News courtesy of Kevin Foster
(MP for Torbay)
Any views expressed in this news post are those of Kevin Foster, unless stated otherwise.
Paignton Ring Road Re-Opens
A bit of good news to start with is that the first phase of the Kings Ash Road widening works has been completed and the contractors re-opened the road last night.
The works are continuing with final completion due in December 2017. This scheme will see this busy road widened to two lanes northbound (towards the existing dual carriageway) from the traffic lights at Spruce Way. There will be a single lane southbound, from the top of the hill to the junction with Ramshill Road, where there will be two lanes through the traffic lights at Spruce Way. A right turn lane will be provided for traffic to turn into Ramshill Road.
You can read full details of the scheme on the Torbay Council website by clicking here.
Artizan Bronze Recovered
A couple of weeks ago we reported on a burglary at Artizan Gallery in Lucius St, that saw a valuable piece of work stolen.
This theft was particularly sad as the gallery is a small business that does a lot to support our community and give local artists a helping hand.
The good news is that the owner of the Gallery, Julie Brandon, has been in touch to tell me that the Police have caught the man involved and recovered the statue.
Three Torbay Hotels Sold For £12.5m
Three local hotels have been sold to a South African Investment Company for a total of £12.5m.
The three hotels are The Headland Hotel in Torquay, The Palace Hotel and The Queens Hotel, both in Paignton. We are advised that all 150 jobs at these hotels are safe.
Interestingly the agents who have worked on the sale of these hotels have indicated that the iconic Palace Hotel in Torquay is also under contract with a potential purchaser. This follows the £12.5m purchase of the Imperial Hotel by the Brownsword Hotel Group less than a year ago. You can read the full details on the Herald Express website by clicking here,
Seeing this amount of money being spent buying hotels in our bay over such a short period is a positive sign of where investors see our tourism industry heading.
NHS Prescribing Changes
There has been some commentary in the media this week about potential changes to what can be prescribed on the NHS.
Whilst the media highlighted the (surprising) fact that Sun Cream can be prescribed, NHS England are proposing ending the prescription of 10 items that can be sourced relatively cheaply over the counter at a local shop or pharmacy, yet currently cost the NHS £128m a year. They will also consider including other items such as paracetamol, cough and cold treatments, and heartburn and indigestion tablets.
Many reading this will be surprised such items can be prescribed and you can read the NHS England statement by clicking here. If in hospital such items would still be provided if required.
It is perhaps reasonable to request that residents buy paracetamol and cold remedies, that can be bought very cheaply in pound stores or supermarkets, rather than have them prescribed, with prescriptions saved for items that cannot be sourced in this way. If you pay prescription charges it would be cheaper to pop to the shop anyway, whilst saving the NHS the costs of handling these items.
Occombe Car Parks
If you are a regular visitor to Occombe Farm, note that from today Saturday 1st April, the car parks on the site will be locked at 6pm every evening.
This is important to note because we have been told that any cars still on site after this time will have to remain on site until the car park is unlocked the following morning. This information was posted on their Facebook site this week.
Terrace Gardens Shelter
There have been a number of complaints from residents in recent weeks about the rough sleepers’ camp that had formed under the canopy alongside Torbay hotel, the Royal Terrace Gardens shelter.
This week the Council has acted to deal with this issue and below is an extract from their statement that gives further details:
“Concerns have been raised regarding rough sleepers who have been occupying the Royal Terrace Gardens shelter. We have engaged with this group a number of times over recent weeks to provide welfare checks as well as supporting them to come off the street and into accommodation. As a result of this, all of the group have an appointment with the Torbay Council’s Housing Options Service, who will support them finding suitable accommodation to meet their needs.
However, despite this engagement a large number of the group have remained in the shelter and the current situation could not be allowed to continue as this area has actually become an established encampment.”
Merger of Barton and Chelston Hall Surgeries
After many decades providing family health care in Torquay, Barton surgery will cease to exist on 1st April as it merges with Chelston Medical Practice.
Whilst the purpose built premises on Barton Hill Way shall continue to be one of the primary sites for the new practice to operate from, several of the GPs will be taking retirement, namely Dr Paul Barton, Dr David Barratt and Dr Tessa Barton.
It’s April Fools Day
Today is the day when we will get to hear all sorts of tall stories as it is April Fool’s Day.
Who knows what treats today will bring, for example will the Herald Express claim that in Brexit talks Spain will be offered Thatcher Rock in exchange for giving up its claim to the Rock of Gibraltar? Or perhaps BBC Radio Devon might report that “Corbyn Head” will be renamed “Jeremy Corbyn Head” in honour of the Labour Leader.
Many think it is a modern tradition yet Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales written in 1392 contains the first recorded association between April 1 and foolishness. On 1st April 1857 tickets were also issued for the Annual Ceremony of “Washing the Lions” at the Tower of London.
Today is the 60th anniversary of the infamous “Spaghetti Tree Hoax” broadcast by the BBC on 1st April 1957. It was so effective some viewers called the BBC to find out how they could grow their own. If you have not seen it before you can find it on Youtube by clicking here.
Cockington Explorer Backpacks
Saturday 1st April – Torquay Squash and Leisure Club, 78 Barton Road, Torquay, TQ2 7NS
Time – 11:00-15:00
Cost – £2 + £10 returnable deposit
Click here for more information
Easter Egg Hunts
Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust – Great Wild Egg Hunt
Occombe Farm – 1st-17th April – 10:00-15:00
Easter Egg Trail
Babbacombe Model Village – 1st-23rd April – 10:00-16:00
Easter Holidays Egg Hunt
Bygones – 1st-17th April – 10:00-16:00