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he right boxes
One of Devon’s oldest pannier markets is reasserting its position at the heart of the community. Nicola Gould reports from Tiverton
 Tiverton Market and its stunning location amid the rolling hills of mid-Devon is spot on.
The town is rich in history and heritage with a castle, a museum, two rivers and a canal. The surrounding countryside includes Dartmoor and Exmoor, yet too often tourists zoom past it en route to better-known holiday destinations.
Similarly Tiverton Market is not yet the magnet it should be despite its attractive Grade II listed market hall and a £3 million investment some years ago.
The revamp back in 2007 included installing glass doors around the outside, creating a light and bright market area, a pedestrianised-style surrounding area and a line of 20 lock-up units down one side, all of which are now let to market businesses.
But Alan Ottey, who took over as market and town centre manager for Mid Devon District Council three years ago, is working hard to ensure Tiverton market reaches its potential.
Alan is a long-retired police inspector who has an impressive track record in both market and town centre management. This includes stints in
Hinckley and Nuneaton and consultancy work to enhance the market offer in towns including Kingston-upon-Thames, Norwich, Romford and Farnborough.
He was tempted down to Tiverton because he loves the area from summer holidays and he was soon tackling the challenges head on.
“There were some obvious issues and one of the first investments was to give the inside of the building a thorough clean and to get the outside repainted,” Alan said.
Footfall was an issue — shoppers favour Tiverton’s larger neighbours, Taunton and Exeter.
The market was in significant deficit and it needed an influx of new traders with diverse lines to brighten up the offer.
Also, with Alan’s wider town centre remit, he was well positioned to improve partnership working in Tiverton and ensure that all stakeholders were working together to enhance the town’s many assets.
Three years into the job, Alan has made significant progress.
Alan Ottey, who has a strong track record of running markets and town centres including consultancy work, took over as Tiverton market and town centre manager three years
 The financial situation has been turned around. ago

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