Some local (and otherwise) news


News courtesy of Kevin Foster

(MP for Torbay)

Magistrates Court Petition Response

There has been campaigning to Keep Justice Local in the bay after the closure of Torquay Magistrates Court was proposed.

Whilst the Ministry of Justice has not given a date when it will announce its decision on the proposal, a reply (Formally called “observations”) has been received to the petition submitted by Kevin Foster to the House of Commons. It is copied below for reference:

Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Shailesh Vara):

The consultation on the provision of court and tribunals services in England and Wales ran from 16 July to 8 October 2015. HM Courts & Tribunals Service is currently in the process of assessing all responses to the consultation and I expect to announce the outcome in due course. I have asked HM Courts & Tribunals Service officials to record the points and suggestions made in the petition so that they can be fully considered as part of the consultation process.

            The HM Courts & Tribunals Service Reform Programme is a once in a generation opportunity to create a modern, user focused and efficient courts and tribunals service. As part of this programme, on 16 July 2015 I announced proposals for the reform of the court and tribunal estate.

            Whilst HM Courts & Tribunals Service acknowledge and accept that some people will need to travel further to reach their nearest court and for some the journey, if made by public transport, may be over an hour, for the majority of people the closure will have little impact. We are mindful of the infrequency with which people need to attend court and the small proportion of people who would use public transport to reach court.

            Access to justice is not just about proximity to a court. We are committed to providing alternatives to travel, for example through making better use of technology, including video conferencing, and exploring whether we can appropriately make use of civic buildings for certain types of hearing.

Problems with 101

One issue that is regularly raised by residents is problems contacting the Police on their non-emergency number.

Whilst the 999 service for emergency calls is promptly answered those calling the 101 line can too often find themselves on hold for an extended period.

This week a report revealed that the average wait time has now double to 8 minutes and nearly a third are having to wait for over 10 minutes. These figures were described as “unacceptable” by our Police and Crime Commissioner.

A £250,000 Budget has now been ring fenced for improvements and from speaking with Alison, who will be standing in May to be the new PCC, this is an area she will be looking to see clear improvements in.

You can read more on the Herald Express website by clicking here.

Armed Forces Coffee Morning

If you are a veteran, 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 to register.

Heathfield Landfill Is Full

After taking 8 million tonnes of waste over the last 35 years, today the landfill at Heathfield took its last load of rubbish.

A ceremony marked the event with the sites original manager returning to see the site closed. As landfill sites close across the country waste is increasingly being recycled or used to generate energy.

Cold Weather Alert

If you had been on Dartmoor yesterday you would have noticed that things had turned rather frosty with some snow falling as well.

A Level 3 Cold Weather Alert has been issued for all regions of England, including the South West by the Met Office and Public Health England. Level 3 alerts are issued when severe weather is occurring, when average temperatures have dropped to 2°C or below, and/or widespread ice and heavy snow is present.

Bear this in mind if driving over the next few days as whilst grit will improve the condition of a road it does not remove the need to drive appropriately to the conditions. Black Ice is nearly impossible to see and can be deadly to the unwary.

There is also lots of useful advice on the NHS website about staying warm and well this winter which you can find by clicking here.

Princess Pier Decking Work

Cllr Nicole Amil has advised that Torbay Council is beginning works this week on a new phase of work to replace areas of decking on Princess Pier.

Previous phases saw the surface decking replaced on the Torquay harbour side and landward side to the North West. This latest phase is expected to be completed by Spring.

This new project will continue replacing all the hardwood decking on the seaward south eastern section of the pier. The head of the pier will have the surface boarding replaced with any further work to be included as part of a future project.

The work comprises the erection of a safe working platform and the replacement of approximately 440m2 of decking along with the removal and re-fixing of the seating. A specialist coating will be applied to the steelwork below the decking.

A site compound for the contractors MBS Building & Maintenance is to be erected at the landward end.

Starbucks Coming to Torquay 

After the news last week of businesses closing on the Harbourside, Starbucks has confirmed it will be opening a branch in nearby Fleet Walk.

The international chain has not had a full branch in the bay before, although its products are sold in other locations in the bay. You can read more on the Herald Express website by clicking here.

Have Your Say on TBID

The Torbay Development Agency is undertaking work to identify the views of local business on a potential Tourism Business Improvement District.

A short survey will be sent out to understand how Torbay businesses value the current tourism business support on offer in Torbay, which could be changed significantly. It will also determine if there is an appetite amongst businesses to develop a revised Torbay Tourism Business Improvement District (TTBID).

After the vote against the proposal for a combined Tourism and Retail BID last year, this latest move reflects a need to find a way to promote the bay in future given public resources to do so will be much more limited than in the past.

Whatever your views on this idea if you receive a survey do take the time to return it as it is important that a clear view of business opinion is given.

Mayor’s Fund Open For Bids

As mentioned in last week’s update Torbay’s Elected Mayor, Gordon Oliver is once again making his annual pledge of giving half of his salary to charitable groups.

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

The deadline for the latest round of applications is Friday 5th February 2016.

Zoo Expansion Plan

In last week’s update it was mentioned that Paignton Zoo had unveiled plans for a £2.3m redevelopment to create a savannah style enclosure and remove the last of its old animal houses.

More details were revealed this week and you can find them on the Herald Express website by clicking here. A detailed planning application will follow.

Can You Provide a Home For Horses?

There was something missing at Cockington Court last summer after the Carriage rides ceased following the death of the long standing operator.

Yet the good news is someone else is hoping to restart the operation, however they have been in touch with a request:

I was wondering if you know of anyone who could temporarily stable 2 horses and store two carriages as we are hoping to take over the horse and carriage business in Cockington? We have been in communication with Jon Veale and the trust and the TDA are happy with our business plan just waiting for things to be finalised. Many thanks Kirk

If you can help e-mail

For Those Watching In Black and White

It was Ted Lowe who uttered the famous words “and for those of you who are watching in black and white, the pink is next to the green.”, yet decades  later 15 people in Torquay and Paignton still are.

It seems hard to believe that in the era of High Definition and even 3D TV, some people may still be firing up an old Black & White set to watch the latest shows. Yet the figures released by TV Licensing confirm that in 8 Torquay households and 7 in Paignton the colour era is yet to arrive, nearly 50 years after the first BBC Colour TV Broadcast in 1967.

The Herald Express covered the story this week and you can read more by clicking here.


18-23rd Jan: Night Must Fall, A TOADS Production at Little Theatre, Torquay. Tickets £12.50

19th Jan: Lecture – Robert Hooke and Micrographia, Torquay Museum, 10.45am, Tickets £4 for non-members

20th Jan: Lecture – The Memories of a Nongenarian Torquinian, 2.30pm. Tickets £4 for non-members



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