News courtesy of Kevin Foster
(MP for Torbay)
Any views expressed in this news post are those of Kevin Foster, unless stated otherwise.
Progress on Two New Paignton Schools
Yesterday, Kevin Foster received two letters from Lord Nash, Minister for the School System, updating him about the latest progress with 2 Free School applications in Paignton.
The two applications, Windmill Hill Primary School and Paignton CofE Learning Academy, have both been given the green light to proceed to the next stage of the process. This will see the proposers work with officials from the Department for Education (DFE) to ensure it has all the support it needs. The Secretary of State will then decide whether to enter into a funding agreement with the trust so that the school can open.
In most cases, the DFE will confirm a provisional opening date after a site has been identified and confirmed, and they have assessed the time needed for obtaining planning permission and completing necessary building works or refurbishment.
The growth of pupil numbers in Paignton means new schools are needed and I therefore welcome the news these two applications are progressing to the next stage.
Litter Bugs Face Higher Fines
Litter Bugs could soon find themselves being hit with £150 fines as the Government unveiled its Litter Strategy this week.
The increased fines are part of a range of measures being proposed to help crackdown on this problem. These include offenders on community sentences, including people caught fly-tipping, being required to help councils clear up litter and fly-tipped waste
The Government will also be creating a new expert group to look at further ways of cutting the worst kinds of litter, including plastic bottles and drinks containers, cigarette ends and fast food packaging. The group’s first task will be to consider evidence from schemes that reward the return of plastic bottles and drinks containers.
Torbay Council spent over £2.2m last year clearing up our streets, therefore measures that help reduce the mess made by some could have a clear financial benefit for taxpayers in addition to making our area look cleaner.
Pot of Gold For The Rainbow
We have all heard the legend of the pot of gold that lies at the end of a Rainbow, yet this week it was more a pot of gold buying the Rainbow as the latest large hotel purchase was announced.
The Rainbow International Hotel in Belgrave Road, Torquay has been sold for £3.25m to experienced local hoteliers Brett and Jo Powis who also own the Babbacombe Hotel and Lincombe Hall Hotel. You can read the full story on the Herald Express website by clicking here.
At a time when there is much debate about the future of our economy it is a sign of confidence that we have seen so much being spent purchasing hotels in our area over recent weeks.
Meadfoot Beach Hut Rates Decision
If you rent a Beach Hut at Meadfoot you may have received a nasty surprise recently in the form of a bill for business rates.
Due to a High Court decision that the Valuation Office Agency were involved with, the Chalets at Meadfoot will now be charged business rates. Torbay Council were not involved in this decision, but will need to collect the rates due.
Yet this bill might not be what it seems as anyone who is charged business rates for their chalet may be entitled to claim Small Business Rate Relief meaning they could receive 100% of the rates back. The Council has written to all Chalet users at Meadfoot explaining how to apply for this relief with more info available on its website by clicking here.
Latest Unemployment Statistics
The latest unemployment statistics were published this week and it was mixed news for Torquay and Paignton.
The total number of unemployed claimants in Torquay and Paignton in March 2017 was 1,420. This represents a rate of 3.2% of the economically active population aged 16-64, the equivalent rate for the whole of the UK is 2.6%. Whilst the number of claimants is 35 higher than February 2017, it is 20 lower than at the same time last year.
In terms of youth unemployment there were 265 claimants aged 18-24 in March 2017, 15 lower than March 2016.
Whilst welcome to see the figure lower than this time last year, these figures are higher than our neighbouring areas, emphasising the need to attract more year round jobs into the bay.
Have Your Say On Torre Marine Plan
There is still time to have your say on the application received for a major development on the Torre Marine site.
This week the Herald Express covered the proposals, with the images of the proposed development featuring prominently. You can read their report by clicking here.
The full details of the planning application, along with how to submit your comments, can be found on Torbay Council’s website by clicking here.
If you are part of a community group that is thinking of a building project you might be interested to hear of a fund being made available by Builder’s Merchants Jewson which has a branch in the bay.
Applicants can choose to nominate a project for a Top Regional Prize of £50,000 to be split 50/50 between labour and materials, or a share of a bigger £150,000 Regional Prize Fund where you can ask for anything from £500 to £10,000 to spend on building materials.
New for 2017 is the Trade Hero category, which seeks to celebrate construction workers who play a big role in their community. Whether it’s a roofer who has fixed a leak in the village hall or a builder who has supported a local children’s charity.
The Trade Hero will win £50,000 worth of building materials to enable them to complete a worthy community project. Nominations can be made via the dedicated website by clicking here. Nominations close on the 5th May 2017.
Man Talked Out Of Sea
It is not just when an attack is made or threatened that our Police work to protect people, this also happens when a vulnerable person is at risk. Last night a major operation was launched on Torquay Seafront after a man went into the sea with a knife and threatened to harm himself.
Police negotiators worked with the RNLI to persuade the man to come out of the water without harming himself. He is now receiving treatment. You can read the full story on the Herald Express website by clicking here.
National Apprenticeship Show
The National Apprenticeship Show : South West is taking place at Westpoint Exeter on Thursday 3rd & Friday 4th May 2017.
Devon County Council are our main sponsor and they already have over 70 companies taking part showcasing what doing an apprenticeship means and the benefits it can bring. The organisers advise me they have offered to pay the travel costs of every school in our area to attend, with many of them already booked to visit.
Thousands of visitors are expected at the show over the two days, with parents and carers welcome to attend with the young people looking to find out more about an Apprenticeship. You can find out more about the show on their dedicated website by clicking here.
Charlie The Chimp Set Poor Example
Over the Easter Weekend tens of thousands of visitors will head to one of our bay’s star attractions, Paignton Zoo.
The Zoo has been popular with tourists for decades and I still have the photo of my Mum and her Brother taken there in 1962. Yet this week an old Cinema Newsreel from 1964 emerged that shows off the Zoo’s star attractions. These included: The famous train, a Happy Hippo and star of the show, Charlie the Chain Smoking Chimp!!!
In an era when a Smoking Cessation Strategy meant putting a fire out, Charlie picked up a very unhealthy habit. He is seen in the film cadging a light off his keeper and puffing away. You can watch the video by clicking here.
The Zoo remains a much-loved attraction with the animals being given a wide range of enrichment activities, although if still alive today Charlie would be frustrated to find the Primate Enclosure is now a strictly non-smoking area!
Tall Ships Transatlantic Race
A unique sea spectacle is coming to Torbay this week.Tall Ships will be departing from Torbay for the epic five-month Transatlantic Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta in April and to celebrate the occasion ASTO (the UK’s Sail Training organisation) have organised two small ships races.
Tuesday 18th April Race one start off Torquay Harbour 13:00
Wednesday 19th April Race two start off Torquay Harbour 10:30.
Visiting Tall Ships include Christian Radich, Wylde Swan, Blue Clipper, Peter von Danzig, Rona II, Nadezhda and Jolie Brise.
The small ships race vessels include Leader, Golden Vanity, Moosk, Tectona, Endeavour, and Aspiration.
More details available by clicking here.
The Tall Ships will begin arriving during the evening of Tuesday April 18 from Greenwich. The first leg of their race, to Sines in Portugal, starts at 5pm on Wednesday April 19, approximately three miles off Berry Head. More details on the Herald Express website by clicking here.
Cats and Cake
Saturday 15th April from 11am till 2pm.
Join the Blue Cross team at their Rehoming Centre in Ashley Priors Lane, Watcombe, Torquay for their first coffee morning of 2017. It is an event cat lovers will enjoy.
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 Museum, St Marychurch – 1st-17th April – 10:00-16:00