MP calls on councils to 'do more' to support Barnstaple town centre

(L to R) Hannah Harrington, Barnstaple Town Centre Manager, and North Devon MP Selaine Saxby in Butchers Row in Barnstaple

(L to R) Hannah Harrington, Barnstaple Town Centre Manager, and North Devon MP Selaine Saxby in Butchers Row in Barnstaple - Credit: Selaine Saxby MP

North Devon MP Selaine Saxby has called on local councils to ‘do more’ to support Barnstaple town centre. 

The MP has been running a survey on her website backed up by some hand delivered surveys on the future of Barnstaple town centre. 

Barnstaple, as ‘the retail capital of Northern Devon’, had faired reasonably well compared to many town centres across the UK. But online shopping and the move away from High Street retail has changed the way people shop and spend time. 

Devon County Council has ranked Barnstaple Town Centre as the most economically vulnerable neighbourhood out of 457 in the Devon County Council area. 

North Devon has been struck hard by the pandemic and Ms. Saxby has welcomed the Government’s Future High Street Fund which will see a £6.5 million investment into Barnstaple. However, as Ms Saxby says in her report, ‘this will not solve all the problems we are currently seeing like littering and anti-social behaviour’. 

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You can read the full report on Ms. Saxby’s website here: 

Selaine Saxby MP for North Devon said: “Barnstaple does have a lot to offer as both a retail destination and as a place to meet people and socialise. While some of the retail units are empty, we should not ignore the many new shops, bars, cafes and businesses that are investing in our high street. 

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“The Pannier Market, Butchers Row, and the Boutport Street entrance to Queen Street car park are the current focuses of the Government and North Devon Council’s investment. These should not, however, be the only focuses. Investment and changes need to encompass and benefit the whole of the town centre and while I am encouraged with what is happening, we cannot wait around for the next big funding round. 

“I will continue to lobby for government investment, but we do need our councils to do more, and we can all play our part by supporting the town centre, buying local when we can, helping keep Barnstaple clean and tidy, and reporting anti-social behaviour.”

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