News courtesy of Kevin Foster
(MP for Torbay)
South Devon Rail Line Pledge
Over the next few months there will be a lot of debate about the future of our vital rail links as the Peninsula Rail Task Force prepares its final report to the Government.
The Task Force recently produced its interim report which sets out a draft 20 year plan for Devon & Cornwall’s railways with a focus on growing capacity, reliability and providing future resilience. The growth of demand for rail travel in recent years has been significant with many services far busier than they have been for many years.
The report is based on work the Government asked to be undertaken after the collapse of the Dawlish Coastal section in 2014. The incident highlighted how vulnerable we are and saw an “Orange Army” of workers brought in to fix it. The interim plan proposes an immediate focus on further strengthening works at Dawlish to make it more secure for the long term and investment to create a better railway, plus looking at creating new routes across our region, including potentially re-opening the old Southern Railway route from Exeter to Tavistock, via Okehampton.
In the past some have feared any expansion of our rail network in years to come might be seen as an alternative, rather than an additional, route to the Great Western Line through South Devon. There is confirmation from the Rail Minister this week about the government’s intentions – you can read the comments made by the Minister and Kevin Foster by clicking here.
Remember Remember the 5th of November
Torbay Council’s Community Safety Team will be co-ordinating activity with a range of agencies and the community in advance of the celebrations to reduce the risk of illegal bonfires and the illegal sale of fireworks. Anyone who notices items being gathered for a makeshift bonfire should report it to the Council’s Community Safety Team on 01803 208025.
There are various laws relating to the purchase and use of fireworks which can be viewed online at www.gov.uk/fireworks-the-law. Please remember if you’re having a fireworks display on Bonfire Night it must cease at midnight. Letting off fireworks after that time is not only anti-social, but against the law.
Future of the MET Office
On Tuesday Kevin Foster spoke in a debate organised by Exeter’s MP, Ben Bradshaw, about the future of the relationship between the BBC and the Met Office.
For the last 92 years the MET Office has worked closely with the BBC to produce weather forecasts, supplying not just key data but the presenters who deliver it. Despite this long history of working together earlier this year it was announced that the Met Office had not been successful in a tender process to retain a range of BBC work.
Whilst the BBC work is some of the most high profile done by the Met Office, including the crucial shipping forecasts on BBC Radio, it also supplies a range of crucial information to the Government and Military. This can include vital details about conditions at sea or in the air that are vital when rescue missions are launched. An assurance was received from the Minister that the MET Office’s future was secure, despite the likely loss of BBC work.
You can read Kevin’s comments by clicking here.
Tolls on Link Road?
A practical joker has taken the timeline available on the project’s website and removed the words “Edginswell Junction Due To Be Completed” and replaced it with a line about Toll Booths.
There are no plans for tolls of any sort on the new link road.
Pavilion Planning Application
As previously mentioned Torbay Council has received a revised and a new planning application for development of the Torquay Pavilion.
Compared to the proposal the latest application proposes two blocks of 10 and six storeys, reduces the number of flats from 45-43 and replaces a double height restaurant unit with a single storey one, but includes a roof level bar. The existing application, which was submitted in June last year, has been revised to include a taller tower element (14 storeys) than the new application.
If you want to comment on the applications or take a look at the plans for yourself, you can find links to all the relevant details from a specific page on the Council website. Just click here to be taken to it.
Keep Justice Local
There is still time to support the campaign to Keep Justice Local, by signing the petition which responds to the proposal to close Torquay Magistrates Court.
You can find the petition by clicking here. There is the option to print off a sheet, sign it (possibly getting a few friends to do so as well) and then return it FREEPOST to Kevin Foster at the House of Commons.
If you want to gather a few more signatures just print off the number of sheets you need. Multiple sheets can be sent back in one envelope if the FREEPOST address given on the sheet is written on it. Please note this address can only be used for parliamentary petitions not general correspondence.
The Poppy Appeal is continuing this week and many veterans and volunteers were out collecting across the bay yesterday.
The Annual Appeal supports the range of work the Royal British Legion does supporting those who have served, whilst remembering the immense sacrifice of those who fell in the service of our country.
If you want to support the Poppy Appeal it is easy to do so. Just click here to be taken to the dedicated website.
Halloween or Jollyween
Tonight is Halloween and whilst many will be looking forward to a night of fun others, in particular the elderly and vulnerable, dread it due to a small minority who take things too far.
If your children are going “Trick or Treating” then it’s a good idea to ensure a responsible adult is going too to ensure everything stays fun and safe. You could also remind them that the wishes of anyone who has indicated they do not wish to take part should be respected.
If you would rather be left in peace then you can click here to download a No Trick, No Treat, No Thanks poster that can easily be printed. There are also a limited number available at local libraries for those without internet access.
In the run up to Halloween Torbay Council’s Community Safety Team and Devon and Cornwall Police have been reminding local shopkeepers of their right to refuse to sell eggs and flour to any person who they believe intends to use the items for anti-social purposes.
Finally several local churches are offering a fun alternative in the form of Jollyween Parties. For instance, St Matthias, Babbacombe Road is running its Annual Jollyween Party tonight in the Church Centre. The fun starts at 5pm and lasts until 7pm. Fun, games and food will be on offer with all children invited. The only request is no fancy dress.
Local World Taken Over
The company which owns our weekly newspaper, Local World, was making headlines of its own this week as it was announced that Trinity Mirror (Owners of the Daily Mirror) had bought it in a takeover deal.
The deal valued the firm, which owns a number of local titles including the Western Morning News and Herald Express, at £220m. At a time when many are debating the future of local print media it is interesting to see them taking this step which is a positive sign.
You can read more on the Herald Express website by clicking here.
Flood Alert Service
The Environment Agency is highlighting their Flood Action campaign from 2-13 November.
They want to encourage people across Devon to check if they are at risk of flooding, sign up for their free warnings and know what to do in a flood. This year’s campaign is particularly relevant to residents in Paignton and Torquay as our towns will benefit from an improved flood warning service from the end of October and they are really keen to increase flood warning registration in our area.
The alerts are totally free of charge and if a serious incident was to occur can help residents be aware of the potential risk. You can sign up for Flood Alerts by clicking here.
Thurs 5th Nov:
5.30pm-8.30pm, Fireworks night at Sherwell Valley Primary School, adults £4, Children £3
5.30pm opens, 7.15pm for fireworks, Watcombe Primary School, adults £3 children £2
Remembrance Sun 8th Nov: 11am (Try to arrive by 10:45am) Remembrance Service, Princess Gardens, Torquay and also at 2.45pm Remembrance Service, Paignton Parish Church. I will be attending both events.
Thursday 11th November: 11am Paignton War Memorial, Palace Avenue. A short service to mark the Armistice that marked the end of World War I in 1918.
Wed 18th Nov: Torquay Central WI are holding a craft market and coffee morning at St Mary Magdalene Church Union Road on Wednesday 18th November from 10-12 . There will be some lovely locally made crafts on sale and – of course – fabulous WI cakes.