South Molton Business Association will be hosting, South Molton Food Fest, Sunday 2nd April 2017 in the Pannier Market.
Expect loads of food and drink stalls, showcasing both fresh produce as well as many different delicious cooked foods, be that hog roasts, curries, or traditional fayre such as breads, pies and pastries. As well as a plethora of savouries the aim is to fill the market with stalls selling mouth watering cakes, biscuits, and fruit filled jams and spicy chutneys. And as the area is fortunate to have cider and fruit juice producers, there will be the opportunity to try a real Devon tipple and locally produced ales.
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Notes on our March Meeting by David Walker
On Friday 3rd March, Peter Heaton-Jones MP was guest speaker.
Peter Heaton-Jones MP thanked the SMBA for organising and inviting him to South Molton and Mole Valley Farmers for hosting the evening and then began his talk.
First mention was the Budget (which hadn’t been announced at the time) pointing out that this would to be the last Spring one we were going to have. A steady as you go budget was predicted from Phillip Hammond who he felt was not as flashy as our previous chancellor.
Brexit is the “elephant in the room”, the implications, costs and effects are unknown as yet. Peter Heaton-Jones’s personal message to ministers was to try and end uncertainty as uncertainty kills business and consumer confidence.
During the Brexit negotiations we must not forget about real people, real jobs, real businesses.
The devaluation in the pound is good for exporters but imported goods and raw materials are now more expensive. The North Devon economy is strong, as is the rest of the UK economy but uncertainty lies ahead.
The Business Rates Review has seen a lot of “fake news”. Peter Heaton-Jones MP was worried about the Business Rate Review and its implications. 75% local of businesses will see a reduction or no change in their rates – for those businesses who will see a rate rise he will work with them to seek transitional relief. North Devon overall fares well with an 8.9% reduction in Business Rates
Visitor economy in North Devon is buoyant, the weak pound means people are more likely to holiday in the UK, bringing more visitors to our area from home and abroad. There are opportunities to be had in these transitional times.
Farming is still a vital part of the North Devon economy and a major issue in the Brexit negotiations. The Government has guaranteed to continue with existing farm subsidies until 2020 and DEFRA is working on a 25 year plan for farming.
South Molton Neighbourhood Plan is being drafted and it is vital that businesses and individuals have their say in steering the plan and its contents.
The expansion of Pathfields Industrial Estate was positive and Peter Heaton-Jones was being proactive in seeking “seed” finance for infrastructure and development.
The North Devon and Torridge plan is in the process of being agreed and it is vital to get this in place, to stop developer speculation on sensitive sites.
2. North Devon Link Road (A361), must be improved.
3. Broadband delivery to rural areas.
4. NHS – a challenge to deliver first class service at a time of increasing and diversifying demands within financial constraints.
1. We do not sing or shout about our “great businesses” here in North Devon. WE must.
2. Invest in North Devon.
3. Do business in North Devon.
A few Q&A’s:
Kevin Venison – Storage For Crafts & Corn Dolly- asked about EU Grants for business such as Leader 5 and would this still be available post Brexit? PH-J said that he did not know as yet and this is an example of the uncertainty.
Ian Cowling – Bishops Nympton councillor & Lynton to Barnstaple Railway- pointed out the 30% rise in business rates for Chelfham Station – PH-J to assist.
Andrew Jackson: CEO of Mole Valley Farmers – pointed out that the inadequate Link Road was causing staffing issues at H/Q in particular and could force their hand to consider relocation.
The poor quality of the road infrastructure was a serious issue with people traveling to and from work, some commuting for more than 50 miles.
The evening continued with many more questions…
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Membership is open to all – from sole traders to multi-million pound Plc’s. Annual membership is just £60, which is reduced to £25 per annum for traders from the town’s Pannier Market or interested individuals. More information…