News courtesy of Kevin Foster
(MP for Torbay)
Any views expressed in this news post are those of Kevin Foster, unless stated otherwise.
Paignton Hospital Raised At Health Questions
Health Ministers faced their regular session of questions from MPs this week and Kevin Foster took the chance to ask them about Paignton Hospital.
You can watch the question he asked and hear the Minister’s response on his Facebook Page (You do not need to use Facebook yourself to see it) by clicking here. For background this question was asked under the “Topicals” section that allows an MP to ask a question without notice. He was able to do so thanks to the Speaker calling me even though he was not on the initial list to ask one.
One of the points he has raised about the proposals being put forward by the CCG is that whilst they are detailed about what is being cut in terms of closing Paignton Hospital, they do not give details about what they will replace many of them with. This formed the basis of his question.
More Consultation Meetings Planned
Following the overflow at the recent consultation meetings in Paignton, that saw many residents turned away from them, the Clinical Commissioning Group has arranged five further meetings to allow residents to have their say.
Three meetings will be held on 1 November, starting at 1pm, 4pm and 7 pm, and two on 10 November, starting at 4pm and 7pm. The venue will be Preston Baptist Church.
All those unable to get into the September meetings and who provided their contact details are being contacted by the CCG and given the opportunity to reserve places at any of the new November meetings provided they do so by Monday 24th October. I am advised the plan is then to open up the meetings to other residents, who will also be able to reserve a place. Those wanting to attend these meetings should contact the CCG on 01803 652511 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to these consultation meetings Central Paignton Churches will be holding a public meeting on the proposed closure on Saturday 5th November at 10am. The venue is Paignton Parish Church and all are welcome to attend.
Meeting With Roads Minister
Earlier this week MPs from Devon, Wiltshire and Somerset met with the Roads Minister, John Hayes, to discuss the future of key schemes to improve the A303 route from London to Devon.
Whilst the plans for a tunnel at Stonehenge are the most high-profile there are several other schemes that are equally vital to improving journey times and removing congestion. The aim of the meeting was to get a clear idea as to what progress was being made on these schemes and crucially when we could finally see shovels in the ground delivering them.
The civil servants present confirmed that detailed plans were due to be brought forward soon, with public consultation on them set to take place in the not too distant future. Kevin’s key point in the meeting was that whilst this was interesting to hear the key is getting a date when work will start, not just when plans will be confirmed.
Phones Boxes Removal Consultation
For those under 20 it can seem strange to hear of a time when making a call meant finding a phone box, not reaching into your pocket.
Over the last decade usage of pay phones has dropped 90% and now BT is proposing to remove 16 of the most under used phone boxes in the bay. Two saw only 4 calls made from them over the last 12 months and Torquay’s quietest box in Maidencombe had only 5 calls made in the same period.
There is a consultation period underway and signs about it have been put up in the boxes concerned.
Tourism After Brexit Debate
On Wednesday MP, Nigel Huddleston, secured a debate on the future of Tourism given Britain’s decision to leave the EU.
You can read what was said by clicking here.
Readers might have seen in the media reports about the latest craze for pranks, dressing up as a “killer” clown and pretending to attack people.
This might at first seem a funny idea to prank a friend, but imagine if you were a Police Officer who receives a call that describes someone running around with a knife\weapon threatening people. What would you think and how would you act if confronted by someone doing this? Would you wait to see if it was a joke before acting?
This week Devon & Cornwall Police issued a warning about this behaviour following a number of complaints and indicated that they will treat it seriously, including arresting those involved. You can read more about this on the ITV Westcountry website by clicking here.
In short taking part in this prank could leave someone feeling like a real clown, when they end up in court over it.
Train Delay Rules Set To Change
Earlier today the Government announced changes to the rules on refunds for passengers whose train journeys are delayed.
Currently you can only claim for journeys that are delayed by over 30 minutes, with a full refund of the return fare for delays of over 2 hours. Yet as new franchise agreements are agreed a delay of 15 to 29 minutes will see passengers able to claim 25% of their single fare.
One of the first to be covered by this new scheme will be the South Western Trains Franchise that runs to Exeter from Waterloo. You can read more on the government website by clicking here.
Bay One Of The Least Prosperous
A new report produced by the Legatum Institute was released this week that concluded Torbay was the least prosperous area in the South West Region.
The result was based on a range of indicators and saw the bay placed just above Belfast in the rankings for the UK as a whole. We were though ranked much more highly for safety and security, although bizarrely we were placed at number 383 in the natural environment category. This may reflect that as a mostly urban council area we do not have large swathes of protected land despite our coastal beauty. You can read more on the Herald Express website by clicking here.
Overall this report reveals many of the challenges most readers of these updates will be aware of. Like many other coastal towns the decline of traditional tourism and industries has affected us. In addition the poor road infrastructure we suffered from for many years has also taken its toll on our economy with investment that would have come to the bay staying the other side of Kingskerswell.
The priority is working to improve this, not just lament what has gone wrong in the past or the current state of parts of our bay. The changes to business rates announced last week will help our town centres, in particular regeneration of our shopping areas, but items such as attracting new investment, developing our further education facilities and improving our digital infrastructure are all vital to ensuring we prosper in future.
Seen A Flying Saucer Over Penn Inn?
It seems that South Devon’s reputation as a great place to visit is literally out of this world.
UFO Expert John Mooner claims that our neighbouring town of Newton Abbot is a UFO Hotspot due to its quarries and location close to Dartmoor. Mr Mooner claims to have seen hundreds of UFOs above the town and if his theory is right you might catch sight of one the next time you are using the Penn Inn Flyover.
He states that reports of animal mutilation on the moors over many years could also be a sign of UFO activity as they search for genetic material. A few of us may have a theory that more revolves around four legged creatures with a tail, rather than those from another planet being responsible. Yet you can judge for yourself by reading the full article on the Herald Express website by clicking here.
Goodrington Craft Art and Christmas Gift Fair
15th October 2016, 10:00 – 16:00, St George’s Church, Barn Road, Goodrington, TQ4 6NG
Cost: Free Entry
Booking: No booking necessary
Family Fun Day
15th October 2016, From 10:30, The Salvation Army, Princes Street, Paignton, TQ3 3AS
Cost: Free Entry
Booking: No booking necessary
Fish, Chips & Film Night
15th October 2015 – St Matthias Church Centre, Babbacombe Road Torquay,
The Film will start at 7pm with an interval at 8pm for Fish and Chips. The evening aims to finish at about 9:45-10pm.
Tickets are £8 and please ring Sheila on 01803 297656 or Elaine on 01803 390222 to book your place.
Soft drinks provided, but you are more than welcome to bring your own alcohol
Cockington 23rd Apple Day
16th October 2016, 10:00 – 16:00 – Cockington Court, Cockington Village, Torquay, TQ2 6XA
Cost: £3.50 for adults; £1.50 for children; Under 5s go free
Booking: No booking necessary
Oddicombe Dog Day
16th October 2016, 11:30 – 14:30, Oddicombe Beach, TQ1 3LS
Cost: £2 registration, £1 per show class
Registration between 11:30-12:30, although can register later.
For more information, click here