North Devon Plus aims to be the enabler of economic growth for people, businesses and communities in Northern Devon to help them flourish and prosper.

Recent news 

Round 2 of the Rural England Proseperity Fund is now live. 

Please see our dedicated grant pages for further details on how to apply,


Warning of false claims about Deadlines for appealing Business Rates valuations 

Be aware of false claims about deadlines to appeal the 2023 list for business rates.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is aware of false claims that the deadline for appeals to the 2023 rating lists is 30 June.

This is not true. You should be wary of anyone making this claim.

You are generally able to challenge your property valuation on the 2023 list at any time until March 2026.

For further information about this, visit the Gov.UK Website

Article added 20th June 2024


Northern Devon Business Survey 2024

North Devon + in conjunction with North Devon Council and Torridge District Council is inviting northern Devon businesses during May and June to complete a short online survey on business challenges, priorities and needs in 2024. The results will help to build the case for future programmes of business support and inform delivery in the area.

Alan Dykes, Chair of North Devon +, commented: “To help build prosperity and growth in the area, we need to ensure that the support available to local businesses addresses local needs. National and regional surveys do not always provide the level of detail needed. We welcome the input of all northern Devon businesses to help identify the right priorities for our area.” 

The online survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete and can be accessed at: All responses are anonymous and the results will be shared on the North Devon + website.

Article added 01.05.2024


Business advisory group recruitment

Do you have the expertise and drive to help boost our economic prosperity?

The Devon and Torbay Combined County Authority (DTCCA) will be recruiting experienced leaders and experts across a number of disciplines.

The first recruitment is now open, and they are looking for leaders across our business community representing micro, small and larger enterprises (voluntary, community and social enterprises) who are interested in playing an active role in driving forward the economic prosperity of Devon and Torbay.

The full details and briefing pack are available (Business Advisory Group Recruitment), and the recruitment to other advisory groups, including Housing, Skills, Climate, Transport and Investment will follow.

Advisory groups - Devon and Torbay Devolution Deal (

Business advisory group recruitment - Devon and Torbay Devolution Deal (

You can find out more about the role of the Group as the Voice of Business in the candidate briefing pack, together with details of how to apply. Download a Word or PDF version below.

To express an interest and apply please download the recruitment pack below. Deadline for applications is Friday 7th June.

For an informal conversation about the roles, please call 01392 38000 and ask for either Phill Adams or Keri Denton, or alternatively drop either of them an email:

Article added 17.05.2024

Boost for small business as VAT threshold raised and rates frozen

  • 28,000 small businesses freed from paying VAT, encouraging them to invest and grow as the threshold is raised from £85,000 to £90,000
  • Over one million properties protected from higher bills by freezing the small business rates multiplier for a fourth consecutive year
  • Government backs British businesses as it sticks to the plan to cut taxes, reward hard work and grow the economy

Small businesses have today (Monday 1 April 2024) received a boost as the VAT registration threshold is raised from £85,000 to £90,000, and £4.3 billion of business rates relief comes into force.  More details

Article added 01.04.2024

Farming Grants available in 2024

A summary of the grants to look out for this year. 

The information published in this post is correct at the time of publication but please note that blog posts do go out of date. For the definitive, up-to-date list of all farming payments and guidance in England, bookmark Funding for Farmers and Land Managers on GOV.UK. The page contains both grants and payments. It also includes Countryside Stewardship grants and it is updated regularly. 

Read on for more details here

Rural Payments Agency opens claim windows for farm payments for 2024

The claim window for existing Countryside Stewardship (CS) revenue and Environmental Stewardship (ES) agreements has opened on Thursday 14 March.

Rural Payments Agency opens claim windows for farm payments for 2024 - GOV.UK (


Spring Budget: Key Announcements for Businesses

Amongst the headline measures announced for SMEs and sole traders in today's Budget were the following:

  • National Insurance cut by 2p in the pound for employees and the self-employed
  • £200m to extend the Recovery Loan Scheme (renaming it "Growth Guarantee Scheme")
  • Increase in VAT threshold to £90,000 from 1 April 2024
  • A new tax credit for independent UK film production expenditure

You can read the full supporting information for the Spring Budget 2024 here

Article added 6th March 2024                                                                                       


New guidance to help farmers through planning process

Farmers in northern Devon can now benefit from new guidance before submitting planning applications thanks to a new document from North Devon and Torridge district councils.

