Peter Heaton-Jones MP NDJ column Thursday 12 April 2018

During the Easter parliamentary recess I've had the opportunity to carry out extra meetings in North Devon.  Last week my focus was on our brilliant small businesses, and I was able to visit three very different organisations.

Thomas Carr is Ilfracombe's Michelin-starred chef. His restaurant, The Olive Room, has put the town firmly on the culinary map. Thomas had invited me to visit his new venture, Seafood & Grill on the High Street.

We discussed his plans for the future, as well as the food and tourism economy of Ilfracombe in general.

His reputation is bringing a lot more business to the town and providing a positive boost to the area.

Thomas was kind enough to give me a sample of some of the menu, and it was delicious.  I can feel another Michelin star coming on.

My next visit was to Principal Doorsets Ltd. This is a relatively new manufacturing company which has recently relocated to Pottington.  They employ about 45 people, and make bespoke doors for a whole range of buildings, from hospitals to high-rise flats.

We discussed a range of issues, including the North Devon economy, their plans for the future, and – inevitably – Brexit.

The overall message at the moment seems to be that Brexit is creating some uncertainty, but the government is doing the right thing by getting on with it. Indeed, this was the very message I gave Theresa May during Prime Minister's Question Time recently.

Finally, Hele Valley is a park site providing camping, holiday lodges and permanent homes close to the lovely bay.

I met the team there and we discussed a whole range of issues, including the tourist economy, the Link Road and their own plans for the future.

This is a great example of a successful business forming part of North Devon's vital tourism economy, and the sun even shone on this perfect holiday destination.

These are just three examples of small enterprises we can really proud of.  It proves the point I often make: we need to be more vocal about North Devon being a great place to do business.