Some local (and otherwise) news


News courtesy of Kevin Foster

(MP for Torbay)
Any views expressed in this news post are those of Kevin Foster, unless stated otherwise.

Train Service Petition Launched

Over the last two weeks Kevin Foster has been campaigning to save our bay’s direct rail link to Birmingham, Manchester and the Midlands.

On Tuesday, he, Anne Marie Morris and Richard Cuming from the ERTC met Crosscountry Trains CEO Andy Cooper to discuss their plans and make clear our views on them.

During the meeting CrossCountry unreservedly apologised for the poor way in which they have communicated their proposals to dramatically cut direct rail services to the Bay. In a frank and honest exchange of views however they were adamant that their proposals to cut the services remain unaltered.

Their justification for this was completely unacceptable, that overcrowding on other routes within their network must be addressed by taking rolling stock away from ours. Anne-Marie and Kevin made clear that as local MPs they will lead a campaign against these plans and a petition calling for them to be scrapped has now been launched.

In barely 2 days, his team and the Herald Express have already obtained over 500 signatures from local people and commuters on our petition. If you have not signed it already and want to, then click here to do so.

Yesterday Kevin stepped up the pressure on CrossCountry trains by tabling a series of hard-hitting Written Questions in Parliament, scrutinising the terms of their franchise and the way they have applied the rules in seeking to justify these draconian rail cuts.

Paignton Healthcare Site Visits

Yesterday Dr Sarah Wollaston and Kevin Foster organised a series of site visits to view potential sites for future healthcare provision in Paignton.

The group included representatives of the local NHS, Paignton Community Partnership, Torbay Council, the local Ward Councillor, the Clinical Commissioning Group local GPs. At the start of the meeting Dr Wollaston and Kevin it made clear that their previously stated positions in relation to the services provided by Paignton Hospital and, in their view, they must be continued. The Trust in response stated that no decisions have been made yet.

The sites they visited included Crossways Shopping Centre, Paignton Library and Victoria Square. All have some potential for new development and to allow a combining of GP services with clinics currently provided at Paignton Hospital. Kevin was particularly keen to explore how each site could be developed to provide bed based care as well.

The visits went well and they ended the tour with a meeting at South Devon College to discuss the future developments at their site, plus how they are looking to provide more training opportunities for local people in key nursing and social care skills.

Torquay Station Access Works Confirmed

The Department for Transport and Network Rail wrote to me today confirming that substantial investment will be coming to Torquay Train Station, under the Access for All Scheme designed to make stations more accessible for people with disabilities.

The funding for this had been in doubt following a recent review so it is welcome to get this news. The letter advises that Network Rail is currently developing options for the design of the work at Torquay Station, and construction will start as soon as possible with completion by 2019 at the latest.

This significant investment will dramatically improve disabled facilities at Torquay Station and remove the need for wheelchair users to use a nearby bridge to change platforms. This investment is welcome, particularly at a time when we are campaigning for real improvements in our rail infrastructure to reflect the growth of rail travel in recent years.

New GWR Timetable Means You Can Stay A Bit Later In London

A day trip by train to London from the bay is set to get a little bit easier when the new GWR timetable comes into effect.

The last train you can currently catch from Paddington that connects with a service heading to Paignton is the 19:45 departure. Yet this connection involves a 40 minute wait at Newton Abbot for the last train to the bay. This delay means many do not use it and instead drive to Newton Abbot, paying a fee for the car park on top of their fare.

It was pointed out to GWR that the last train service for Paignton left Newton Abbot only a few minutes before the 20:35 departure from Paddington (The last non-sleeper service of the day from London to Plymouth) arrived. It was queried whether the Paignton train could be altered to leave a few minutes after this train instead to allow an easy connection.

They agreed and this change will shortly be made meaning an early evening event or business meeting in London should now involve less looking at your watch.

Finally if you are planning a train journey over the Christmas period, take time to check details of scheduled engineering work to ensure your route is not affected. You can find all the details on the GWR website by clicking here.

Sleeping Rough By-Law

A few residents have asked about the suggestion that a by-law might be implemented that would, in effect, make sleeping rough in the bay a criminal offence.

Cllr Thomas made it clear that any new bylaw would need Councillors to support it. Whilst he could not prejudge a decision he did not see them doing so, not least given Police advice that they already have powers to deal with any genuine issues of ASB, such as aggressive begging and street drinking.

The Mayor is proposing to carry out a consultation not just about a new by-law, but how the Council provides support to those who are homeless, with a view to tackling some well-known problems with it that can see some struggle to get help. You can read more by clicking here.

Council Budget Consultation Continues

The consultation on Torbay Council’s draft budget for 2017/18 is continuing and yesterday two public meetings were held to discuss the plans.

The presentation at the meeting given by the Council’s Chief Executive covered not just proposed savings, but proposals to raise revenue and areas such as Children’s Services that will see increased spending next year.

If you could not get to either of the meetings it is easy to have your say online. Just click here to be taken to the relevant section of the Council’s website.

Changing Places Toilet

One review mentioned in the Council’s Budget Consultation relates to reviewing how the council operates public toilets across the bay.

Many of the toilet blocks operated by the council are in prominent positions near both beaches and the coast. Whilst the locations may be beautiful it is safe to say some of the toilets are not, with several needing major refurbishment.

One idea mentioned at yesterday’s meeting is to look at working with private developers to allow them to redevelop the sites for commercial uses, that also contain modern public toilet provision. Subject to appropriate agreements being reached this idea does have merit and might also allow a facility missing from our bay, a Changing Places toilet, to be created.


Creative Christmas by the Sea – Craft and Lantern Workshop
Saturday 3rd December – Torquay Town Centre
Time – 11:00-14:30
Cost – Free of Charge
Booking – Some activities require pre-booking – see link below for details.
For more information please click here

Royal Marines Christmas Concert
Sunday 4th December – Princess Theatre, Torquay.
Time – 19:30
Cost – From £19.50 + transaction fee
Booking – can be bought online in advance here
For more information please click here

Tots Go Wild Outdoors
Monday 5th December-Friday 9th December – Occombe Farm, Preston Down Road, Paignton, TQ3 1RN
Time – 09:30-11:30 & 12:30-14:30
Cost – £5
Booking – Can be booked in advance here
For more information please click here

THHN St Marychurch Christmas Street Party
Wednesday 7th December – Fore Street, St Marychurch, Torquay, TQ1 4PR
Time – 12:00-20:00
Cost – Free to attend
Booking – no booking necessary
For more information please click here


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