News courtesy of Kevin Foster
(MP for Torbay)
Any views expressed in this news post are those of Kevin Foster, unless stated otherwise.
£10m Cut From Business Rates
There was good news for local high streets this week as the Valuation Office announced that the next revaluation of business rates will take effect from 1st April 2017.
The current valuations date back to before 2010 and have been blamed for hastening the demise of small and retail businesses in our Town Centres. Union St in Torquay was particularly badly hit by the current valuations which produced rates bills running into tens of thousands of pounds, yet now many businesses could see their bills cut significantly.
As part of the revaluation the South West is set to benefit from rate reductions of 14% for the retail sector, 10% for offices and 5% for industry. The revaluation reflects the fact that rental values have fallen sharply outside London since 2010. Anyone in England and Wales who pays business rates can now check their new draft rateable value, using an online tool which provides an estimate of what their business rates will be from April 2017.
The Mayor, Gordon Oliver, indicated that the Council has estimated they could save bay businesses up to £10m in business rate payments.
Abolition of Repeat Benefit Testing
Earlier this week the Government announced that it will remove the requirement for those who are chronically ill to be retested every six months for their Employment and Support Allowance payments.
The benefit will instead continue automatically for those who have lifelong, severe health conditions where there is no realistic prospect of improvement once someone has been assessed as being unable to work. Whilst the final list of conditions this applies to will be decided by medical experts it is likely to include conditions such as severe Huntington’s.
This change is welcome as retesting those with no realistic prospect of recovery makes no sense for either the taxpayer or the person affected once they have been deemed to be unable to work.
Hospital Consultation Continues
The consultation on plans to change healthcare services in our area is continuing and it is vital residents have their say.
Hazel attended last night’s consultation meeting at Upton Vale Baptist Church and reported that it went fairly well with every resident who attended able to get a seat.
Following last week’s overcrowding at Paignton I have been advised by the trust they will be inviting everyone who was turned away to attend a further meeting. Central Paignton Churches will also be holding a public meeting on the proposed closure on Saturday 5th November at 10am. The venue is Paignton Parish Church, which can seat a large number of people.
The consultation pages and have your say by clicking here.
New Schools For The Bay?
The surge in births over recent years means that many local Primary Schools are oversubscribed, with some parts of the bay having no spare places in a number of year groups. This can mean some children being offered a place some distance from their home or finding that Brothers and Sisters struggle to get into the same school.
This situation cannot continue and it is vital more school places are created, particularly with overall numbers still growing. There are plans to create five new schools across the bay have been submitted to the Department for Education. This includes proposals for two new Church of England Primary Schools and for a new school at Edginswell that would take pupils from ages 3 to 19.
You can read more on the Herald Express website by clicking here.
Questions on Parkfield?
A number of residents have asked about the situation with Parkfield given the Council’s decision to relocate Torbay School to the site.
The Council has now created a specific page on its website that contains answers to a number of questions frequently asked about it, plus information on the proposals overall. You can find it by clicking here.
Police Appeal After Sex Assault
Torquay Police are appealing for witnesses after a sexual assault on a teenage girl which happened in Torquay on Sunday 25 September 2016 between 1pm and 2pm.
A 16-year-old girl was approached by an unknown man in the King George V playing fields on Teignmouth Road. The man is described as white, with a tanned appearance, with a long dark beard which was matted with dirt. His hair was brown/black, and short and spiky. He was wearing light blue jeans, bare-chested with no shoes on.
He was of a large, possibly fat build with hair over his arms and body. He was approximately 6ft tall and had a ‘sleeve’ tattoo over the whole of one arm, believed to be in black ink.
If you have any information that would help with this investigation please contact the police by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling call 101, quoting crime reference CR/068031/16.
Torre Marine Update
Earlier this year a site meeting was arranged to discuss the outstanding issues with the Torre Marine development that residents have been waiting some years for the developer to address.
One particular piece of work that had not been completed was installing appropriate drainage on land adjacent to Newton Road. This resulted in water flooding over the road and pavement last winter.
