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 Update
South Devon and Torbay CCG has announced that they are pressing ahead with recommendations to close Paignton Hospital and remove many of the services it provides from Paignton.
You can read the report recommending this decision on the CCG’s website by clicking here. The only significant changes to the original proposals put forward in the consultation in relation to our bay are:
- Establish an urgent care centre at Torbay Hospital in recognition of demand for x-ray and minor injuries unit services.
- Enable specialist outpatient clinics to continue in Paignton where the volume of patients makes this a more appropriate option to travelling to Brixham, Totnes or Torbay (Hospitals).
In response Kevin Foster issued the following statement yesterday:
“I am underwhelmed and very disappointed at these proposals, and with the decision to plough on with closing our community hospital in Paignton. Although some of the measures announced today replace local services, they do not go anywhere near far enough. For example, the plan to establish an urgent care centre at Torbay Hospital is bound to put additional pressure on that site at a time when hospitals have just come through a difficult winter, particularly with delayed discharges. I cannot believe that diverting more patients towards an already busy hospital is a well thought out or good idea.
“I will be attending the CCG Governing Body Meeting on these proposals in Newton Abbot next Thursday morning, 26 January, and will be sure to speak up voicing my constituents concerns”
If you are free on Thursday morning and would like to attend the meeting being held at Newton Abbot Racecourse you can register to do so via the CCG website by clicking here.
School Funding Formula Consultation
In November the Government announced a proposed new funding formula for schools that was stated to be about resolving many long standing anomalies in the current system.
Torbay has for many years received one of the lowest amounts of funding per pupil in the country and the new formula would, overall, see an increase in funding for our schools. The House of Commons Library has produced a briefing on the proposed formula which you can read by clicking here. The new formula would come into effect in 2018-19, subject to the current consultation.
In terms of the proposals many primary schools across the bay and Paignton Academy will see a rise in funding to meet the needs they are serving. Yet it is concerning to see other schools including TBGS, TGGS, Torquay Academy and two primary academies serving some of our most deprived communities have a cut proposed despite being (like all Torbay Schools) some of the lowest funded nationally for many years.
The Schools Minister, Nick Gibb, has agreed to meet Kevin on Wednesday to discuss this and it seems, from speaking with his colleagues in Parliament, that Torbay’s Grammars are not unique in their plight given the areas many of them serve. It is hoped that the Minister will be open to the suggestions Kevin plans to put forward, which the schools have proposed, as to how this issue can be resolved.
Save Our Trains Update
The campaign to save the direct Crosscountry train services to Manchester and Birmingham from the bay is continuing and on Monday Kevin will be meeting the Rail Minister, Paul Maynard, to again press our case.
The final decision on the proposals will be taken by him in the near future and Kevin wants to ensure that he is aware of the strength of feeling on this issue.
Mayor’s Fund Open For Bids
Torbay’s Elected Mayor, Gordon Oliver is once again making his annual pledge of giving half of his salary to charitable groups. In total, grants of over £165,000 have been handed out to local charities and organisations from the Mayor’s Fund.
Grants of up to £1,000 will be allocated to winning projects that will be progressed in the following 12 months, with priority going to organisations and individuals based and operating in Torbay.
Local charities, community and voluntary sector organisations or individuals who wish to apply need to complete an application form which can be downloaded from the Torbay Council website, along with the Grant Scheme Policy to check for eligibility, by clicking here. Alternatively, you can request a form by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Major Closure For Paignton Ring Road
Investment to improve our road network is welcome, yet drivers on Paignton Ring road will have to put up with some significant inconvenience as a major project to improve a key stretch continues.
The section of the Ring Road between Spruce Way at Kings Ash to Churscombe Cross, (the roundabout near Ye Olde Smokey pub at Marldon,) will close at the beginning of February until the end of March and even after the road reopens there will be roadworks through the summer until Christmas with traffic lights in place.
The closure will allow major earth works to take place, but if you depend on travelling via this road on a regular basis, plan to allow plenty of extra time for your daily commute when these works are taking place.
Campaign To Raise Tumour Awareness
The family of a Paignton boy, who suffered with a brain tumour for over three-years before he was diagnosed, are now backing a campaign to help raise awareness of the disease.
Jude Ellis was just 6 years old when he had a seizure, and spent the following three-years suffering from headaches, tiredness and vomiting before he was eventually diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2013. His parents are now backing the Head Smart Campaign which aims to increase awareness of the condition.
You can read more about it on the Herald Express website by clicking here.
Torre Marine Update
Over the last year some long standing issues relating to Torre Marine have been pursued, in particular the large area next to Newton Road.
Progress has been frustratingly slow, but this week an update was received from the Council containing the positive news that Barratt Homes and Torbay Council have now completed and agreed a design for the park at Torre Marine.
The key Council officers have recommended that the Planning permission is now signed off, Barratts have instructed a ground works company to start work as soon as possible (a fixed start date is expected very soon and we will brief all again once this date is known). Upon completion the park will be transferred to Torbay Council.
The next steps are to consult with the potential users of the space to design the play ground element which will be installed by the ‘to be appointed’ playground company. Torbay Council have the option to use various play ground suppliers which provide varying different ‘free play’ equipment. Torbay Council’s preferred consultation process for delivering a user friendly playground design is to utilise and build on the excellent work Play Torbay carry out. We are advised that the Council are in the process of liaising directly with them to start this consultation process.
The UK Youth Parliament aims to provide a voice to those aged 11-18 and is the only group, other than MPs, allowed to use the chamber of the House of Commons for its debates.
There are regular meetings between the Torbay MP and Torbay’s MYPs to discuss issues they can work on and the concerns being raised by those they represent. The search is now on for new candidates to take up these roles and to seek election as an MYP.
If you, or someone you know, are considering standing, click here for more information. The application form needs to be returned by 6th February.
Homeless By Law Proposal Dropped
This week Torbay Council announced it was dropping plans for a consultation on a new By-Law in relation to rough sleepers.
The decision follows the Government awarding £400,000 of additional funding for projects to tackle rough sleeping and provide increased support services across the bay.
Former Gull Reaches Premier League
What some people may say is impossible for a person to achieve can happen and there has been a local example this week.
In May 2015 the proposed closure of Torquay United’s Youth Academy was raised in Parliament. The loss of the Academy not only had an impact for TUFC in terms of future players, but may prevent some local youngsters from following their dreams.
One of the young players released when the Academy closed in 2015 was teenage striker Callum Morton. This week West Bromwich Albion signed Morton, 17, after the former Torquay Academy pupil starred for Yeovil Town against them in an FA Youth Cup upset last month. You can read more on the Herald Express website by clicking here.
It is always good to hear of someone following their dreams to success and we hope Callum’s story will inspire more of the next generation to follow theirs, whatever they may be.
Klezmer/Israeli Folk Dance Holocust Memorial
Saturday 21st January – St Pauls Church, Preston, Paignton, TQ3 2DZ
Time – 19:30
Cost – Free
Click here for more information
Be Food Smart Roadshow – Public Health England
Tuesday 24th January – Morrisons, Totnes Road, Paignton, TQ4 7ET
Time – 09:00 – 17:00
Cost – Free
Click here for more information
Armed Forces Community Coffee Morning
Wednesday 25th January – Occombe Farm, Preston Down Road, Paignton, TQ3 1RN
Time – 10:30
Cost – Free
Torquay Book Group
Thursday 26th January – Torquay Library, Lymington Road, Torquay, TQ1 3DT
Time – 14:00
Cost – Free
Click here for more information