A LEADING Conservative politician called in to Tiverton High Street to discuss the town’s economic future.

Mark Prisk, Minister for Housing and Local Government, met Mid Devon district councillors Sue Griggs and Neal Davey for a walkabout.

Sue said: “Mark takes an active interest in how the town is progressing since inheriting responsibility for the Portas Pilot Town Centre Scheme.

“We walked through the town and he listened while I explained how we are hoping to use the money wisely to help regenerate the town.

“These plans will include involving communities to use the town’s shops, businesses and market spaces with new and innovative ideas.”

The Government set up the Portas Pilot scheme last year to help boost High Streets across the country by giving them a cash pot to spend.

Sue added: “There are plans by the Pannier Market to increase its retail space and to put a larger roof on to make it useable in all weathers.

“This would not be funded by the Portas money but it would certainly improve the ‘offer’ that Tiverton has to the public.

“Mark agreed we need to think very seriously how we can compete with the huge increase in on-line shopping.

“One way is to offer something that computer shopping can’t offer – product knowledge and after sales service, and also a friendly service.

“This is something Tiverton wins on as we are renowned for being a friendly town with some excellent independent businesses offering just that.”