• Out and About

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    13 February 2015

    Last week I was flat out across Central Devon – a vast constituency comprising 125 parishes. I held local advice surgeries in Kennford and Moretonhampstead – I have held 250 since my election. I canvassed door to door in North Bovey to listen to local concerns. I was also delighted to visit Pippins Pre-School in Crediton. I am grateful to Hazel Hodge and her staff for making me so welcome. I bumped into Hazel a few weeks ago at the opening of the local Newcombes Meadow Play area and was struck by her enthusiasm for the support she and her team provide to local children and parents. Pippins is a friendly, safe and fun environment providing excellent child development. Their last OFSTED inspection report graded them as ‘outstanding’ which does not surprise me. These kind of results do not happen by accident and are a great tribute to all involved. Whilst there I was also very pleased to catch up with Crediton’s newly honoured Mayor, Frank Letch MBE who does so much for the town and serves as a pre-school Director. Pippins takes children from 0 to 6 and is open 51 weeks a year 8am – 6pm. Further details at

    In Chagford I caught up with Moray Bowater who runs Helpful Holidays – a great local success story. On the agenda was finding a site for a Natwest cash machine which will be the only one remaining in the town. I am helping to liaise with Natwest.

    In Okehampton I paid a visit to the local TSB Bank. I have invested a lot of energy in supporting local High Streets during my time as an MP having opened the recent Red Lion Yard sales and supporting Small Business Saturday in the town a few weeks ago. It was good to be back, this time taking a closer look at the help provided by one of the town’s local banks. The TSB is one of a growing number of ‘challenger banks’ that the government is encouraging to provide greater competition and choice in a banking sector that has hitherto been dominated by a small number of big players. The Okey TSB provides a comprehensive and very friendly service to local residents and small businesses alike. My thanks to Rob, Nigel, Alice and Laura for hosting my visit. The government has made it easier than ever to switch bank accounts with minimum inconvenience so shopping around is a real option nowadays.

    I also hosted a packed meeting in Moretonhampstead for over 30 of our Central Devon councilors and prospective councilors. A great opportunity to share thoughts on the important local issues that are being raised with us on the doorstep.

    In Exminster I met with local GPs to discuss the demand for GP services within the area, a demand that is expanding given increased local development. This follows a meeting I held some months ago at DCC in Exeter to discuss the provision of these and other local services within the parish.