Some local (and otherwise) news


News courtesy of Kevin Foster

(MP for Torbay)

BHS To Close As Town Centre Plans Set Out

Torquay’s BHS store was not one of the first 20 closures to be announced, however the inevitable was confirmed shortly afterwards.

The BHS store in Union St will finally close on Saturday 20th August. This closure will leave a large hole in our High St and there have already been discussions with the Council’s Chief Executive about what work is being done to find a new occupier.

In the long run there is a need for major decisions to be taken about regenerating our Town Centres. The Council’s Executive Lead for Business, Cllr Richard Haddock, said the following this week:

“We recognise absolutely that Torbay’s economy needs our town centres to work better. We identified the priority sites in May and are working hard on how we can best deliver the desired outcomes for our communities. The Council is now working to understand the interest that the private sector has in the sites. We will use that information to shape development and marketing decisions.

“There is strong support from our partners in the community and from business and we are committing our resources to bring these sites to market and are looking forward to the positive outcomes these will provide. Attracting appropriate developers and investors is one of our core objectives.”

Foster’s Fund Pays Out Another £1,500

Yesterday Kevin Foster donated another £1,500 from his Foster’s Fund to local good causes as part of honouring his pledge to donate to charity the 10% pay rise for MPs that was implemented last year.

The lucky recipients were 10th Torbay Sea Scouts (£1,000 for new tents), Children’s Week (£300) and the Hele Village Community Association (£200). The Sea Scouts will use the donation as match funding for new tents that will benefit local children for many years.

Inflatable Users Rescued at Preston Sands

We have all heard the warnings not to use inflatables at the beach, but sadly they are often ignored by those who forget to respect the sea.

Luckily Coastguards could get to Preston Sands quickly yesterday after two children were blown out to sea on an inflatable. They were also assisted in the rescue by members of the public.

It can be tempting to use one on a hot day, but they are designed for use in swimming pools, not to withstand the currents and winds of the sea. Given the number of visitors we will welcome over the next few weeks it is always worth keeping an eye out for those who might have drifted a lot further than they expected.

Plan “B” For The Gulls

Torquay United were in the news this week as the deadline nears for Gaming International’s planned takeover of the club.

As residents might have seen on BBC Spotlight tonight there are reports of the board preparing a “Plan B” for the club. You can read more on the Herald Express website by clicking here.

Readers of this update will probably wish the Club’s Chairman Dave Philips and his team all the best in securing the future of the club. The best thing supporters can do is make a resolution to attend matches at Plainmoor this season – if we all went to one more next season than we did last it would make a real difference to the club’s finances.

Tessier Gardens Goes Online

Tessier Gardens in St Marychurch is a hidden gem that many visiting our area miss, yet the Friends Group is determined to change this.

As part of this they have set up a website to promote the gardens and you can find it by clicking here. The Friends Group is always looking for new people to get involved in the future of this unique place.

Boost For Our Region’s Airlinks

Improving our transport links is one of my key priorities and whilst this usually means talking about roads and railways, this week our air links received a boost when London City Airport’s expansion was given permission for take-off.

On Thursday the Government formally approved the Airport’s £344m expansion programme. The plans include an extended terminal, new aircraft taxiway and parking spaces for planes. The development is intended to allow larger and more modern planes to use the airport and to increase the number of connections from the airport within the UK and Europe. You can read more on the Government website by clicking here.

The significance of this for our area is that flights from Exeter Airport to London City not only provide a useful link to the capital, but could soon be linking the bay with even more destinations across Europe. At a time when international trade links are all the more vital for local companies this decision should boost their ability to access vital markets.

Cockington Green Flag Award

There was good news at Cockington this week as it received its latest Green Flag Award, making it one of only 5 parks in the country to receive one every year since 1996 when the scheme was launched.

The Green Flag award is based on a range of criteria including cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement. You can read more on the Herald Express website by clicking here.

If you have not been to Cockington recently it is well worth popping down there over summer, not least to see the improvements that have been made and the refurbishment work that has been carried out on key buildings. The waterwheel is working for the first time in decades and a new visitor centre is ensuring tourists get the most out of their visit.

Royal Navy In The Bay

The White Ensign was proudly flying in Torquay Harbour this week as HMS Archer paid a visit.

HMS Archer is a training ship and arrived from Dartmouth on Monday night. A local photographer was able to take a few shots of her as she came into the Harbour and you can see these on the Herald Express website by clicking here.

OFCOM Report Proposes Broadband Network Split

Whilst things have improved over the last year there are still so called “not spots” in the bay where superfast broadband speeds are not available.

One issue that has concerned many nationally that the main provider of the network, OpenReach, that major Broadband companies (except Virginmedia) use is part of the BT Group that is also the largest retailer of broadband. This means there is little incentive for many companies that use it to invest in the network’s expansion or development given it is owned by their main competitor.

In proposals outlined by the regulator this week Openreach will become more independent of BT, hopefully paving the way for more investment in improving services. You can read more on the OFCOM website by clicking here.


Food and Crafts Market

31st July 2016 – 10:00 – 15:00, Cockington Court, Cockington Lane, Cockington, Torquay, TQ2 6XA
Cost: Free
Booking: No booking necessary
For more information, click here

Paignton Festival

23rd – 31st July 2016, 10:00 – 22:00, Paignton Green, Paignton, TQ4 6BN
Cost: Free.
Booking: No booking necessary.
For more information, click here

Cockington Fayre

3rd August 2016, 10:00, Cockington Court, Cockington Lane, Cockington, Torquay, TQ2 6XA
Cost: Unknown.
Booking: No booking necessary.
For more information, click here

International Street Market

29th July – 14th August 2016 – Princess Promenade, Torbay Road, Torquay, TQ2 5EZ
Cost: Free
Booking: No booking necessary
For more information, click here


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