News courtesy of Kevin Foster
(MP for Torbay)
Fair Funding for The Police
The Police and Crime Commissioner, Tony Hogg, was in Torquay recently as part of his campaign for Fair Funding of Devon and Cornwall Police.
The campaign is highlighting a range of issues that the current national funding formula does not adequately take into account. These include the sparsity of population in rural areas, the large influx of visitors each summer (Equivalent to adding a second Plymouth in population terms) and the impact of demands on Police time such as mental health problems (Devon & Cornwall has the second highest number of police mental health detentions in the country).
The current formula does not work for our area and I have joined the call for it to be reviewed, with a view to providing a fairer slice of the funding cake for Devon and Cornwall. You can hear me talk about why I am supporting the campaign by clicking here.
Finally you can support Kevin Foster’s petition calling for a Fair Deal for Devon and Cornwall by clicking here. Tony is planning to present the petition in Downing St next month so please do so by Monday (31st August).
Superfast Broadband Meeting
Whilst many areas of the bay have seen work to ensure fast speeds are now available, too many “not spots” still exist where an exchange or box has not been upgraded. One of these is the area that covers much of the Willows and the Edginswell Business Park, a key development site.
In July there was a debate at Westminster where the relevant Minister pledged that Torbay would receive 100% coverage. In light of this Kevin Foster arranged a meeting with BT at The Wighton Pub on Tuesday to discuss when the situation in the Willows would be resolved, plus the wider situation across the bay. At the end of the meeting he was pleased to be told that plans would be put in place to make Superfast Broadband services available in the Willows early next year, although this was subject to surveys about to be undertaken of the work needed.
Free Time at the Fun Fair
Yesterday morning there was a very special FairPlay day on Torre Abbey Meadows that had been provided through the generosity of local travelling fair, Anderton and Rowlands.
Each year the company’s owners and staff work with the Torbay Parents’ Participation Forum to help lots of families who care for children with a disability or extra need have a fun day out at the fair. The ride speeds are modified and other changes made to ensure a two hour session with lots of fun, but no charges, is on offer.
If you would like to find out more about the Torbay Parents’ Participation Forum you can visit their website by clicking here.
Rail Strike Latest
If travelling by rail this weekend (Saturday 29th August to Monday 31st August) check before travelling if your train is running.
The RMT have called another round of strikes on these days over the plans for new trains to be brought into operation on the Great Western Route. The strike does not affect Crosscountry services.
Details of the services that will be running can be found on a dedicated page of the First Great Western website by clicking here.
This week an e-mail was received from the Managing Director of First Great Western setting out the company’s response to some of the points raised. Here are the key extracts from it:
· A Safety competent guard on every train – our current proposals maintain a safety competent guard on every Super Express Train and every turbo cascaded to the West. This means that these trains will NOT be Driver Only Operated. All Train Managers and Conductors will be required to maintain the same competencies as today, including operation of the doors in an emergency.
· Maintaining safety critical dispatch staff at stations – we will not be removing the role of the dispatcher, and this role will still be needed at many stations. We have guaranteed there will be no compulsory redundancies as a result of our plans
· Buffet car facilities – facilities to serve hot and cold food remain, with every train having at least one kitchen. If our current proposals are accepted, we will commit to an at seat service, run by in-house First Great Western staff, offering hot food on all journeys of more than an hour. We’ve also said we would like to open up discussions with the DfT, Hitachi and the rolling stock owners to fit buffet cars to the AT300 trains linking London, Exeter, Plymouth and Cornwall.
· Keeping Maintenance of rolling stock in house – during negotiations, the RMT has recognised this decision is entirely outside our control. The Government let the combined train building and maintenance contract to Hitachi’s consortium well before our new franchise. We have been very clear that we will do all we can to help make the transition as easy as possible for colleagues affected – including a voluntary redundancy scheme, which we are discussing with the Trades Unions at the moment. This includes maximising offering alternative employment opportunities.
· No job losses – in the areas of the business where this is in our control there will be no compulsory job losses.
In return we have asked that the RMT withdraw their objection to drivers operating the doors on all Hitachi InterCity trains when they are introduced and retain their role in operating doors on the Turbo trains as they move to other areas of the network.
Pop Up Shop Launched
Today saw the latest new PopUp shop in Union Street, Torquay.
The shop, which opened at 9am, contains four local businesses making the step into retail for the first time. The idea of the project is to give local small or online businesses a low cost way of seeing if there is real demand for a product on the high street, whilst bringing an interesting new attraction for shoppers.
The project is being funded by the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund and I was pleased to discuss with one of the local business how their “StroppyMoo” was not just designed locally, but manufactured in Devon as well. If you want to know what it does just pop in the shop and see it.
If you are interested in being the next business to take advantage of this opportunity you can click here to be taken to the website where you can find application guidance and apply online. For more information you can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07771 974565 and follow @PopUptheHighSt on twitter for regular pictures and updates.
Maidencombe Paths Improved
Torbay Council and Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust have recently been undertaking works to improve the footpaths on land around Maidencombe village.
The work carried out includes renewing signage, stiles and gates, improving drainage, opening up viewpoints and providing new interpretation boards which now show local circular walks.
The funding for this work came from a planning obligation linked to the redevelopment of the nearby Suite Dreams Country Hotel to form 10 flats.
Thurs 3rd Sept, 7.30pm: Prayers and Puddings, Goodrington Methodist Church, Paignton – an interactive prayer cafe. Free to all but donations welcome.
Thurs 3rd Sept, 6-8pm: Revolution Skate, Torbay Velopark, Paignton. Inline skates for hire. Bring a picnic or buy a coffee and cake. Call 07989418712 or email for more info.
Fri 4th Sept, from 6pm: Messy Church, Goodrington Methodist Church, Paignton – from tots to teens with their families. The theme is ‘The Biggest Party Ever’ (Luke 14) with crafts, songs and worship followed by a two-course tea. Free to all but donations welcome.
Sat 5th Sept: Festival of Fun in aid of Torbay Holiday Helpers Network. Babbacombe Downs, Torquay
Sat 5th Sept: Fishstock, Brixham Quay. An urban music and seafood festival. Food, drink, music and educational fun for all ages.
Sat 17th October: Disabled Sailing Association Ball, Livermead House, Hotel, Torquay £33.50 – call 01803 324505 or email David Musgrove for more info