The councils have produced the Planning Advice for Farmers guidance document to assist those in the agriculture industry with the submission of planning applications, as well providing advice on permitted development for farm businesses.

It gives advice on what when applications are required and what a good planning application looks at with respect to new farm buildings, slurry storage and engineering operations.

It also looks at what is required for those looking to diversify their business, including through renewable energy, the conversion of buildings, or development for tourism.

The guidance has been put together following discussions with North Devon Plus and the National Farmers Union, as well as local farmers from across northern Devon. While the document is not formal planning policy, it is intended to act as signposting guidance for farmers.

Lead Member for Economic Development and Strategic Planning Policy at North Devon Council, Councillor Malcolm Prowse, says: "We know the planning system is not always the easiest to navigate, and with changes to how farm subsidy payments are received, we felt it would be useful as district councils to produce guidance for our local agricultural industry to make it that bit easier for those looking to adapt, expand or diversify their business. We hope our farming communities find it useful."

Lead Member for Planning at Torridge District Council, Councillor Rosemary Lock, says: "We have worked closely with the farming community and the National Farmers Union on this new planning guidance, with the collective goal of making the planning process an easier and smoother one to navigate for our farming community. We hope that it will be a welcome new tool for farming businesses, whether they are looking to adapt, expand or diversify, helping them to respond to market challenges and opportunities.”

You can find the Planning Advice for Farmers guidance document online here and on the North Devon Council website and on the Torridge District Council website.

Article added 12th February 2024

Using online services safely

How small organisations can reduce the likelihood of cyber attacks when using online ‘cloud’ services.
Small organisations often use online services (also known as ‘cloud services’) so they don’t have to worry about setting up and managing new IT infrastructure. Most small organisations will rely on a number of online services for day-to-day tasks, even if they’re not aware of it.
This guidance will help you to use online services securely, so that you’re less likely to be the victim of a cyber attack. It’s part of the NCSC’s cyber security guidance specifically aimed at smaller organisations.
Article added 2nd February 2024

First changes to UK company law expected on 4 March

Companies House is aiming to introduce the first set of measures under the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act on 4 March 2024.  The introduction of these changes needs secondary legislation so this date is still dependent on parliamentary timetables. It will not be earlier than 4 March.

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act gives Companies House the power to play a more significant role in disrupting economic crime and supporting economic growth. The act received royal assent on 26 October 2023.

Find out more about these changes here and what actions you may need to take here

Article added 23rd January 2024

Town centre businesses - upgrade, repair or refurbish your shopfront!

Barnstaple High Street including Green Lanes

North Devon Council's Town Centre Enhancement Scheme awards small grants to support existing independent businesses that would like to replace, improve or carry out repairs to their shop fronts or for other potential enhancement projects.

The aim of this scheme is to encourage businesses to upgrade, repair and refurbish shopfronts in North Devon’s town centres in order to emphasise both the individuality of the business premises and, where appropriate, the historic character of the town centres.

This is a capital grants scheme based on the award to North Devon Council within the UK Shared Prosperity fund investment plan for 2022/2024 within the ‘improvements to town centres and high streets’ strand.

The Council will contribute up to 50% of total eligible project costs, with businesses expected to match their contribution. The maximum grant available is £2000 or 50% of eligible project costs; whichever is the lower amount. The grant is ideal for supporting small repair or improvement projects such as fascia repairs, signage, painting and decorating, guttering, lighting and more.

As the grant is paid in arrears applicants will initially need to pay for the total project upfront.

There is an open-application approach with no set deadlines throughout the year, meaning applications will be determined on their own eligibility and merit on a first-come, first-served basis.

For further information, visit North Devon Council's website

Article added 8th January 2024

Free Cyber Security Support

Padlock symbols over computer keypad

If you - or any of your contacts - are involved in running a small to medium sized business, a local charity, a public sector or local community group, and you are concerned about the security of your IT systems or website, the South West Cyber Resilience Centre SWCRC may be able to help.

