Mel Stride

    CENTRAL DEVON MP Mel Stride is urging communities in his constituency to bid for Government funding to help make their area more attractive for business. Applications for the latest round of the British Improvement Districts Loan Fund are now open with four winning bids set to help communities deliver additional local services or upgrade commercial areas for the benefit of business. Each successful applicant can receive up to £50,000.

    Mr Stride said:

    “We are fortunate to have more than a dozen wonderful market towns stretching across the Central Devon constituency from Hatherleigh across to Crediton and down to Ashburton and Buckfastleigh. But our high streets face huge competition from online retailers and each town has its own individual challenges, whether insufficient car parking, competition from large chains, the availability of affordable office space, or simply insufficient footfall to make a business viable. Business Improvement Districts have proved to be a successful way of helping towns with advertising and marketing, improving security or introducing pedestrianised shopping areas. Even an unsuccessful bid could prove to have been worthwhile if it generates ideas and a list of priorities within a community for how it wants to boost its economy which it could still work with its local authority to put into action.”

    An example of how a BID has transformed a community can be seen in Altrincham, which in 2014 had a 30% shop vacancy rate but in 2018 scooped the prize for England’s best high street at the 2018 Great British High Street Awards.

    Expressions of Interest in the Loan Fund need to be received by 8 March 2019, with completed applications submitted by 10 May 2019. To register interest and receive an application form contact