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.

New Critical Care Unit Opens

The new Critical Care Unit at Torbay Hospital was formally opened on Wednesday and is set to receive its first patients this week.

The new facility is very impressive and given it will care for those in the most serious medical condition it is right that this significant investment has been made. You can see lots of photos and a video of the facility on the Herald Express website by clicking here.

Whilst we all hope we will never need to spend time in a Critical Care Unit it is reassuring to know that our bay now has one of the best facilities in the country. It is also larger than the unit being replaced that first opened in 1985 with 14 bed spaces.

Bed Cut Details Confirmed

We have received confirmation from the Hospital of their proposals to remove 32 beds.

Despite speculation in the media and online Maternity Services will remain at the Hospital. The biggest change from previous information is that a phased implementation is now being proposed, with the two phases being implemented in April and June this year.

Details were received yesterday from the Trust that runs the Hospital following a meeting held on Wednesday to discuss the plans.

By the end of the meeting, a preferred option had been agreed to reduce beds in phase one from 1 April, subject to plans being worked up in greater detail before a final decision is taken.  Each Service Delivery Unit (SDU) will now work together and consider all the issues raised by the preferred option, which is:  

  • The breast and gynaecology in-patient service would be relocated. To best protect privacy and dignity for patients and the close working and development of the team, the whole service would be planned to relocate into shared ward facilities with general surgery
  • Following the move of the breast and gynaecology in-patient service, the 14 beds currently on McCallum ward would close
  • Warrington ward would relocate to Ella Rowcroft ward
  • Elective Orthopaedics would relocate to Warrington with a reduction in beds from 20 to 15 

A further report, with detailed implementation plan will be prepared for discussion and then a decision will be taken in early March. Consideration will also be given to the criteria for the phase two bed reductions at that meeting.

Growth Funding Boost For The Bay

In a boost for our bay’s economy it has been announced that South Devon College will receive funding from the third round of the Government’s Growth Deal allocation to deliver the new Hi-Tech and Digital Centre development.

The new purpose-built facility at the College’s Campus in Paignton will be both innovative in its design and use as well as nationally significant and is planned to open to students in September 2019. When elected I included in my plan for the bay the aim of attracting more hi-tech industry to the bay and this is a key part or delivering that.

The facility will represent a £17m investment in delivering high end skills and facilities to support growing local businesses, plus help develop new opportunities. It will be a great boost for our area overall and we are delighted that after so much hard work the team at the college can finally get on with delivering it.

D-Day For Pavilion Scheme

After years of heated debate, on Monday the Councils’ Development Management Committee will decide whether the proposed development that includes the Pavilion should go ahead.

A number of surveys on this issue have been conducted, most recently last year when Kevin Foster wrote to approximately 10,000 residents in Torquay asking their views. The results were a narrow majority against, although a previous survey conducted 3 years ago showed a majority in favour of slightly different plans. Council Planning Officers are recommending that the plans be approved, but Councillors will take the final decision.

You can read the Herald Express’ take on the latest news by clicking here and can find details of the application on the Council website by clicking here.

It is clear that a decision must now be made as to whether this goes ahead or not. Earlier this week a developer announced plans for a new Five Star Hotel in Plymouth, a possible reminder that if we take too long to decide what we want to do here in the bay the reality will be investors and businesses going elsewhere.

Wren Retail Park Purchase

Earlier this week the Council announced it had purchased the Wren Retail Park in The Willows.

Whilst the exact purchase price has not been disclosed it is believed the Council will make a 3% annual return on its investment once the costs of the loan to purchase the property are taken into account. You can read more on the Council’s website by clicking here.

This type of investment can help generate income from council services and other urban councils have large property portfolios in their own areas. [I thought councils were being encouraged to dispose of such assets, not acquire more – Ed]

Torwood Street Update

The Council is discussing with the Developer measures to get the project underway, but at this stage cannot give further details.

On Track At Babbacombe

Unlike many national schemes it is good to report on a local rail improvement project that has been delivered to plan (and without causing great inconvenience).

Babbacombe Cliff Railway has completed a major £100,000 refurbishment, with work done to improve the efficiency and safety of the running gear, plus the installation of new carriages. The railway which has been running for 90 years carried 120,000 passengers last year and is run by a Community Interest Company.

ITV news covered the refurbishment work and you can watch the report on their website by clicking here.

Council Tax Rise Set

Torbay Council met yesterday to set the Budget for next year which includes a rise of 5% in Council Tax, that incorporates a 3% precept for Social Care costs.

The Budget has been the subject of some debate over recent months and the Elected Mayor had proposed a rise of 4%, yet after some debate 34 of the 36 Councillors voted to set a rise of 4.99%.

You can read the full details of the Council’s Budget for 2017/18 on the Council’s website by clicking here.

Looking For A Job In Hospitality?

We regularly hear of skills shortages across vital sectors such as engineering and health care, yet this week the Herald Express highlighted another area where demand is exceeding supply.

In a job opening that brings a whole new meaning to starting on the bottom rung, local company Butlers with Bums (appealed through the media) for more applicants across South Devon. The company supplies entertainment to a range of events, including Hen Parties.

You can read more on the Herald Express website by clicking here.


Kickstart – 5-a-side Football
Every Tuesday – Torbay Leisure Centre Sportshall, Penhill Way, Paignton, TQ4 5JR
Time – 15:00-18:00
Cost – £2 per session
Click here for more information

Tots Go Wild
Wednesday 1st March – Occombe Farm, Preston Down Road, Paignton, TQ3 1RN
Time – 09:30
Cost – £5 – to be booked in advance
Click here for more information

Comedy at the Palace
Friday 3rd March – Palace Theatre, Palace Avenue, Paignton, TQ3 3HF
Time – 19:30 – 22:00
Cost – £10, £5 for students
Click here for more information

Classic 50s and 60s Rock ‘n’ Roll Night
Friday 3rd March – Torquay Museum, 529 Babbacombe Road, Torquay, TQ1 1HG
Time – 19:30
Cost – £5 – book in advance by calling 01803 293975
Click here for more information


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