News courtesy of Kevin Foster
(MP for Torbay)
Any views expressed in this news post are those of Kevin Foster, unless stated otherwise.
New Bus Services Hit The Road
On Monday several new services hit the road to replace many of the routes previously provided by Local Link.
The routes that have been taken up by a new Operator include the 62, the 108 and 109, the Sainsbury’s Buses, most of the 25 route and about half the 64. The 60/61 service is now the 60, with the familiar face of Graham the driver having been employed by the Torbay Community Development Trust to work on the route.
Whilst many services have been replaced but work is ongoing to see what further routes other operators may consider, but so far a solution has not been found.
Ultrafast Broadband Heading To The Bay
Virgin Media are set to announce their plans for a significant new investment in the Bay’s fibre optic broadband network.
‘Project Lightning’ will see over 42,000 premises across Devon connected to Virgin’s ultrafast broadband network, with speeds of up to 300Mbps soon to be available to residents and businesses. Work has already begun in Torquay to connect almost 24,000 premises and is expected to be completed across Devon before the end of 2019.
The homes and business being connected in our include many in so called “not spots” (such as parts of Ilsham) or areas that have only recently had superfast broadband connected via BT
Since starting this update service in 2013 I have regularly had readers get in touch about poor broadband speeds in their area, so it is great to be able to report this news. Unlike other roll out projects no public subsidy is involved as Virgin Media is making the investment necessary to lay the fibre optic cable required.
Earlier this week the McCallum Ward at Torbay Hospital closed and Paignton Hospital stopped accepting new patients.
Both Dr Sarah Wollaston and Kevin Foster have expressed both their concerns and opposition to these changes and the pace at which they are being implemented. Also a resident has been in touch with a description of the transfer of the services from McCallum to another ward that raise some real questions that will be raised with the Hospital’s management.
The discussion at the Paignton Town Community Partnership on Wednesday on this subject was also interesting as the Friends Group had received a letter from the CCG and the Hospital Trust in response to their concerns being raised.
As Torbay’s MP Kevin Foster will continue to lobby both here and in Parliament for the future of our local services in addition to supporting work being done on a cross party basis by the Public Accounts Committee to look at long term solutions.
Save Our Trains Update
Last year thousands of residents got behind the “Save our Trains” Campaign.
CrossCountry has formally presented their plan to the Department for Transport and they have been asked by the DFT to review certain aspects. My understanding, although not officially confirmed, is that they have been asked to relook at their proposals for Torbay.
This is good news as it means their proposal to cut to just one service leaving Paignton at 07:02am is not going to be accepted, with the Rail Minister having already indicated he was sympathetic, as a seaside MP himself, to the points raised on this.
We still await final confirmation and will include any further news in future updates but the implementation of any new timetable has been put back to May 2018.
Buzzing About Bees
The future of the Bee is regularly raised.
We can all help by making our own gardens, window boxes or hanging baskets “Perfect For Pollinators”. The Royal Horticultural Society has produced a handy guide as to how to do this. You can find it on their website by clicking here and you will also note the handy logo you can look for at local Garden Centres for seeds and plants that are best for bees.
If you would like to find out more about beekeeping, Torbay Beekeepers hold regular meetings and new members are always welcome. You can find full details on their website by clicking here.
£130m Development Plans Move Forward
Plans to regenerate our Town Centres took a welcome step forward yesterday as Torbay’s Councillors backed a plan aimed at kickstarting regeneration and development of 15 priority sites across the bay.
Included in the list of potential development sites are eyesores such as Crossways in Paignton, sites like the Town Hall Car Park where development has been debated for years, plus hidden gems like Paignton Harbour where development could open it up to many more visitors. You can read more on the Herald Express website by clicking here.
The plan includes direct delivery by the Council on six of its own sites with targeted public realm improvements and improvements to key buildings on high streets.
The situation with our Town Centres calls for urgent action. There will be aspects that will need to be debated, not least ensuring the relevant business plans stack up, yet just letting our Town Centres decline further is not an option.
As Cllr Haddock puts it on the Devon Live site: “We weren’t elected to make the place stagnate.”