Following the meeting, work to find a solution has continued, and an e-mail received this week that indicates a solution has now been found:
Finally we are in possession of the necessary approvals and have had pre start meetings with our contractors. We should be in a position to start in 3 weeks’ time with a programme lasting approximately 10 weeks. We will keep residents informed via letter drop of works commencement and related activities.
Happy to provide more detail if you require but let’s hope this will bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion for all
Managing Director – Barratt/David Wilson Homes (a trading name of BDW Trading Ltd)
Date Set For Article 50
The EU Referendum in June saw the majority choose that the UK should Leave the European Union.
The formal process for a country to negotiate its withdrawal from the European Union is set out in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Once a notice of intention to leave is submitted (Referred to as triggering Article 50) there is a time limit of two years for negotiations to agree a deal before a nation then leaves.
As you may have seen in the media Theresa May has now confirmed the UK will file this formal notice before the end of March 2017. This will mark the start of an intense period of negotiations.
Given the Referendum result it makes sense to bring certainty to this process and to indicate to our European Neighbours when we plan to begin the process of leaving the EU.
There has been a lot of media coverage recently in relation to proposals to alter the boundaries of parliamentary constituencies, in particular the creation of the so called “Devonwall” seat.
No changes are being proposed to Torbay Constituency as it already has the required number of voters. Brixham, Blatchcombe and Churston will continue to be part of Dr Sarah Wollaston’s Totnes constituency. This means Torbay Council’s area will continue to be covered by two MP’s, with Sarah’s constituency also including Totnes and the surrounding area.
Whilst the proposals are out to consultation there are no suggestions any change will be made to the initial proposals in relation to Torbay.
After a large number of problems with litter and anti-social behaviour at Hopes Nose new restrictions have been imposed on its use.
The Public Spaces Protection Order came into force on Friday 16th September and includes restrictions on the number of Mackerel that may be caught in a 24 hour period. The order also bans fires being lit and camping at the site. Sadly problems with litter and anti-social behaviour have got to the point where the site is being badly damaged, threatening the future of public access to it and spoiling everyone’s enjoyment of what is a beautiful part of our bay.
You can find out more about the new order on the Council website by clicking here.
Are You Getting The Right Pay?
The National Minimum Wage increased this week and it is easy to check whether you are getting what you are entitled to.
The Minimum Wage applies to those aged under 25 and the new rates are:
• £6.95 per hour – 21-24 year old (25p increase from £6.70)
• £5.55 per hour 18 – 20 years old (25p increase from £5.30)
• £4 per hour – 16-17 years old (13p increase from £3.87)
• £3.40 for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over who are in the first year of an apprenticeship (10p increase from £3.30)
In order to help people check whether they are getting what they are entitled to the Government has set up an online calculator that is easy to use. You can even use it to check whether you are owed back pay for previous years. Just click here to be taken to it.
TV Company Looks for Torbay Divorcees
A Television production company is looking for divorced Torbay couples to take part in a new documentary series.
Pulse Films are currently producing a new series, looking at the ‘modern family’.The series aims to explore the complex situations that arise when a couple who have children separate.
How Not To Remove A Dead Whale
Last week rail passengers heading in and out of our region saw the sad sight of a dead Fin Whale on the Beach at Dawlish.
Last Saturday the team charged with cutting up the animal, which weighed many tonnes, were getting work underway. The Whale’s body was taken (in pieces) to a rendering plant where it was used to make bio-fuel. A number of residents had speculated on social media as to whether other methods could have been used, including blowing the body up with explosives.
Thankfully this method was not chosen as a video on YouTube shows the disastrous results when in 1970 an engineer in Oregon decided that whatever the question, dynamite was the answer. You can watch it by clicking here.
An Evening With The St Ives Community Choir – Saturday 8th October 2016
This event organised by Paignton Friends of Rowcroft Hospice will take place at 7:30pm at Palace Avenue Methodist Church.
Tickets are £6 and refreshments will be served following the concert.
Older Driver Information Day – Wednesday 12th October
Keeping you driving safer for longer with free and friendly advice on offer
- Free drivers information pack
- Free advice and information on refreshing your driving skills
- Free reaction testing
- Free driving simulation with Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service
The event is free of charge and is being held from 10am till 3pm at the Livermead House Hotel, Torbay Road.