Business community hears of East Devon 'branding' project

East Devonly Christmas

The East Devonly Christmas campaign logo - Credit: EDDC

The latest gathering of Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce...

* At the current time, Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce is alternating between zoom and face-to-face meetings for the monthly breakfasts. The meetings take place on the second Wednesday of the month and all are welcome.

This month’s zoom meeting began with a presentation by Rob Martin of Vivid, a Manchester-based company that have delivered East Devon District Council’s bid to encourage people to shop locally and assist the district’s town centres.

Rob explained that his company had been working on a very tight schedule, which meant that the programme was late in getting started. 

He urged local businesses to embrace the ‘East Devonly’ strapline that is the signature of campaign.       

Those attending the meeting commented upon the lack of liaison with Sidmouth Town Council and the Chamber, which meant that there had been little organizational support locally.

EDDC have not had any tourism officer or strategy for many years, and so this was seen as an early attempt to develop a district-wide brand starting from scratch.

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With little financial backing and almost no time, it was felt that the task was exceptionally challenging.

The clear feeling was that the campaign had made a faltering start, and that EDDC would have been well advised to have consulted the town council, who are experienced operators in the tourism sector and already run a very successful destination website with a strong brand.

EDDC are intending to begin a second campaign in the new year, again focussing on encouraging local shopping and bolstering our town centres.

Our MP, Simon Jupp then told the meeting of the many issues that he has to face, ranging from coping with the implications of covid, to the problems that local people, and especially youngsters, face with the lack of suitable housing.

He also touched on some of the issues that are going to arise with the delivery of the new Local Plan. He suggested that the current requirement for East Devon of more than 900 homes per annum throughout the Plan period might be revised downwards. 

He also felt that it was important that the details of the new Business Park at Sidford should be examined closely.

He also reported that central government was intending to address the anomalous treatment of second homes, who escape paying rates if they are operated by a company. This is widely seen as a loophole that has been exploited by second home owners, who receive the benefits and services of residing in the community and supplied by local authorities, without paying for them.

Simon is known to like his ale, so it was no surprise to learn of his recently developed website advertising pubs in the constituency, www.eastdevonpubs.co.uk, which is his small but very welcome contribution to supporting the local hospitality industry.