• Busy

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    20 March 2015

    Last week I was flat out across my vast constituency. One of the largest in the country with 125 parishes. I was delighted to re-visit Glendinning Quarry on the outskirts of Ashburton. This family run business is the largest independent supplier of quarry and concrete products to the trade and end user in Devon and Cornwall. It began in the 1950s with the quarrying of a single field to the North of the town and has grown over the years to a business employing well over 200 people. Its growth and success has mirrored that of Ashburton itself – the town having well and truly shaken off its less salubrious past – some decades ago it was sometimes unkindly referred to as ‘Ash Bucket’! Ashburton has now emerged as one of the most successful towns in Devon – a vibrant destination rightly proud of its heritage and the quality of all that it has to offer including some of the highest quality retailers in the county. Not only does Glendinning provide vital local employment but it is a company with a very strong sense of social duty having provided many generous donations to the town over the years. My visit was in part to thank them for all they have contributed. At Heathfield near Bovey Tracey I visited Smirthwaite, a market leading designer and manufacturer of equipment for children and young people with special needs. The business not only manufactures and distributes its high quality products but also runs a team of product advisors who visit clients and prospects throughout the country. This is an exciting business serving an important market niche. The company is expanding through a combination of strong management and investment in the latest manufacturing technology. Businesses like these are dotted around my patch and are especially important to their local economies with their ability to innovate, create high value added products and vital skilled jobs. In North Tawton I met with the North Tawton Engagement Group with whom I have worked for many months to help secure the immediate future of the town’s GP surgery. This had been under threat when the practice decided that it did not wish to continue in the town. An agreement has now been reached whereby the practice at Bow will step in and run a comprehensive service as part of a one year contract. The challenge now is to ensure the future of the surgery beyond this. This will require some significant community engagement and the group is in a good position to achieve this. Over the last 5 years as an MP I have held over 250 MP surgeries and I held another last week in North Tawton. These are excellent ways to help local residents but also to keep in touch with the key issues that are of concern to people. I also attended a very enjoyable and packed lunch on the outskirts of Exminster at which I spoke and took questions.