Whilst the development plans went through yesterday another scheduled item, the future of the Parkfield Centre, was removed from the Council Agenda earlier this week.
Last month revised plans to rebuild Torbay School on the site were refused by Councillors on the Council’s Development Management Committee. They were due to be discussed yesterday by all members, but we understand will now be discussed later this year.
You can read more on the Herald Express website by clicking here.
Revd Gary’s Last Night Out
Last night marked the last night out for Reverend Gary Deighton, Vicar of St George’s, Goodrington, who has been sleeping rough for a month to highlight the issue of homelessness.
During his time sleeping out he has posted regular video blogs and featured some of the work being done to support those sleeping on the streets. There are no easy answers to this issue but the debate created has helped find some solutions.
Gary’s sponsorship page is still available by clicking here and if you would like to get involved in the campaign to end Homelessness in Torbay you can find more details on the dedicated website by clicking here. Information sessions are also being held on Wednesday April 12 from 6pm to 8pm and on Thursday April 13 from 2pm to 4pm at Endeavour House, Higher Union Street, Torquay.
Good Causes Sign Up To Torbay Lottery
The new Torbay Lottery is being established to help raise funds for local good causes.
Tickets will cost £1 with 60% going to local good causes, which compares to just 28% contributed by the National Lottery. The remaining 40% goes back into the prize fund and pays for the running costs. Torbay Council does not take a penny from ticket sales.
The thirteen good causes signed up so far are Acorn Youth Community & Sports Centre, CentrePeace, Hele’s Angels, Paignton Amateur Rowing Club, Paignton Darts Academy, Sense Abilities, Social Justice and Homelessness, Swim Torquay Ltd, Torbay Befriending Service CIC, Torbay Citizens Advice, Torbay Hospital League of Friends, Torbay Street Pastors and Totally Teenagers.
You can find out more on the Lottery’s website by clicking here.
Searching for Easter Fun?
There has been a lot of debate in the media about Easter Searching this week, but we will stick to those looking for some low-cost family fun in the bay rather than looking for chocolate eggs.
Torquay Museum in Babbacombe Road is running a range of Easter activities that cost a small amount on top of the standard entrance ticket (Which is valid for a whole year meaning you can pop back many times). You can find more details here.
Play Torbay is running a range of fun events across the bay and you can find all the details here.
Finally you can find a wide range of activities on the English Riviera website by clicking here.
Torbay Tops the League
Earlier this week Torbay was declared top of League for Devon, yet sadly this had more to do with dodging the gym than any sporting prowess.
Figures included in an NHS report state that 24.6 per cent of Torbay residents do less than 30 minutes of exercise per week, compared with only 15.7 per cent in West Devon, the best in the county. Exeter was listed as the most active area in the county with 75 per cent of residents claiming they are active for over 150 minutes per week. You can read more on the Herald Express website by clicking here.
Our demographics have an effect with those in their 80’s or 90’s being less likely to hit the gym than University Students. Yet with beautiful coastal walks, local sports clubs providing a range of activities at very low prices and many public parks it is sad to see that many in our bay are not taking the chance to be a bit more active.
Rejoice With Rutter
Saturday 8th April – Central Church, Torquay
South Devon Choir’s concert for Spring 2017 is a duo of John Rutter’s major works, the Requiem and Magnificat. More details available by clicking here.
The Concert will start at 7:30pm with doors open at 7pm. Tickets £12, students under 19 FREE.
Torbay Street, School and Prayer Pastors Commissioning Service
Saturday 8th April – Upton Vale Baptist Church
The whole community is invited to join the pastors for their 10th commissioning service. It will start at 6pm and will be led by Rev Les Isaac OBE (Founder of Street Pastors)
Roselands Community Cafe
Monday 10th April – Time Out Cafe, Sturcombe Avenue.
Would you like to fill the empty planters in Roselands and discuss other projects for the area? Then pop down to the Community Cafe from 11am till 12pm on Monday.
Parkinson’s Society Open Day
Thursday 13th April – Paignton Library.
Torbay & District Parkinson’s Society are holding an open day for all those affected by Parkinson’s, patients, carers and friends. You can pop in for a coffee and a chat to see how the group might be able to help between 10am and 3pm.