Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 13 December 2012


Have you tried shopping in Ivybridge lately? If not, you should. There are a surprisingly diverse number of boutiques to tempt you part with your hard earned cash.

For the past few weeks I have been chairing a government backed initiative called Ivybridge Town Team. The plan is to bring town centres to life building upon a report by TV pundit Mary Portas delivered to government earlier in the year setting out some creative ideas. It is obvious that small shopping centres cannot compete with the big out of town superstores or the mysterious delights of Internet shopping (which is growing massively year on year) so the suggestion is to make visiting a town an enjoyable experience: an event.

The Town Team aims to bring people together to make joint decisions. So we have the county, district and town councils on board, together with the primary landlords and retailers as well as the community and voluntary sectors. The energetic Town Clerk of Ivybridge supplies the secretariat as well as much experience. We have decided to commission an in-depth study on what makes Ivybridge tick – who uses it and who doesn't.  This hard evidence will help us to plot a course to a prosperous future.

The landlord of the Glanville's Mill complex is gradually making improvements and the leisure centre will undergo a refurbishment in 2013. In the run up to Christmas there is free parking and three Saturdays out of four a community market place.

Our study will seek the views of many local people, but it is never too soon to do that. We had a lively open meeting last Friday in the Watermark where several ideas were put forward, including an impressive presentation from the Guides about how they would improve their town.

The Town Team process will take well over 12 months. If you have a view about what we can do to breathe even more vibrancy into this great little town nestling against the moor, we would love to hear from you.

One of the reasons why Ivybridge is driving ahead in this way and Plympton and Plymstock are not, is that it has its own town (effectively parish) council, which sits under the other tiers of local government and has a passion for its community. The two suburbs of Plymouth that I also represent do not have their own councils. This makes cohesive action much harder. Time to put that right?

posted by Gary @ 14:36