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Local MP joins chamber of commerce for business meeting

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Local MP joins chamber of commerce for business meeting

Anthony Mangnall MP joined Kingsbridge, Salcombe and Modbury Chamber of Commerce for their business meeting on Thursday. 

The Totnes and South Devon MP joined the Kingsbridge, Salcombe and Modbury Chamber of Commerce at Thurlestone Golf Club on Thursday, 9 February, to discuss support for local businesses.

The networking event featured a Q&A session hosted by Chamber of Commerce chair James Spencer, where a panel consisting of Mr Mangnall, Don McIntosh, Director of Tally Ho!, and Cllr Nikki Turton, Mayor of Salcombe and Chair of Salcombe Community Land Trust, answered questions posed by attendees.

Questions centred around transport and housing, both of which contribute to staffing issues for local businesses.

Businesses highlighted the difficulties faced by employees who rely on public transport to get to work, including the limited bus routes in some areas and the lack of evening services. One business stated that they, and others in the area, provide taxis for employees from Plymouth to Kingsbridge as the buses are not appropriate for their requirements.

Mr Mangnall and Mr McIntosh both agreed that despite buses running on key routes throughout the day, examples given by businesses highlight the need for transport services to change. Both spoke about the Demand Responsive Transport model, a flexible service that provides shared transport to passengers to specify their desired location and time.

While community buses already operate locally in the form of the Coleridge Bus, West Dart Bus and Bob The Bus, Mr Mangnall affirmed the need for council funding to ensure such services continue and develop further.

Mr Mangnall also praised Tally Ho! for responding to passengers’ needs by launching a new service in 2021 which integrates with Great Western Railway train services, showing that transport companies can work together to improve services.

On the subject of housing, Mr Mangnall welcomed measures included in the forthcoming Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which will alleviate the current housing crisis. These include higher rates of council tax for second homes and empty properties, as well as a registration scheme for short term lets.

He also highlighted the importance of neighbourhood plans, which include affordable housing targets and principal residence policies for new housing developments. Cllr Turton spoke of the work of the Salcombe Community Land Trust, which aims to provide local homes for local people with two affordable housing projects in the pipeline.

James Spencer, chair of Kingsbridge, Salcombe and Modbury Chamber of Commerce, said: “Our annual poll of members tells us that the staffing crisis is the barrier to their progress.  Members tell us that for the jobs available here, the skilled staff exist in or near our area but public transport inadequacies, as well as the absence of housing to a lesser extent, keep the complement of workers apart from workplaces, leaving jobs unfilled and business infuriated. 

Anthony Mangnall MP listened, he spoke passionately for business and he took away the facts, for which we at the Chamber are grateful.  Our beautiful area attracts opportunity for business to flourish every day, if people can only be enabled to travel to and from a workplace.”

Anthony Mangnall, Member of Parliament for Totnes and South Devon, said: “South Devon has a vibrant business community and last week’s meeting was an opportunity to hear about the strengths and weaknesses of our local economy. It is clear from the meeting that there needs to be a greater focus on transport and housing as well as equipping students with the relevant skills to take advantage of what is on offer across the area.

"I will be working with the Chamber of Commerce and local businesses to ensure that we can continue to build a strong, successful and resilient local economy that provides for our tourism and hospitality sectors as well as develops key service sectors and industries across South Devon.”

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Local MP joins chamber of commerce for business meeting

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