out more information on how West Devon Borough Council can support businesses and residents at www.westdevon.gov.uk

ENDS