News courtesy of Kevin Foster
(MP for Torbay)
OFSTED Report Criticises Torbay Council
You may have read the headlines this week about the review that has branded Torbay Council’s Child Protection Services as “inadequate”.
Ensuring those in danger of abuse are protected is the most vital role of our local council and some of the comments in the report are deeply concerning, although others point to likely improvements. This is the second time in recent years Torbay’s Children’s Services have been criticised in this way. You can read more on the Herald Express website by clicking here.
Litter Fines Set to Rise
Torbay’s litterbugs could soon be facing higher fines after a Government proposal to raise the maximum fine for a fixed penalty notice to £150.
Living in Torquay Town Centre, residents get fed up seeing people who cannot be bothered to use a nearby bin treating the area like a dump. Residents in places like Melville Hill regularly have to deal with waste being discarded thoughtlessly that could easily have been disposed of at a nearby collection point.
The Council has in recent months employed a company to issue fines to those who drop items on the floor and enforce the law. It appears that in the near future the fines they issue will have even more sting.
Delivering more integrated health and social care was one of the key parts of my plan for Torbay.
On Monday, during Health Questions, the new Integrated Care Organisation was mentioned and Kevin Foster decided to follow this up by seeking assurances from the Minister about the Governments support for it. You can read his comments, plus the Minister’s response by clicking here.
Primary Places Deadline
Torbay Council is reminding parents with children who are due to start primary school in September 2016 that the deadline for applications for school places is Friday 15 January 2016.
Parents who have a child born between 1 September 2011 and 31 August 2012 can either apply on-line at www.torbay.gov.uk/primary-school-admissions or complete a paper form, which is available from Connections offices, primary schools or can be requested by telephoning Torbay Children’s Services on 01803 208908.
Ensure you get your form in on time as places at some schools can go very quickly.
Some residents might be aware that there is a proposal to move Torbay School in Preston to My Place at Parkfield.
The Council is due to decide on this in February and this week a resident asked what this meant for the future of thee Youth Facilities there. Cllr Chris Lewis, one of the local Councillors, has sent this response:
At the moment discussions are taking place on the future of Parkfield. No decisions have been made and will not be until full consultation has taken place.
I can promise you that your Local Councillors will take an active role in the future of Parkfield and will keep the residents informed.
Cllr Chris Lewis
Armed Forces Coffee Morning
If you are a veteran, a serving member of or have family in the armed forces then it is time to book for the next Armed Forces Community Coffee Morning.
The event is being held at Hookhills Community Centre in Freshwater Drive, Paignton on Thursday 28th January from 10am till 12noon.
If you would like to attend just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Roadworks in Kingskerswell
You might have heard news that a five week road closure is due to be implemented on Monday as part of completing works connected to the new Link Road.
For clarity these works do not affect the new road itself. The closure applies to part of the old route, that is now much quieter. You can read more on the Herald Express website by clicking here.
In addition to this work completion of a cycle track under the ring road at Edginswell and a package of works to the old road are due to take place. Devon County Council has also started the legal process to reduce the speed limit through Kingskerswell itself from 40 MPH to 30MPH.
Paignton Zoo In The Swing
There was major news from Paignton Zoo this week as they unveiled plans for a large redevelopment of parts of their site.
The proposal would see the last of their old animal housing replaced, whilst enhancing the facilities for visitors. You can read more on the Herald Express website by clicking here.
Torbay’s Elected Mayor, Gordon Oliver is once again making his annual pledge of giving half of his salary to charitable groups. In total, grants of over £113,000 have been handed out to local charities and organisations from the Mayor’s Fund.
Grants of up to £1,000 will be allocated to winning projects that will be progressed in the following 12 months, with priority going to organisations and individuals based and operating in Torbay
Local charities, community and voluntary sector organisations or individuals who wish to apply, need to complete an application form, which can be downloaded from the Torbay Council website along with the Grant Scheme Policy to check for eligibility. Alternatively, you can request a form by emailing email@example.com
Up & Down Week For Torquay Harbourside
There has been mixed news for Torquay’s Harbourside and Town Centre this week.
Starting with the bad news it emerged today that four well known venues on the Harbourside (All owned by the same company) have ceased trading. These are Tiger Bills, Mambos, Burgerfest and Fast Eddies. You can read the full story on the Herald Express website by looking here. It appears that any bookings are not being honoured either, so if you have something special planned at one of these venues you will need to rebook elsewhere.
On the more positive front rumours have been circulating of new names that could be moving into the area. No information has been received, other than what is in the press, but you can read the speculation on the Herald Express website by clicking here.
Cold Weather Payments
December may have been wet, but it was fairly mild overall, however colder weather could be on the way.
Earlier today some information was received from the House of Commons Library about Cold Weather Payments. Whilst the threshold for their payment has not yet been reached anywhere in the UK, it is interesting to read how exactly how they will be determined.
This payment is made automatically when the temperature in an area drops to 0°C or less for an average of 7 days. Temperatures are measured by 93 Met Office weather stations across Great Britain.
This means when the weather at a selected local weather station meets the criteria payments are made to the recipients of certain benefits living nearby. You can see the map of all 93 areas in the UK by clicking here.
Full information on these payments, including eligibility criteria, can be found on the Government website by clicking here.
The Flying Scotsman
Ending on a different note many people over the last year have asked me about the impact the Scottish Nationalists are having in parliament after flying down from Scotland each week.
Yet it was the most famous “Flying Scotsman” of all that was centre of attention yesterday as a symbol of the golden age for British Railways took to the tracks for the first time in a decade after a £4.2m restoration project.
The famous engine, which was the first to be accurately recorded travelling at over 100 MPH, was an impressive sight as it underwent a test run. Just click here to view a video on the BBC website. A sight we will hopefully see heading towards the bay at some point in the future as hidden in her frame is modern equipment that allows mainline running.
Sun 10th Jan: Aladdin, Palace Theatre, Paignton. Adults £10 Children £8. Tel: 01803 665800
Tues 12th Jan: 10.45am. Lecture: Climate Change Toll on Butterflies and Moths, Torquay Museum. Tickets £4