Some local (and otherwise) news


News courtesy of Kevin Foster

(MP for Torbay)

Have You Been Contacted By Concentrix?

On Wednesday the Treasury confirmed that it will not be renewing the contract it has with Concentrix in relation to Tax Credit payments when it expires in May.

The firm was contracted by HMRC to work on identifying potential fraud and error in the Tax Credits system, yet there have been a large number of complaints about poor customer service and cases where Tax Credits were suddenly stopped despite the claimant being entitled to what they had been receiving. Whilst the letters they sent to residents were designed to look like HMRC letters, many, not unreasonably, were concerned that they may be fraudulent given they carried a company’s own branding.

There have been several complaints from residents about this contract, including one person who was on hold for over an hour when calling Concentrix about a claim.

That said, there have also been a range of problems caused by poor customer service from HMRC itself. Kevin Foster asked Ministers for reassurance as whilst cancelling this contract was a welcome move, just handing the work back to HMRC, without considering what resources may be need to manage it, could bring other problems. You can read his question and the response by clicking here.

If you are having problems dealing with Concentrix then get in touch with Kevin by calling 01803 214 989.

All Welcome to Civic Church Service

The annual Civic Church Service will take place at All Saints Church in Babbacombe, Torquay, on Sunday 9 October at 3pm.

Torbay Council’s Chairman, Cllr Ray Hill, who is councillor of St Marychurch Ward, said: “Everyone is very welcome to come along and enjoy this event and stay for refreshments following the service.

Father Paul Jones, the Chairman’s Chaplain for this year, will be taking the service which will include an address by the Venerable Douglas Dettmar, Archdeacon of Totnes, as well as traditional hymns and readings.

The collection taken will be in support of the Chairman’s charities which are the Disabled Sailing Association and Torbay Holiday Helpers Network.

Paying With Plastic?

The expression “put it on plastic” has for decades meant paying with a credit card, yet it got a new meaning this week as the new £5 note was launched.

In a change that is designed to make the money we use more durable and secure the new note, which is smaller than the current fiver, is printed on plastic polymer. This material means liquids are not absorbed and the note can be wiped clean.

The Bank of England has set up a website to give consumers all the information needed about the new fiver and you can visit it by clicking here.

Antelope Escape

One Paignton resident got a surprise this week as he came face to face with an escaped Antelope when he left home.

The animal had escaped from Paignton Zoo and was quickly recaptured by zoo staff and police. You can read the full story, plus see a remarkable photo of the Antelope stood on a driveway, on the Herald Express website by clicking here.

The sad part of the story is that the animal was put down later in the day after Zoo staff concluded he could not be safely returned to the herd.

Police Officers praised for Bravery

Two Torquay Police Officers were praised for their bravery this week after they rescued a woman from the sea at Meadfoot Beach.

The two officers went into the water after a woman was reported as being in distress. You can read more on the Herald Express website by clicking here.

Community Fund Launched

If you are involved in a local community group or project then a new fund might be of interest.

The Aviva Community Fund was launched this week and they got in touch with me to encourage applications from the bay.

The fund can award up to £25,000 for local community projects across a range of categories such as supporting the elderly, health & wellbeing and community sport. Last year they had over 430 separate winners and this year over 800 awards are up for grabs.

Applications can be made until 11th October via this link and winners will be announced in January.

Consultation on Torquay Neighbourhood Plan Underway

The Statutory Consultation is now underway on the Torquay Neighbourhood Plan.

The plan is a document that is intended to reflect the wishes of the residents and businesses across Torquay as to how they want their areas to be developed over the next 20 years. This includes housing, workspaces and greenspaces. Ultimately a referendum will decide whether it is approved.

Each ward in Torquay has a specific section in the plan and you can view it online by clicking here or a paper copy is available on request at Torquay Library or the CDT offices at 4 Temperance Street.

Comments on the plan should be submitted by 5pm on Monday 3rd October.

Food Retailers Wanted for Pop Up Shop

Pop up the High Street is looking for food retailers to join the Torquay based pop up shop for a two week period.

From 31 October – 13 November, Pop up the High Street will be exclusively showcasing local and independent food businesses. The store, which is located in Union Street Torquay, offers independent retailers in Torbay the chance to experience life on the high street for just £30 a week. All food retailers are welcome to apply but products must be pre-packaged and not need refrigeration facilities. All products must contain no alcohol.

To apply to become a retailer at Pop up the High Street click here or contact Liz Edwards on or 07771 974565

The Little Grey Cells are 100

The Birthday of the bay’s most famous lady, Agatha Christie, was marked yesterday with a celebration of the centenary of the first book featuring Hercule Poirot.

It was in 1916, aged just 26, that Agatha wrote The Mysterious Affair at Styles, the novel that introduced Hercule Poirot to the world. 100 years later many will instantly picture him as he was portrayed by David Suchet in the famous TV adaptations of her books.

It was also apt that given this anniversary on Saturday, for the first time in a number of years, the Paignton Picture House was open for tours, with many residents getting to see where Agatha may have got the inspiration for many of her works as she watched her favourite films. The tours were oversubscribed, but we will include in a future update details of any future opportunities to visit this historic building.


The Colour Rush
17th September 2016, From 10:30, Paignton Seafront
Cost: £30, £25 for under 16s
Booking: Pre-registration closed, sign up on the day
For more information, click here

Roald Dahl Centenary Family Fun Day
17th September 2016, 10:00 – 16:00 – Torquay Library, 529 Babbacombe Road, Torquay, TQ1 1HF
Cost: £5
Booking: No booking necessary
For more information, click here

World Rhino Day at Paignton Zoo
22nd September 2016, All Day, Paignton Zoo, Totnes Road, Paignton, TQ4 7EU
Cost: See here for more details
Booking: No booking necessary
For more information, click here


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