Superintendent Mark Moore from Devon and Cornwall Police, heads up the South West’s CRC. They are a not-for-profit organisation, funded by the Home Office and regional policing. They exist to help south-west based small to medium sized businesses, charities, voluntary groups and public sector organisations, with their cyber security.

Cyber security can feel complicated, expensive and unmanageable. It can be hard to know where to start, or how to improve resilience. Professional cyber security support is often costly and, for many, obtaining such assistance can be well beyond their financial means. These regional CRC’s have been set up by Government to help small to medium sized businesses, groups and organisations who find themselves in just this position.

Much of what is on offer to you from the CRC is absolutely free. 

Should you wish to sign up you can do so at Membership | Cyber Resilience Centre for the South West (

Article added 8th January 2024


Torridge Town Beautification Scheme

Torridge District Council relaunch their Town Beautification Scheme

Following on from last year’s successful town centre beautification scheme the new funding pot will once again be offering small grants to businesses on a matched funding basis. In 2023 the scheme was focused on town centres and distributed nearly £18k across 24 applications brightening up shop and business frontages, including the reoccupation of three empty premises, creating five new jobs.

In round 2 there will also be an opportunity for submissions from the gateways into town centres to ensure that the approach is also appealing, as well as the town centre itself. The money for the scheme will once again be provided through the government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund and will be limited to capital improvements up to maximum grant of £1000 with a 50:50 match funding arrangement.

The project is aimed at encouraging the creation of more attractive towns and enhance their character and appeal while increasing footfall. Encouraging new businesses and projects to occupy currently redundant units is another aim of the scheme. Examples of the type of work businesses might consider includes the possible replacement of shop windows and doors, new signage, painting of shop fronts, replacing gutters and downpipes, and other refurbishments.

The launch date for the scheme has been announced as the 10th of January 2024 with a deadline of noon on Wednesday the 7th of February for the receipt of applications. 

For more information on eligibility please contact Kirsty Defranceski (Town Centre Project Officer) at Torridge District Council on 01237 428919 or email if you would like to discuss the scheme further.

Article added 4th January 2024


Poster about the Spotlight on Digital Tech Workshop 24th January 2024

Small Business Owners! Ready to level up in 2024?

The team at the Heart of the South West Growth Hub are delivering a Spotlight on Digital Tech Workshop Session at the Exeter Science Park in January and they have provided the following summary:

Let us help you navigate digital technology at our 'Spotlight on Digital Tech' event on 24th January 2024 from 9am – 1pm at Exeter Science Park. Join our FREE workshop: "2024 – Your Digital Business Plan of Action!" led by the fantastic Kate Doodson of Cosmic, covering:

  • 2024's Top Business Trends & Challenges
  • AI made simple for YOUR business
  • Quick tips on Automation
  • Making data-driven decisions
  • The NEXT big thing in Digital Marketing

With guest speakers including Bigwave Marketing talking about ‘Social Media Trends’. Plus networking opportunities, Q&A & light refreshments inc breakfast pastries provided. Secure your spot now! Book via Eventbrite 

Article added 21st December 2023

Train 4 Tomorrow Skills Bootcamps

Skills Bootcamps: Free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks

Skills Bootcamps are free*, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with an employer.

Skills Bootcamps are available to those who are unemployed, employed (looking to change career), and self-employed. Skills Bootcamps can be co-funded by employers to enable upskilling of employees.

The programme is funded by the National Skills Fund and includes Skills Bootcamps in:

  • Construction
  • Digital
  • Green
  • Health
  • Hospitality
  • Professional Services

Skills Bootcamps are part of the Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee, helping everyone gain skills for life. Skills Bootcamps in Devon and Cornwall are led by Devon County Council.

*Skills Bootcamps are free to individuals who wish to upskill and change career.  Employers who wish to upskill their staff are expected to part-fund the cost of the training.

For further information, visit the Train 4 Tomorrow website

Article added 23rd December 2023



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