Tiverton could be 'minor economic powerhouse' by creating 'positivity'

‘Depressing’ Tiverton could undergo the same kind of economic revival as Bridgwater, given the proper drive and leadership, parliamentary candidate Ian Liddell-Grainger has predicted.

And he has applauded an initiative led by local architect Dean Crutchfield to revive the town’s fortunes - and reputation.

Mr Crutchfield has launched the Tivvy Top 5 campaign to create a new brand image for the town following an online survey ranking it the fifth most depressed community in the UK.

But Mr Liddell-Grainger, who will be contesting the new Tiverton and Minehead constituency for the Conservatives, said the town had the potential to become a minor economic powerhouse.

“Making everyone feel better about the place where they live and creating a new sense of positivity is a commendable first step - but we could drive the mission well beyond that,” he said.

“I give little weight to these online straw polls. They merely give the usual bunch of malcontents a platform for some bad-mouthing of either people or places. Their only function is to allow participants the momentary pleasure of seeing their names or comments posted on a website.

“The fact is that Tiverton has a lot more going for it than many comparable towns, and with the right leadership, it could be transformed into an economically prosperous community.”

Mr Liddell-Grainger is currently MP for Bridgwater, a town which, he said, showed what could be achieved when the right people were in charge.

“When I became the MP more than 20 years ago, Bridgwater was a wasteland, a backwater blighted by the decaying legacy of its industrial past,” he said.

“Now it has one of the most successful and vibrant economies in the southwest.

“It has attracted billions in investment and continues to do so, and with that investment have come well-paid jobs and a new and tangible sense of civic pride.

“But we have only achieved that success through hard work. The transformation has been led by a dedicated and thoroughly professional team at the former Sedgemoor District Council, working closely with Somerset County Council, the town council, local traders and Government departments.

“The success that has been achieved is nothing less than stunning - and I see nothing to stop Tiverton being led down the same route.

“It has excellent rail and road links to the rest of the country, and its rural surroundings make it a very attractive place to live.

“All we need is to match the teamwork demonstrated in Bridgwater - though Mid Devon Council will need to up its game considerably if we can succeed.

“In a way, Tiverton’s fortunes have matched those of the wider rural economy, which is going through some particularly challenging times. However, new, low-impact industries could be attracted here if civic leaders are sufficiently determined and forward-looking.

“No one should be writing Tiverton off: I see it as a location with enormous potential for a spectacular economic revival.”