News courtesy of Kevin Foster
(MP for Torbay)
Any views expressed in this news post are those of Kevin Foster, unless stated otherwise.
Pavilion Planning Decision
After a marathon meeting lasting several hours on Monday night Councillors voted 6 to 2 in favour of the Planning Application for the development that includes the Pavilion.
This decision provoked much debate on social media with many expressing strong opinions. This debate reflected the submissions at the Planning Committee meeting itself where representations were made both for and against the development. You can read a live blog of the meeting on the Herald Express website by clicking here.
The plans do not include demolishing the Pavilion itself and the £32m investment is being funded by private developers, not Torbay Council.
NHS and Social Care Debate
The future of our NHS and Social Care services is one of the subjects that causes much debate.
In addition to the current issues around Paignton Hospital and potential loss of beds at Torbay Hospital, there are concerns about the recruitment and retention of GPs, plus how we will meet the costs of providing Social Care Services as demand for them increases with an aging population.
The Public Accounts Committee works on a cross party basis with all reports agreed by consensus and on Monday it published their latest report on the financial sustainability of the NHS which you can find by clicking here. Later in the day there was an “estimates day” debate on the NHS and Social Care Funding in the House of Commons.
Too often discussing the best way to deliver and fund such services ends up becoming a party-political shouting match, yet there is a need for sensible debate amongst all MPs about long-term solutions, and it seems the debate on Monday night was mostly a constructive one, with some excellent contributions from the Chairmen of the 3 key Select Cttees (Health, Public Accounts & Local Govt).
You can listen to the debate, here.
Local Link Issues Raised in Parliament
As mentioned last week the future of Local Link Bus services that many pensioners and commuters rely on still looks uncertain after the company announced they would cease operating them on 1st April.
Kevin Foster met with Cllr Mark King as the Council’s Executive lead for Transport to discuss what the Council was doing to identify an alternative operator. The Torbay Community Development Trust [plus a dedicated group of volunteers – Ed.] is also working on a business case to deliver some of the routes on a not for profit basis.
Helpfully the Bus Services Bill, which will modernise and alter some of the legislation on bus services, was debated in the House of Commons on Wednesday. It is a lengthy piece of legislation covering a range of issues, including how operators must make certain data available, provision of audio visual aids for passengers with limited sight and a potential opportunity for local areas to franchise services in their area (Cornwall received this power in their devolution deal). The House of Commons Library has produced a helpful briefing note on the bill which you can read by clicking here.
Kevin took the opportunity to raise the issues with Local Link and the work being done to continue these vital services. You can read what he said, plus the other contributions to the debate, by clicking here.
Studio School Merger
Devon Studio School announced this week that it and is planning to merge with South Devon College with effect from September 2017.
The School’s building (located at Torbay Hospital) will continue and expand as a dedicated educational site with the existing Sixth Form curriculum remaining on site. As part of the merger new opportunities will also be put in place including Access and Nursing pathways in partnership with Torbay Hospital.
Dedicated provision for Year 10 and Year 11 students will be located at South Devon College’s main Vantage Point campus in Paignton, where South Devon High School for full time 14 and 15 year old’s, GCSE and a very broad offer of technical programmes are already delivered.
Due to the change no new admissions will be taken through Devon Studio School for next academic year, and, going forward, entry routes for all courses will be directly through South Devon College. All students currently at the school will be supported through the transition. You can find out more on the Studio School’s website by clicking here.
Given the strong reputation of the college this move appears to be positive.
Paignton Picture House Show
For the first time in many years it will be lights, camera, action at the Paignton Picture House as a performance by students at South Devon College brings it to life.
The cinema was much loved by Dame Agatha Christie with her favourite seat still in place. Yet since closure in the 1990’s it slowly decayed until the Paignton Picture House Trust purchased it in late 2015. Since then new life has been brought to the building by the trust whilst long term plans for a major refurbishment are worked on.
The performance “Memoirs of a Cinema” is inspired by the building and if you want to attend one of the shows (taking place on 9th, 10th & 11th March) you can purchase tickets on the South Devon College website by clicking here.
The Herald Express took a behind the scenes look at the Picture House this week and you can see some interesting images of the grand old building on their website. Just click here.
Having a Whale Of A Time In South Devon
There has been much excitement after sightings of a Humpback Whale just off the South Devon Coast.
It is great to see one in our waters and there are pictures of it on the Plymouth Herald website that were taken yesterday. You can see them by clicking here.
Boat owners are being reminded to keep well clear of the whale if they spot it at sea as disturbing or interfering with one is a criminal offence.
Night time Car Park Closures Due to ASB
Two car parks in Torquay are being closed overnight due to anti-social behaviour.
Beacon Quay car park is currently closed from 9.30pm each night, and Union Square car park is closed from 7pm and 7am. Torbay Council, which owns them, have indicated that one car park has been closed due to ‘engines being revved’, and the other because of criminal damage.
You can read more on the Herald Express website by clicking here.
Revised Parkfield Plan Submitted
Over the last 18 months there has been a lot of debate about plans to relocate Torbay School to the Parkfield Site.
In January Councillors voted to refuse Planning Permission for the new school building on the site, but a revised application has now been submitted.
You can find details of this application, plus how to comment on it, on the Council’s website by clicking here.
Historic Ellacombe Pub To Become Flats?
Last month Christchurch Church Ellacombe held its final service, but now it appears another long running institution could be closing.
The Country House pub was built in the 1850’s but a planning application has been submitted to convert it into 9 flats. You can read more on the Herald Express website by clicking here.
The Council’s consultation on the application will end on 22nd March.
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
Saturday 4th March – Torquay Library, Lymington Road, Torquay, TQ1 3DT
Time – 14:00 – 15:00
Cost – Free
Click here for more information
Thursday 9th March – Paignton Zoo, Totnes Road, Paignton, TQ4 7EU
Time – 18:30
Cost – £10
Click here for more information
Saturday 11th March – All Saints Parish Church, Cary Park, Babbacombe
Time – 10am till 12am
Cost – £1