Local people took the opportunity to feedback on the proposed designs for Newton's Place at the annual town meeting in Courtenay Street on Saturday 7th April.
Each year towns and parishes across England arrange opportunities for the public to ask questions but the events are usually held at night within council offices and are poorly attended. Newton Abbot is believed to be unique in holding its annual meeting during the day and on the streets.
‘A few years ago we decided to move the meeting into Courtenay Street to give more people the chance to find out exactly what a town council does,’ said Clerk Phil Rowe. It’s been a great success and we’ve met meet hundreds of people we’d otherwise never have seen. We ask them to tell us what they like and dislike about the town, what improvements they want. As a town council we don’t have the same power as the district or county of course but we always try to influence their decision-making so knowing what residents really think is essential.’
‘A lot of people told us how they’re looking forward to our £2 million Newton’s Place community space and museum, the town council’s number one priority, and we were able to give updates such as the successful crowdfunding programme and positive planning permission result.’ The design visuals for the new space were also on display for people to view.
Praise also came in for the buoyant retail scene, including the number of independent traders. ‘It’s clear that the hard work put in by our Town Development Manager Sally Henley is paying off,’ said Mr Rowe. ‘We’ll continue to improve on that by providing a year-round family-friendly events programme.